Amy Dickinson: Neighbors need curtains, or others might go blind
Dear Amy: My husband and I live next to a married couple who are about our age (late 30s). Our condos are close (less than 12 feet apart), and some of our windows face each other.
They removed all of the curtains and blinds about a year ago. We absolutely try to avoid looking into their house, and we’ve angled our blinds to obstruct our view most of the time. But even walking through our house, you can see into most of their house clearly without even trying.
A month ago, I caught a view of our neighbor in his living room. The husband was sitting on the sofa in the living room, totally nude, clearly in a sexual position. A few weeks later, my husband saw the exact same scene as he checked the weather outside.
We began to feel uneasy about the whole thing, like maybe they wanted to be seen. They could go into their bedroom, so why were they doing this in front of their big, uncovered family room windows? These neighbors were always polite when we interacted with them outside.
I contacted the homeowners association complaining about their lack of window coverings. There is no regulation requiring anyone to have window coverings. They said unless we were seeing something obscene, there’s nothing they can legally do.
We’re not sure what to do now. We feel like we should be able to look out our windows without being fearful of seeing our neighbors in a compromising situation.
What do you think? — Over Exposed
Dear Over Exposed: Depending on where you live, your neighbors’ activity might legally be considered “indecent exposure” if they are naked and engaged in sexual activity, deliberately exposing others — even if they are in their own home. Check your local statutes to see how restrictive the laws are where you live.
However, many local laws DON’T consider this sort of exhibitionism in one’s own home indecent, even if it is deliberately within public view, and sexual in nature.
Your neighbors might enjoy this sort of display. You could write them a note, saying, “We respectfully request that you either get window coverings, or take your nudity into a more private part of your home. We — and our guests — have the right to look out our own windows without having to view your sexual activity, which, unfortunately, we cannot unsee.”
Understand that, depending on local statutes and their own willingness to cooperate, you may have no recourse other than to block the view with your own window covering.
Dear Amy: Our son is engaged to a lovely girl. They will be married at the end of the year. We have known her for over a decade. She is our daughter’s best friend, and has been dating our son for nearly five years.
We love her and think she will be a wonderful wife. We already consider her family.
My problem is that whenever she writes us a card, she signs it “Best” or “Sincerely.”
To be honest, I am a little hurt that she doesn’t feel close enough to us to sign “Love,” which I always do with close friends and family.
The last card she gave us, she signed “Best” from her and my son.
Is there any tactful way of letting her know we would like to be more than business associates? — Future MIL
Dear MIL: Let’s head right to the headline: Your future daughter-in-law sends you cards! This alone would send many in-laws into paroxysms of joy.
And yet you are quibbling over how she signs off.
She might feel a little shy about this. Or it is possible that she feels love differently than you do, or that she simply doesn’t love you yet.
Ease up. The best way to love her is to accept her as she is, and not wish for her to be a version of you.
Dear Amy: Responding to “Anxious Mother,” we also dealt with this with our 18-year-old son and his girlfriend. We didn’t care for the girl, but sucked it up and made our point about responsibility.
If our son was going to, at age 18, live at home, several conditions had to be met: Go to college, work part time, text or phone when he would be “sleeping over.” (Using birth control was a no-brainer.)
Otherwise, he needed to get a place of his own.
He complied. They eventually broke up and she became pregnant by another young man one month later. — Been There
Dear Been There: Smart parents.