Annie’s Mailbox: How do we deal with our creepy, ex-con neighbor?
July 7, 2010
Dear Annie: I've lived in the same apartment for almost a decade and have seen many neighbors come and go.
Three years ago, I married "Joe" and he moved in. Joe quickly befriended "Nick," a fairly recent arrival. We often share drinks on the patio. Nick does repairs around the building and has master keys.
For the past two days, when I've come home from my office, Nick has said, "Hello, honey," to me in a really creepy way.
He knows my name, and I have asked him to use it. When I told my husband about Nick's disturbing behavior, he told me that when he was at Nick's helping him fix his computer, he saw a paper in plain view stating that Nick was on probation for a sexual offense.
I asked him why he didn't tell me sooner, and he said it's not something you broadcast.
I told him information shared between spouses is not broadcasting — especially in a case like this.
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Was Joe right not to tell me about this right away? After all, I'm sometimes alone and Nick has the master key to our apartment.
What is the best way to handle Nick's sudden creepiness? Please don't tell us to move. Other than Nick, we love this place.
— Cautious Canadian
Dear Cautious: You are right that sharing information with a spouse is not broadcasting. But, even so, we're going to give your husband a pass. He apparently felt it was Nick's private business, and not every sexual offense is cause for alarm.
However, Nick's creepiness, along with the fact that he has access to your apartment, would worry anyone. Put an alarm on your door that will keep Nick from entering without warning.
You also should ask whether it is permissible to install a deadbolt.
Then insist that Joe tell Nick to stop calling you "honey."
Dear Annie: I am a 25-year-old male. I currently live with my friend "Chris" and his fiancee, "Michelle."
I'll be moving out soon because they are getting married this summer.
Here's the problem.
Whenever I ask Chris a question, whether it's what time he gets off work or what his plans are for the weekend, Michelle answers before he has a chance to open his mouth.
Her first response is always, "Why?" followed by the answer, whether she has the information or not.
Annie, it's been at least three years since I've heard Chris answer a question in front of Michelle because she won't allow him to answer for himself. Is this normal?
I worry that her behavior will hurt their relationship, but others dismiss it as no big deal. What are your thoughts?
— Annoyed in Illinois
Dear Illinois: Even if Chris sounds like the stereotypical henpecked fiance, it is not your business.
Some guys enjoy this. Some tolerate it because they love the woman's other qualities. Some don't even notice.
He's marrying Michelle whether he speaks for himself or not. Please wish him well and move out as soon as possible.
Dear Annie: I was horrified at your suggestion to "Once Widowed" that one solution would be to divide her dead husband's cremated remains.
Would the relatives divvy up the body parts so each could have a "portion"? Cremated remains are no different. We need to respect the sanctity and dignity of a person's remains.
The woman should follow her late husband's wishes and keep the remains with his wife and children.
Since she has remarried, I think it would be perfectly correct for the remains to be buried with the daughter. The man's brother has no place in this situation.
— J.P. in N.H.
Dear J.P.: While cremated remains should be treated with respect, they are not the same as a body.
After all, people often disperse a loved one's ashes into the air as a way to honor their memory at a place of significance.
We do agree, however, that burying them with her daughter is quite appropriate. It is entirely her decision.