Updates: “Suspicious Neighbor” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Suspicious Neighbor,” whose drunk, pantsless neighbor kept hitting on her husband. Keep reading to see what she had to say for herself to her husband and how he responded.

Thank you, Wendy, and DW readers for the advice and input. Here is an update to the situation.

To all those that may have thought this letter was fake, unfortunately, it wasn’t and I really do have a neighbor that is a pant-less drunky.

My husband is definitely passive on most situations and does have a difficult time saying “no” to people and is a “people pleaser”. He does mean well, but he does over-extend himself quite a bit. As far as “tinkering” goes, he has a lot of hobbies. He has had many hobbies for as long as I have known him and that is just a part of who he is.

As to why I was not at the get-together – I honestly didn’t know it was going on. I was already asleep by the time this get-together was in full swing and I didn’t wake up until I heard loud cheering. I also wasn’t “peeping or spying”. The fence is in need of repair and is coming apart. We also have one school-aged child at home and an infant. I was with them in the house and had assumed my husband was in the garage or backyard.

After I witnessed all of the happenings with the neighbor – it’s infrequent enough that it’s not the first thing on my mind – I did confront my husband and told him that if he was interested in sleeping with her or having romantic dalliances with her or anyone else, to go right ahead and do it. After that, he could expect not to come home or see the kids everyday like he has been. I would prefer to be a single parent to two children than to have a man that doesn’t respect me as a wife and partner and someone I could trust. He looked shocked and said that he wasn’t having and didn’t want to have any sexual relationship with this woman or any other woman and he didn’t want to lose what we have worked so hard to put and keep together.

As for “Ramona,” this flirtatious/coquette-ish behavior is somewhat common for her. My other next door neighbor told us that she had come onto and tried to kiss him as well. I haven’t confronted her, but I will most definitely say something should she do it again (and she will) and I see it.

Well, that was one way to handle it. Please send another update if you ever express yourself to Ramona. I will get my popcorn ready…


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.


  1. I’m sure you didn’t REALLY mean he should go ahead and sleep with the neighbor…probably better not to say things you don’t mean.
    He was shocked ’cause it all came out of nowhere. A calm conversation expressing your concern and discomfort might be the way to go the next time, hm?

    1. Well, yeah, but the DW commenters kept saying that the husband was probably cheating or would be soon. If this LWer was already suspicious, writing to Dear Wendy and then reading everyone’s opinions certainly didn’t calm her hysteria.

  2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Soooooo that was the extent of the conversation? What exactly did that fix? No “honey I am so sorry I understand how that must have looked – I will quit hiding behind my “passive personality” and set appropriate boundaries”?

    It sounds like you just threatened him and he acted shocked – great communication style. I think you really got to the bottom of it.

    1. Lol, yeah, this episode took a weird turn. It was like instead of cooling down the situation, she poured on some LIQUID HOT LAVA.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Totally. She poked the fire and then walked away. This isn’t even a half update. It’s like a 1/4 update. We need to hear about what was solved by communicating about the situation and about the neighbor confrontation. I think she should bring over a bottle of wine and schmooze with the neighbor. Hey she might get a drinking buddy out of the situation.

      2. theattack says:

        For some reason I read this as “We peed to hear about what was solved ….” A little extreme, but I guessed you were just unusually excited for an update. haha

  3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    What? So you just told your husband to go ahead and bone this chick and never come home again? I am so flipping confused.

    I have got to say I think you handled this pretty poorly…

  4. I think you should probably tell him you don’t want him to sleep with her. I mean, I get what you were going for. But it, I don’t know, makes it seem like you don’t care? Maybe that’s a poor choice of words, but I feel like you could have talked more.
    I mean, seriously, she kissed him, he did what? You did what? I don’t know how that would NOT be the first thing on your mind.

    1. I realize that sarcasm isn’t really appropriate in serious conversations with your spouse, but it sounded pretty clear that she wasn’t actually telling him to sleep with her. Especially since she followed up with basically threatening divorce if he cheated on her. Hopefully, she has a good grasp on whether he’d be confused by how she phrased it.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I get that she was being sarcastic – but it came across as a really immature way to deal with a real issue. If that’s what she said how does he know where the boundary is? All she said was don’t cheat on me – which we don’t know that he has – so she’s giving him permission (in a passive way) to continue doing everything he has been doing. He can still drink wine with her late at night and go to neighborly bbq’s and everything else. If that is really how the conversation went what exactly does she expect to change? Him to continue not cheating on her? She made it seem like she had a problem with his inability to set boundaries with her – which she did not address at all. I just think the whole update is bizarre.

        That said LW please update again, haha. I still want to hear more about how this conversation with the neighbor goes. Even if it’s really train wrecky and embarrassing please update!

      2. No, I totally agree. I think they do need to talk about it and figure out actual boundaries. I just meant that I don’t think she needs to rush back and be like, “Oh, JK, I didn’t actually mean to sleep with her.”

      3. I understand the sarcasm, but I feel like people tend to take what you say as what you actually mean. Now, I understand that having someone tell you that to your face is very different than getting it via text/email/whatever. But that doesn’t mean he took it that way. I’m just saying, something major like this, be as clear as possible.
        And the whole damn thing made me feel like she’s checked out of it already. I mean, that’s what it seems like to me. Maybe that’s me projecting. Telling someone to go ahead and do it seems a good way to show you don’t care. I get that there was an ultimatum in there, but still, she doesn’t care if he behaves better, just don’t fuck her and we stay together. I’m not sure that’s the way to have the conversation.
        Or perhaps she’s had the usual conversations we all might have with our SO’s and she’s fed up with him blowing her off. Maybe she’s tried explaining how he makes her feel and he’s disrespecting their relationship, I don’t know. I didn’t feel that here in this update, but it’s totally possible I guess.

