Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Our Beautiful Neighbor Lady is Getting Too Close with My Husband”

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My neighbor is a beautiful 27-year-old woman who is forward. She lived with the father of her newborn for several months, kicked him out, and moved the father of her older child in. She is a stay-at-home mom, and my husband recently retired so he is home all day, too. Anytime he is outside she appears. She never comes when I am home. In the past eight possible days without a spouse home, she has come to see my husband four days. He decided to be transparent because he didn’t feel it was right. He slipped and said a neighbor saw them in the garden and it just didn’t look good for her to be there. I then knew why he decided to be transparent. He said she told him she would like to start helping him in the garden, when I’m not there I’m sure.

By the way, it’s my garden — something I love and work hard in. She has come to the door to ask to borrow a blender, bring “us” an invitation to her daughter’s birthday party, and two other times in the last eight days. My husband now is outside twice as much. It now makes me think that is why he decided to be transparent. He told me the day of her first visit. I believe he is afraid someone will mention her being at the house. He has been soo happy lately and sweet. He has also been talking about going to the gym and needing to buy new clothes, and he has cut his food consumption in half to lose weight.

I don’t THINK she is interested in him that way, but what is now becoming an issue for me is that he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings by telling her she doesn’t need to come over while I’m not home. I told him to at least tell her it doesn’t look right. He said he would consider that, but he only said that after a horrible argument, which is exactly what I didn’t want to have happen over this issue. He hinted divorce in our argument. I don’t appreciate all this unnecessary drama. He will tell her that it is I who doesn’t want her there instead of taking responsibility. It all needs to come from him. It is so murky and doesn’t feel right at all. He needs to get a job and get busy. Something about all of this is really hurting me. — My Beautiful Neighbor Needs to Get Out of My Garden

Listen, you sound like a jealous wife who is making a way bigger deal out of this situation than it really is. Sure, your husband probably does enjoy looking at a beautiful 27-year-old woman and might even be flattered that she’s interested in his company. But her presence isn’t necessarily the reason he’s “soo happy lately and sweet,” “talking about going to the gym and needing to buy new clothes,” and cutting “his food consumption in half to lose weight.” Maybe, you know, retiring and embarking on a whole new life have prompted some of these changes. I’d be happy, too, if I suddenly went from working full-time to not having to work again for the rest of my life. And, as people age, it’s natural that they would become interested in their health and caring for their bodies (hence, the diet and the talk of going to the gym). Also, he has time now to pursue physical fitness in a way he probably didn’t when he was working full-time.

As for the beautiful neighbor lady: Maybe she avoids coming over when you’re around because she knows you don’t like her. You talk about your husband’s transparency, but I have a feeling your impression of your neighbor is pretty transparent, too. You think she’s “forward,” and you’ve taken note of how she has two different baby daddies, both of whom have lived with her in recent months. But how much do you really know about her? What do you know about her struggles as a single mother or the challenges she’s faced? What details do you even know about her relationships with the father of her two children? You’re making a lot of assumptions based on appearances — based on the little bit you’ve seen — and you likely haven’t gotten to know — and don’t care to get to know — her at all.

Well, that’s fair enough if you don’t want to know her. But it’s not really fair to take out your dislike for her on your husband or to expect HIM to be the one to tell this neighbor to stop coming over — to stop inviting you guys to her kids’ parties and asking to borrow your blender and offering to help in the garden — when YOU are the one who doesn’t want her there because you’re jealous of her and feel threatened by what you’re perceiving as your husband’s interest in her (which, again, may not be as much interest in HER as it is a general change in attitude due to his big lifestyle change, as well as flattery that someone — especially a young beautiful woman — is being friendly to him). If YOU have a problem with the neighbor lady coming over, YOU need to be the one to talk to her.

What I do NOT recommend is telling her you don’t want her talking to your husband or coming over when you aren’t home. I’d recommend being friendly and, you know, neighborly to her. Let her know that you aren’t someone to be avoided or feared and that, if she needs to borrow something, it would be perfectly fine for her to knock on your door at a time when you might be home (as opposed to only coming over when she knows you’ll be at work). Consider bringing over a small gift for her daughter’s birthday (or, better yet, GO to the party she invited you both to) and maybe some seeds for her to plant this spring in her own garden/outdoor space. You could include a card saying: “[name of your husband] mentioned you are interested in gardening. I am, too! I love working in my own garden in my free time and take a lot of pride and joy in seeing the results of my hard labor every year. I thought you might enjoy planting some of my favorite seeds in your own garden. Maybe [name of her daughter] would even like to help you plant them.” This is a very diplomatic way of saying “hands off my garden” without being a bitch.

