Annie’s Mailbox: How should I handle my groping neighbor?
July 16, 2010
Dear Annie: In the past three years, my husband and I have become friends with another couple, "Lynn and Bob."
Lynn and I have become quite close. Bob is more introverted. My husband isn't crazy about him. We've recently learned that he suffers from depression and has received extensive therapy.
Last week, we spent a pleasant evening with them. After my husband and Lynn had already gone out the front door, Bob proceeded to give me a hug, pulling me very tightly into his chest, with his hand on my posterior. He didn't release me until I managed to push him away. I was totally startled. He laughed and said, "I just wanted to see what you would do." He then went out the door as if nothing had happened, while I regained my composure.
Bob and Lynn left the next morning for a three-week vacation, so I said nothing. Annie, I really enjoy my friendship with Lynn, but if I divulge this information to my husband, it will mean the end of the friendship. He'd become totally unglued.
I've thought about confronting Bob privately, but I'm not sure that's a good idea, either. How should I handle this?
— In a Quandary
Dear Quandary: The next time you see Bob, inform him that if he so much as touches you, you will tell his wife and your husband about the prior incident. Then make sure you follow through.
In the meantime, try to see Lynn when Bob is not present. It sounds as if your husband wouldn't mind too much if he stopped socializing with them.
Dear Annie: I've never seen my problem in your column before. Whenever my husband is confronted with an opinion that is not to his liking, he sticks his fingers in his ears to block out the sound.
He also will not discuss anything if you don't agree with his point of view. He doesn't listen to counter-arguments. Nor does he consider that he may be hurting someone's feelings.
He used to talk over anyone who expressed a different opinion, but the ear plugging is really annoying and frustrating.
I have lived with both of these "afflictions" for more than 20 years and have just about had it. I need help.
— Way Down Yonder
Dear Way: How very mature of him. Plugging your ears is what 5-year-olds do. Write your husband a note. Say that his behavior has become increasingly childish, and you are worried that it is a neurological problem or a sign of incipient dementia.
Ask him to see his doctor for a complete checkup. Beyond that, we recommend you stop having such discussions with him, since it is irritating and frustrating for you and accomplishes nothing.
Say, "Yes, Dear," and change the subject.