  5. Maybe LW’s way was best for her, and them.

    Still, it seems from here that her husband’s offense was not that he cheated, but that he simply failed to fend off this aggressive woman with equal aggressiveness.

    Innocence is no excuse, I guess.

    1. I thought what she said was very direct and clear. I’ve often thought that if I ever found out my husband cheated, there would be no talking. He would be gone. If I saw what this woman saw, I might’ve said the same thing. “You do this – this will be the result.” He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

  6. ele4phant says:

    Hmmm. Not sure what to make of this. I was one of the commenters who felt the husband, not Ramona, needed to be confronted, but have you guys come to a resolution? Its not clear that you have.

    Aside from being shocked, did your husband see your side? Has he acknowledged how his passive acceptance of Ramona’s advances is disrespectful to you and your marriage? Has he agreed he needs to set boundaries or ignore this woman? Or was he just blind-sided and said whatever was needed to get appease your anger?

  7. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

    Whoa. Sorry, I know that’s not much of a contribution but…whoa.

  8. Avatar photo landygirl says:

    Newest DW user name “Pant-less Drunky.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Hahahahahaha. I hope you keep this forever.

      2. love it!!!!

  9. ” Or was he just blind-sided and said whatever was needed to get appease your anger?”
    Ding Ding Ding… we have a passive winner!

  10. I understand the frustration and anger you feel… But, I would take a deep breath try to calm down and speak to my husband about this issue. I would try to make him understand how it makes me feel and tell him what I expect of him. It’s important that you’re able to communicate with your husband. Nothing gets resolved with threats and anger… It’s just a waste of energy.

    It seems like there is something more to this story. Maybe he’s not happy in the marriage anymore. Maybe you aren’t happy and don’t care to make an effort. I don’t know… But you definitely need to sit down and have an honest conversation with each other.

  11. theattack says:

    I understand why you said this. You were angry and lashed out, and it was an easy way to make your anger known to your husband. But unfortunately you just complicated the situation because instead of starting a healthy conversation with him about this, you shoved him into the defensive corner, and now he’s probably going to be very unlikely to talk about this calmly. Now he’s going to be on the defensive, and that’s not going to make him want to change his ways. It might even make him dig his heels into the ground and hang out with Ramona even more.

    You owe your husband a very sincere and thorough apology for how you handled the situation, and now you need to approach it gently and kindly to your husband who you seem to think is pretty innocent. Why be so cruel to someone you believe is innocent anyway?

    1. I understand her reaction in the heat of the moment, i.e., if the LW would have said those things right after it happened. What I don’t understand is the situation with the husband and pantsless neighbor happening, the LW stewing, writing into DW, receiving some practical advice in the plethora of comments, and then saying this to him.

      I agree she owes him an apology. As the_optomist said, it was very childless to approach the situation like that after the fact. The LW needs to learn some coping, communication and anger management skills. I kind of get why she married a passive guy if that is her normal approach to things.

      1. * childish. Wow. Sorry.

      2. Spoonerism?!

    2. What’s going on here? The husband allowed another woman to act inappropriately with him – and the WIFE should apologise because she didn’t drip honey and bunny rabbits when she talked to him about it? The LW said her husband is of the clueless variety and he didn’t realize what the neighbour’s behaviour – and his allowing of it – meant to his wife. I going to go out on a limb and say I bet he knows now. If my husband let some half naked, drunk woman kiss him on the regular
      then I can promise you ‘gently and kindly’ wouldn’t factor into my approach either. He would understand – very clearly – what my expectations are – and it sounds to me like the LW’s husband is very clear on her expectations as well now. In fairness, the LW can’t give a complete record of the entirety of her discussion with her husband. If this was the highlight that shocked him into reality then I think that is clearly what he needed. What is physically required of him to live up to his desire to keep their family intact is probably a good follow up conversation to have – if they didn’t already – particularly if he is the type that doesn’t do well with confrontation but I have no beef with how the LW brought the problem to his attention. Maybe it isn’t touchy feely communication where everyone is cuddled up for pillow talk – but I think – as a way of getting a point across – it is pretty clear form of communication.
      Personally, I don’t think a confrontation with Ramona is necessary. I think the husband should handle that part of things.

      1. theattack says:

        I don’t think the LW needed to be kind about it before, but now she’s essentially dared her husband with an “I don’t care what you do anyway” kind of attitude. I think she needs to apologize for basically starting out the conversation with an accusation and start over with “The stuff happening with you and Ramona is very disturbing to me. She’s been crossing boundaries, and it appears that you let her do it. What exactly is going on between you two?” What she said to her husband is the sort of thing she should say after having several exhausting conversations about this that are getting nowhere. It’s the sort of exasperation that is reserved for someone who refuses to change, not someone who you haven’t even confronted yet. So yes, I think she should apologize for contributing to negative and counterproductive communications in their marriage, but that doesn’t mean he gets away with what’s been happening. Just that she should own up to her part.

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I agree. It might just be different communication styles. I know for me I would be much more receptive to “I love you and I really want this marriage to be happy, strong and last forever. In order for that to happen I need you to not do these things.” I just don’t like when divorce is ever a part of discussions that are focused on fixing something that is wrong.

      3. theattack says:

        Same here. Threatening divorce isn’t an effective way to solve problems, and to me it’s just so serious that it shouldn’t be lightly tossed around like this. It comes across as “Our relationship isn’t even worth trying to discuss this issue, and I don’t love you enough to work on things, so here’s the flowchart of how you have to behave if you want to stay with me.”

