Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Neighbors And Fences

Posted by Anonymous.

I moved into my home 10 years ago. I had an 18 month old daughter & was expecting my second daughter at the time. The neighborhood was still in development at the time. One of the next door families was already here, the other family moved in shortly after we did.

We hit it off with the "First" family the day we moved in. My now late-husband and the First family dad, a firefighter, talked every day, borrowed tools from one another, helped each other with projects. The First family mom has always been easy and fun to talk to.

The First family kids, 5, 9, and 14 were always comfortable visiting and asking for help. They locked themselves out of the house sometimes and sat with me until one of their parents came home. When the daughter missed the bus on her first day of high school the 9 year old spoke up for her, asking if I would mind taking his sister to school. I put my 18 month old in the van and I laughed along with the older kids when I had trouble finding the high school.

Fast forward to October of 2003. My late-husband lost his battle with cancer on a Friday night.

My girls were with my parents at the time. The First family mom and dad stayed with me while I waited for the ambulance, while I waited for my dad and best friend to make the 45 minute drive to my house. The First family mom and dad followed me from the living room to the front porch and back again several times. My dad thanked them for looking out for "his girl." First family mom told him that I was "their girl, too."

We have always had a great relationship, I thought. First family dad took my riding mower to the repair shop a few months ago. He took care of my lawn and the lawns of a few neighbors.
After taking my girls to school a couple of weeks ago I saw First family dad outside. I ran into my house, grabbed the cash I owed him for mowing a couple of days before. He was talking on his cell phone, so I handed him the money and we did the one arm half-hug thing.

A few minutes later he called and asked if I could run over to their house because he wanted to show me something right quick. I thought nothing of it, I have been in their house too many times to count. I followed him through their kitchen and into the living room. We made small talk as we went into his living room. I looked at the Mother's Day cards and family photos on their coffee table. He had looked down at the coffee table, then around the room. I thought they had bought the wide screen TV they have wanted for a while. I was still looking around when I heard him say "OK". When I turned to him, he had his thumbs hooked on either side of his jeans and was pulling them down.

I freaked out and started walking back to the door leading to the garage, waving my hands in the air, chanting "no, no, no,no". As I was leaving the garage, he opened the door and yelled "You're not gonna tell on me, are ya?" I said something profound like "No, no, no, sometimes, um, people's pants, um, just...fall down!" and kept walking.

When I got home checked the locks on my doors, put my gun on my coffee table, and stared at the wall. I called my best friend. I called my aunt. I didn't want to tell my husband but my aunt said I needed to. She drove to my town after work and told my parents and brother for me. They all came to my house and waited while I woke my husband from his after-work nap and told him. Each of them blocked a door when he came out of the bedroom.

My dad talked to a friend of his, a police officer, who sent an officer over to talk to me. I didn't want to press charges because I didn't want first neighbor's wife, two kids still living at home, 6 year old grandson to ever have to know.

Of course first neighbor dad told the officer nothing happened that morning. The situation was even more awkward because the officer is the father of one of my younger daughter's classmates.

I keep bouncing between feeling sad and furious. I am heartbroken because I can never be friends with him again. I am beyond outraged because I had to tell my parents, brother, aunt about what happened. I am livid because I had to tell my 9 and 11 year old daughters to stay away from him and why. I'm embarrassed because I feel stupid. First neighbor dad had made comments to me 3 years ago, saying that since he was home alone on many weekdays and so was I (soon-to-be current husband worked out of town) that perhaps we could "visit and help each other out." I thought he understood the NO I responded with.

I don't feel comfortable leaving my garage door open if my husband is home. I feel like a fake when I respond to First neighbor mom's "Hey, how are ya's." I told my second next-door neighbors because she is home alone during the day.

I'm tired of crying at odd times of the day and night. I hate that someone I trusted did such a crappy thing to me.


Unknown said...

I'm sorry that someone you trusted turned out to not be worthy of your trust and respect... and that you're forced to deal with the after effects.
I know it seems extreme, but if it's that hard for you... is moving an option?

Hayley said...

WOW. That's crazy... and he might be too. I'm so sorry he took that friendship and trust from you. He needs to get help.

Meg said...

sorry that he was such a jerk but I'm not sure why you had to tell everyone you've ever met that some idiot hit on you in a really stupid way. (and i'm not really sure why the police were called.) did you leave something out?

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is why your aunt pressed you had to tell your husband...wasn't he dead at the time? Or did I miss something in the timing of your tale?

I also agree with Meg - it's a huge, shocking disappointment to find that someone you've trusted is really such an enormous jerk...but getting out your gun and calling the police because a guy hit on you might have been a bit much.

Anonymous said...

He is a total creep and you have every right to have felt upset over the incident.
But....the gun, telling everyone you know, crying at odd times of the day and night?? Move on...

Anonymous said...