Finally, I’d suggest taking some of the focus you’re putting on this neighbor lady and re-directing it toward your husband. Retirement is a HUGE life step and he needs to know you support him — you support his interest in getting healthy and in pursuing some new hobbies. And if he’s throwing around the D-word, even casually, and you are getting in big arguments, that should be a wake-up call for you about the state of your marriage. This really isn’t about some neighbor woman with a live-in baby daddy and two young kids; this is about you and your husband and the way you are relating to each other, communicating, and treating one another. You want him to “take responsibility” for something that really isn’t his responsibility — telling the neighbor you don’t want her to come over when you’re not home — when, really, YOU are the one who needs to start taking some responsibility . . . for your marriage and for your own well-being (including managing your relationships with the people who live around you and affect your well-being).

P.S. At least your beautiful neighbor lady wears pants…

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

70 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite March 31, 2015, 8:20 am

    Damnit Ramona! Hahahaha

    WWS, you sound super jealous and seem to be reading into a lot. Maybe she stops in during the day because she’s a SAHM and your husband’s home and not later because her boyfriend’s home.

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    • avatar

      Kat January 14, 2017, 9:14 am

      My husband an me moved in this apt ..my husband works for the land lord.the granddaughter of the landlord lives across from us..her friend lives their to ..she’s 32 an she sometimes work for the landlord to …my husband worked with her about 3different times ..I think he’s messing around with her a couple of times …cause I had a really bad gut feeling one day….my man got off work one day an time passed an he was drunk an he said I’m riding the moped to the store for cig an beer …at the same time the friend went in her car to the store my man was right behind her …I told my son that my man would not come back with nothing an said he lost the money ..an she would come back with nothing to …sure enough he came back home with nothing an she was right behind him an had nothing to ..he said he lost the 10 dollars …he said I must of drop it so we look every were ..he walk over to the moped leaned down an then said I can’t find the money no we’re ..well I told my son I go look down at the moped an the money be laying there an then he will say he’s to drunk to go back to the store ..even though he went at the same time as her an was drunk ..anyways sure enough the money was right were I said an he said exactly what I said he would ..every time he goes out side she comes out ….every time he leaves she does …if he goes to the store she does or vice versa..every time he leave for work she leaves ..an when he’s home for lunch she comes home an as soon as he leaves she does ..if he gets home at 6.7.8.9.10 she does to …if he goes to the store at midnight she shows up there …I’m fed up with it we argue all the time …he swears he never touch her but sometimes I Wonder an still wonder you tell me

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes March 31, 2015, 8:21 am

    OMG I just had to say that “My Beautiful Neighbor Needs to Get Out of My Garden” is perhaps the best signoff ever!!! HaHAHaaaa! Ok, now to read the actual response…

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  • coconot

    coconot March 31, 2015, 8:33 am

    Pantsless Ramona!!! I keep hearing people referencing her but somehow I missed it when it happened. Now Wendy finally dug her up so I can understand what the deal is! I feel so much more connected to the community now haha 🙂
    .
    Re: this letter writer, I wouldn’t push your husband to tell her to stop being around unless she does something inappropriate (like kiss him or stop wearing pants!). Wendy gives some good alternative suggestions, another is to help get your husband out of the house more often. Help him find volunteer opportunities, make other retiree friends, pick up some sports leagues (golf or tennis maybe?) or some other hobby. At least get him a dog to walk and take to the dog park if you don’t have one already. I’m guessing he used to have coworkers to talk to at work, and now he is lonely and not minding the conversation with the neighbor, because otherwise he’d just be in solitude all the time.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray March 31, 2015, 8:35 am

    Haven’t read the letter or Wendy’s advice but I’m really hoping this is about Ramona the Pant-less Wino, Part Deux!! Ok, off to read…

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2015, 8:39 am

      Ok read it. She’s like Ramona’s not-as-cool, but-still-cool cousin. This just goes to show that we beautiful women cannot get a break in life! There should be a law that protects beautiful women from discrimination by other jealous women. … I’m only kidding, geez. I have nothing profound to add except WWS.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda March 31, 2015, 8:35 am

    If he’s throwing around divorce in an argument, you two have a lot more problems than just your neighbor.
    .
    You said “he needs to get a job and get busy.” Why? He’s retired, he doesn’t need to get a job. Unless you’re worrying about financial issues. Are you? Or is that he has way more free time than you do and maybe you’re a little jealous of that? If that’s the case, can you retire too? And if one of you needs to be the breadwinner, how did you both come to the decision it would be you or was it not a discussion and you’re feeling resentful? I’m certainly not faulting you, LW, because these are all perfectly reasonable and understandable reactions to a life altering decision.
    .
    Bottom line – this isn’t *just* about your neighbor. You two have other issues here that need to be discussed pronto, because if not…this will only get worse.

