Was I wrong to make contact with neighbours following incident?

(69 Posts)
Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 11:53:29

I’ll try and keep this brief. We’ve lived next door to Jim and Sue (not their real names) for five years, husband and I get on really well with them, we’ve had BBQs together, we chat in the garden, we’ve got each other’s door keys and water each other’s plants. It’s basically a very pleasant situation and they’re a really nice couple.

On Thursday, Jim’s dog bit DH. DH was a bit miffed, and just put this down to animal behaviour. But on Saturday, the dog bit DH again, but quite badly and he’s had to see the doctor. At the time of the second bite, DH challenged Jim – who had a complete meltdown, pushed DH against the side of the house, tried to punch him, and kept saying to DH “you’ve had it in for my family for years.” God knows where all this came from, but DH was quite shaken. All this was a real shock.

Now whilst I’m totally on my husband’s side, we really did need to get this sorted out, on the grounds that we all live next door to each other, and I was feeling very awkward about being the in the garden, on the driveway etc etc, in case I bumped into either of them (even though I hadn’t been involved in the incident). And then there’s the issue that Sue and I are quite good friends.

So this morning I decided to try and broker some sort of peace – I texted Sue and asked if she wanted to meet up, on a 1-2-1 basis, to clear the air. She came straight back to me, and said that yes, that was a good idea, and that she didn’t have a problem with me, and that life was too short to fall out. I got the sense she was relieved I’d been in touch. We exchanged a few more texts about a TV programme we’d both seen last night, and it seems that at least Sue and I are OK with each other.

So whilst obviously we’ll both side with our respective husbands, Sue and I can at least live comfortably next door to each other by the sounds of it.

However part of me feels slightly disloyal to DH; he TOTALLY has the moral high ground here, and I’m not disputing this, however if this didn’t get sorted out/dealt with fairly promptly then positions would get entrenched and we’d potentially have two household totally at odds with each other. I will certainly back him up when I see Sue (and I suspect Jim probably hasn’t told her the whole story) I’m not getting in touch with her to apologise, simply that this does need sorting out.

So am I wrong to have made contact with Sue? It’s just that we’ve all got to live next door to each other. I should add that I’ve been really upset about the whole issue, obviously that DH had such a rough time, and also that now everything’s really weird with next door. I’ve never had neighbour problems before, and even if DH and Jim never see eye to eye again (DH is definitely owed an apology) at least Sue and I won’t feel awkward hanging out our washing.

rubyslippers Wed 08-May-13 11:55:59

your neighbour assaulted your DH?! he has been bitten twice by their dog

i wouldn't set foot in their house ever again

DoingTheSwanThing Wed 08-May-13 11:58:35

You are being rather charitable not to have called both police and dog wardens!

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:00:14

It's just all so weird, god knows what got into their dog, he's normally fine, and Jim is normally very placid. However I know that DH can be a bit hotheaded too, and whilst he had every right to challenge Jim over the bite, I do wonder if the challenge was a little more robust than has been reported, if you see what I mean.

rubyslippers Wed 08-May-13 12:01:58

but "jim" was physical with your DH ...

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:01:59

I think DH would have felt embarrassed calling the police about such a small dog, even though the damn thing clearly needs some training. It's just that these people are (or so I thought) quite good friends of ours.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:02:54

Jim isn't off the hook and he definitely owes DH an apology.

loler Wed 08-May-13 12:03:23

Whilst I agree with the comments below - I think you've done the right thing - living nextdoor to neighbours you've fallen out with is really really stressful. You and Sue get on with it - leave the 'men' to sort it out themselves, they are grown-ups and you and Sue don't need to get involved.

However, make sure you and yours stay away from the dog - I wouldn't trust it.

the dog bit him twice though! so bad the 2nd time he needed treatment. When you're in pain, you do lash out, 'Jim' should have been all apologies, not pinning DH up against anything?! Strange man.

rubyslippers Wed 08-May-13 12:03:55

he sure does

and for the dog bites

you don't need to be friends - you can be cool and polite with one another and not socialise

confused How come the dog managed to bite your dh? Was it in your garden/drive? Was dh petting it? Playing rough and tumble with it?

I think you did right sorting it out with sue though, what did your DH say?

musicismylife Wed 08-May-13 12:04:25

There is no need for you and 'sue' to fall out. But you do sound a bit 'me, me, me' in your tone.

