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The Next Door Neighbor

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female

RomanceClass.com Advice
This is a borderline case, where it could easily be innocent friendship and also easily be one of those draw-you-in situations.

On one hand, it's always great to be friendly with your neighbors. If it's a neighbor that needs help - whether it's a single mom or older grandfather or injured person, it's a great feeling to help out. So when that 'needy person' sees they have a friendly, ready help there, they enjoy that. And the person who is called on to help enjoys being thought of as a 'good neighbor', as someone that can help out. It's a really natural and healthy situations. If only we could all be such good neighbors.

But on the other hand, many single moms have it in their heads that they "need a man". That they've failed otherwise, to be raising a kid on their own without a father figure around. And when a guy comes into their circle that they can (even subconsciously) "fit" into that father role, they try to make him fit. They start having him do things a husband would do - chat with about how the day went, fix things, etc. They might not even start it all with the thought of "husband material" in mind!! They might just like having a friend. But as it goes on and the two get closer and more comfortable with each other, they sort of fall into a rhythm. He's the guy she confides in and goes to for help. He looks out for her and cares for her and her family. They "fit" together.

The trouble of course is trying to figure out when it falls into one category or the other. You can't say "He can have no female friends"!! Every guy needs girl friends, every girl needs guy friends. It helps them have a rounded life. And to deliberately block out a neighbor would also be sad. Most people dream of having neighbors they really enjoy chatting with. But on the other hand, you don't want to set yourself up for misery by starting down a road that only has disaster waiting at the end.

Probably the safest angle to come at this from is what this other woman is doing about her romantic life. I.e. ask your husband if she's dating anyone else. If she is, and is serious, then your husband really should let the other guy help out the single woman. By being in there he's interfering with the bonds she SHOULD be forming with that other guy, that she should depend on her partner for support and not someone *else's* partner.

But if this other woman simply has NO romantic bonds in her life, then in essence your husband is causing a serious problem. Because the single mom HAS your husband (so to speak) to fulfill all those needs in her life, she sees no need to find another! Obviously she needs SOMEONE considering how much time she is already taking of your husband's. So he is perpetuating her problem by always "filling in". He shouldn't be MEAN to her, but on the other hand, he has to stop always being the surrogate guy in her life. He has to say he's busy, that he can't talk, that he has other things to do (which hopefully he does!!!). If she has to start getting out and doing other things with her life, she will track down another guy to fill those needs she has.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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