      4. To me the husband seemed unaware of the consequences to his actions. She told him what those were. I get people say start conversations with “I feel that ….” “It hurts me when…” so that the other person doesn’t get defensive but honestly? Stating things clearly in black and white isn’t wrong and sometimes the absolute nature of the statement is sufficient – and necessary even. Sure you can say “it devalues our relationship and hurts me when you have sex with someone else” or you can say “you cheat and we are done”. As far as communication goes – I think I prefer someone telling me the latter. There is no ambiguity and everyone is clear – which to me is effective communication.

      5. theattack says:

        But we’re not talking about someone who has cheated. We’re talking about someone who hangs out with the neighbor too much and doesn’t draw boundaries with her very well. The LW herself didn’t sound concerned that he was cheating. She thinks he’s mostly an innocent guy who won’t stand up and draw the appropriate boundaries, so for her to yell out exclamations about cheating when she didn’t even think he was doing that is a bit misplaced to me.

      6. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I agree. That there are those who thinks this LW is behaving even remotely appropriately is, um, very illuminating to say the least… There is a hilarious amount on insecurity in the world, I guess…

      7. BGM, I have to say, with how blunt and direct and not touchy-feely and black-and-white you usually are, it’s really weird to read you talking about shades of grey (below) and saying the LW’s behavior isn’t even remotely appropriate.

      8. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Eh, most issues on here where I go all lightning rod are simply much more black and white. “Hi, my new dreamy husband is photographing my teen naked… Help! How can make everything okay again? I so don’t wanna lose him! ” But the histrionics in all these letters and follow-ups with this scenario are just… well, absurd.

      9. Don’t be silly – BGM is ALL about the soft-sell.

      10. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I agree. That there are those who think this LW is behaving even remotely appropriately is, um, very illuminating to say the least… There is a hilarious amount on insecurity in the world, I guess…

      11. Nothing to do with insecurity – it has to do with actions having consequences and being express in your expectations with your partner. To be honest I’m in awe that a premium is placed on tone and not substance. As I type that sentence I just realized that maybe that is a cultural thing though.

      12. Cheating is just an example – use whatever transgression you like. It is about making the consequences of your actions clear. He didn’t know that letting half-naked women kiss him could lead to the break-down of his marriage? Well – he knows now. If she didn’t MEAN it – then she shouldn’t have said it – but to me that is a valid statement. I guess it really is about communication styles.

      13. theattack says:

        I agree that laying things out in black and white ways can be very helpful, but in this situation it seemed like an accusation more than a helpful description of his options. It sounds like she was thinking about it and getting a lot of built-up anger in her head, and then one day she just exploded, which seemed a little out of place and confusing for her husband who didn’t realize she was upset about something in the first place. It’s not fair to the other person to have an explosion over something before they even knew you were upset about it.

      14. I’m with you – I think that’s probably how it went, that she built it up in her head and he was truly clueless she was so upset, and caught completely off-guard by her ultimatum. But I also agree with FireStar that if he wasn’t aware of the consequences of his actions (inactions, more likely) before, he sure as hell is now.

      15. I don’t get the people who think she meant “I don’t care.” She was spitting when she said that. You can’t see the rage dripping? “Go right ahead and screw her, and this is what will happen.” What she did was make it clear she wasn’t going to beg him to stay and be a proper husband. Good for her!

        I honestly don’t see where these nicey nice conversations need to even happen. Any married man in modern society knows perfectly well how to behave appropriate. I’m not going to tell him how to wipe his backside either.

      16. Totally agree.

  12. Hi all, this is the LW. I typically wouldn’t chime in, but I feel there is some need for clarification before more of you guys say I handled this the wrong way, sarcasm not needed, etc.

    Granted, I probably did handle this the wrong way at the wee hours of the morning without much sleep and his buzzed state and it probably was more sarcastic than intended. I am a no BS type of person and I find it very hard to sugar coat things, so at times, tact is not my strong point. I am also not as confident in my relationships or marriage as I should be. I have been cheated on many times in the past because of really stupid reasons (read their issues with my body, not personality) and when this happens, I kick them to the curb. I have always had a fear of having a significant other cheating on me (yes, I understand marriages are different, but they are not immune to these things) and that is a deal breaker and my husband knows this. He has known this for many years.

    We did talk about the entire thing the day after and I asked him if he had feelings towards this woman – or any other woman – and he said no and that he was happy where we were at. What brought all of this about was small nit picking things over the past few days and he wanted to “have fun” and “loosen up” a bit around people and admitted that he had let it go too far. He apologized and said that he wouldn’t let it go like that again and that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to our family.

    Since then, we’ve been more open and communicative, but there are still some things we need to work on in our relationship.

    I hope that clears things up!

    1. Okay, I posted at the same time you did. But I still would suggest you take it down a notch on the “kick him to the curb!” thing– that kind of attitude doesn’t foster healthy, open communication. You can feel that way all you want, & I admire your clear lines on what is a “dealbreaker”, but it’s kind of threatening to present this idea to your husband as an intended deterrent for cheating. That’s just my opinion.

      1. I hear, but it’s one of those black or white things with me, regardless of how many redeeming qualities he may have. It was also never meant as a deterrent for cheating. It was always (save for the last time mentioned above) as an honesty thing. If he can’t be honest with me, then there is no trust. If there’s no trust, we don’t have much of anything. That night, he was really testing my trust threshold.

        As for your dilapidated fence comment – I do find it amusing as well. The former owners didn’t do much to the property and the entire fence, especially the back portion, needs to be completely torn down and replaced.

      2. LW, I get it. Gonna chime in here and say I can totally see myself saying exactly what you did (and not feeling bad about it).

      3. Trixy Minx says:

        That was uncalled for.

