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Dear Abby 11/07

Man's loud Internet chats raise his neighbor's ire

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    DEAR ABBY: I am 20 years old and for the time being, I live with my parents. My problem is our elderly neighbor, "John." John recently divorced his wife and now lives alone.
    He spends most of his time on his computer having inappropriate conversations with extremely young-sounding girls via the Internet. He must be hard of hearing because he turns the sound up loud, and I can hear it all hours of the night.
    I see John on a daily basis, but I don't want to say anything to him, and I don't want to call the police because I'd be embarrassed when I see him. I'm not sure how to fix this problem. What do you think? -- SLEEPLESS IN FORT MADISON, IOWA
    DEAR SLEEPLESS: You may not want to have a word with "John," but that's what you should do. Inform him that he has the volume on his computer (or speakerphone) turned up so loud that his conversations keep you up at all hours, and if it doesn't stop you will have to call the police. Then if he doesn't follow through, you should report him — for disturbing the peace.
    DEAR ABBY: I left "Harold," my husband of 24 years, in 2002. The youngest of our four children had just turned 16. Harold had been abusive for years, but I lacked the confidence to leave because I had four children to care for and nowhere to go.
    A couple of months after our divorce was final, I remarried. One of the things my new husband, "Pete," and I agreed on was that we would relocate to his hometown, 300 miles away, once he retired. Pete retired last summer, and we moved a couple of months ago.
    My children, who have all left home, say they miss me. But my oldest daughter has real issues with it. She's 24, unmarried, and living with her boyfriend and their 20-month-old daughter. She needs help with her daughter, but is not willing to come here.
    I am not willing to leave Pete and go back there. I stayed with Harold for too many years caring for her and her siblings. I think I have earned the right to live my own life now without feeling guilty. My daughter was just "having fun" when she accidentally became pregnant — yet she acts like I should pay for her mistake.
    I need a way to tell her that she must figure out how to live her own life and raise her daughter on her own. I don't want to offend her so much that she cuts me off from seeing my grandchild. Any suggestions? -- BLACKMAILED IN NEW YORK
    DEAR BLACKMAILED: Under no circumstances should you leave your husband to become your daughter's baby sitter. At 24, she is an adult. It is unrealistic of her to expect you to pull her chestnuts out of the fire. If she needs child care and can't afford to pay for it, she should look to her siblings or her boyfriend's family — or she might exchange baby-sitting services with some of her friends.
    After tolerating an unhappy marriage for nearly a quarter of a century "for the sake of the children," you have raised them to the point of independence. The time has more than come for your daughter to stand on her own two feet. If she's refusing to move, then her situation really isn't "desperate."
    P.S. If you allow her to blackmail you, it will cost you your marriage and your future. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated.

    CONFIDENTIAL TO "CAN'T WIN" IN KANSAS CITY: In your case, the following seems to apply: There are two theories about arguing with women. Neither one works.
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