A long-ago friend of mine moved back to our neighbourhood just weeks ago. She phoned the day of her move, saying that she had hugely missed me, and couldn’t wait to get together. I thought it would be great to see her again and bought a chocolate cake with “Welcome Back” written in icing.
But on the date of her intended visit, she didn’t show up. I called after two hours’ wait. She said, “What’s the problem? It’s not like we planned an important meeting!”
I realized then that nothing had changed: not her personality nor her consideration for others. And she was just as rudely self-important as ever.
When I mentioned the cake, she almost snorted, “So what?”
She tried to change the topic, mentioning her travels, bragging about the costs, and, laughing at how much money she’d made by renting her house while she was absent. She then said of my place, it was time for me to “refresh it.”
I said that it suited me just fine.
Over the next few weeks, there were a couple more incidents, like when she rang my doorbell and asked if I’d house her two cats while she spent a week at a rental cottage.
The temperature in town was soaring, and if she’d had any decency, she could have invited me to join her to escape the heat. But she didn’t. I said the cats were hers to handle alone.
My question to you is this: How do I keep this rude, intrusive person out of my home and life?
If you’re a person who, I suspect, would not handle a toxic substance, you’re also someone who doesn’t have to deal with a “toxic neighbour.”
She’s proven to be self-absorbed, quick to take advantage of your time, and uninterested in your life.
I bet you wouldn’t engage with a smooth-talking salesperson. Yet, knowing this woman’s focus on self-interest, you extended the one signal to her that she loves best: the dangerous move to open your door.
Back away from contact, especially when she suggests a get-together... the intended goal is always hers, not yours.
Things have started going badly for our family. My husband and I have a teenage daughter together. Recently, my husband got some terrible health news. When we heard, I was in shock and denial for almost a year before I had to accept the fact that my husband - the only family we have - was dying on us.
I had to learn to be independent. I had to take care of my daughter, feed her, and go to stores to pay our bills.
He insisted I go on with our life as normal as possible without giving up. I wasn't used to doing anything without him.
After four to five months of doing everything on my own, he accused me of cheating on him. Things kept getting worse and he swears I'm hiding men under a mattress in the closet. I can't convince him otherwise.
What should I do?
Losing my family
I understand and sympathize with you about how difficult a time this is for you, managing all the household responsibilities and care of your daughter who must also be upset and worried about her dad.
Make an appointment to talk to your husband’s doctor(s) and explain that his behaviour is very different from the past before his illness.
Ask whether the illness or medication is the reason for his fears and suspicions and, if so, if anything can help him. Ask, too, whether that reaction is common for your husband’s particular stage of illness. I dearly hope you get helpful answers from the doctors involved.
FEEDBACK Regarding “Too much information” told to a friend, by the woman cheating on the listener’s cousin (July 28):
Reader – Ellie, you said: “Many relationships are at risk here. Your cousin and other relatives could consider your part in the conversation as approval (which I believe you didn’t intend).”
“For this reason alone, she should have a heart-to-heart conversation with her cousin and clearly state that she wants no part in this.”
Reader #2 – “Her cousin is her family, that should come before any friendship. If your cousin knew your partner was having an affair, what would you think of them for not telling you?
“Also, the children could overhear the gossip that’s bound to circulate and hurt them deeply.”
Reader’s Commentary “Thank you for responding to my question about a sexless marriage. I read your advice and felt heard and understood.”
Tip of the day:
Feeling heard and understood is also the most important basis of any relationship.