Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Kissed My Next Door Neighbor and Now He’s Back with His Ex”

I am trying to follow your Twitter account, but I couldn’t find it; I’m new to Twitter, so I don’t know how to recognize which is yours. Here’s my deal: My on-off boyfriend ended our relationship three years ago. we had started dating as high school sweethearts, and then dated again in our twenties and again in our early thirties. I’m now 39 years old, single and ready to mingle. I was seeing this guy 10 years younger than I; we had fun and he helped boost my self-confidence, but I didn’t have strong feelings for him. We ended things about a month ago and he’s tried contacting me a couple times, inviting me for dinner and such, but I have refused him.

Anyway, a new neighbor moved in next door, and at first I hated him (he would turn the radio on at 5 a.m.!!!). Then, we hung out a couple of times, having beer or wine at his place or my place. I could see the red flags from far away! He’s 47, twice married (still married, but separated years ago), he had just ended a long-term relationship with a woman — they had actually lived together, and so when he moved in everything was brand new. One time we were talking in my apartment and drinking beer. He had come back from a party, and had some drinks on him, so he was more than tipsy. We ended up kissing passionately, but then we called it the night. The next morning I wrote him a message telling him it would be best if we would forget about the night before and he agreed. (We hardly ever text or talk on the phone.) Then one Sunday I showed up at his apartment and tried to invite him for some coffee when he told me that the night before he had gone to another party and run into his ex girlfriend and that they had talked a while and then decided they wanted to explore if they could get back together again. (He also told me he was wondering if his relationship with his ex girlfriend had become toxic, given that this was the second or third time they had broken up.) That day in question he was actually waiting for her to come over, so I went back to my apartment, packed a suitcase, and drove 150 miles to my sister’s place — I had two weeks of vacation time — and I wrote him a lengthy message telling him I understood toxic relationships because I was in one and that I hoped his wasn’t one or wouldn’t become one and That I wished him the best. In that text I also confessed that I felt attracted to him!!! And it is true!! I hadn’t felt like this in YEARS!!! Like butterflies in my stomach, like going to bed thinking about him, remembering every single thing he said or did…

The next day he called me and told me he misses seeing my car in the parking lot, and what the car represents, but I couldn’t take his call so he hung up after I told him I was busy (and I truly was). Anyhow, that was last week. I came back on Tuesday and again on Wednesday we were having drinks in my place and listening to music. He came over to my apartment two days last week. We talked for hours, we listened to music, and we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. He played with my hair, grabbed my hand, told me I’m pretty, said he likes my smile, etc… On Saturday, I was on the patio doing my laundry—our patios are separated by a thin wall, so we can hear each other—and he talked to me through the wall and we had a long conversation, about nothing and everything. I invited him to come over, but he refused, although he said he would like to have coffee. So, we had coffee, toasts and a wall between us. We each went back into our apartments; I was making dinner and he was getting ready for a party. While I was cooking, he came to my apartment three different times, like asking for advice on his outfit, etc. His ex-girlfriend was going to pick him up, and yet he was lingering in my apartment!!! On Sunday he was out all day spending time with his ex girlfriend (I know because she picked him up).

On Monday afternoon/evening I was working on my computer in the living room and I heard someone at my door. To my surprise, it was HIM!!! He was drinking a glass of wine and wanted some company. So we spent like two hours talking and listening to music and, again, flirting. I ended up placing my hand on his leg but moved it immediately, and he grabbed my hand and put it back on his leg. Then, around midnight or one-ish, he went back to his place. Last night he came home and, seeing that I was not home, he texted me, saying he thought I had gone camping as I told him I wanted to do. But I was out running some errands. I come home less than an hour later and I have to admit I invited him for a drink. So he came over to my place, saw I have only three beers, and told me we should go to the supermarket and grab some more. I agreed, and we got in my car. He hugged me in the supermarket, and then when we came back, I made some dinner and we ate together while drinking. Again, we spoke for hours (something he tells me he likes doing with me, talking and talking, making him feel like time flies). Because I was out and about earlier in the day, I had makeup and a cute dress on. Once he saw me he, started saying I looked cute, that he liked my outfit, that I was attractive, blah, blah.

