Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email, By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: My wife and I re­cently bought a beau­ti­ful new house that we are very happy with. We moved here in the win­ter and now that it’s sum­mer­time, we are all spend­ing more time out on our decks.

Two of our new neigh­bors fre­quently have loud par­ties out­side well past 10 p.m. It is con­cern­ing to us be­cause we get up at 5 a.m. for work, and be­cause my mother lives with us and her bed­room is very close to the noise.

We hes­i­tate to say any­thing be­cause we don’t want to start out on the wrong foot and create bad blood.

It was so loud un­til so late the other night that I wanted to call the po­lice, but my wife asked me not to. I just can’t be­lieve people would be so in­con­sid­er­ate. How can we po­litely get our point across with­out cre­at­ing war­fare? Should I just put up and shut up? — An Avid Reader

Dear Avid: If your house is brand new (and not just new to you), your neigh­bors have never had to think about any­one liv­ing where you live.

You should start by as­sum­ing that they aren’t aware of how much the sound trav­els on these oth­er­wise quiet summer nights. Con­sider the idea that you are sim­ply let­ting them know.

Don’t use words like “war­fare” or “bad blood.” That kind of think­ing is need­lessly in­flam­ing a sit­u­a­tion that might be eas­ily han­dled.

The next time this hap­pens, if you feel it is safe to do so (I as­sume it is), you should knock on your neigh­bor’s door (or call them if you have their num­ber), in­tro­duce your­self and say, “Hey, it’s late and the sound re­ally car­ries. Could your group take it in­side, or could you ask your guests to be qui­eter?”

Check for the sound or­di­nances where you live. Many places re­strict loud noises and mu­sic af­ter 10 p.m. on a week­day and 11 or 12 on a week­end.

If you com­mu­ni­cate clearly and re­spect­fully and your neigh­bors re­peat­edly party into the night, your next step would be to call the po­lice.

Dear Amy: Is it com­mon for people to get cyn­i­cal and an­gry at life as they age? I have known my wife for more than 25 years. When I first met her she was fun and happy, even though she had just left an abu­sive and ter­ri­ble mar­riage.

Now at 61 years of age, she is al­ways com­plain­ing about the people she works with, how over­whelmed she is, how she hates work­ing for the id­iot owner, and how most of the em­ploy­ees don’t do any­thing all day.

Her dad was abu­sive when she was young — al­ways telling her how stupid she was. Her fa­ther has since died but she seems to hang onto the past.

When we met 25 year ago, both of us were broke and now we are very well off. She has everything she has al­ways wanted — and more. I of­ten tell her how much I love her, but she al­ways finds some­thing to be mis­er­able about.

She says I treat her like a queen, but she re­minds me of an old, cranky and sour per­son who al­ways looks at the glass as half empty. I tend to be happy and I have a sun­nier dis­po­si­tion, but I worry about her. What can I do? — Sad for my Wife

Dear Sad: It is com­mon for people to get cyn­i­cal and an­gry later in life — if they have the sort of back­ground your wife has. Her early ex­pe­ri­ences have en­graved a script of sorts onto her emo­tions. As she gets older and feels more stressed, she lacks the re­siliency — and the tools — to cope.

Please understand that your wife’s prob­lems might be big­ger than your love and as­sur­ances can tamp down. Tell her, “I’m wor­ried about you. You seem so un­happy all the time. I think it might re­ally help you to talk to a coun­selor.”

Dear Amy: I re­ally rec­og­nized my­self in the let­ter from “Must Love Dogs,” the woman who had de­vel­oped a strong crush (you called it a “fix­a­tion”) on a man at the dog park.

I am a per­fectly ra­tio­nal per­son, and yet I had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence with some­one at work. I never thought I would say this, but stay­ing away and lim­it­ing con­tact even­tu­ally did break the “spell,” just as you sug­gested.

When I look back, I don’t know what I was think­ing! — Not Crushed

Dear Not Crushed: I think this is prob­a­bly more com­mon than most people re­al­ize.

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