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    • Raccoon eyes

      Raccoon eyes March 31, 2015, 9:36 am

      Yes!!!! The divorce thing really stuck out to me too.
      *
      Now, Im a bit fuzzy on the timeline here (is it just 8 days since LW was made aware of this? or 8 days since….I dont know…when was the kid’s bday invite extended?), but 2 big things jump out at me – your husband is recently retired and she has a newborn. Sooooo…. two people “stuck at home,” be it as it may, during the day. Now, Im no expert on either being the parent of a newborn or being retired, but from my understanding, both mean that you 1)not have ppl around to talk to much and 2) time to yourself that you may not have had before. I mean, it isnt like the neighbor is inviting herself inside, right? They are just hanging out/making small talk in the (yours, LW- which you make a point of remarking upon) garden? Until she is blatantly making a play for your husband, or he is blatantly trying to impress her or something, you need to address your jealousy yourself. (As in, with a therapist or something.)

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 31, 2015, 9:47 am

        Newborns actually take a lot of time so it is odd that she can get out and hang out so frequently with her neighbor. When you have a newborn lots of things don’t get done so the things that you do manage to do get done because you prioritize them.

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      • Raccoon eyes

        Raccoon eyes March 31, 2015, 11:55 am

        Yeah, I realize I kind slapped together this response- I meant more like, that with a newborn, the little “free time” she may have, she may seek out friendly contact with anyone not in diapers, or somesuch. I know babies are very time-consuming- I just meant like that they both want/need/are seeking out actual contact with others since they are more tied to home now, or something. Gah, now Im not even sure what *I* am talking about. 😉

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki March 31, 2015, 11:01 am

      It doesn’t sound like he threw around divorce though…. she said he “hinted” at it, so its totally her interpretation.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope March 31, 2015, 8:40 am

    Really, Wendy? You really think his sudden interest in his appearance isn’t connected to the young, beautiful neighbor showering him with attention? Hmmm. I suspect his ego is flying. But I do agree that banning the neighbor or forcing him to do it is not the answer. I think she should focus on her relationship with her husband and then she just has to trust him.

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday March 31, 2015, 8:46 am

      I mean, it’s probably a combination of both the attention and the retirement. He wouldn’t be the first guy to focus on getting in shape once he retires because it gives him a purpose and structure to his day that he doesn’t have anymore.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray March 31, 2015, 8:47 am

      I think she’s hardly “showering” him with attention. It sounds like she’s being a nice, friendly neighbor. If she were old or ugly, the wife would have no issues.
      *
      The LW’s lack of confidence must be a real turn off for her husband, though. And the confidence of the young neighbor is probably a turn on. LW should be friendly right back to the neighbor. Geez, she’s only 27. The LW has so much life on her – she is (hopefully) wiser and more relaxed and – and, well, she could really be a mentor to the young neighbor. I bet if LW would show some confidence and not jealously in this situation, then that would be a real turn ON to her husband.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne March 31, 2015, 8:52 am

        Agree with AP. This LW – at least based on what info she told us – sounds like a classic jealous woman who is reading way too much into everything. I won’t go so far as to say his interest in his appearance has NOTHING to do with the neighbor, but I have to agree that it’s more likely a combination of his recent life change and other “environmental” factors 🙂

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    • avatar

      Sketchee March 31, 2015, 11:25 am

      Two questions to ask when jumping to conclusions: Is it true? How do you know it’s true? The LW doesn’t know the reasons and if she wants to know, she would need to ask her husband and ask herself if she trusts whatever answer he gives.

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  • avatar

    Anya March 31, 2015, 8:43 am

    Jeez LW, you’re acting like a jealous co-ed. She’s 27 with 2 kids, and I’m assuming your husband is 50+ (at the youngest) old enough to be her father. Have you ever thought that she just ENJOYS being around a nice older gentleman? Your husband sounds sweet, and honestly, if I were your neighbor, I’d think their platonic relationship was cute.

    WWS everywhere all over everything. He JUST retired and you want him to keep busy by getting a new job? He is keeping busy, by doing his hobbies!

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    • avatar

      csp March 31, 2015, 11:53 am

      I also think it might be that they are the only ones on the street home during the day. It is nice to chat and then she sees her boyfriend in the evening when he gets home from work.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday March 31, 2015, 8:44 am

    I’d add this to what Wendy said: either you trust your husband, or you don’t. If he is going to cheat on you, he’s going to cheat on you regardless of what the neighbor looks like, because it’s about filling some void in your relationship together. If you trust him, even if he IS hitting the gym, eating healthier, buying new clothes, etc. because of the attention she’s giving him, why does that matter? She spurs it, but you benefit from it, right? It’s not like any of those things are negative, so who cares what made him do it as long as he comes home to you after the gym?
    *
    And, hey, look, suppose he IS flirting with her a little. Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy, but I’ve never really understood how flirtation — assuming we’re not talking explicit or sexual stuff — in a strong and healthy relationship is somehow evil or a betrayal. Sometimes a flirty comment is just a flirty comment and there’s no deeper meaning behind it. Sometimes it’s just designed to make the other person smile or laugh or show gratitude to them for doing you a favor. I mean, I love my wife; I’m spending the rest of my life with her. So why would it be bad for me to know I’m attractive to a pretty girl if I’m never going to act on it? It gives me confidence and puts me in a good mood, and then I go home to my wife and joke about it (i.e., “You better watch out, because your husband’s got some game!”), and she rolls her eyes at me as I’m setting the table for dinner. Am I wrong about this?