      4. Agreed.

    2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Well I’m glad to hear the conversation was a little longer that I pictured. But I caution you against using such threatening language. Cheating is a deal breaker for me – as for my husband, but I have been known to go into total lying/defensive mode when he uses that type of language with me. He had to discover pretty quickly that no matter what he is mad about – if he talks to me about it by yelling at me – I will lie no matter how much proof he has against me. I will lie lie lie. We can joke about it the next day when we are discussing it calmly, but I do not do well with threatening language and raised voices.

      This isn’t what we were fighting about but a good analogy would be if he was like “Why the hell are you spending $200 a month at lululemon – that store is over priced and we can’t afford it right now!” My response would be “Well that’s not a problem because I never shop there and have no idea what you’re talking about!” Here’s where he would whip out a bank statement. I would then proceed to probably tell him that I used a gift card to buy that stuff. Which would be a dumb excuse since it was on our bank statement. But I just lie if I’m getting yelled at about anything. I can’t stop myself. I’m not saying your husband is like this. But if he is as clueless about life as you’re painting him out to be he just might be like me. And then if he ever did cheat he would deny, deny, deny. Or maybe he didn’t cheat but he was doing something sketchy ala pantless neighbor – he might under exaggerate his behavior if it ever happens again or just flat out lie because he knows you can’t have a rational conversation about stuff. And then you’ll never have the open, honest communication you need in a relationship.

      1. ele4phant says:

        I agree. I don’t respond well to yelling or threats, even if I am in the wrong. I think a lot of people don’t. If you want to have a fruitful discussion, tempers, accusations, and threats need to be kept in check.

      2. The way to have an open, honest relationship is to only ask me questions in the tone I want you to ask me questions in…. otherwise I will lie to your face? Y’know this is why I think every pot has a lid. You married a man that is totally cool with that. Whereas for me a lie is a greater sin than a raised voice every day, all day long.

      3. theattack says:

        I wish every pot had a lid. Sometimes I have to use huge lids that belong on 8 qt pots with my tiny little pots without lids when I’m just trying to boil an egg or something. My pot lids are random things that don’t even fit the pots I have, and they don’t make any sense at all.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        That’s why we laugh about it – because I lie about things that are so ridiculous. Like he can have the proof in front of him and I’ll keep lying because I feel like I’m backed into a corner and going to get yelled at regardless of what goes down – because he’s already approached the issue from an angry place. It has definitely taught him though that we’re not going to have a productive conversation if he approaches it from an angry place. I’ve certainly (passively) communicated that to him.

        And thing that kills me about all of this was that the LW didn’t even think he was cheating – she was mad about boundaries – and that’s not even what she chose to lash out about! So strange.

      5. As someone said above, prooooobably didn’t help that she had a good chunk of the DW community dropping that “cheating” bug in her ear, though. If it wasn’t her suspicion before, some of the comments sure pushed it to the front of her mind. Some commenters, as I recall, were adamant that he was already cheating or on the path to it. In light of what she said below about having been cheated on in the past and being really sensitive to it, all those warnings could have triggered her into a spiral.

      6. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I wasn’t one of those commenters. I think for some reason people are scarred by cheating and always project it onto everything for eternity.

        To me cheating isn’t traumatizing. It’s just someone breaking up in action instead of with words. It’s not really nice but why is everyone so dramatic about it?

      7. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        People’s childish insistance on monogamy is the number 1 reason most relationships fail. Completely unrealistic expectations… Dan Savage would LOUDLY agree with me here.

      8. theattack says:

        You can obviously expect a pretty big backlash from the DW community for that statement. I guess I’ll just start it out by saying that it’s not the people who want monogamy that are the problem. It’s the people who don’t want monogamy but don’t admit it or haven’t considered that before. If you and your partner agree on monogamy as a rule, then it’s totally reasonable to get mad when they cheat. Not everyone is meant for monogamy (which I think is the root of your point), but they’re responsible for creating relationships where they’re not expected to be monogamous. They don’t get a pass for breaking rules that they agreed on, ya know?

      9. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I just find it amusing that so many people (male and female) seemingly go out of their way to create boring sex lives — boring positions, always the same, and increasingly less and less frequency — and yet are still always OH SO SURPRISED when their partner (SURPRISE!) get bored by it all… I mean, yeah… it’s hilarious in how it happens time and time again — like clockwork.

      10. theattack says:

        But that doesn’t really mean that monogamy is wrong. It could also mean that neglecting to come to bed dressed as firefighters and Princess Leia is wrong. Being with the same person is a factor that only bores some people some of the time, just like many other factors. There are plenty of things to do to spice up your sex life without breaking a promise to stay faithful.

        I agree with your point that people in relationships have an obligation to try to build a positive and satisfying sex life with their partners, but even if someone neglects that, it doesn’t dissolve their partner of the responsibility to keep their promise of fidelity. If someone’s thinking of cheating, they should probably really try to get the other person to try harder, and if that doesn’t work, they should talk about opening the relationship or ending the relationship. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      11. How exactly is it “go[ing] out of their way to create boring sex lives” with the same positions and less frequency? That seems to me the opposite of going out of one’s way – that just seems lazy.

        Making the effort to include new and exciting sex positions over time, on the other hand, *is* going out of one’s way to keep things interesting. Not that that’s a bad thing. Just arguing semantics.

        What I would say, though, is that with couples where the sex has gotten really boring and infrequent and they both know it, I don’t think it’s a SURPRISE when one of them cheats. What’s SURPRISING to anyone is when the relationship is otherwise OK (or at least looks OK to one partner) and then someone cheats.

        I would say it’s pretty common for one person to think the sex life is satisfactory and not question it while the other has a complaint (too boring, too seldom). If the person with the complaint is a reasonable and respectful human being, s/he’ll speak up and let the other person know so they can work on it together. On the other hand, if the complainer is an asshole, s/he’ll forgo the painful conversation and just go cheat.

