DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 15 years. Before we married, I purchased a house. He moved in a month after our wedding and made a lot of improvements to it. We are now in the process of doing more renovations. 

His mom moved in with us two months ago. Before she moved in, the plan was to take the downstairs – which has a living room and a bedroom – and convert it to a bedroom and a room leading out to a patio to have another entrance to our swimming pool. But she wants to decorate that room with her furniture and use it when her friends and family visit her. 

My husband says, “She is 77. She doesn’t have many more years left, so let her do what she wants.” He always adds, “I can tell her she isn’t wanted and find somewhere for her to go, but I don’t know where it would be.” I have always given in, but he doesn’t see it that way. 

Should I let someone come into my house and redecorate it differently than how I want it? Please let me know if I am being selfish like he says.– INVADED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR INVADED: Let me get this straight: Your mother-in-law will occupy the downstairs of your home while you and your husband occupy the upstairs? If she wants to decorate her bedroom and the room in which she entertains her visitors, it won’t be a reflection of your taste, and frankly, it shouldn’t be. It is understandable.

What is clear to me is that you really don’t want her living under your roof. Because your husband can’t – or won’t – do the research to find reasonable alternatives for his mother, the task of finding something suitable is yours. 


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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