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    • Lianne

      Lianne March 31, 2015, 8:55 am

      No, not in my opinion. I think it’s all about trust and your second paragraph really speaks to that. If my husband came home and told me he was hit on or flirted with, I would laugh and roll my eyes, like your wife did. Why? Because I trust him and know he wouldn’t cheat on me. If I ever lacked that trust, it would be a different conversation and I would likely be looking for things NOT THERE because, ya know, no trust.

      P.S. I love your avatar image…my kitty is named after Atticus 🙂

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      • PippaTee

        Pet March 31, 2015, 12:12 pm

        I did the eye-rolling and kidded my EX along whenever he let me know how hot he was. And I did it because I trusted him…I thought. Gradually, other red flags became more visible. He really was embroiled in an affair.

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    • avatar

      ktfran March 31, 2015, 9:06 am

      I would hope my relationship looked something like this one day. And vice versa. I mean, come on, it’s a huge ego boost when other people find you attractive. And I can totally see myself joking about it with my future partner.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover March 31, 2015, 9:11 am

      It depends on the guy though. For example, my husband doesn’t flirt. I’ve known him almost 10 years, and in that time, I’ve never seen him flirt with anyone, not even me! He’s more of the strong, silent type. So if I ever saw him flirt with a woman, or he told me he flirted with a woman, I would be crushed. It would have to be serious to make him change his behaviour so drastically. Without knowing whether being flirtatious is a new thing for the LW’s husband, we can’t write off her concern about it so easily.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 31, 2015, 9:23 am

      I think the difference between you and the man in the letter is that you then go home and tell your wife and joke about it. Men flirt with me at work and I go home and tell my husband and joke about it. The man in the letter only mentioned it to the wife because he realized the neighbors saw something that they would feel looked bad enough that they would come and tell his wife about it. I think your wife would see it differently if you were suddenly hiding what happened unless she might find out through other people and that was combined with you eating half as much food every day and with wanting to work out and wanting new clothes. He’s a man who wants to change himself completely and at the same time throwing out the idea of divorce. Each of those things by themselves might not amount to much but all of combined adds up to something. He wants to change himself and he wants that change to be rapid. Maybe he does want to shed the wife along with the old clothes and the weight.

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      • avatar

        Realistic March 28, 2017, 5:41 am

        We all have to be realistic. Don’t respond for selfish reasons. The lady feels insecured because the husband is choosing to be nice over the wife feeling comfortable. If the woman talks of her neighbors lovers’ history is because she feels the neighbour has no moral Standard. Not to mock her. Most marriages crash these days because spouses can’t define boundaries. I once knew a single lady who said because of her disappointments in life by single men, she will rather settle with a married man now. Most women go for married men for security and confidence in them that at least they know where they stand, no deception. Let’s all stop calling the woman superjealous because we women are of jealous nature one way or the other. Stop acting righteous and without jealousy just because you all love the company of opposite sex too irrespective of your spouse’s feelings.

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    • Raccoon eyes

      Raccoon eyes March 31, 2015, 9:28 am

      Guy Friday, I agree with you on this. I think that a lot of ppl have issues about this stuff when they havent really hashed out where the “line” is. For instance, here (although Im a bit murky on the timeline here due to the letter’s general jealousy-staining-all-and-kinda-loose-on-time) she says he was transparent but then says that he told her about it because another neighbor saw them in the garden to husband told LW about it. So, to LW the “line” sounds like nothing past a neighborly ‘hello’ in passing, while husband’s line is more fluid.

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    • Portia

      Portia March 31, 2015, 5:11 pm

      I’m with you. Bassanio has lots of female friends and his conversational style can be flirty with men and women. He doesn’t mention it often (especially not nowadays because we’re hermits and his job has some long hours), but if he went out to a bar with friends, he’ll tell me about flirting and girls/guys hitting on him. He doesn’t tell me about every single time because we’ve got better things to talk about and it doesn’t really matter, but it’s a funny story telling thing.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph March 31, 2015, 8:46 am

    I find it odd that you want your husband to “take responsibility” for telling the neighbor he doesn’t want to hang out with her when, in fact, it isn’t his idea at all. Maybe it’s time for you to take responsibility for YOUR feelings first, here.
    Aside from that, WWS. She can probably tell you hate her and is avoiding you. So why not try to be nice. I feel like the worst intentions this girl can have is thinking that if she gets in good with you guys, she might get some babysitting out of it, like substitute grandparents or something.