        I’m completely with theattack on this matter: If a couple has agreed to an exclusive monogamous relationship, neither party can justify cheating on that agreement, no matter how boring or rare the sex is. It’s an asshole move.

      12. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Oh, the irony. A bunch of twentysomethings — in relationships of less than three or so years — loudly singing the praises of 100% monogamy. Promise to get back to me in twenty years and tell me how it all turns out…

      13. the attack says:

        Right because no older people believe in monogamy. Only the young and stupid among us. You did an excellent job of completely missing the point though, since I actually did say that not everyone should be in monogamous relationships. I’m not singing the praises of monogamy, and in fact it has been a difficult journey for me. I’m saying it’s a matter of personal responsibility. For those who don’t want a monogamous relationship it’s as simple as not entering into one. Don’t agree to something you don’t want to do. I don’t know how you got “singing the praises of monogamy” from that, but whatever.

      14. the attack says:

        And maybe you should get back to us in twenty years and tell us if you ever found someone who was cool with you cheating in a supposedly monogamous relationship. If you want an open relationship then have one. Don’t lie about what you want and then destroy a good relationship and hurt another person because you were too selfish to admit what you wanted. You dont have to insult everyone who does something differently than you. And for the record I think KKZ has been with her husband for like sevenish years, and I’m 100% certain other readers have had longer monogamous relationships that have worked out beautifully.

      15. FWIW I´m 30 something (33 nearly 34 to be exact), and in a monogamous, happy relationship of 10 years and counting.
        I guess it helps to actually work on the relationship and talk about stuff, rather than just going out to have sex with someone else when an issue pops up.

      16. You were close, theattack – we’ve been together as a couple for 10 years, coming up on 11 in January. But my example probably isn’t the best one to hold up against BGM’s attack on people who believe in monogamy, since we got together when we were high school freshmen and are now 24/25 and thus we were/are too young to actually know anything about the world, amirite? Plus our relationship has not been strictly monogamous for all 11 years, I cheated once when I was 18 and stupid and selfish, and we’ve also had some fun in the bedroom with others.

      17. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        @BGM Why do you think you know everything about everyone? I’ve been with my fiance for 5 years and our sex life is better now then it has ever been. We are happily monogamous and we both work on keeping our sex life spicy/interesting/fulfilling on a daily basis. Monogamy can work when both parties are committed to making it work. Just like a polyamorous relationship or an open relationship or what ever structure you come up with for your own personal relationship can work if all parties involved are committed to it.

        It’s hilarious to me how time and time again you judge everyone. You do not always have the right answer or know what is going on in everyone elses lives!

      18. theattack says:

        Omg that’s my first!!! I’m so excited!!!

      19. The thing though, is that (& I have no idea where this comment will end up; I guess it’s just in response to the whole thread) there is a middle ground between “NO CHEATING EVER or you’ll be OUT ON YOUR ASS! LALALA” & “relationships are a free-for-all! Monogamy is a DIRTY LIE!!”

        I think it’s healthy to acknowledge that people are flawed– cheating is a possibility, even in the most seemingly-loving relationships. Knowing & loving your partner, as an imperfect human, is a good base for open communication. Like (& this is brought up lower downthread) IWTTS & her husband are cool with & can laugh about her obvious lies. Sometimes it is detrimental to create these no-holds-barred barriers of “YOU CAN’T” in a relationship. If her husband (sorry I’m using you as an example, IWTTS) believed in “no lying, ever” than their arguments would be ramped up to 10 when it’s only a 4 or 5 situation. Having convictions is great, but not at the expense of your loved one.

      20. (& I’m not suggesting that lying about say, bills are on par with cheating, but. They are both behaviors that some people have a total “do this & you’re GONE” outlook on)

      21. theattack says:

        I think there are varying degrees of seriousness because there are different ways that people cheat, lie, etc. Lying about what you had for lunch is different from lying about seeing your ex. A drunken kiss after a horrible fight is different from an extended affair you’ve been having for years.

      22. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        Men are usually the ones who whine and moan about monogamy not being natural because they are predisposed to want to screw anything that isn’t nailed down. It doesn’t make them better, it just makes them hornier and more willing to try and justify it.

      23. anonymous says:

        Given that their biological drive is to spread sperm to the masses, I can understand that monogamy might be more challenging. But who ever met a man who didn’t like a challenge? 😉

        Seriously sexist, I know, but I figured I’d sit back with some popcorn…

      24. Not saying you were one of those commenters, but you did say it was “So strange” that she pounced on something other than what she was originally concerned about – I was reacting to that part, saying it’s not really all that strange that she did that, even if it wasn’t her primary objective.

        I would agree that a one-time cheat isn’t necessarily traumatizing, but if it’s been a pattern in someone’s past relationships, I could see them having trouble trusting others in the future, which seems to be at least partially true for this LW.

      25. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Oh I know I was agreeing with you. Like I have no idea why everyone jumped all over that. Maybe I just know a lot of pantless drunks with good intentions, haha.

      26. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Totally agree. I shut down when my fiance uses his “angry voice”. Every conversation we have that his angry voice comes out is completely unproductive and we end up having to repeat the conversation again later when we’ve cooled down. It’s so hard to take a step baack and not have the angry voice come out, but when we’re able to do that we have exponentially more productive conversations.

      27. theattack says:

        My fiance is the one that shuts down when I start out in an angry voice. He shuts down from that so easily that I have to really make an effort to think about what I’m going to say instead of just lashing out naturally. To me it’s just part of a healthy relationship to learn ways to communicate that are effective to your partner. You can’t just say what you feel like. For FireStar maybe her partner has to learn to be black and white and use an angry voice with her and that’s what works for them. I think there are more IWTTSs and fewer FireStars as far as this goes though.

