Dear Abby: Man puts family at risk by often forgetting to lock doors

When his wife reminds him to secure the house at night, he blows it off.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband has a bad habit of forgetting to lock up our house at night when he’s the last one to come to bed. On nine occasions I have gone downstairs after he’s in bed or awakened in the morning to find our sliding patio door or a garage door unlocked.

I cannot understand why this isn’t a priority for him. If I’m the last one to come up for the night, I make sure each door is locked, lights are off, etc. It takes me less than a minute. We live in a suburb, and while our neighborhood is relatively safe and quiet, I’m not naive. I realize anything can happen anywhere.

We have two large dogs, but I have no idea how they’d react to an intruder. Frankly, I don’t want to find out the hard way. The most frustrating thing about this is, when I try to talk to him about it the next day, he blows it off and says our dogs would never let anyone get far, or he makes a joke about it. I’ve tried many different approaches, from being calm and sweet to solutions-focused: “How can I help you remember?”

Recently, likely because I’m 37 weeks pregnant with our second child, I lost it and chewed him out after I waddled out of bed to go downstairs and found our sliding door unlocked. Needless to say, it didn’t work very well.

I’m at my wits’ end. It was one thing when it was just the two of us, but now we’re about to have two kids under 2, and I get furious thinking he could be putting all of us in danger. He has taken no responsibility or steps toward fixing this.

I have now reached the conclusion that when I’m home, I must be the one who assumes the responsibility of ensuring our home is secure before we go to bed. But what if I fall asleep early or if I have to travel for work? Any ideas on how to address this with him? — LOSING SLEEP OVER THIS

DEAR LOSING: You have already addressed this with your husband. That he is so careless about the safety of his wife and children is shocking. He appears to be very immature.

Because he seems incapable of assuming any responsibility for locking up, you are going to have to do it. There are high-tech ways to remotely lock doors from afar, and you should explore that option.

Also, for your own peace of mind, have a professional dog trainer or other experienced dog person enter your home through the unlocked door while you and your husband are upstairs because, while the dogs might not attack a stranger, they might alert you to the presence of an intruder. I suggest this because many years ago my very tame German shepherd did exactly that.

DEAR ABBY: Due to the coronavirus epidemic, handshaking is no longer being practiced. I have never been a fan of handshaking anyway. In the future, it may be acceptable to forgo handshaking altogether. What will be the best way to avoid it without seeming unfriendly or germophobic? — RESISTING IN MINNESOTA

DEAR RESISTING: Try doing what I do. I place both palms together in front of my chest as though praying, smile and greet the person. No one has been offended by it, and it’s a common way people greet each other in India.

DEAR READERS: Along with the millions of Americans who are observing this Memorial Day, I add my prayer of thanks for those courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. May they rest in peace. — ABBY

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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