DEAR ABBY: It’s Tuesday, 3:22 a.m., and I’m wide awake, not by choice. I live downstairs from some newlyweds, “Ike” and “Tina,” who moved into our apartment building a few weeks ago. This is the second time I’ve been awakened by their fighting. I hear loud thumps and bangs and cries from both of them. Because we leave our windows ajar at night, we can also hear what they are shouting at each other.

I am well aware that Ike has hit Tina on more than one occasion. The first time, I was tempted to run upstairs and “save” her. This time, I’m lying here wondering if I should call the police or write a personal note and leave it under the door.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone or cause more problems. But I do want them to stop fighting. It breaks my heart. Ike apologizes, then Tina yells and he cries, and she says she wants to leave, and he begs her to stay. I hear the whole thing.

I know the best thing would be to suggest counseling, but that’s not my place. I have never met them. I’d hate for something worse to happen, and I refuse to be like half the people here in Los Angeles and just sit and watch the violence go by. So what should I do? Please answer soon. I don’t think I can handle much more of this. – SLEEPLESS IN L.A.

DEAR SLEEPLESS: Someone would be doing this young wife a favor if he or she could catch her when her husband isn’t around and tell her plainly that batterers don’t break the habit without professional help, and she needs to get out of there before she is seriously injured.

If that’s not possible, then the next time you hear “thumping,” you should definitely summon the police. Law enforcement officers are trained to handle these kinds of situations, which are potentially life-threatening. The husband could be high on something, or a psychopath. Under no circumstances should you try to intervene because it could be physically dangerous for you.

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem I don’t know how to solve. When we have family over for get-togethers, my “Aunt Irene,” whom we all love, disappears and goes into our bedrooms – we have three – going from one to the other looking through our drawers. Nothing has ever gone missing, so we can’t imagine what she’s looking for. The last time she stayed 45 minutes.

When I asked Aunt Irene’s husband where she was, he got embarrassed. He tries to ignore it. I followed her once and asked what she was doing. She said, “Just looking.”

My husband says I should close all the bedroom doors, but my oldest daughter had her door closed and Aunt Irene went in anyway.

Aunt Irene always wants to be included and she’s good company, but she has this odd habit. How should we handle this? – WONDERING IN CLEVELAND

DEAR WONDERING: It appears your Aunt Irene is nosy and can’t resist the impulse to take “inventory” of your possessions. Few people would be as easygoing as you have been. You do not have to tolerate her snooping. Because closing your bedrooms hasn’t kept her out, consider locking them.

If that’s not feasible, then the next time you have a family get-together, “forget” to invite her. Should she ask why, be truthful. Let her know now much you enjoy her good company, but you cannot put up with her inspection tours. If that doesn’t do the trick, the next time you catch “Miss Nosy” in a bedroom, ask her to please rejoin the others – and feel free not to invite her again.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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