Anyhow, while sitting on the couch, he would constantly pull my dress to cover my knee (I wasn’t sitting in a bad manner, or showing too much leg, just sitting normally). I asked him if I was making him feel uncomfortable and he said no. Just before midnight, we were saying that perhaps it was time to call it a night, when all of a sudden he came closer to me and gave me a big kiss. We kissed and I liked it! I didn’t want it to be over!! He stood up and said he was leaving, so I went with him to the door, because I had to lock the door, and we kissed again, long and tender. And this time he put his body closer to mine, and I could feel he was enjoying himself as well. Again, I didn’t want the kiss to be over. I wanted to kiss him more and more, and I took the liberty to touch him, touch his head, touch his back, touch his ass… and I could feel his body all over mine, pressing me against the door. But he held back and went back to his place.

Early this morning he texted me asking me if I slept well. I said I did and replied that I hoped his hangover wasn’t bad. He replied saying he had no hangover, that he was not drunk nor tipsy at all the night before. So when he kissed me he was fully aware of what he was doing.

Well, today I was visiting some friends and when I came home at 8 p.m., whose car do I see parked outside??? His ex-girlfriend’s!!! So, I realized he is not really into me, or he’s a narcissist, or he takes advantage with the fact that I confessed feeling attracted to him! I now understand I have to keep my distance from him, but how do you that with your nextdoor neighbor? And should I tell him I need to keep distance from him? Should I tell him we should no longer share more time together? For the sake of my wellbeing, and the sake of his fractured relationship with his (ex)girlfriend?

And please, please, tell me how to find you on Twitter. — Come and Knock on My Door

I’m not on Twitter; I think Twitter sucks. You can find me on Instagram or Facebook, which also kind of sucks but not as bad as Twitter.

Listen, don’t you think you’re a bit old for all this nonsense? At 39 and with plenty of life and love experience, you should know not to ignore red flags, particularly when they are waving right next door to you. You should know that flirting and kissing and even sex isn’t a sign that someone wants a relationship with you. Talking all night isn’t a sign of that either, although all these things would indicate that there’s at least some interest. It sounds like there’s also some interest on your neighbor’s side in his ex-girlfriend, which he’s confirmed to you when he said they were talking about getting back together, so I don’t understand why you’re acting all shocked to see her car out front. His pursuing her doesn’t mean he’s not into you, just as his kissing you doesn’t mean he’s not interested in getting back with his ex. These things are not mutually exclusive. Clearly, it’s not unheard of for someone to be interested in two people at the same time or to like different things about different people or to mess around with multiple people when he’s not committed or monogamous with one person. At 39, you should know all this.

At this point, your best bet is to stop having drinks and long talks and kisses with your neighbor. You don’t have to make some big proclamation that you’re keeping your distance; just do it. Be cordial when you see him and be “busy” when he stops by or acts like he wants company. Wear headphones when you’re on the patio, and don’t engage him when he tries to engage you. If he asks what’s up — and he will, because if there’s one thing a guy like him cannot resist it’s a woman who isn’t interested in him — you don’t owe him any explanation and shouldn’t give him one. Just tell him you’re busy. You definitely don’t need to pretend like you care about his “fractured relationship with his ex-girlfriend.” Come on, already, seriously? You don’t care, and why should you? Just move on with your life, act your age, and quit ignoring red flags – or men who tell you pointblank that they want to get back with their exes. It really is that simple.

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

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

25 comments… add one
  • avatar

    cdobbs July 12, 2019, 9:29 am

    Ooof! it is going to be very hard to avoid him since he is right next door…..it sounds like he is playing both you and his ex (who i am sure has no idea what he is doing with you behind her back)….i would just tell him that you just want to be friends and nothing further….don’t drink alcohol with him so you don’t do anything foolish while under the influence….its pretty cold that he doesn’t care that you will see his ex’s car when she hangs out with him, which is reason enough to not get involved with him….that has got to hurt….sorry LW….but keep your chin up you will be ok

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie July 12, 2019, 9:46 am

    You come across as fairly immature. Do you think being in a relationship for 20 years has stunted your emotional growth? I mean, you kissed the guy then ran away. Literally. You ran away and said you don’t want to get involved and you’re playing this game of catch and release or something. If you’re ok with a purely physical relationship – I suppose you could just enjoy it but your brain is telling you this is not an emotionally safe space.

