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POLL RESULTS: A widow Miss under stand-in: (17 comments)

POLL: A widow Miss under stand-in

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Q: My husband is very family-oriented and devoted to me and the kids -- or so I thought before he started helping one of our neighbors with her yard work. At first, he would go and cut her lawn and I didn't think much of it. That turned into helping her with projects inside the house. He's over there at least once a week, doing things like helping her with her computer and such. I try to be nice since her husband died in Afghanistan while serving our country and she's all alone now, but this is getting out of hand. I'm starting to feel like I'm sharing my husband. Please help me put a stop to this without coming off like a jealous b-----.
POLL: What can this wife do?
 
1% (30) Lay down the law with hubby. No more helping hands.
 
15% (344) Next time hubby is over there, drop by unexpectedly.
 
79% (1757) Have an honest talk with your husband, and share your concerns. Watch his reaction.
 
3% (88) You're too suspicious. It's probably nothing.
2219 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
DavidArgall
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Posts: 42

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Nov 2010
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 02:35 AM (#61268)

I would be amazed if he hasn't thought about how convenient it would be to have a 2nd wife right next door. But that he has done more than think... Well, that is not proven, yet. I see the lady who lives next to me at a rate that is not extremely slower than once a week. [Of course, I have rarely gotten past her door and she does have a husband home at somewhat random hours who is distinctly larger than me and ..., but there is at least some hope this is all innocent.]
Maybe the next few times the lonely lass wants him to come over, you should go, possibly as well as he, or by yourself. There are of course tasks he is much better suited for, but relatively few you can't assist him at. This may prove rather awkward if something is actually going on, but you being apt to show up should at least put a damper on any unwelcome ideas.


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chrysalis
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Mar 2012
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 03:51 AM (#61269)

First of all an open conversation is an important part of any relationship. Talk about it. In addition, she's probably very lonely, and he's picked up on that as an empathic person.

Instead of your husband being in her life. Think of ways you can involve her in your family life. When your husband is out mowing her lawn, invite her over to make cookies with the kids. Invite her out to family outings.

Widowhood is a hard transition period. Twice as hard being a veteran's widow. But it should be a transition period, what she really needs is the support of a family and not just a husband stand-in, to put her back on her feet and continue with life and love.


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dpm
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 06:27 AM (#61270)

How recently did her husband die? How did he die? Those are very important factors. My brother-in-law drowned trying to save his daughter, and my sister needed a LOT of help from neighbors to adjust, including those exact same tasks (yard work and computers). "Once a week" is not very often to help a widowed neighbor. Sure, it's *possible* that they're fooling around, but really, you need much more than you've told us to justify the jealousy you're feeling.


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mgspeed
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 07:34 AM (#61271)

Everything is probably totally innocent, but even if it is it might not stay that way if you don't become part of the solution. It sounds like a friendship that you can certainly join. Maybe you can move that process along by asking for her help with something, or inviting her over for an evening. But it definitely all starts with a open, non-accusatory (!), discussion with your husband.


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NunyaBidness
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:42 AM (#61272)

I agree you should involve yourself, too. It sounds as if she certainly could use lots of friendship and support. Go over with him, and see what you can do to help with small chores--"want me to help with the dishes while he works on your computer?"

Chances are she'll be very grateful. Lots of military spouses both need support and aren't sure how to ask for it.

Don't ask any personal questions about her husband. When she's ready to talk, she'll bring it up.

Of course, if she acts rather nervous and guilty, then you need to be just as friendly, and have a different discussion with hubby when you're home. It's human nature to feel protective of those needing help, and even in the case he has done something (anything, not necessarily sleeping with her), he may have very confused emotions about it.

People are complex. All you can do is interact and see.


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jesslc
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 10:57 AM (#61273)

Once a week - that doesn't sound like very much to me. How much time does he spend with you and the kids?

Also she lost her husband. People need a huge amount of support and kindness in such situations. I don't know how long ago she was widowed, or what her life with her husband was like, but if I was in her place having recently (or even not recently) lost forever the person I was expecting to spend the rest of my life with, I would not be even remotely interested in being involved with someone for a very long time - years probably. But I would need heaps of support from friends, family, and anyone who was willing to be kind to me. Of course some people react to grief differently, but I think that probably that his initial kindness in helping her by cutting her lawn has naturally developed into helping her with other things simply because he sees she needs kindness at this stage in her life.

If it has been many years since she was widowed, then maybe you should be concerned. But maybe not.

I think that it's probably nothing, but I selected drop in unexpectedly while he's there because it might help put your mind at rest. You could do it with the excuse of "hey I baked some biscuits - or something - and I thought I'd bring some round."

Also, you should talk to your husband, not to accuse him of spending too much time with her, but simply to express what it is you feel is missing in your relationship now. ie: I feel like you rarely do ___ with me and the kids anymore because you're often busy helping out our neighbour. Not that you shouldn't help out ____ sometimes, I know things are tough for her, but I miss getting to have one on one time with you (and the kids miss that you don't do ____ with them as much)"

See how he responds, if he's devoted to you and the kids, it will show.. Go on some dates with your husband, enjoy some family time, and don't mind if he helps her out on occasion.

If he responds badly - ie. is not keen to do the things he used to enjoy doing with his family, is evasive or defensive despite a non-confrontational approach, be concerned. Regardless of whether there is something going on with him and the neighbour or not, if he reacts badly to you expressing what you want in a gentle not accusatory manner, there is something within your relationship that needs to be worked out. Communication is very important. Perhaps consider counseling if he react badly to you simply expressing what you want/need without accusing or blaming him for anything.

Hope that helps.


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DanialArin
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 11:19 AM (#61274)

Seconding NinyaBidness.