What that jerk did to you was completely disgusting. That said, I wonder what your reaction would have been if he did that while your husband was still alive....do you think you might have reacted differently? I'm wondering how much emotion is wrapped up in this because you all shared so much history and this jerk betrayed you--and it maybe stirred up something about how things were so great when your husband was alive and you all did things together? For ex, neighbors pull crap like that all the time---some people laugh it off, some husbands go and punch the guys face in, some neighbors make the offender a butt of a joke for life, etc....but your reaction does seem to be a bit over the top---police involvement, getting a gun, spreading the news....etc. It is completely understandable that this is an upsetting incident but I can't even imagine what charges could be filed here. Yes, the guy is a complete and utter ass and good riddance to your friendship but don't waste any more of your time crying about him....

Mike said...

I agree with all the other comments posted here. I assume you got remarried??? And what does second family have to do with the whole story anyway?
You need to get over it. If all he did was come on to you and begin pulling his pants down, you over-reacted. By continuing to dwell on it, you give him power over you.

Anonymous said...

In reading the first part of this, I thought "I wonder if he is showing signs of mental illness." If, from what you wrote earlier, he has always been trustworthy until this one incident, then I do wonder if something medical is going on with him. Of course, this does not excuse his behavior or make you feel any more secure in your home. If, as others have speculated, there is more to the story, then warning your children and the other neighbor was the correct action to take.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with some of the other commenters. Some of the comments seem to be downplaying this event. Basically this creep tried to expose himself to you? That's not just hitting on a married woman. That's much more than disgusting and violating. What if he had exposed himself to a strange woman in a park? Is that ok? Should we just ignore flashers since they really aren't hurting anyone? Is this creep going to break in and assault her, well probably not, but that doesn't mean this situation isn't serious.

I'm glad you told family members. You need that support. I'm also glad you told your second neighbor. If I was the second neighbor, I would definitely want to know so as not to put myself alone with this creep.

I think the worst part of this is that he is a neighbor and now you feel so uncomfortable at home. How unfair that you have to worry about seeing this jerk every time you walk out the door!

Kaye said...

I agree with the last commenter. This type of situation SHOULD be taken seriously. A similar thing happened with me, except the guy walked into the room totally naked. I was 14 at the time. I don't know what would have happened if I had not gotten away from him and ran. What if he had done this to one of your daughters? I don't think people would dismiss it so easily. You did the right thing and I'm sorry you have to see the bastard on a regular basis.

I'm also wondering if maybe his wife needs to know about this. It might not be the first time he's done something like this and maybe she should be aware that her husband might have some issues.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the last 2 commenters.

this IS serious!!!!!!!

the others downplaying it, dont get it.

Anonymous said...

Original poster here.
I'll clear up a couple of points some seem to be confused about.
This man didn't just hit on me. He was pulling down his pants to the point that I could see he wasn't wearing underpants and his "personal pants property" was about to look into my eyes with it's one eye. Someone I considered a friend was dropping his pants as I stood there.
My late-husband was close to Mr. Pants Dropper as was I until the pants-dropping incident. Our children played together. Our children spent countless hours in each home together.
My aunt is a paralegal. After talking to an atty in her office, he told her that I should tell my current husband,parents & brother in case something else happened so there would be a record of previous behavior.
I married again almost 2 years ago. My aunt was right to tell me to tell my husband. I would have told my late-husband also.
Calling the police, telling my children to stay away from this man, telling my 2nd neighbor (a very small woman who is also friends with him and home alone for many hours of the day) was not over reacting.
My father called a friend for advice and this friend happens to be the chief of police for our town. He insisted upon sending an officer to take a statement. Over reaction upon his part? I don't think so.
Pulling one's pants down in front of a neighbor of the opposite gender is not flirting. If done on the street the perp would be hauled into jail. I chose not to press charges b/c I didn't want his wife, children & grandchild to have to live with knowing what he did.
To the "get over it" crowd: F you! I hope no female in your family is ever in the position of having someone they trust(ed), someone 8 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier pull such a sexually agressive act upon them that scares them so badly they lock all doors and put a gun within reach.
Judge on, ye judgers, until it happens to you or yours. I don't wish it upon you but you have no idea how it feels until it happens to you or yours.

Anonymous said...

If this guy hit on you and made suggestive comments in the past- and his version of not taking no for an answer was to attempt to expose himself to you, then this man is clearly aggressive and dangerous. I agree with telling your neighbor and husband, keeping your kids from him, and setting yourself up a support system. I also understand your wanting to protect your friend/his wife, but perhaps she should know? If you guys are as close as you say, then hopefully she would appreciate it- and it would explain why your kids can't hang out and all the neighbors avoid them. If the positions were reversed and you were in her shoes, wouldn't you want to know? As for you though, you are right- nobody can judge how you've handled this until they have been there- violated and so horribly disrespected. You did what you had to do!

Anonymous said...

