Dear Amy: My husband and I recently installed a security system with cameras. One of the cameras captures a view of the driveway and street in front of our house, as well as a partial view of my neighbor’s driveway. My neighbor is a single mom with a teenage son.
One day my husband was viewing the activity on the camera, when we noticed the same car parking in front of our house almost every day, and my neighbor’s son getting into the car, sitting there for a few minutes and then getting out and going back into the house.
We assumed that there was probably something shady going on, but decided it was really none of our business.
Recently my neighbor and I were casually chatting, and she commented that she was having problems with her son. She said she was worried about him having a problem with prescription drugs. I did not say anything about the camera footage.
My husband thinks we should stay out of it, and that the neighbors are due their privacy. The cameras were meant for security, not spying. I’m of the mind that his mother should know everything we’ve seen, so she can decide what is best for her son.
What do I do?
Not Nosy Neighbor
Dear Neighbor: You have seen something that really doesn’t have anything to do with you, but it does concern your neighbor. I infer that you would not have brought this up until she independently introduced the topic when she told you about her own suspicions.
You could have witnessed this behavior by looking out your window, versus viewing security footage, and so you should tell this mother what you have seen. It is not necessary to tell her you have a record of this activity on camera (it could compromise your own security to some extent if others know you have cameras).
Just tell her, “You brought up your concern, and I want you to know that I’ve noticed a car stopping out front every day. Your son gets in for a few minutes, and then goes back into the house.”
This concerned mother can put two and two together and draw her own conclusions. Based on what you tell her, she can choose to act or do nothing.
Dear Amy: My first marriage was to a habitual cheater. We were together for 27 years. My current husband is a really decent guy. We’ve been together for 13 years. However, this sexy, decent guy has now started making remarks about, “living alone.”
We own two homes and he has a camper at a hunting camp that he can go to. The problem is that I do not want to be in a marriage where we live separately.
I have been a very good wife to him. Our sex life is extra good and I know that he loves me.
What should I do? How should I respond? I have told him, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Dear Worried: I think there are a lot of people in great marriages who adore their spouses and also fantasize about living alone -- or at least being alone for some periods.
And, of course, many (less happily married) couples might as well be living alone, because they lead parallel domestic lives where they share the same space but never connect.
Your husband’s statement is a blunt bid for a conversation. You could ask him the open-ended question: “What would your ideal situation be where you could stay married but live the way you want?” He may tell you that he would love to spend one weekend each month during the season hanging out in his camper. Would you welcome -- or tolerate -- scheduled absences?
You were married to a chronic cheater, and so you may associate being apart with being cheated on. But for many people, being alone is really an opportunity to regroup, recharge, skip the tyranny of dinnertime if they feel like it and retain full command of the TV remote. Obviously, if this is not what you want, you need to be honest.
Dear Amy: “Upset Wife” described how her husband insisted on getting a large breed dog to replace a previous dog, which bit him, resulting in the dog being “put down.”
Amy, in your answer you described this as “having the dog killed.” Thank you. These euphemisms don’t describe the reality.
Dear Animal Lover: I grew up on a farm, where certain realities were inescapable.
Email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.