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Friendship: Nightmare on my street

March 26, 2012 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
Life in a subdivision suddenly turns from cozy to creepy

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My husband, son and I moved into a new subdivision five years ago and we’ve grown very close with 5 other neighbors. The past three summers have been wonderful where the parents hang out on the patio and watch all the kids play.

One woman was becoming one of my closest friends from the group. We texted daily and made plans with the kids all the time. Last summer I noticed her husband was making inappropriate advances toward me, but he waited until I was alone and had been drinking. I looked at him like a brother and he was my husband’s friend so I kept it to myself, hoping that I could discretely give him signals that I was not interested. I didn’t want to mess up the wonderful camaraderie within the group.

After a Halloween party at one of the neighbors, my husband took our sleeping son home. Foolishly, in my state of denial, I decided to hang out with the other couples that were still there. At 3am, another couple dropped me off at home. I walked in the door and heard a tapping on the back patio door. There he was!! In the middle of the night, while my son and husband were sleeping upstairs and I had just said goodbye to him and his wife!

My first thought was, what is he doing here? So, I opened the door to ask him and he let himself into my home! I freaked out and ran to the other side of the kitchen. He told me he was checking up on me, but I didn’t believe him and I felt scared. I just wanted him to leave. The next few days I was a basket case and I had to see him every day while walking my son to school. I couldn’t even look at him.

I finally broke down and told my husband everything and he was angry like I have never seen before. We both felt betrayed by someone we trusted and to make matters worse he is a cop. My husband and I decided we could not leave this matter unresolved, so I called the neighbor and told him that what he did creeped me out and was inappropriate and it could not happen again. He apologized but added some lie about me daring him to scare me (never happened), somehow blaming me. I told him my husband knew and that threatened him. My husband and I decided that we would just do our best at acting like nothing happened.

He came to apologize to my husband but came up with more lies about why he had come over and told us he told his wife. Before this, she had acted totally normally. After he told her whatever he did, she wouldn’t even look at me. I tried saying “Hi” to her at school, and she said “Hi” and walked away. Since then, they have had parties and made sure to exclude us and I know the rest of the group must suspect something is going on but they aren’t saying anything to us. I’m sure they don’t want to be involved.

My husband wants to take the high road, but it is hard because sometimes I want to tell everyone what a creep he is. He is a very charismatic person and I’m afraid people wouldn’t believe me, or they would still continue to hang out with them. Geez, when it was happening to me, I didn’t even want to believe it.

I am angry, hurt and I didn’t ask for this. It will do no good to talk to them and if anything it may incite more drama, which we don’t want. He has lied and manipulated my friend so much that she will not give me the time of day. And I know if she did admit to herself what he did, she would have to deal with bigger issues in her marriage. We got to see behind the curtain of their marriage and I think she is scared that it will get out to the rest of the neighbors.

What is most hurtful is the effect this has on my son. My son was friends with their kids and he is an only child. I know we are going to have to be more proactive at inviting other kids to our house, but he can see their kids playing outside and wants to run over there.

For the past 3 summers, he played there for hours while I sat on the patio and hung out with my friend. Honestly, neither my husband nor I want to have any relationship with the husband, but I thought that she would at least be civil with me.

How do we proceed in our neighborhood? Moving is not an option. We did nothing wrong. Now, we see how extremely fake they are. They make a point to be super friendly and hug everyone except for us when we are in a group setting, which we don’t understand. They are just bringing more attention to the issue. We know they are hoping everyone will gravitate toward them and start leaving us out of events. It’s like high school all over again!! Ridiculous!! So, my question to you is how to deal with the betrayal of a friend and having to see their fake “my life is perfect and I have so many friends” every day? I just want to move past this and go on with my life.
I don’t want any of this drama but I don’t want to lose the rest of my friends because they did nothing wrong either. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Signed, Lindsey

ANSWER

Hi Lindsey,

I’m so sorry this happened to you and can understand how upset you must be for a variety of reasons. In case you have any doubts, you did the right thing by telling your husband and he did the right thing by directly confronting your neighbor.

Given what happened, and how both he and your friend responded, you have no choice but to end your relationship with this couple. Period. This is a deal-breaker. Even if you are invited, you should refrain from going to their home. Yes, take the high road and keep this to yourself.

In terms of your relationships with other neighbors, perhaps you can make plans with one or two couples (or families) rather than getting together with a larger group. This would avoid the issue of why you are leaving out this couple. If anyone asks directly, simply say there was a misunderstanding.