And just because you and 'sue' have cleared the air, it does not mean that your husband challenged 'jim' in a more robust way.

Sorry but you sound a bit flaky to me.

beautifulgirls Wed 08-May-13 12:05:12

You need to hear her side of the story out to ensure you have all the details too. I think though you did the right thing. If I were you then I'd try and get both the men together with both of you there having decided between you what should be expected - an apology from one or both of them for the thing(s) that were said and done. Maybe a token gift if it seems appropriate would help too. Maybe plan this and then a trip out for a meal together and ensure that you find something nice to talk about while you are out then so that the next meet up afterwards has already moved on properly.

Genuinely not trying to make excuses for your neighbour here, but could there have been any extenuating circumstances for the bites? Was dog ill, hurt? Had he accidentally stepped on it's paw? If so, I can sort of see why neighbour was upset, although his behaviour was obviously a massive overreaction & completely unacceptable behaviour from a supposed friend. If not any 'reason' for the dog, I'd be inclined to refuse to speak to the male neighbour until he apologises.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:06:52

Libertine – I totally agree that Jim should have been making apologies, not pinning DH against the wall.

Loler – you’ve hit the nail on the head, I don’t want the stress of living next door to neighbours we’ve fallen out with, and whilst I have no plans to be exchanging pleasantries with Jim, I just wanted to reach a position where Sue and I didn’t feel awkward with each other, as we see each other a lot in passing.

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:06:59


where was the dog/DH when the bites happened. did jim witness it? i'm think you know your dh might have been a bit more 'robust' than he's letting on. which would piss me off if it were my dh.

personally unless you fully believe your DH's account as he said it then i wouldn't get involved and would refuse to discuss it with any of them.

bigfuckoffpie Wed 08-May-13 12:07:59

I think YABU OP. While I can see it might be tempting to brush the whole thing under the carpet, your first loyalty should be to your DH, and I wouldn't have tried to get back in touch with Sue to have a friendly chat until they apologised for the dog bites and the assault. Even if your DH had gone off in one, they were still in the wrong over the biting.

They need to get the dog sorted, otherwise it will bite something that it can do more damage to, like a child or another small dog.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 08-May-13 12:09:18

You were sensible. You're right.

I think when you talk to Sue maybe suss out what she's heard/been told, she may know nothing of Jim assaulting your DH.

I would concentrate on the dog problem & see how the land lies & then see if you feel comfortable raising Jim's aggressive behaviour. Not that it excuses either party but if your DH had kicked out at the dog in his pain Jim might equally have lashed out at your DH hurting his dog.

More to this story than you or Sue know I suspect with both DH's behaving like schoolboys TBH.

Music the OP is trying to sort out a difficult situation can't see anything flaky about that!!

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:11:35

I suspect that when the dog bit DH, DH would have reacted quite strongly (understandly, IMO), and that Jim reacted to DH's reaction, ending up in an altercation.

But this is very out of character for Jim, but then DH wouldn't make it up either. And it was DH who got bit!

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:13:56

My first loyalty is definitely to DH, which is why I certainly haven't apologised to Sue (heaven forbid), it was just a 'can we clear the air' suggestion.

How come he got bit?

What was he doing to the dog, for it to bite?

You still have not answered that.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:17:42

On both occasions, DH was in our front garden, when the dog was being walked past on his lead, it's one of those incredibly long leads so the dog isn't really being controlled. Apparently each time the dog went for DH and bit him. Can't be more specific than that because I didn't see it.

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:19:11

i think all you can really do with sue is say "can we (you and her) just move on from it as neither of us were there and it's between DH and jim." there's no point getting her or jim's side of events because obviously (as dh has done with you) jim will have given it his slant and if they are both immature hotheads then they'll not be budging from their story so you and sue hashing it out wont solve anything. best to just agree to still be friends and let the DH's sort their feelings out between them. you cant make them be friends but you can choose to be friends with sue.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:19:43

Sorry, not trying to drip feed, but DH fell out with some other neighbours (who live at the back of us) over a parking issue last year - DH was in the right but did react a little strongly to the situation, and I don't want to end up having fallen out with the whole street, if that gives the situation a little more context.

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:20:33

so jim was there and witnessed it all?

