Dear Abby: New hire is woman who wrecked neighbor's car

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A woman is not happy that her neighbor who damaged her car now works with her.

A woman is not happy that her neighbor who damaged her car now works with her.

Maskot/Getty Images/Maskot

DEAR ABBY: Last year, my across-the-street neighbor backed into my car. At least, that's what I think happened.

My car was parked legally on the street, and there was a huge dent in it. I called the police and, based on the location of the dent and the neighbor's driveway, the officer determined that the neighbor had backed into it. Furthermore, light blue paint from my car was on her car's bumper.

When the officer went across the street, the neighbor came running out screaming at him. She was hysterical and belligerent, and she denied it. Eventually, the officer told me that even though he was certain she did it, there was nothing he could do since it was her word against mine.

I had never met this woman before, but she is mean, and I often hear her screaming and cussing at her small children. Last week, I arrived at work to discover that my company had hired a new clerk. I'll give you one guess who it is. I don't think she realizes I'm her neighbor. I must interact with her often at work, and so far, I've been professional but chilly toward her.

At some point, she's going to see me in my yard and realize I'm her neighbor. Should I clear the air now, or should I pretend it never happened? I'm still angry because she cost me a lot of money. -- ANGRY NEIGHBOR

DEAR NEIGHBOR: I see nothing to be gained by "clearing the air" with someone you know is emotionally unstable. Let it ride, keep your distance and remain cool. If her problems manifest at the office, she may not be there long. And at home, stay away from her AND her driveway.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost four years. We live together along with my two older sons, ages 30 and 33.

He doesn't spend much time with me because he's either working or hanging out with the guys at the bar. I do have jealousy issues. He looks at and talks to other women when I am with him.

My former husband used to be out every day until late in the evenings until I caught him cheating with my best friend. It's hard for me to trust again. I truly love my boyfriend, and I don't want to lose him. Should I be jealous or let it go? -- UNDERVALUED IN INDIANA

DEAR UNDERVALUED: Your insecurity is something you need to work on because your jealousy could drive a wedge between you and your boyfriend. If his looking at and conversing with women were a threat to your relationship, it's likely something would already have happened.

Did your former husband look at women and engage them in conversation? I have a hunch he didn't do it openly. That your best friend helped him cheat was another betrayal, for which you have my sympathy. But please don't project their sins onto your boyfriend.

Talk to him. Tell him you need more time together. Make plans for a regular date night and arrange for your sons to be absent. If you still don't have enough of his company and he likes hanging out with his guy friends at the bar, consider tagging along occasionally.

Trash-talking couple banned from daughter-in-law's house

DEAR ABBY: I have meddling in-laws. Anytime my husband of 20 years and I have a disagreement, he calls his parents to complain about me. On six different occasions, I found messages and Facebook chats between my husband and my in-laws in which they called me a bad mother, a terrible person, crazy, evil, the devil and disparaged my family.

Because of this, I have cut off contact with his relatives, and they cannot come to our house. My husband insists on being around them, and we argue because I want our 9-year-old son to have only limited contact with them. I don't want them tearing me down in front of him. I also expect my spouse to spend time with me and our son at holidays, but my husband says I'm being unreasonable and I should just "move on and let it go." His parents refuse to apologize. They say they have done nothing wrong. I need some objective advice. -- MISERABLE IN MISSOURI

DEAR MISERABLE: The person who has done something wrong is your husband. He should not have gone running to Mommy and Daddy when you had a disagreement. What they did was accept his side of the story and support their wounded child.

I don't blame you for not wanting your son subjected to any smack talk from his grandparents. Wanting to shield him from that doesn't make you crazy, evil, etc. Bury the hatchet with them if it's possible, and drag your husband to a licensed marriage and family therapist so he -- and you -- can learn to disagree like adults.

DEAR ABBY: My mother keeps buying me (and my now-teenage daughters) clothes from a catalog for elderly women. Think lots of bird prints, florals and elastic-waist pants.

She's an amazing mother and grandmother and an inspiration in my life. I appreciate her generosity and that she thinks of us. However, none of us wear the clothes, and I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her we are "pretty particular" when it comes to style. We are very frugal and even shop second-hand stores for some clothing.

Should I speak up, or quietly continue donating the clothes? The last thing I want is to hurt her. -- WINCING IN LANSING, MICH.

DEAR WINCING: Do NOT tell your mother you and your daughters have been donating the clothes she orders for you. DO tell her that teenage girls these days dress much differently than women her age and yours, and that it would be "prudent" to ask them what they might like or gift them money to buy something of their own choosing. It's the truth, and she should hear it.

As to what she is ordering for you, thank her for her generosity and point out that since the pandemic began most women have been wearing jeans, sweats, leggings, etc. and that while you are grateful for her, you think she should be aware of it.

Fashions change, and there is nothing so constant as change.

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.