Originally Published: May 21, 2017 5:58 a.m.
Dear Annie: I was engaged for about two years and ended the engagement and relationship after realizing that despite our fondness for each other, we would just not be able to live together. There was an argument at least once a week.
After the breakup, I asked for the ring back, and she declined, saying I had broken her heart. In the meantime, I asked three or four female friends whether they thought it was OK to ask for the ring back and whether they thought she should return it. All said yes.
Having had some unexpected expenses — and seeing as my former fiancee has now been married for nine months — I emailed her and asked for the ring back. Once again, her response was that I had broken her heart and she should not have to defend why she wants to keep the ring.
Is it acceptable to ask for and expect the engagement ring to be returned? — Just Curious
Dear Just: Etiquette holds that it’s proper to return a ring after the engagement ends. However, this situation seems beyond the realm of etiquette. There are clearly some very hurt feelings here, and your ex is holding on to resentment even tighter than she is holding on to that ring.
You have a couple of options when it comes to trying to have the ring returned. You might ask a mutual friend to serve as a mediator, someone she might be more inclined to listen to. Or, depending on where you live, you might have the law on your side. Some states consider an engagement ring a conditional gift, meaning it is returned to the giver if the engagement ends. See whether your state is one of them.
Once you’ve exhausted those options, it’s time to move on — with or without the ring. It’s unfortunate that things ended acrimoniously, but it would have been far worse to marry the wrong person.
Dear Annie: My next-door neighbor is becoming quite annoying, and I don’t know how to handle the situation. Often she goes out during the day wearing a short housedress. For health reasons, she cannot bend down well, so she bends from the waist and exposes her personal parts to the world. We have a beautiful view of the water, but this is certainly ruining our outlook, as she has a tendency to be very close to or on our property when she does this.
That brings me to another issue. She walks her dog around our property in the morning and at night and can be seen peering into our house. It has gotten to the point that I don’t sit on my veranda very much at all anymore, as I am beginning to resent her for these things. I don’t know how best to communicate this to her. Help! — A Villager
Dear Villager: Good curtains make good neighbors, and I strongly recommend investing in some, if you haven’t already. Some privacy trees might help, too.
That said, I would give this woman the benefit of the doubt. Unless she has her face pressed up against the glass, you can’t be sure she’s actually looking in. She may just be absent-mindedly staring into space. No one could fault you for wanting her to stop trespassing on your property, though. You don’t need to explain yourself. Simply ask her nicely not to walk in the yard.
Now, what to do the next time she bends over in a too-short housedress? That’s easy. Avert your eyes.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.