    The two of you are attracted to one another. But he’s not finished with his ex/not-ex gf. So you can choose to become involved in this love triangle which honestly sounds exhausting. You can choose to shit where you eat – you don’t even have the luxury of living on different floors – if this goes badly and deal with his continual presence in your life. You said yourself this guy has red flags waving all over but you’re ignoring them.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas July 12, 2019, 10:03 am

    I can only imagine how hot the guy must be for you to ignore him acting like a 21 year old douche. Still though, so not worth it.

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  • avatar

    Vathena July 12, 2019, 10:48 am

    Wendy, maybe you should join Twitter so you can get that wall of text condensed down to 140 characters.

    Based on the number of exclamation points alone, I assumed you were about 17 years old. You are bringing WAY too much drama over a situation that is not even a relationship. Packing up and driving 3 hours to your sister’s house, really??

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    • avatar

      dogmom July 12, 2019, 10:52 am

      I’m impressed anybody could make it through that whole thing. I tapped out after she drove to her sister’s.

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      • avatar

        bondgirl July 12, 2019, 11:37 am

        Same.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse July 12, 2019, 11:03 am

    You talk to him about his relationship and he tells you he’s interested in trying again with his ex. You still invite him over and kiss and touch him. The message you’re putting out there is that you don’t mind.

    Stop inviting him over if you don’t want to be his neighbor hookup. Think about what you’re doing instead of just going with what your groin wants.

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday July 12, 2019, 12:03 pm

      Amen to this.

      Also, why is the conclusion from so many other people “Oh, this guy is a douche?” From my perspective he seems pretty open about what’s going on, and we don’t know that he hasn’t been open with his ex about all this either. He’s obviously conflicted, but to imply that he’s doing something wrong to the LW when she knows what the deal is and is openly sending signals that she views this as a playful game is a tiny bit disingenuous, isn’t it? She has far more agency in her actions than she cares to admit.

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      • Kicia

        Kicia July 12, 2019, 12:51 pm

        Yea, I actually made it through the letter but I don’t see what the guy did wrong. If anything, she’s the one sending mixed messages.

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      • avatar

        Ruby Tuesday July 12, 2019, 1:17 pm

        It still makes him a douche, just an honest one. Sometimes people insisted on seeing what they want to see instead of listening to the words they hear.

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      • avatar

        ron July 12, 2019, 6:53 pm

        Ruby Tuesday —
        I also don’t see how the guy’s a douche. He’s not deceived or harmed LW, hasn’t gaslighted her. He’s not monogamous and doesn’t pretend to be. He’s a lot more straight-forward than LW. They both seem to have a bit of a narcissistic desire to be admired. If they were actually all hot and bothered, they’d have had sex by now. They love the ego boost of flirting and being flirted back, with some snogging thrown in.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark July 12, 2019, 10:32 pm

        The bias from some here lately is hilarious.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros July 13, 2019, 3:54 pm

        Yeah. Not wanting monogamy doesn’t make you a douche.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 13, 2019, 9:34 pm

        I don’t see him as a douche either. They don’t have an exclusive relationship and have agreed that they will just be friends. He seems to be upfront about what he wants. Wanting something different than she wants makes them incompatible. It doesn’t make him a douche.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster July 12, 2019, 12:31 pm

    I had a fling like this once. We had long, passionate make out sessions. We lived in the same building and would find excuses to spend tons of time together, listen to music and talk into the wee hours, and fool around all night. I was newly out of a 2 year relationship and he was on-and-off with a girl he was always talking about getting back together with.

