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Dear Abby: Woman develops mysterious relationship with neighbor

by Abigail Van Buren | May 18, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: My girlfriend, “Jana,” and I have been together for 18 years. We live in a small community. A year ago, a single guy moved in next door. Jana and “Aiden” took an immediate liking to each other. She’s 64, he’s 35.

Aiden is on permanent disability, has never had a job and is into drugs. He does odd things like walking and sitting in the middle of the street draped in blue lights. The police have been called so many times he was almost kicked out of the neighborhood.

He and Jana were together all the time — calling, texting and talking in person. They don’t meet so often now because we’ve had arguments about it. I was jealous in the beginning. Now I just don’t like her hanging out with him.

She still calls him, but now she does it only when I’m not around. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. He’s always outside walking in front of the house. It makes me uncomfortable. — Anxious In New Jersey

Dear Anxious: Nothing will change until you get to the bottom of why your girlfriend continues to pursue this troubled neighbor. Could she be trying to “rescue” him? Does she feel motherly toward him? Could she have a crush on him? I don’t know, and neither will you until you calmly discuss this with her in such a way that she doesn’t feel attacked when you bring up the subject. Start now.

Dear Abby: My granddaughter (who is in her early 30s) is expecting her first child. This will be my first great-grandchild. When she called to invite me to her baby shower, I asked her who was hosting the event. Neither my daughter (her mother), her father, nor I live in the same state she does. (My thought was to contact that person and offer assistance, physically and financially.) She said she and her partner were hosting the event themselves.

When I said, “But hosting your own shower is in poor taste. Usually a friend, co-worker or family member does the hosting,” she became upset. She said times have changed and if they want to host it they can, which would ensure everything is done the way they wanted. She has been very emotional during the pregnancy.

Anyway, she all but uninvited me to the shower and has dodged my calls since the conversation. Am I behind the times? Is that rule of etiquette gone? How can I repair the relationship, which up to this point has been very good? — Mannered To A Fault

Dear Mannered: Many of the rules of the older generations have fallen by the wayside. The one about who can or cannot host a shower is one of them. Write or email your granddaughter. Apologize for upsetting her and explain that you may need to update your etiquette book. Then offer to help with the shower. That’s all you can do.

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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or visit


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