      28. I don’t know. If my husband blatanly lied to me when I had the evidence in my hand, I don’t think I could be his wife for very long. I had a boyfriend who, for whatever reason, simply could not understand what I was saying to him unless I spelled it out in very black and white terms. That’s just how he was. It may not be everyone’s best way, but it’s a valid way and it worked in this situation.

      29. anonymous says:

        My kids will lie like that. It’s totally fear motivated. I’ve learned what works with them (and helps them not dig the hole deeper) is to tell them I know the truth, and I want them to acknowledge the truth themselves.

        When adults lie, as with children, it’s usually motivated by fear — particularly when they lie in otherwise healthy relationships. The trick is to create a relationship without fear…a very difficult thing to do because in our most satisfying relationships, we can also be hurt easily because we have our vulnerabilities exposed.

      30. To be honest I’ve never had anyone ever raise their voice to me in a relationship – or ever in my adult life. Maybe because I haven’t experienced it – I don’t understand the premium people are placing on tone. For me it is all about the substance of what you say. If I’m angry – so be it – that doesn’t invalidate what I say. No one yells in my house but we can speak to each other clearly and concisely with each other when angry without being disrespectful. I’m from a culture that is outspoken and blunt though – and I am shocked but I think you are right – there does seem to be more people like you and IWTTTS on here, whereas in my friend circle I’d be hard-pressed to find even one. And luckily I married an engineer. Black and white is never an issue for him and sugar-coating is thankfully not necessary.

      31. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        So then I’m confused – do you just have a completely conflict free relationship at all times or do you just not consider the use of “motherfucker” to constitute yelling. I also consider anything someone says while using the word motherfuck to be their “angry” voice and would not response well during that conversation either.

        It’s not that I can always be calm and rational – I’m sure if I let things boil I could freak out too. But I just never let things fester. It’s not fun for me to be angry or have angry conversations so the second something happens (like a pantless neighbor getting drunk and cheek making out with my husband) I would be like “hey buddy that’s not very cool. I know she’s a mess and I don’t think you’re egging her on or anything – but can you avoid her like the plague on the days she’s drunk and not wearing pants. That also goes for the days she’s not wearing a shirt or underwear.”

      32. I’ve never had occasion to use m-therf-cker (yet) …but if I did I’m sure would use an angry voice. I don’t have a conflict free relationship – did you miss the part where I said I married an engineer? Lord love ’em but their synapses fire differently. I can tell when my husband is angry – he can tell when I am angry- even if neither one of us is yelling. That doesn’t mean we are incapable of communicating our displeasure just because we are angry though and it doesn’t mean we discount what the other is saying because the other’s tone is harsh, or their words are clipped. As long as you aren’t disrespecting me – I’ll listen to you.
        To be honest it’s hard for me to imagine my husband in that situation since he does not like drunk people at all but I think that is something a raised eyebrow could handle at the initial contact or a “Seriously? Where are you going with this?” would fix. Part of the problem with the LW was that she let the issue fester I think. If you shoot down slackness from jump then you have less to deal with down the road.

      33. Part of the problem with the LW was that she let the issue fester I think. If you shoot down slackness from jump then you have less to deal with down the road.

        This for sure!!! It’s past the point of resentment and is now CONTEMPT. Its become a montage of problems or moments of seeming disrespect instead of just checking that behavior from the get-go… not sure how many times my husband would have come home drunk from the half-naked neighbor’s fun house while I’m home with 2 little ones before something would have been said 😉

      34. Skyblossom says:

        Instead of lying why not tell him that there is no need to shout. Instead of lying say, “Please, no shouting.” Cut the conversation off until it is calm and then do it without the lies. I have no tolerance for shouting or lies. Neither is better than the other and both are destructive of marriage.

      35. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Thanks sky blossom – I have no idea how my marriage has survived this long without you! 🙂

      36. Skyblossom says:

        It’s practice. My husband is a shouter and I’ve learned to say, “No need to shout,” whenever his voice begins to get loud and it drops back to normal and we continue what we were talking about. Otherwise we accomplish nothing.

      37. iseeshiny says:

        Sheldon Cooper, is that you? I kid, I kid.

    3. Thanks for the clarification, LW. I would urge you to try not to let your fear come between you and your husband. As someone who has struggled with abandonment issues for many years, I am embarassed to admit that I said cruel things during fights with my boyfriend (now husband) during the first few years of our relationship because I was afraid that he would eventually leave me. It took a lot of work for me to break the pattern of terrible thoughts turning into cruel words that all stemmed from my own fear. I don’t know if the fear will ever go away entirely, but I have faith that when my husband says that he won’t leave me, he means it. Even now, when emotions are running high and I feel myself start to have crazy, cruel thoughts, I withdraw from the conversation for a few minutes until I regain control. I urge you to examine your own thought patterns (especially when you are angry) and how you communicate with your husband during these times. If you are you normally a pretty reasonable person, but then turn into a senseless, ultimatum-giving person when you are angry, I would try to nip the crazy in the bud the next time you feel it coming on. Every relationship requires a lot of work, both together and individually. It’s time for both you and your husband to roll up your sleeves and get to work, LW.

  13. Oh. My.

    Well first, I love the dilapidated fence detail. The fence is coming apart…so when you looked out the window, your husband & Ramona happened to be framed perfectly behind the gaping hole in the fence. (I don’t NOT believe you, LW, I just think it’s amusing)

    But anyway. My only comment/advice is– if you actually WANT your husband to tell you if he’s cheating (or thinking about it!), then you probably shouldn’t pose the question in a “yeah, if you do this, you don’t ever get to come home or see your kids again.” You basically blew your chances of an open, honest conversation out the window.