When soldiers are deployed overseas, in many cases the spouses left behind tend to be among each other's closest friends. The shared aloneness and shared worry are something they have in common, and it's easier to talk about these things with someone else who's also dealing with it than with someone who "doesn't get it". When one of those soldiers dies, the other spouses may often become uncomfortable around that soldier's spouse, either because they no longer know how to act around him/her, or because he/she is a constant that their own loved one might also never make it home. Either way, it means they've lost their friends as well as their spouse, and that's a serious double-whammy.

Yes, she's probably incredibly lonely. But odds are she needs a coffee companion and/or a shoulder to cry on far more than a bedwarmer.

When he goes over there, perhaps you could go over with him. Have coffee with her while he's seeing to whatever task or problem needs dealing with by a Big Strong Guy. If nothing's untoward is going on, she'll probably find you easier to talk to than him, and probably be glad of someone to share girl talk with.

Some of the handyman tasks might be things that can be farmed out to the local teenagers. Landscaping tasks used to be a favorite ("Hey, Mister! Shovel your driveway for $15?") of teens and pre-teens looking to make some extra spending money in a manner their parents would approve of, and nobody knows how to deal with random computer problems like the teen gamer geek down the block. Talk to some of the other neighbors, find out who else your husband might be able to rotate these tasks with.

That all being said, once you've gotten to know her better, (1) she might be able to watch the kids so you and your husband can get in a Date Night every so often, and (2) if your husband can watch the kids, it might do both you and her some good to get a Girls' Night Out.


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TheBigJerk
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 04:18 PM (#61275)
In Response to DanialArin (#61274):

I've seen this one, it ends with a threesome in the hot t-NO! BAD TheBigJerk!

There's nothing wrong with establishing your territory and some boundaries, but don't let that destroy a "good neighbor" relationship. Like DanialArin said, try reaching out.


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zmortis
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - 04:59 PM (#61276)

If you don't want to come off like a jealous bitch, the easy answer is to not be one. That being said, he is your husband and not hers. It is ok to occasionally help her out as a family (I've helped out single friends without any hanky panky going on for many years) but there needs to be boundaries set between your husband and your neighbor about how much time this can take away from the needs of your family.

My usual approach when helping out the divorced or single neighbors is to have my wife entertain them for a bit while I work on the computer or household issue that needs fixing. This sets up a trust but verify scenario that keeps any unfortunate misunderstandings from occuring. If your neighbor gives you a cold shoulder over this idea, then your husband just isn't available to help anymore.


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rhahael
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Jun 2011
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 01:13 AM (#61277)

Sincerely speaking, I can bet the neighbor is hotter, or this question wouldn't even be here.


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DanialArin
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 01:42 PM (#61279)
In Response to rhahael (#61277):

@rhahael: "The grass is always greener on the other side, until you find out it's artificial."


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tparadox
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 03:09 PM (#61280)

I'm surprised that the discussion is so strongly focused on "join in", but the poll is overwhelmingly "talk it out".

Dropping by unexpectedly is kind of a bitchy way to find out what's going on, if there's anything untoward going on, but why not just tell him you're going too the next time he leaves?

If it's just being neighborly, an extra pair of hands and sympathetic ears are always helpful, and if it's something more, you're there to chaperone. If he starts finding more opportunities to go without you, then you can worry.


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DavidArgall
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Monday, March 26, 2012 - 02:45 AM (#61285)
In Response to tparadox (#61280):

"I'm surprised that the discussion is so strongly focused on "join in", but the poll is overwhelmingly "talk it out"."

    Well, there is no 'join in" option to the poll. Of the 4 options, talk would likely be best, but there of course are other options not mentioned in the poll, and being friendly in order to prevent a really close friendship is one of the better options.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Monday, March 26, 2012 - 03:45 AM (#61286)

zmortis wrote:

If you don't want to come off like a jealous bitch, the easy answer is to not be one.

Bingo! This woman's husband died in the service of your country. How would you feel if your husband died suddenly, after you had been praying for months or years that he would come home to you alive and intact? Do you have any idea how lonely and lost she must feel?

Your husband is a good man. Have you done anything to make her life a little easier -- anything at all? Doesn't sound like it ...

Her greatest need may be to have someone to talk to, and you're probably a better candidate for that job than your husband. Would reaching out to her be all that difficult?

Yes, have an honest talk with your husband, and share your concerns. But be very careful that you don't accuse him of anything, or else he might conclude that you are a jealous bitch. And he'd be right.


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ninja
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Mar 2012
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 09:10 AM (#61304)

Your husband is an adult and should be free to do as he pleases. You should be proud that you are married to such a wonderful man that is willing to help out a neighbor who is greiving. Worry about keeping him happy at home and not what he is doing next door.


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tbright1965
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Apr 2012
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Friday, April 06, 2012 - 12:02 PM (#61350)

Honest talk, set boundaries. I.E. go there with him when he helps.

I may be a bit "old fashioned" but as having been on the side of being betrayed by an unfaithful ex-wife, I see the wisdom of some of the old-fashioned ways.

I think she is right to be suspicious. Even if her husband is the most trustworthy man in the world, the neighbor may be greatly attracted.

Approach with openness and caution.


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BriteOwl
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Apr 2012
Re: A widow Miss under stand-in (Score: 0)
posted Monday, April 16, 2012 - 07:19 PM (#61423)

Okay, IMHO you are already "coming off like a jealous b-----". The woman lost her husband. A little compassion might be a more appropriate response to the situation. I would suggest that you reach out to your neighbor as others have suggested.

You don't say whether there is any history of infidelity in your marriage. If not, then you should trust, communicate and get involved. Have a cook-out. Invite the neighbor and one or two couples, and invite some single male friends in the correct age range. You're a mother -- surely you understand the concept of "distract and divert".


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