DEAR NATALIE: I had a very awkward encounter with friends of ours last weekend at a dinner party. Everyone drank a little too much and my friend -- let’s call her Jane -- pulled me aside to tell me that my husband was hot. I laughed. I was like, “I know.” She then asked, “Would you ever share him? You can have mine for the night.” I thought she was making a drunken dumb statement, so I just shook my head. Later, her husband “Jim” cornered me in a room and said, “Jane told me what she said to you.” I thought he was going to apologize. Instead, he said, “We think you should consider it. It would be fun.” I was really uncomfortable and told him, “No thank you.” The next day, we were supposed to meet up for brunch, but I canceled. My husband doesn’t even know what they said to me. Jane has been texting me non-stop about it. She thinks I’m taking everything too seriously and that I should “lighten up.” I feel really sick to my stomach and don’t know what to do because my husband and Jim work together and we see them all the time at work functions. I always enjoyed their company, but now I am super uncomfortable. Is there a way to move beyond this without getting my husband involved? -NO SWINGING FOR ME
DEAR NO SWINGING FOR ME: I can’t even begin to think about how awkward you must feel. I also want to know why you won’t tell your husband? Are you afraid he would want to do it? Are you afraid he will get mad at you? At them? You didn’t do anything wrong here. You were not only cornered by his drunken wife, but also by her husband. You are allowed to feel upset. It was really forward of them to ask you this, and when you said no, it was obnoxious that they tried to push the issue. I would limit your time with them moving forward, at least until you get some kind of an apology. This apology may not happen unless your husband knows what is going on so that he can help to remedy this since he works with Jim. It isn’t fair that you are out there all alone to deal with this. The fact that Jane has been texting you and telling you to “lighten up” is offensive. She should have instead apologized. It’s not your mess to clean up. Tell your husband and make him deal with his colleague so that you can all just move on.
DEAR NATALIE: We have new neighbors and they are awful. They recently moved in next door and all they do is blast music, sit out in the yard and smoke weed and leave beer cans all over their lawn. My kids are small and I usually let them run around because we live on a cul-de-sac with other families. This year has been so hard on them, so letting them blow off steam outside is a great reprieve for all of us. The other day, my son (who is six) picked up a mostly-smoked joint from their lawn and brought it to me. I was so furious. They laughed when I told them. I don’t think it is so much to ask to have a clean yard and neighbors who understand that kids get into everything. Is there anything I can do to get through to them? —FRUSTRATED MOTHER
DEAR FRUSTRATED MOTHER: Having new neighbors can be challenging, especially when they aren’t exactly “kid-friendly.” I would approach this in two ways. First, I would tell your children that they shouldn’t play in your neighbor’s yard. They may be used to having the run of the neighborhood -- which is so awesome! -- with like-minded families and other kids to play with, but now things are different. Let them know that they aren’t allowed there. Make it very clear. Then, let your neighbors know that after your child brought home a joint, you have made it clear to them that their yard is off-limits. They may think it is funny, but your children’s safety is your number one priority. Try to just stay cordial, but you don’t have to be friends with them. Hopefully, in time, your kids will get used to bypassing their house when they play outside. If the issues persist, ask your other neighbors if they are also having similar complaints. You may need to come together as a community to keep your kids safe while also keeping your sanity intact.
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