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday March 31, 2015, 8:49 am

      Your last line is a great point, though all I could think of was the whole backstory with this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/erling-kindem-emmett-rychner-_n_6802786.html . I mean, it’s like saying “A 90 year old and a 4 year old being ‘best friends’? Sounds sketchy, like he’s a pedophile.” But obviously he’s not; he’s just a friendly guy.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 31, 2015, 9:04 am

        My mom grew up in a high rise condo on Ft Lauderdale beach. Hers was really the only family with children that lived there full time; there were a bunch of old people who lived there year round and then families with children that would come for the summer. All of her grandparents passed away before she was born, but she had a whole condo full of substitute grandparents.
        .
        All of that to say that my/my husbands parents all live 1000 miles away, and I feel kind of sad for my (future) children that they won’t have regular interactions with their grandparents. If I live next to a kindly old man when I have young children, I would probably do the same stuff this neighbor is doing.
        … Also, you know, it’s nice to know your neighbors. Just in general, we can watch out for each other, notice if something isn’t right.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie March 31, 2015, 12:47 pm

        Okay, that video made me tear up a bit. It is so sweet!

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover March 31, 2015, 9:15 am

      If she’s the kind of person who uses her looks to take advantage of men, then I could totally see her working on the retired neighbour next door. She doesn’t seem to have a steady guy in her life, and it would be handy to have someone right next door who might be convinced to do things around the house (lifting heavy things, cleaning eavestroughs, etc). I’m not saying she’s that kind of person, we don’t know anything about her. But it’s possible. It’s also possible she’s just friendly and outgoing.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 31, 2015, 9:32 am

      It’s his responsibility to put up boundaries that protect the marriage. She feels that he isn’t protecting the marriage and that he should do so. If he values his marriage he should put up boundaries that allow him to be a neighbor who isn’t mistaken for being inappropriate in the garden.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy March 31, 2015, 11:17 am

        It’s not his responsibility to cater to crazy. If you’re married to someone who says they aren’t comfortable with you being friendly with anyone of the opposite sex, and in order to protect your marriage you have to stop doing that, then going ahead and doing that is just going to validate that crazy controlling demand. That’s not going to fix anything.
        In this instance, her husband isn’t doing anything inappropriate. He’s simply spending more time outside, deciding to take better care of himself, and having conversations with an attractive lady neighbor.
        They have issues they need to work on, but his casual friendship with a 27 year old single mother isn’t one of them.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne March 31, 2015, 8:50 am

    Ugh. I hate jealousy. So much. I just can’t understand why – when, by your account, your husband has literally done NOTHING to incense it, – you think you have any reason to be jealous! Just chill the F out and take a look at the situation from a different perspective. Like Wendy says, you don’t know anything about this woman, except very surface stuff. Be a decent human being and try making a connection – maybe she really needs a friend. If you don’t want that friend to be your husband (which, again, RIDICULOUS), then make it you!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 31, 2015, 8:55 am

    I don’t think that the LW is that crazy. Sudden desire to lose weight, get in shape and buy new clothes are classic signs of a man getting into an affair. In our friend group, the now ex-friend who got into weight loss and exercise was also getting into an affair. The weight loss and exercise were the sign that we could all see but didn’t realize was significant. If her husband is confessing up because he’s afraid the neighbors saw something that they will think looks bad then maybe that is exactly what the neighbors saw. That is the husband’s own judgment of the situation. Does everyone think he is exaggerating? It’s also the husband throwing around the idea of divorce. He sounds like someone whose thinking of playing the field. I think the LW and her husband should get into marriage therapy and talk about how the husband’s retirement affects both of them. Also try reading “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage,” by Willard F. Harley. http://www.amazon.com/His-Needs-Her-Building-Affair-Proof/dp/0800719387/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427809870&sr=1-1&keywords=his+needs+her+needs

    Even if you don’t see a counselor the book will give you the groundwork to talk about what you are each needing from the other and from the marriage. Your husband is going through a lot of change right now and it might help him to think about what he is needing now that his life is different.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover March 31, 2015, 9:20 am

      I agree. The problem isn’t the neighbour, it’s that he’s mentioning divorce. It’s a pretty common trope that once the man retires, he ditches his wife. Now he doesn’t need anyone to support him at home, so he frees himself up and goes and enjoys life. Maybe he’s just been hanging in there for the past five years, not wanting to shake things up while he was still working, and now he’s ready to start a new phase of life without her. They should get into marriage counselling immediately.

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    • avatar

      bostonpupgal March 31, 2015, 10:39 am

      I agree with Slyblossom on this. I can see what Wendy is saying here too, but weight loss, mood changes, New clothes, more time outside, threatening divorce, and not listening to the LW’s concerns all coinciding with this woman coming over all the time seems like…more than coincidence. Now it’s very possible that the husband simply enjoys the attention, but it’s also possible there are much deeper or darker issues pointing to him wanting to have an affair or get divorced. Not to mention, the neighbor isn’t doing herself any favors avoiding the LW and visiting the husband all the time. If she senses that the LW dislikes her, that should be her cue to back off, not sneak around visiting the husband while the LW is not home.