  14. I have to laugh sometimes at how suspicious/paranoid the DW community can be. “He looked shocked” clearly means “he acted shocked so you wouldn’t be suspicious” (amirite?). I also don’t think the LW was actually telling him to go ahead and cheat as GatorGirl said; I think she was just laying out what the consequences would be if he did cheat, almost like she was trying to call his bluff. Not the most elegant approach, but hey.

    Do you guys really need a play-by-play script of how their conversation went to believe his (relative) innocence? An affidavit to prove he really is sorry and does understand he was disrespecting the relationship? Photo evidence of his “shocked” face to prove he actually was shocked?

    I’ve been known to be too generous with the benefit of the doubt – but I know enough passive guys who would freeze in the headlights rather than act against Ramona’s advances that this does still seem plausible to me. I’m not ready to hand down a verdict that he was behaving with malicious intention.

    1. Honestly. I’m surprised that you can only talk to your husband in dulcet tones apparently… “honey it hurts my feelings when I see a half naked woman pressed up on you and you appear to enjoy it” ??? I gotta tell you – the confession thread may be over and I’m not even one to swear – but I can guarantee that conversation in my house would start with a “Are you m-therf-ckin’ kidding me?”

      1. Point is, even when we *know* how to handle conflict and have difficult discussions – using “I feel” statements, avoiding accusations/insults/sarcasm, timing it right, active listening, and all the other million tools at our disposal of which we are perfectly aware (thanks in no small part to Wendy) – even when we KNOW that would be the ideal way to handle things, we go our own way. We let our emotions choose our words and close our ears. We act out – because on some level, even if it’s not the most productive way to solve a problem, it’s SATISFYING, plain and simple.

        (“We” here means people in general, maybe Westernized people in particular, not Women or DW commenters or anything really specific.)

    2. ele4phant says:

      While I can’t talk for other commenters, I didn’t take “he looked shocked” to mean “he’s trying to cover his tracks” just that he wanted to mollify her anger as quickly as possible, thereby closing any potential for open and honest dialogue. I know I have the personality whenever someone comes at me super angry I feel like a deer in headlights and say “Okay, okay! Here’s what you want to hear to diffuse all this rage” to shut down the onslaught of anger, instead of going the more healthy route of talking things out.

      Ultimately, given the LW’s update comment, it sounds like after the initial blow-up, they did talk this through. Which is good. Put its a critical piece of information she didn’t initially supply. If all that had happened was the angry outburst, and not the calmer discussion afterwards, well that wouldn’t have been good at opening up lines of communication between them.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I mean really, before the LW commented above, it was presented in her update that she told her husband to go ahead and cheat and then suffer the consiquences… “I did confront my husband and told him that if he was interested in sleeping with her or having romantic dalliances with her or anyone else, to go right ahead and do it.”

      Not sure why you singled me out but thats irrelevant. I don’t know many people who would have responded well to the sort of confrontation as the LW outlined in her update.

      1. Only singled you out because your comment was the one I remembered as saying/implying that she actually was giving her husband permission to cheat (for whatever reason your flamingo avatar tends to catch my eye and stick in my mind more than others). Nothing mean intended. I also wrote my reply while the LW was also replying so I didn’t see her explanation until after.

        I guess I saw her outburst to her husband as something I totally would have said out of anger, without necessarily meaning it. It would not have been my proudest moment or my most elegant conversation but I could relate to the desire to lay down a “do or die” kind of statement.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I can totally get on board (so to speak) had the LW said she marched out into the backyard that night she saw her husband and the neighbor canoodling and in the heat of the moment told him to “go ahead and do it, I dare you”. But to me it seemed like she waited a day or something and then threw out the “if you’re going to cheat just do it” mess. I’ve said my fair share of stupid things while frustrated, but (before the LW commented) it really seemed like absolutely nothing was resolved. I’m not really convinced anything is resolved after she commented but oh well.

  15. Her reaction sounds very much like one of my sister’s, who gets so angry she says “Fine, go ahead and do [blank] but if you do [these are the consequences]”. My sister – like the LW – are trying to communicate thier anger in a way that shows how serious they are and the situation is. Is it the best form of communciation? No, but I’ve found it seems most effective FOR HER (and probably the LW) with people who tend to be passive in the way they do things (ie, her husband) so the point is crystal. I definitely agree she needs to be stern with the pantless neighbor, but I also think she should try some sympathy for her too. Think about it – this woman is drowning herself in drink and then has to hit on her neighbors to feel better about herself. It’s sad, and maybe trying to see that part of the situation will ease your own anger as to how these things have been playing out. It’s still not excusable but is it so hard to say to her just “hey, drunky, put some pants on?” and leave it at that?

  16. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Well, gee… with such a calm, classy wife… not to mention one who is both so easy to understand and a terrific communicator to boot — I simply can’t possibly imagine why your husband would ever fall victim to the temptation of even the most mild of flirtations…

    1. So a relationship between two people who are calm, classy, easy to understand and terrific communicators are the only ones that are possible cheating-proof? Oh wait, never mind, those people would have open relationships because mutual fidelity between to consenting adults likely falls under “people’s childish insistance [sic] on monogamy”.

      BGM, I typically appreciate your snark, even if I disagree with it, but your comment strikes me as just plain mean.

      1. temperance says:

        I don’t think it’s possible for a woman to be rational, calm, classy and perfect, at least in his world.

    2. temperance says:

      It’s like the dude isn’t responsible at all because his wife is such a shrieking harpy bitch, AMIRITE!

      That was sarcastic. People are responsible for their own actions, even if one of those people is a man.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Eh, whatever. If a MAN wrote in here with the EXACT same story — you’d almost all unanimously brand him as a controlling psychopath… And you’d all be right, too.

      2. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        No we wouldn’t.