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-May-13 12:21:43

I'd be a bit miffed if the same thing happened to me and my DH's first thought was 'ooh, better not fall out with the woman next door.'

I wouldn't expect him to go round all guns blazing but I would not be at all happy with him trying to brush it under the carpet so he didn't feel awkward and that's what it looks like you've done.

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:22:05

hmm. so your DH falls out with neighbours but he's always in the right and reacts a 'little' strongly each time? pattern anyone?

Sounds like your Dh is a bit hot tempered then?

Not that it would be unreasonable if he were bitten.

DoingTheSwanThing Wed 08-May-13 12:23:18

I wonder how "Jim" behaves towards "Sue".

sweetestcup Wed 08-May-13 12:23:26

But I don't see how the air could be cleared unless Jim apologises really.


Your "reacting strongly" is perhaps another persons "Angry abusive Idiot"?

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-May-13 12:24:34

Just read your last post. What's your idea of 'reacting a little strongly'?

Does DH really over react or are you one of those people who hates any form of confrontation, however mild?

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:25:50

well the air can be cleared between sue and Op as they havent done anything to each other so they haven't fallen out. it's only the hotheads that have falen out.

When my old neighbour went over to my other neighbours teenage son and told him he would get his mate from Hells Angels come and Fuzx&^%ing beat the shit out of him if he did not stop revving the engine of his moped at night, there was really no comeback from that.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:32:11

DH has always been hotheaded - he's renowned for it - he flares up more than he should, but then cools down quite quickly. He had every right to flare up about being bitten, but (having not witnessed any of this) I do wonder if, as someone has suggested earlier, if they both got over inflamed about it.

I'm not smoothing things over to the point that we'll be having a BBQ this weekend (!) just to the point the Sue and I can both hang our washing out at the same time.

If they didn't live next door, it would be different.

ryanboy Wed 08-May-13 12:32:48

Flipping heck talk about victim blaming.The DH was beitten twice by a dog while in his own garden and then assaulted and it is somehow his fault?

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 12:35:38

who said it was his fault ryanboy?

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 12:41:32

So your DH falls out with neighbours but he’s always in the right, and reacts a little strongly each time – pattern anyone?

That’s about the size of it. DH is a little hot-headed which has led to problems with neighbours in the past, and I don’t want to end up being at odds with the whole street. I should add that DH would never harm a fly (and particularly not me) and that his bark is definitely worse than his bite (no pun intended).

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-May-13 12:45:47

Well, I'd have waited until I saw Sue over my smalls and then just said hello. If she wanted to talk about it I'd say I didn't really know what happened, because you don't do you?

For some reason you don't seem keen to back your husband even though you accept he was bitten twice and nearly assaulted by a neighbour in 'meltdown' who's claiming some longstanding feud that's apparently a complete lie.

If that had happened to you, how would you react and what would you expect your DH to do?

DeWe Wed 08-May-13 12:48:17

I think I would be tempted to ask Sue what was meant by "you've had it in for my family for years".
Was it something that Jim said in the spur of the moment. Like a child saying "I won't be your friend ever again..." or has he been chuntering over stuff for years?
Maybe your dh has been making comments that Jim has taken as snide, and the rest of you have taken as banter. Or perhaps something he thinks as a continual joke, really upsets Jim.
Or maybe there's been a few hot headed incidents where your dh has been involved but not told you.

I might also be tempted to drop into the conversation with Sue something along the lines of "When dh was at the doctor getting the second bite seen to, the doctor said it was a good thing it wasn't a child's face..." or similar. Basically letting Sue know that the bite was serious enough to need treatment. Because she may think it's along the lines of a slight nip after a bit of horseplay.

Whatever actually happened, the reality is that the dog should not have bitten. Even if he'd stepped on a paw as someone suggested, a dog should not be biting a person. And Sue and Jim need to face up to the fact they have a dog who is capable of causing serious injury.

sweetestcup Wed 08-May-13 12:55:31

booyhoo I see what you man I just think this will cause some difficulties between them all now, now something has happened. Like dewe I would want to know what Jim meant by "you have had it in for us for years" comment.

treas Wed 08-May-13 13:01:45

confused At all the posters asking what Your dh was doing to the dog for it to bit.

