Five months ago I informed my next door neighbor (and good friend) that her husband had a woman at their house for four nights in a row while she was off with her kids visiting family. She confronted him and he said it was simply his good friend. She has chosen to believe that the other woman really is merely a friend. Needless to say, the husband refuses to look or speak with me and my husband. No loss, since he is a loser anyway, but where do we go from here? The wife and I see and talk to each other every day. Our kids are best and are in and out of our houses all day long. Talking to him is not an option - he is still holding a grudge ten years later against her family and will not talk to them. Simply put, our houses, yards, and lives are too close...we wish they would move!!! Any advice? Do we pretend he does not exist and engage only with her and kids?
-Ann

A good neighbor is a valuable thing - he or she can look in on your pets or houseplants and collect your mail while you're away; be there for you in an emergency; and generally provide a sense of community. It's a good idea to keep the peace between you and your neighbors - including your friend's husband. But in order to do so, you'll probably have to be the one to make an effort to smooth things over.

Although we're sure your intentions were good in telling your friend about her husband's activities while she was out of town, it really wasn't any of your business. The husband probably feels like he was spied on and ratted out. Regardless of what you may think of your neighbor's husband - and even if you are right that he had an affair - your friend obviously loves and trusts him. If you want to maintain your close hip and good-neighbor status, we think you may have to swallow your pride and apologize in order to make peace.

We wouldn't suggest trying to talk to the husband directly at first, but perhaps you can tell your friend that you are sorry about meddling and you feel bad for causing a rift 2004_08_ask_houses.jpgbetween the families, and ask her to pass the message on to her husband. Try inviting them over for dinner as a couple or have some family get-togethers with the kids. If he refuses to participate and still won't talk to you, we suggest you remain civil towards him and say hello when you see him - even if he doesn't respond. In most situtations, the best course of action when dealing with a difficult person is to remain calm and polite. Eventually he may come around.