To the "get over it" crowd: F you! I hope no female in your family is ever in the position of having someone they trust(ed), someone 8 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier pull such a sexually agressive act upon them that scares them so badly they lock all doors and put a gun within reach.
Judge on, ye judgers, until it happens to you or yours. I don't wish it upon you but you have no idea how it feels until it happens to you or yours.

Ahem..it has happened to me ..when I was a child..my father then later my stepfather..only they didn't stop with just pulling down their pants. Your a grown woman who was able to walk away w/o scars or any real damage. Your damn lucky so stop the whining!!! And tell his wife..of all people the people who had to hear the story..she should have been the first.


Anonymous said...

I think he was just hitting on you - clueless? Stupid? Offensive? Yes, yes & yes. Abusive? Hardly. I totally understand the feeing of having your trust broken and your image/experience with this family irrevocably changed, but seriously (and maybe I'm missing some of the nuance of the real situation here), it sounds like he thought you would be into it. I'm not at all implying that you gave him reason to think that - just that some men think they're god's gift to everyone and this guy sounds like one of them. He sounds like a complete and total selfish douchebag, but not a sexual predator.

Anonymous said...

I also would be worried that this gem of a guy could do something inappropriate to other females, children, and so on. If he is mentally ill this seems very possible if he is not getting help. The crowd of commenters that are down-playing this is pissing me off because there is a real potential here for harm to others and this potential harm can possibly be prevented. Would you want your teenage daughter babysitting for this guy?? would you want this family looking after your kids? what about his children - are they safe?

This guy's wife needs to know.

Anonymous said...

The reason I didn't tell his wife, Michelle, was to spare her the pain of knowing. Am I comparing what happened to me to what happened to you? HELL NO! Did you tell?
Don't belittle what happened to me even if you do consider it small potatoes to what happened to you. Tend to your own knitting and deal with it as you see fit.

Anonymous said...

Mike can take the long jump off a short pier. There is no such thing as "all he did was pull his pants down" to present his penis to me. The next time one of your friends shows you his penisin a sexual way, I may give a damn about your opinion.

Anonymous said...

His wife really should know. What if he does this to a child? Could you live with yourself knowing that you didn't tell his family? The ones who could do something to get him help if he needs it? I'm sorry for what happened to you, but really, his wife needs to know.

Terri said...

wow there are some harsh words on here. First of all none of us knows how we would react if this traumatic situation were to happen to us so keep your thoughts to yourself. The actions you took, poster, were appropriate and preventative and I applaud you. I hope you are able to move past this but I think it'll take first neighbor moving or you moving.

I'm on the fence about telling the wife. If it were my husband I would want to know in case this behavior has happened in the past or presents itself in the future. Some people would choose not to know though...you would be best to figure out what type of person she is though...

Anonymous said...

This basement makes me so sad -- this is not the only post where some nasty angry people give the always helpful (*note: SARCASM) advice of "Get over it."

If you are going to advise someone to "get over it" why not supply some helpful tools/advice so that a person can "get over it"?

what is with you sad, mean people who want to compare stories ("I was raped by family members, therefore this neighbour pulling down his pants is nothing, get over it, my problems are way worse than yours, and look at how well I am coping by lashing out against strangers anonymously....") and belittle someone's traumatic experience?

The idea for the basement is nice, I suppose, but why do people always have to turn on each other and make people who are suffering feel like shit?

I'm really cold and uncomfortable in this mean little basement -- it feels like a bad junior high party all over again.

Loralee Choate said...

I think this would be really painful. I don't ever tell people to just get over things and move on. Pain is pain and you have obviously had a lot of it here.

However, I fail to see if you contacted the police, bought a gun and told a huge amount of people so they would see him for the threat he is and a danger why in the world would you think it is not wise to tell his wife?

I do not usually advocate tattling on adulterous situations to spouses. It's not your marriage, if you know what I mean. BUT...It was more than him hitting on you as you have said. You consider him abusive and criminal. It isn't protecting her from someone who is having affairs.

You consider him abusive and I don't think keeping quiet about it to her is good. Especially when you have told so many others. Doesn't she need the info to protect herself or get help or make decisions? Don't HIS children need protecting in this too?

I know that you don't want to cause his wife pain and I highly understand that but frankly...you have told so many people that I would be staggered if this didn't get out and she should be told by you, I think.

I'm really sorry you had to go through this.

Anonymous said...

I have seen stories about cheating and other unspeakable thoughts and there were no comments as critical and judging as these. This back and forth, my story is worse than yours, is even more disturbing. Incidents can be more tramatic for some than others. I had a drunk neighbor once yell explicit comments from his yard to mine while I was gardening. This incident alone made me fearful of being approached or harrassed while outside.

I agree that the wife should have absolutely been told about this. They aren't the friends you thought they were in the first place. She has the right to know what kind of a jerk she is living with.