      I’m not saying the LW handled this perfectly, but I can honestly understand her concern. Couples counseling and a lot more communication with the husband, and forming at least a cordial relationship with the neighbor should hopefully start to take care of this.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja March 31, 2015, 8:57 am

    yea i’m not gonna lie, i’d have issues with this myself. however, my husband listens to my concerns and we talk it out. and no one mentions divorce. that right there is a red flag.

    is it at all possible he’s having a bit of depression with retiring?

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana March 31, 2015, 9:05 am

    So not to come off like a total biatch but I am a fairly attractive young 20-something and quite frankly would consider an older retired dude neighbor home during the day who was nice to me and treated me respect, kind of like a safe space. I think you are being whack attack jealous here. Maybe your husband is flattered by the attention and enjoys her company but I really doubt anything nefarious is going on here. If your husband is a nice guy and not creepy, your neighbor probably just welcomes the adult conversation she may miss out on by being a stay at home mom to two young children, one who is still a baby. LW YOU are the one causing all of the stress in this situation and in your relationship. Take a chill pill- I get you not wanting a stranger to work in your garden, personally this is what would tick me off more-not the fact your husband occasionally talks to the neighbor. You are not going to come off looking good in a conversation where you forbid her to come over or say hi to him during the day-when they are both home and now that its getting nicer out, I am sure will be spending more time outside.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery April 1, 2015, 11:59 am

      Thumbs up just for “whack attack.” Made me lol.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy March 31, 2015, 9:36 am

    Yeah, you have major problems here and your neighbor is not one of them. Your husband threw out the D word in an argument about this? That’s not generally something people throw around casually, it’s something that they think about.
    So yeah, you need to get into couple’s counseling and start focusing more on your marriage and waaay less on a 27 year old single mother who has befriended your husband.

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  • othy

    othy March 31, 2015, 9:37 am

    My sister in law is a 26 year old stay at home mom. And she is on really good terms with the older men who live on either side of her. They’re both named Mike. My niece’s grandparents live far away, and has taken both Mikes on as pseudo-grandpas (to the point that when my dad does visit, she calls him Grandpa Mike, even though he’s not a Mike). Their wives love that their husbands have a kid to dote on while they’re off working. My SIL loves it because she’s building more community in her neighborhood. They all watch out for each other, have big neighborhood BBQs, and make an otherwise poorer neighborhood rich from the human interaction.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna March 31, 2015, 9:53 am

    I agree that LW is misdirecting some of her feelings at the neighbor, who sounds kind of harmless, but I would say that she may be right that something fishy is going on with her husband. He mentioned divorce when they had a fight (what??) and he also seems a little bit overly intent to be ‘transparent’ about his interactions with the neighbor. It’s almost like he’s trying to be so upfront that what might have looked odd will seem harmless simply because he announced that he was being transparent. For me it looks like he might be interested in the neighbor, even if she isn’t. The problem then is that he could also try to approach other women. And he might be thinking about divorce, which is a lot more serious than any of this.

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    • avatar

      tbrucemom March 31, 2015, 1:56 pm

      I agree. This could very well go either way. The neighbor is just being nice or she’s looking for someone to supplement her lifestyle. If she’s a SAHM but doesn’t have a SO, does that mean she’s living solely on child support from the 2 dads? Either way, the husband is obviously flattered by the attention and it could simply stroke his ego or lead to something more. If it wasn’t for the fact that he mentioned divorce I’d say it was probably innocent but that makes me think there could be more going on. The LW needs to work on her marriage for sure. She also needs to address some possible resentment I’m sensing that she has to continue to work while her husband is able to retire.

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  • avatar

    Juliecatharine March 31, 2015, 9:55 am

    Ok LW is super jealous and that’s generally a bad thing but her alarm bells are ringing and I don’t think she’s off base. Maybe the neighbor is just being friendly but her husband is pretty clearly aware that things appear to be off because he’s concerned about other neighbors blabbing to his wife. His sudden desire to spiff up his appearance is a pretty big red flag. Yes, he’s likely old enough to be her father but men often don’t see that as an obstacle and I don’t think the age difference matters. He’s spending quality time with another woman and that can be a slippery slope. This couple needs to build some trust stat.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ March 31, 2015, 10:04 am

    Oh, my god. LW, your problem isn’t that your 27-year old neighbor is going to “steal” your husband. Good lord. Your problem is that you’ve allowed your marriage to deteriorate to a place where your husband is realizing that he enjoys the pleasant interaction and attention and feed back that he gets from your neighbor and that he doesn’t get that from you. If I were a betting woman, I’d say he told you about their interaction not because what will the neighbors think (gasp!), but because he would like to get to a place where he has friendly, fun, pleasant and positive interactions with you, too, since you’re married and all. Particularly since he’s being all sweet and attentive. He’s trying to reignite his relationship with you, LW, and you’re missing it.
    .
    From what you describe LW, in your relationship, you have fallen into a pattern of being alienating, suspicious, critical, jealous and controlling and that – not your neighbor – is what is going to destroy your marriage. Forget the neighbor. Introduce yourself to the neighbor and stop being that old bitch next door. (Seriously, you don’t come off as subtle and your judgmental and self-righteous attitude is why she doesn’t talk to you.) And then, start rebuilding your relationship. Get a hobby together. Take a vacation, even just a weekend one. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Flirt. And, for god’s sake, stop insisting that your husband “take responsibility” for your insecurities and being all pouty and “hurt” because you’re causing drama and he’s not reacting the way you wanted him to react. Also, please understand that your husband communicating to you that he needs pleasant companionship is NOT some silly bored old man business and that he just needs to “get busy.” That attitude is what will destroy your marriage, not the “in a live-in relationship” mother of two next door.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark March 31, 2015, 10:25 am

