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…
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.