In terms of your son, yes, be more proactive in suggesting other play dates. You probably need to let him know that you are no longer friendly with the other couple but don’t go into more detail than that. This will let him know that circumstances have changed between you and the parents and you can decide whether or not you feel comfortable allowing him to play at their home. I don’t know how old he is, but before you know it, he will be choosing his own friends.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


Prior posts on The Friendship Blog about dealing with neighbors.

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Thank you for all your thoughts. I honestly had no idea that people were posting comments on my post until a friend told me today. I printed Irene’s response so that whenever I feel the wave of anger and hurt come over me I can read it and know that I did the right thing. It’s hard when I have to see the creepy cop everyday when I drop off my son at school but your reinforcement will help me remember I’m going to get through this.
    We can’t control how other people are. We can only control who we are going to be. Even though taking the high road is not easy, it is one that let you live with dignity and grace. And that is the example I want to be for my son. I wish the best for you all and thank you for sharing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What does that mean??? gaslit?? not familar with that expression?

  3. Anonymous says:

    how sad that as adults we encounter situations they bring us right back to grade school! No doubt, you would want to discontinue all ties with that couple. There is no question that he is or will be hitting on another wife soon. Leopards don’t change their spots… They can run, they can hide, but karma finds you every time. There is no question that this bad behavior will come to a head. It’s just a matter of time….

  4. Anonymous says:

    The neighbour gaslit you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What an unfortunate story. Similar things have happened to me, but not to the same extent. They didn’t involve close friends and/or my children’s friends. But still…things like this make people so uncomfortable. Irene, your advice to cut all ties with this couple is absolutely correct. I would never want to be around this creep again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Irene has offered you good advice. Continuing a relationship with this couple can only lead to trouble.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s awful. Irene has a good point about taking the high road. It would be so difficult since they’re right next door–and he’s a cop. Hopefully as time goes on you can get back to a new normal. I’d be wary of this guy, tho. Chances are he’s done this before.

  8. Anonymous says:

    These situations are like a divorce when you’ve been betrayed. Very painful. There’s nothing you can do but grieve and make new friends. I know how hard it is to leave the ease of leisure with friends behind. But you can’t trust one of them now, and that makes it unsafe for both you and your son. If that other husband abused your trust, he might do the same to your son as some kind of payback.

    I’ll tell you something the friendship doctor told me in my time of need, focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have. It works.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Something similar happened to me when I lived in France, which taught me to beware of neighbors. While I was on vacation in the USA, my best friend seduced my husband. He did not dare to tell me for two years and conducted a one year affair with the woman. We ended up getting a divorce. So, I’d say your advice is right on. I felt bad about cutting this family out of my life because my children had become friends with their children, but such behavior is truly unacceptable. Could you give some suggestions of what to tell children if something like this happens? I was stumped, so said nothing. Then, the couple moved away. Thanks.

  10. Anonymous says:

    HI,
    While this friends sounds very unstable and is behaving inappropriate, vengeful in a way that points to serious psychological issues, I wonder how she could be good for 5 years and you never noticed she had a problem. Also, think if your child came home from a neighbor’s where all other kids are and said that they weren’t let in? did you explain what happened, and apologize for how it must have made both her and her child feel?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have had a falling out with a couple of mums in the neighbourhood over children. It has been very tough and I have been very paranoid about the whole thing. However, time is a great healer and as time has passed I have just gone about my own business with the children and if people want to believe their side of the story and side with them then let them. It may not seem fair but a lot of people just go with the flow for the sake of an easy life. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in even if that means standing alone.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I too have a smilar situation apart from this does not involve a husband making inappropriate moves. I was friends with a neighbour of mine because our children played together however over a period of about 5 years I saw some things that she did, especially agressive behaviour towards other people including children and decided to distance myself and my family from her. This came to a head when she called me and called me nasty names over the phone over a misunderstanding that was very small (she thought I had refused entry to her daughter to our house when in fact it was my mother babysitting who decided 8 children playing in our hiouse was enough!). Following that I decided to pull further away. I have had very little to do with her but decided I would acknowledge her politely. She has done things like chasing my son down the street to ask him why he is being spiteful to her child when all he is doing is going to play with another friend, she has called me to ask why i don’t want to talk to her and I politely explained I wanted to keep myself to myself. I have since found out that because I am distancing myself she has started to spread maliciuos and untrue rumours about both me and my son in our neighbourhood and at our local school. She called me to sneer that she is going to spread more lies and then everyone will give me the silent treatment. She was laughing as she said all of this and said she wants to give me a nervous breakdown. I am not sure what I did was so bad to warrant such spiteful treatment on her part but all I want is a quiet life but she won’t let it go and let me and my family go about our business peacefully. What can I do to stop her spreading more lies. She has already admitted she is taking delight in spreading rumours.

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