    Eh, please. Your husband is throwing around the D word — not because he is secretly in love/lust with the 27 year old hottie… But rather because he’s finally realizing that you are an insecure and, yes, rather deranged, controlling bitch, LW. Not sure why he is just figuring this out now after all these years… Hell, I was wise to it after only one paragraph…

    PS — if you truly LOVE your “garden” oh so very much — find the time to actually, you know, work on it. And YES! This IS a metaphor…

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    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ March 31, 2015, 10:39 am

      He’s just now realizing it because he recently retired and now instead of being focused on work, he has the time and energy to really look at his marriage.
      .
      When people get divorced after they retire, a lot of the time, it’s not because all of the sudden there was a problem. The problems that lead to those divorces – and the LW’s issues here – have been building for years, but they were ignored by the couple due to work, kids, and more pressing matters getting in the way. After retirement, it all comes home to roost. At least the LW’s husband hasn’t already checked out and appears to be trying to make his marriage work.

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      • Pamplemousse Rose

        Pamplemousse Rose March 31, 2015, 11:29 am

        Yes! This happened with my FIL. 3 months after he was pushed into early retirement, he left my husband’s stepmom. Based on some conversations we’ve had with him, I’m pretty sure he was planning to leave once my SIL finished university, but the retirement package (and not having work to go to every day) moved up the timeline. I think he had checked out of the marriage for a while and wasn’t particularly happy – not to upset you LW, but he is so much happier now. LW I think you and your husband need to have some serious conversations about the state of your marriage and figure out the root cause of any issues (hint: it’s not your neighbour).

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth March 31, 2015, 11:48 am

    I used to bartend in a bar with mainly older men. I got to know them fairly well. When I found out I was pregnant, they all offered to help me in many ways. One came over and helped me move some stuff, one paid their grandson to shovel my sidewalk the first two winters after my daughter was born. All normal grandpa stuff. I am very fond of all of them. As a 28 year old, single mom, I am very thankful for any help I can get and often bring them cookies and invite them to things for my daughter, like her birthday. It’s called building connections and a community.

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  • avatar

    KMJ March 31, 2015, 12:07 pm

    Sometimes younger women think an older married man is just a totally non-threatening person with whom they can interact. I always think of married men as unavailable and therefore assume they know I’m not interested in them in any way beyond a friendship. This could certainly be the case with the neighbor.

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  • Copa

    Copa March 31, 2015, 12:12 pm

    WWS and in full agreement that LW is making a fuss over nothing. Do neighbors really go tattling when they see one neighbor at another’s house? I’ve never lived in that kind of neighborhood and only imagine busybodies telling Neighbor Wife that Attractive Neighbor visited Neighbor Husband on Wisteria Lane. Maybe he was transparent because it wasn’t a big deal and in his newfound retirement, it was a notable event in his day for benign reasons. (I do miss Desperate Housewives, though.)

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    • Portia

      Portia March 31, 2015, 5:15 pm

      Did you ever watch Bewitched? We had a neighbor we referred to as Mrs. Kravitz because she was a busybody and knew everything, and would always know when we were home. Most of the time she meant well, but so gossipy!

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  • Cassie

    Cassie March 31, 2015, 12:13 pm

    LW, your attention toward your hottie neighbor is misplaced. Maybe she gets a kick out of banging retired men twice her age and is on the prowl, but maybe she’s bored and lonely during the day as a SAHM and wants to have a normal conversation with another person whose vocabulary extends past the words ‘No!’ and ‘Mine!’. Maybe she’s trying to develop a friendship to get some babysitters out of the deal. Maybe she is just a friendly person, and was trying to be neighborly. Maybe she just really needed a blender that day. There are a myriad of possibilities. And honestly, she really doesn’t even matter in this situation. Don’t let her be a red herring for your real troubles.
    .
    What you really need to focus on is improving your marriage to your husband. Here are the facts as they lay: Your husband suddenly wants to change his appearance/get fit. That could definitely be because he’s now retired and has the time, or it could be a less innocent reason. He has ‘hinted at’ divorce. Without knowing the details of what exactly was said, that doesn’t sound good. But, most importantly, you don’t trust your husband, even though he’s done nothing wrong. The neighbor is not the issue; your relationship with your husband is. People who are in happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships generally don’t have affairs. People who are in happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships generally trust their SO’s. It may be time to get you both to a marriage counselor for a marriage tune-up.

