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Surprised by neighbor’s come-on

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: I was at home making a sandwich recently when my close friend’s wife from next door came through the back door. She called out and said she just wanted to see how I was doing. I said I was great and asked if she wanted a sandwich and a beer. She said no to the sandwich but yes to the beer, so I got her one and then sat down to enjoy my lunch.

She continued standing by the counter while we talked, and then out of the blue she said she wanted to tell me something: that she had been really interested in me for years but never said anything. She then tried to kiss me, and I backed away immediately.

I was shocked, surprised and dumbfounded all at once. I didn’t know what to say. But I did turn her down. I couldn’t do that, especially in my home, a home I share with the woman I married when she was 16 because I absolutely loved her and still do. I couldn’t believe what happened, and I sure can’t share it with my wife or her husband. They both would blow a gasket. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care to be around my friend and certainly not his wife. This is driving me nuts, and any suggestions would be appreciated. — At Wits’ End

Dear At Wits’ End: It sounds like you handled the situation as well as you could have. It’s a shame your friend’s wife had to pull a move like that, because now the dynamic between the four of you will inevitably suffer. You did nothing wrong, though, and you should not let this woman’s misdeed drive a wedge between you and your wife.

At this point, honesty is the best policy. If you refuse to see the neighbors and start acting strangely around your friend’s wife, your wife will know something is up and wonder what you are hiding from her. The truth is, you have nothing to hide, because you are innocent. Tell her what happened — you can spare her the details — and then you and your wife can decide together how to proceed.

Dear Annie: My friend was VERY upset, and rightfully so, because her best friend committed suicide. But my friend was very angry with me and accused me of being a bad friend when I asked her not to call me every day and expect me to drop everything I was doing to listen. I did listen the first week after it happened and every night when she called me. Anything I suggested to help her with the grieving process was judged as “I didn’t care” and therefore, I was not a good friend.

She also did this to her other friend. She wanted to talk about death and suicide every day to us, and her other friend has terminal cancer. I told her to seek some counseling, that I’m not a psychiatrist and am dealing with some health issues myself and can’t deal with more stress. — Struggling to Shoulder the Load

Dear Struggling: While your delivery could have been gentler, you did the right thing setting a boundary for yourself and your personal peace. If anything, your friend’s behavior shows just how much she’s hurting.

Being there for her doesn’t mean having to bear the brunt of her pain. Continue to support her in whatever way is possible for you and keep encouraging her to seek professional help. Once the initial shock of what happened subsides, I hope she will heed your advice, taking steps to properly grieve her late friend’s death and heal from this tragedy.

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