      3. the attack says:

        I’m getting really bored with that argument. It’s clearly one of your favorites since there’s almost never any solid way of proving it wrong.

  17. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

    Ok, now I can be a little more articulate. LW, I can kind of understand why you said what you said. I can be pretty “worst-case scenario” when I’m arguing with my boyfriend sometimes. And you know what? It’s totally wrong, and I am trying my hardest to change that behavior.

    You know what you’re doing when you’re basically telling your husband to sleep with Ramona if he wants to? You’re testing him. You’re trying to gauge his reactions. It’s not cool and it solves absolutely nothing. If you’re hurt or weirded out or uncomfortable, tell him THAT. Don’t dare him to sleep with someone else. That’s childish and twisted, and those are two things you most certainly do not want to be.

    1. I don’t think she meant it as a dare. We don’t know her husband. Some people do not respond well to the more polite, oblique approach. She already said that he said she was just seeing things when she mentioned it to him. His behavior was a choice. I see nothing wrong with letting him know what the consequences of that choice would be.

      1. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

        How is that not meant to be a provocative statement? She was totally testing her husband by saying that, almost egging him on, I’d say. Look, he’s no saint, but seriously? What she said was uncalled for and unproductive.

      2. I didn’t say it wasn’t provacative. Telling your wife that she’s seeing things when she tells you that your behavior with the neighbor is inappropriate is equally provacative and uncalled for. She called his bluff. A risky tactic, yes, but it paid off in this case. Apparently, her husband didn’t understand, or chose not to understand, how serious she thought this was. He does now.

      3. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

        I don’t see where he accused her of seeing things. It’s not like he was gaslighting her into thinking she was crazy. Look, all I’m saying is two people who are married should be able to have a productive conversation when one is upset. What she said was the opposite of productive, and no, I don’t think it “paid off.” She could have made him understand how she was feeling in a much more constructive way.

      4. In her original letter she states, “My husband is your “typical” male and doesn’t see this behavior and says that I am just seeing things.” I interpret this to mean that they did have some kind of conversation. You’re right, people should be able to have a productive conversation but sometimes they can’t. This is just another way of making her point.

      5. I meant to add that now the LW says they are more open and communicative, so that’s why I said it paid off.

      6. exactly. When I get all polite and nicey nice talk with my husband he fucking politics me (he’s a lawyer) and it’s annoying as hell. I have to get dead straight blunt with him or he simply smiles and nods. That “I feel” crap does NOT work with passive aggressive conflict avoiders at all.

  18. So after reading this update, and the LW’s comment, I feel like we are missing way more of what’s really going on between her husband, and the neighbor, like he is flirting back a lot, and maybe defending her or something, because it seems like this escalated way past a normal sit down and talk for some reason.

  19. So after reading this update, and the LW’s comment, I feel like we are missing way more of what’s really going on between her husband, and the neighbor, like he is flirting back a lot, and maybe defending her or something, because it seems like this escalated way past a normal sit down and talk for some reason.

    1. Also LW it’s ok for you to be tired and pissed at him because he is worried about getting hammered with the neighbors or spending all day in the garage while you stay in and watch the kids all night.

      1. Thanks for pointing this out. I’m glad someone else caught it lol

      2. You read my mind! If she’s at home running after a toddler and caring for an infant, why isn’t he there helping? Why is he more concerned about getting drunk with the neighbor?

  20. -1000 BGM

    LW, thank you for reading through the comments and taking the time to respond and provide some additional insight. I too have a tendency to go less tact than more so, especially when dealing with a repeated issue and growing frustration, so either it’s my projecting or empathy — but I don’t think you’re a whackjob. I think you are a normal human being with experiences that have shaped you for better/worse and it sounds like you are trying with your husband which is more than most who write in to DW… though if you have longstanding trust issues you may want to consider getting some help because fear is no way to live in a marriage.

    Best of Luck!

      1. MY FIRST ONE!!! Wow it really is exhilarating. I’m taking a victory lap, thank you T 🙂

      2. Your welcome! For future reference, should it be WMMcGS or WMMGS?

      3. Crap, make that “you’re welcome”. I wish there was an edit button on comments just for corrections.

      4. I sometimes get a edit button that appears, maybe it may depend on what kind of browser you are using!?!

        MMcG would be fine, have to represent my Mc!!

  21. Thank you to all those for understanding or backing me up – Amanda, Katie, bagge72, Taylor, MMcG – and if I forgot you, I’m sorry.

    I am, for the most part, an easy going person, but at the time, yes, he had put the kids on me and the house work and the everything else and we both work full time, so it did fester for a while. I am normally not that confrontational, but if you guys would like to know, I did sit down with him on a later date and talk to him about priorities and where they needed to be because he was leaving running the house on me instead of doing it together as it should be.

    1. Okay, good. This is good news & I think we can all be imperfect communicators at times. After reading the whole thread, I think things have just blown up & people are arguing about issues that aren’t even entirely routed in your specific situation, so don’t feel as if you’re being personally attacked (not that you’re even getting defensive, I just felt the need to throw in this little reminder now that I’m home from work & one vodka-cranberry in?)

    2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Yeah if I were you I would be pissed about that more than anything. If he has time to socialize he has time to help with the house and kids. Maybe he should watch the kids while you get drunk with the pant less lady. That sounds much more fair.

      And I agree with fabelle. Occasionally we get a little side tracked (read that as all the time) and start fights about totally unrelated things. Sorry. :(.

  22. Addie Pray says:

    Super late to this party and gather that there was some heated discussion above and/or deleted comments – haven’t read any of them but I just wanted to say: I am drunk, and pantless, and still want to be Ramona’s friend.

    1. Trixy Minx says:

      Hahahaha Oh nicce!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *