Neighbor becomes intruder in couple’s lives and home

Published 8:24 am Thursday, July 27, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Pete,” and I have been together four years. During the pandemic, he moved to my hometown, and we live together. Last year, he befriended a man who lives across the street. This neighbor had been a civil-service employee but took early retirement and is undergoing treatment for PTSD.
Originally, I was happy for Pete’s new friendship in a new city, but the friendship has turned into a daily bromance. They spend two to six hours in Pete’s man cave, drinking, smoking and playing bar games. When I join in, the neighbor interrupts me and railroads the conversation. He insults me and is hypocritical about everything from my appearance to the meals I prepare.
I defend myself to this man, but Pete remains silent despite my pleas for support. (Pete says he “hates confrontation.”) An example: When Pete didn’t quickly answer his texts or calls, the neighbor would come to our house, peer through our windows, yell and bang on the door. It took Pete six months to tell him to stop doing that. He also eavesdrops on our private conversations, and I will open a door and find him just standing there.
Because of all this, I’m having intimacy issues. I never know when this guy will show up and what he will see or hear. I’m angry at Pete for not doing anything to resolve this. I’m no longer happy in my own home. I think this man feels threatened by me, like he wants Pete all to himself, and I don’t know what to do. Please help. – STRESSED IN TEXAS

DEAR STRESSED: Your neighbor doesn’t feel threatened by you. You feel threatened by him, and with good reason. He’s trying to commandeer your boyfriend, and it’s affecting your relationship. The man also appears to be unstable. Normal people do not act the way he does. His fixation on Pete is unhealthy. If your submissive partner cannot recognize that on his own, INSIST on some sessions with a licensed psychotherapist who can explain to him exactly what the two of you are dealing with.
DEAR ABBY: Is it rude to move the front passenger seat in a car if you are only going to be in it for a short time? My fiancé and I have been together nine years. I don’t own a car, so he takes me everywhere, and I have the passenger seat adjusted perfectly.
When his 17-year-old daughter, who is only in the car once a month or so, gets in his car, the first thing she does is move the passenger seat. We are about the same height and weight, and I see no need for her to do it when she’s in the car for only 20 minutes or so.
My fiancé refuses to ask her to leave the seat where it is, but I feel she’s being disrespectful and that he should say something to her about it. Please help. This is causing a lot of arguments and hurt feelings. – AGGRAVATED PASSENGER

DEAR AGGRAVATED: I’ll try. If you value the relationship you have with your fiancé of NINE YEARS, stop sniping at his daughter and adjust the seat to its original position ONCE A MONTH when you enter the car. This isn’t a competition over who he prefers, so stop trying to turn it into one.
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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