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New neighbors are quick to draw the line

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 neighbors. They treat everyone in the neighborhood this way. I love our neighborhood. However, it’s uncomfortable having semi-friendly people next door. Abby, what say you about such friendly yet unfriendly neighbors? They make it plain that they don’t want anyone putting a foot on their property. — 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.


Singer Sam Moore (Sam and Dave) is 86. Broadcast journalist Chris Wallace is 74. Actress-singer Susan Anton is 71. Pop/rock singer/songwriter Jane Siberry is 66. Jazz musician Chris Botti is 59. R&B singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) is 59. Actor Hugh Jackman is 53. Actor Adam Rich (“Eight Is Enough”) is 53. Actor Kirk Cameron is 51. Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller is 44. Rock singer Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory) is 42. Actor Josh Hutcherson (“The Hunger Games”)  is 29.


Take time to evaluate what’s going on around you before you make any moves this year. You have options, and with preparation, you can reach what you desire. The world is your oyster; all you need to do is start taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Keep your emotions in check and your anger under control. Setting a path to victory means balance, integrity and staying focused on what’s important. Don’t give in to pressure.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Reach out to a friend or relative, and you’ll be offered insight into something unique. Be secretive about the changes you want to make. Get into a routine that works, you’ll get key support.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Sort through personal matters and goals, and discuss your thoughts with someone you want to include in your future. An exciting proposal will offer benefits that will entice you to make a move.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Be a good listener, and you’ll gain perspective. Criticizing someone will not create a friendly atmosphere. Change is inevitable, but how you go about it will determine your success.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Hang on to your cash. A joint venture will result in emotional disagreements. Keep an open mind, but don’t be afraid to do your own thing. Keep your money in a safe place.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) — The connections you make will help you bring about change. Heading in a different direction will lift your spirits and prompt you to approach life with renewed faith and enthusiasm. Tidy up loose ends.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — Avoid letting anyone distract you or make decisions for you. Look at the pros and cons, and make a decision based on what you want to achieve.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — Bring on the changes you’ve been eager to make. Stop procrastinating and start doing what makes you happy. Keep your life simple. A change will provide valuable experience.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Refuse to let anyone dominate you or push you into something that doesn’t feel right. Speak up and carry on with what works best for you. Love is favored. Do research yourself.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — Be careful what you say and do regarding relationships, shared expenses and the changes you want to make. Being up-front will allow you to deal with pitfalls.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — Keep your emotions under control when dealing with friends and relatives. Be a good listener, and you’ll gain the confidence of others. The information you receive will help you solve a problem.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Reach out to someone doing something that interests you and get the lowdown on the steps you need to take to join in. Once you start, it will give you the push you need.


By Chuck Sheppard

What’s in a Name? In the U.K., Heather (not her real name), the mother of a teenager formerly known as Alexa, told the BBC that her daughter had to change her name and move schools to escape bullying and teasing related to the Amazon smart speaker’s default name. Another mother, Charlotte (not her real name), said her 6-year-old daughter is already tormented: “’Alexa, play disco.’ I think it’s affecting her confidence. Adults make fun of her, too.” And Lauren Johnson of Massachusetts, whose daughter is 9, said, “The whole thing is a step beyond ‘normal’ teasing and bullying. It’s identity erasure. The word Alexa has become synonymous with servant or slave.” In response, Amazon reminds users that “we also offer several other wake words customers can choose from, including Echo, Computer and Amazon. ... We’re saddened by the experiences you’ve shared, and want to be very clear: Bullying of any kind is unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

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