Dear Abby: Neighbors go beyond the norm in guarding their property lines

The newcomers next door keep to themselves and put up barriers to keep everyone off their turf.

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DEAR ABBY: When the house next door sold, we were delighted to have new neighbors. My husband and I greeted them with a welcome gift. They asked us three times about the property line, and we showed them the marker. They asked the people on the other side, as well as those in the back of them.

Shortly after, they put a barrier between us and a fence at the other property line. Now they have installed stakes and a string so everyone will know where their property is. They seem to be obsessed with property lines and they keep to themselves.

When my husband mows the lawn, they stand outdoors watching to make sure he stays on our property. It’s very uncomfortable to be outside when they are. When they are on their deck, I feel like an intruder, so I don’t go out on my deck anymore. We have no children and mind our own business.

We have great relationships with our other neighbors. It’s sad having such standoffish people next door. They treat everyone in the neighborhood this way. I love our neighborhood. However, it’s uncomfortable having semi-friendly people next door. — UNHAPPY NEXT DOOR

DEAR UNHAPPY: Your new neighbors, for whatever reason, are antisocial. When they come out to watch your husband mow the lawn, he should give them a friendly wave and concentrate on what he’s doing. If you feel that by using YOUR deck you are “intruding” on them, install plants or some other barrier to shelter you from their view. It is important for your own sake that you teach yourself to accept this couple for who they are rather than who you would like them to be.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married for 38 years and have three grown kids and three grandkids. My wife is a teacher, and my kids are doing well. I have always been unfaithful throughout the marriage. My wife and kids suspect it but none of them say anything about it. I can’t live like this anymore. I feel very guilty, and I want to move to another country — my home country. Should I tell my wife about all my affairs, that I’m seeing someone else and that I don’t want to be with her? — READY IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR READY: And what’s the alternative? Would it be that you will change your ways, forgo the philandering you have engaged in for the last 38 years of your marriage, and remain in the U.S.? Somehow, I doubt it.

Yes, you should level with your wife. And when you do, do not delude yourself into thinking she’ll be pleased to hear her marriage has been a lie from the beginning. And don’t expect your children to respect you for the choices you have made — and are making. You owe it to your wife to ensure that she will be financially secure after you go galloping off. Considering what you are planning, it may be the only way you’ll be able to look yourself in the eye when you groom yourself every day.

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.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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