We went to high school and college together and I have been following this blog since you started in September. I never knew you were so funny and talented! I am not using my real name because I don’t want other people in Portland to know who this is from.
Here’s my dilemma: my husband and I have been arguing about whether or not I should tell my neighbor his wife is having an affair. Or at least I think she is, I’m almost positive.
Here is what makes me think so: she often leaves in the middle of the day dressed up and she doesn’t work, she has been seen around town with the same man at various places (not her husband!) and most disturbing, I have seen a car parked down the street when her husband is out of town and it’s regular like clockwork: when her husband leaves this car shows up and when he gets back it’s gone.
She has two young kids at home and the car usually arrives after I imagine they go to bed, then leaves before they wake up.
My husband says to mind my own business but I like my neighbor and I feel sorry for him. We have wagered $100 on what your answer will be so please use my question!
You have quite the active imagination! This is not to say you are incorrect, but you have drawn some very specific conclusions based upon a smattering of circumstantial evidence. I’m no criminal lawyer (though I need to retain one from time to time), but I don’t think you are working with “beyond a reasonable doubt” evidence for conviction.
Let’s assume two scenarios in which you bring your concerns to your neighbor: first, that you are wrong and second, that you are right.
1. You are wrong. As soon as you spill your suspicions he informs you that the car that shows up when he is out of town is actually a private security company he has retained to protect his family when he is out of town.
The man she has been seen around town with is actually trying to hire her on at his company, which is why you have seen her dressed up lately – she’s looking for a job.
You become the much-maligned laughingstock of the neighborhood and you are no longer welcome to help plan the 4th of July parade, an activity that gave much meaning to your life as it gave you something to do beyond peering outside the curtains of your home.
Also, your neighbor who you care so much about now hates you, and his wife is plotting to get you kicked out of your Bunko group.
2. You are correct. The wife cops to the affair, the husband initiates a divorce and the family is destroyed both emotionally and financially. You win! Nice work, Gladys.
Your friends and neighbors all decide you are a nosy busy-body who can’t be trusted, so once again you become maligned and are no longer welcome to the PTA meetings or Christmas cookie exchange parties.
Peering through the curtains into the homes of your neighbors is not living a full life, nor is engaging in speculation, gossip and potential home-wrecking. This marriage is not yours to save or destroy so I strongly urge you to stand down and mind your own business.
You don’t have any idea what is going on in their home and whether or not these two are happy with the way things are. In addition, it doesn’t matter what you know or what you think you know. You aren’t close to these people and it is not your place to interfere.
If this guy was a very good friend of yours, I could understand the urge to share your concerns. At the least, you could go to the wife and say, “hey, the city is abuzz with rumors you may be letting another guy ride his skin boat into your tuna town…just thought you should know.”
Perhaps that will provide her with motivation to stop the affair, leave her husband or at least be a bit more discreet.
I’m going to wrap this up because my friend Mark Elias, an accomplished writer and photographer, told me recently I need to
edit myself with a strict and unwavering eye towards brevity, thus making my work more effective, efficient and impactful, because people today do not have a lot of time to read 1200 words, even if they are written by a brilliant advice nurse with a wit as sharp as Figaro’s blade , write less words.
You should also spend some time thinking about why you are so busy looking outside the windows into the homes of others, when perhaps you should direct your gaze in the opposite direction.