    The difference? I was 19 and living in a college dorm and I didn’t want a real relationship. GROW UP.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 12, 2019, 2:04 pm

    Eh, the guy is not into monogamy. And pretty fucking honest about it. Unlike the rest of the world who all sputters and babbles endlessly about how monogamy is the way and blah blah blah. And yet relationship after relationships explodes when a partner strays. And this will happen until the end of time as most people get really boring in bed really fucking fast.
    .
    That said, letter by 39 year old teenagers bore the fuck out of me.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 July 15, 2019, 7:43 am

      This has to be from Mark’s script he’s writing… right? This just sounds like a romcom plot, with the whole kiss you run away from, long talks through the wall, just up and driving 150 miles away because because the guy you are in love with but are afraid to tell saw his evil ex and they are working things out. I’m surprised she didn’t answer the door wearing only his t-shirt.

      Seriously Mark, if you need to make a quick buck you need to turn this letter into a script!

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark October 7, 2019, 11:19 am

        Just saw this, it WOULD make a good script!

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  • avatar

    Donna July 12, 2019, 3:11 pm

    I think my favorite part of this entire story is that the guy shows up at your door, drinking a glass of wine, or asking for advice on his outfit. Really? That sounds incredibly…..awkward. I’m getting a pretty vivid mental picture of this guy and unfortunately, it resembles this guy I dated briefly in my 20’s, who was soo cute but really a bit of a gigolo, looking back. There’s way too much drinking and flirting and touching and longing going on with you two, but the confusing thing to me is that if he wanted you, he would go after you. I don’t see anything preventing him from doing that except….his ex-girlfriend?

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  • avatar

    anonymousse July 12, 2019, 4:57 pm

    He goes over asking for advice about his outfit to see his ex and you give him advice, drink, flirt and ask him over. Of course he is assuming you don’t mind/even enjoy him romancing more than one person and telling you all about it. I honestly think he’s the only one slightly thinking ahead here, and hesitating rather than just going for it. He knows it’s going to end messy, one way or another and you’re enthusiastically encouraging it along.

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  • avatar

    kali July 12, 2019, 10:30 pm

    Tl;dr

    Got bored with all the minutiae. Anyone your age who’s still so bad at communicating directly deserves what they get. Just don’t inflict it on the rest of us. And maybe quit drinking; a lot of your poor choices seem to be teamed with booze.

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  • avatar

    Hazel July 13, 2019, 8:01 am

    If you want a zero miles, super convenient fuckbuddy, whose company you enjoy, you’ve struck gold (though if I was you I’d check that his girlfriend is okay with this, and take all the usual precautions ). If you want more than that, and it sounds like you do, stop it now, or you’ll have a mess on your doorstep and it’ll make your life miserable, feeling awkward to go into your own garden etc, so close to home it’s just not worth it.

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    • avatar

      Hazel July 13, 2019, 8:03 am

      just realised no fucking. So a snog buddy. Definitely not worth it.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros July 13, 2019, 3:53 pm

    I missed your ages the first time I read this and when I went back through, I was shocked. This was behavior that my friends and I engaged in when we were in our early 20s. Come on. Nothing he did indicated he ever wanted anything more than something physical. You knew he was basically still with his ex and you continued getting involved with him. I don’t know why you’re blaming him for poor decisions that you made. You don’t need to make some big deal out of it and have some kind of confrontation. If he asks to hang out again, just say you’re not interested (though I’d bet money that you will hang out with him again).

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy July 14, 2019, 6:20 am

    From the LW:

    “Thanks for the reply. I found the column and read your advice (which I’ll follow). I also read the comments… boy, they were brutally honest! I never thought of myself that immature, apparently I am.

    I do realize that I tend to find emotionally unavailable men attractive, perhaps because of my issues while growing up (abusive mother and absent father). But to be called a “teenager”?! Ouch! That hurt!

    As for an update… he came over last night, again, late, after 9 pm or so. Nothing happened (except for drinking and talking, and flirting).
    But like you said, I’ll make myself “busy” and unavailable from now on. It’s for my sake.

    I’d just love to find someone whom I can talk and have fun, and shows real interest in me and I know it’s not him at all, I can’t or won’t settle for anything less.

    Thanks again, too bad I don’t have Facebook or Instagram. I’ll keep reading your column, though.

    Have a lovely weekend! “

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