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by Abigail Van Buren

Ever Present Ex Wife Has to Move on With Her Life

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 10 years and happily married for six. We live in a small town and have been restoring a 100-year-old Victorian home since our marriage; we've put a lot of our heart and soul into this house. We have terrific neighbors, and it is a beautiful neighborhood. We chose to live in this small town because my husband was previously married and has three children who live here with their mother. At the time, we thought it would be a good idea so he could remain close to the children. We get along well with them, see them often, and can attend their school and sporting activities.

The problem: My husband's ex has started parking three doors up the street and walks, jogs, bikes and skates around our house. When I say "around," I mean we live on a corner with an alley in the back, so it is LITERALLY "around" the house. We feel like we're being circled by a vulture watching our every move.

My husband says he feels that she's invading our privacy, especially when it's his visitation with the kids. In the summer, this happens on a daily basis -- sometimes twice a day. My husband asked her to find another way to go, but she says she's not doing anything wrong and refuses.

We have thought of moving, but this is a small town and we are afraid she would follow us. My husband grew up in this town and his parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters live here. Short of leaving all of our hard work, our beautiful home, our good neighbors, our relatives and most important, the children, what can we do? -- VULTURE'S PREY

DEAR PREY: You're not being circled by a vulture. You're being haunted by the Ghost of Marriage Past. Obviously the poor woman has not moved on with her life and is preoccupied with yours. She would benefit from counseling. Since she persists in making her presence felt in spite of being asked not to, your next move should be to consult a lawyer and have a chat with your local police department. A restraining order may be able to achieve what a polite request could not.

DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Fed Up in Pittsburgh" was right on. It was the letter about the freeloading brother-in-law who wouldn't move out of his relatives' game room.

Twenty years ago, I too moved in with my brother and his family after my divorce. My brother assured me I could stay until I got back on my feet. I spent six weeks living there -- becoming more and more withdrawn in the process. Every night I'd come home from work and all I'd do is play with their kids.

Then one weekend my brother left town on business. When I came home that first night after he was gone, my sister-in-law met me at the door with the words, "I want you to move out." I assured her I would, as soon as I got an apartment. She said, "No, I mean RIGHT NOW."

I immediately packed a few things and went to stay with a friend. The next day, I started looking for a place of my own, and two days later I had an apartment. All my brother has ever known is that I moved out that weekend. I never told him why.

What my sister-in-law did was the best thing that could have happened to me; we are good friends to this day. Please tell "Fed Up" that maybe the brother-in-law needs a "kick start" like I did. -- GRATEFUL IN SASKATCHEWAN

DEAR GRATEFUL: A kick in the posterior can sometimes be a boost in the right direction.

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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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