DEAR ABBY: I have been involved in a long-distance relationship for the past year. I’m crazy about him and have been completely faithful to him.

While we were talking on the phone today he asked, “What would you do if I cheated on you?” It came out of the blue, and I realized he was serious! My family and friends believe he has already cheated on me and was feeling guilty. Part of me thinks they may be right. Can you settle my disturbed thoughts? – UNSETTLED IN DERRY, PA.

Long-distance relationships can be especially challenging. When someone asks a question like your boyfriend asked you, it usually means the person has cheated or is considering doing so.

It would be interesting to know how you responded to his question. If it’s not too late, tell him, “If you cheated, I would be hurt and disappointed. And if you have already cheated, then it’s time we BOTH started seeing other people.”

DEAR ABBY: We have lived next door to “The Moochers” for three years. Things have gotten so bad that my husband and I avoid them at all costs, which isn’t easy, as they live in close proximity to our home.

If we’re on our porch or in the backyard and they see us, they always ask for something. We have been friendly and have helped them in the past, but feel as though our kindness has been mistaken for weakness and we have been taken advantage of.

The Moochers have asked to borrow our outdoor grill, pieces of our living room furniture, toys for their grandchildren to play with, permission to hang their laundry on our clothesline (which we have since removed), and have even asked for Christmas ornaments right off our tree!

Since we have started avoiding them, we have gotten a bad reputation in our neighborhood as being “unfriendly.” We have asked them to return our grill, but they actually refused, saying it was GIVEN to them with a smile.


It’s time to start doing a little public relations work of your own. If you are on speaking terms with any of your other neighbors, tell them what has happened and why you and your husband now avoid The Moochers. From my perspective, they appear to be peculiar bordering on the eccentric, not to mention extremely nervy. Avoiding them is your best defense, unless you’re planning on moving.

DEAR ABBY: Is it poor manners for people to leave an event, concert, show or graduation before the final piece is played or spoken because they want to avoid the crowd or traffic at the conclusion?

It annoys me, and I’d like to know if my view is justified. – ANNOYED IN MARYLAND

DEAR ANNOYED: If someone has paid admission to an event, concert or show and wishes to leave before the end, it is his/her privilege (or loss, depending on how you view it). However, in the case of a graduation or other ceremony in which people are being honored, good manners dictate that attendees stay until the last honor is bestowed and the last achievement is recognized.

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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