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  • avatar

    Lucy March 31, 2015, 1:11 pm

    This letter reminds me of women who are worried that the sexy 19 y.o. au pair is after their husband. Darlin, that woman can do much, much bettter than your tired old husband.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 31, 2015, 2:38 pm

      Although sometimes the au pair does end up with the husband! Don’t understand it myself, but there you go.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray March 31, 2015, 3:34 pm

        You know, you’re right. But I feel like when the old husbands end up hooking up with the young au pairs, by then a whole lot of shadiness has likely taken place. Maybe LW has reason to be suspect. Nothing she’s given us would support that. But, LW, is your husband kind of creepy? Is there a lifetime of creepiness you can point to to justify your crazy jealousy?

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 31, 2015, 3:54 pm

        Because: $$$

        Dude who can afford an au pair can also afford a lot of things the 19 year old’s friends cannot.

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  • avatar

    Let go March 31, 2015, 5:41 pm

    Must live in an alternate universe. This man wants sex with that woman. Ask any man with a sex drive and he will tell you,if he is heterosexual, he will look at every woman as a possible sex partner. Whether he acts on it or not is not the issue. This man has thrown up enough red flags and for all of you to put her down is ridiculous. I think she needs to have an extremely serious conversation about what he wants. For him to throw the word divorce out is scary. I feel for this woman she is gone all day. She has no idea what these two are talking about, or doing. I had an incident very much like this happen to me when I was in my early 30s. A neighbor spent way too much time with me while my husband was out of town and the man’s wife worked. I was not interested in him but he certainly was in me. I finally stopped going outside with my children until he got the message. He needs a hobby that takes him away from the house during the day. That is her garden so all of a sudden he is the one interested in it because there’s more than flowers and vegetables there. All of you need to get real.

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    • avatar

      Ange March 31, 2015, 8:10 pm

      But even if he does want to sleep with the neighbour is it the neighbour’s fault? There’s nothing indicating she actually wants to sleep with him, just that they talk. The OP is casting the blame in the wrong direction if there is any forbidden lust there.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie April 1, 2015, 12:04 am

      I am going to do a poll.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie April 1, 2015, 12:12 am

        And here it is: http://www.poll-maker.com/poll280823xFf764018-10

        Results pending.

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      • Nookie

        Nookie April 1, 2015, 4:36 am

        Ha, I like the last one – ’tis what I answered! 🙂

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      • Cassie

        Cassie April 1, 2015, 4:58 pm

        The results are in!
        19% said No, I do not look at every woman as a possible sex partner.
        0% said Yes, I do look at every woman as a possible sex partner.
        12% said This poll is ridiculously hetero-normative.
        And, leading by a landslide, 69% said I am not a man, but I would like to contribute to this poll.

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  • blobfish

    blobfish March 31, 2015, 8:56 pm

    I think that Dear Wendy’s advice made sense.

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  • avatar

    Martha White March 13, 2017, 4:29 am

    I think as a wife you have every reason to be concerned about what’s going on. Neighbor lady could be friendly but imo she is disrespectful. She is a woman in the company of a man by herself and if there is an attraction things may happen. I may sound old fashioned but trust me honey ask yourself “How would she like it if you came by and talked with her husband frequently without her there. It could be innocent but there are people out there that like to wreck homes it’s like a conquest to them. I would play it cool with Hubby and be confident but if it gets out of hand I’d set my foot down.

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  • avatar

    Eva March 20, 2017, 10:33 am

    Hi ..
    I feel for you as it is natural to feel hurt by their interest in each other which excludes you. I second this advice. It becomes difficult to be genuine when you feel hurt. Life is not always fair. The best thing to do is let it go. Let it run its course. Let them be together. Let them fulfill their fantasies. Allow. I bet she will back out before it gets to close. She enjoys the attention. Men need to feel free to be themselves. Stay out of the way. Empower yourself by being strong and be the best wife you can be. Find ways to figure out how! Find other men to flirt with and enjoy this short life!! GOOD LUCK.

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  • avatar

    Sharon July 31, 2017, 3:06 pm

    This woman knows her man and every woman knows a women and if it looks like an square then it’s more then likely a square. Any man should honor his wife feelings and just stay away it’s that simple if not then he is inviting turmoil in his marriage just to be a kind neighbor bull crap. Jealousy is one thing but an intrusion is another.

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  • avatar

    Jane August 22, 2017, 8:58 am

    Do not doubt your women’s intuition, that is very odd for your husband to want to upgrade his wardrobe and getting serious about losing weight suddenly, seem sleek he wants to impress someone. She needs to back off, he needs to be more considerate of how you feel. hinted at divorce? Even more proof he’s looking toward “greener pastures”.

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