DEAR ABBY: I don't know what to do. Last week I caught my next-door neighbor "peeping" into the bedroom window of a very pretty neighbor across the street. When I confronted him, he begged me not to tell his wife, giving all kinds of psychological reasons for his behavior, including his upbringing.
Let me add that when my husband and I moved into our home seven years ago, we had a "peeping Tom" at our bedroom window. This neighbor now admits it was he, and that he also liked to listen to our bedroom activities! Now he claims that being caught has completely changed him. He has promised it will never happen again. Somehow I don't buy it.
This man and his wife are a young couple who have announced they plan to "make a baby" in the fall. I worry about the child they want to bring into the world, and the consequences of having this guy as a father.
It's difficult to act normal in front of his wife. We were becoming friends and entertained them as dinner guests a few times. We helped each other with yard work and household improvements. Now I feel extremely uncomfortable around them. I think his wife has noticed the strained feeling.
Should I tell her what I know? My husband says I should stay out of it, but this has been bothering me to the point that I feel like installing security cameras on all sides of our home.
How should I handle this, Abby? I need your advice quick. -– WORRIED NEIGHBOR
DEAR WORRIED NEIGHBOR: Your neighbor across the street should immediately be told what you witnessed so she can take steps to protect her privacy. Your local police should be informed so they can keep an eye on the man -– who clearly has a problem that requires professional help. However, I see no reason to tell his wife at this time. That information should come from her husband or the authorities.
Read on for a more lighthearted "neighbor story":
DEAR ABBY: This is in response to the letter from "Gardener in West Palm Beach, Fla." He's the man who stemmed the constant flow of criticism from a pesky neighbor by telling her it made him uncomfortable that she constantly watched him get "all sweaty" while working in his yard with his shirt off -– then gave her a wink. I had to laugh because it reminded me of a similar experience my husband and I had.
We lived in an apartment over a business. Our "pests" were an older couple who lived in a duplex across the street. They literally took turns watching us through their binoculars! It got to the point where we couldn't open our front curtains.
One hot day we opened our curtains and front window to let some air in, and sure enough, there they were. My husband gave me a sly grin. Then he turned around, dropped his shorts and mooned them! I watched them grab the binoculars they dropped and run in the house. Needless to say, they never watched us again. -– STILL LAUGHING IN OHIO
DEAR STILL LAUGHING: They were fast learners. Being moonstruck once was enough.
CONFIDENTIAL TO "LONG TIME AGO" IN ILLINOIS: Tell your husband about the molestation that happened when you were a little girl. It wasn't your fault. Then make an appointment with a therapist. In order to get on with your life and stop the flashbacks, you must bring all of this out in the open. Please write again and let me know how you are doing.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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