Dogs are domesticated wolves, they don't have to have someone do something to them to bite. It might have just been hot and bothered

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 13:35:29

dogs aren't domesticated wolves

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 13:40:36

DH is far less bothered about the dog bites than Jim's comments/actions, and that's what I want to talk to Sue about - makes me think there's been some massive misunderstanding somewhere down the line and it needs sorting out for everyone's sake. And the dog needs proper training.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-May-13 13:42:53

The ball was in their court to contact you, preferably with an apology to your DH.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 13:47:50

Please don't think we've apologised - it was a 'can we discuss this' request, hoping it leads to an apology.

Norem Wed 08-May-13 13:49:44

Hi op do you think your dh threatened in the pain of the moment to have the dog put down?
If so I can imagine Jim getting heated very quickly as soon people really do regard their pets like children.
However the comment seems a bit strange, do jim and your husband have any negative backstory?
What does your husband do? And how does he manage to control his temper in work situations?
I really feel for you not being comfortable in your own garden is horrible sad

Dogs are domesticated wolves, they don't have to have someone do something to them to bite. It might have just been hot and bothered

hmm shall we have a good ol' fashioned 'dogs are better than humans thread? Haven't had one for a week ages.

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 14:35:34

i dont think that was the point of treas comment at all libertine. i think he/she was pointing out that the DH might have been doing absoloutely nothing to or near the dog for it to have bitten. i think you've misundertsood the comment.

treas Wed 08-May-13 15:17:14

Thanks Booyhoo - you were right on the button with the point I was trying to make.

Maybe I should have stated that although domesticated dog have wolves as ancestors.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 15:37:22

I've upset that DH has been bitten, I'm upset that he was 'manhandled' (for want of a better word) and I'm upset that the pleasant domestic set-up I thought DH enjoyed with our neighbours isn't quite what it seemed.

Sue has since reiterated she's got no issue with me, but feels uncomfortable that she heard DH 'slagging off her daughters' (DH and I are completely mystified about this). Sue has now de-friended me on FB.

I feel we've lost good neighbours and friends in one hit, with a nasty incident for DH, and none of it makes any sense.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 16:13:33

AIBU to feel upset about the whole episode????

Weird. Best leave it I'd say, say hi over the washing and that's it? No YANBU to be upset about it all, it's a shame.

ChasedByBees Wed 08-May-13 16:53:12

I don't understand why you didn't phone the police - not for the dog bites but for the assault. And yes, if I were your DH I would think you'd been disloyal. You and Sue can still be friends but your DH was assaulted and you seem to think its nothing and probably his fault. hmm

FBmum Wed 08-May-13 17:04:15

OP - this could have been me writing this thread. Last year, we fell out with neighbours who we had been friends with for a long time - I tried to sort it out, DH had more of a sense of injustice and did not mince words - the situation quickly deteriorated. We spent 12 months living with intimidation and threats - the police were involved, and said they would back us up if we took it to civil court, but my mental health was beginning to suffer (I don't do conflict, let alone live with harrassment), so we put the house on the market and moved our family to a different part of the country.

In essence, I really suggest you try to sort this out as quickly as possible, especially if Sue has defriended you - not a great sign. Try to sit down all together, before it gets really nasty. I hear what other posters are saying - it's not about backing down, it's more about seeing where your relationship can go from here. I wish you the best of luck.

Branleuse Wed 08-May-13 17:15:49

maybe was probably devastated his dog bit, and frightened of that it would mean he would need to get it PTS, and acting out defensively in fear?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 08-May-13 17:21:13

I would report the fact that DH was bitten and the fact that he was assaulted. Whether you've been friends for a long time or not, they need to keep their pet and tempers in check.

maddening Wed 08-May-13 17:24:26

I would ask your dh to very clearly and most importantly explain the conversations he has had with Jim. And also to think v hard about the slagging her dc off - if you go into a conversation with Sue you want to have all the facts so you aren't caught off guard.

How you approach Sue depends on what dh tells actually happened - both with Jim and the conversation Sue says she overheard.

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-May-13 17:38:25

YANBU to feel upset.

I think YABU towards your husband. Why is it so important to you to keep friends with your neighbours who don't sound like they give a monkey's about you?

I have also experienced a very nasty dispute with a neighbour and despite us being reasonable there was bugger all we could do about it. It would have made it even worse if either of us had said: 'Do you know what darling, can you just forget it because I feel a bit awkward?'

Sometimes people are in the wrong and unfortunately you have to deal with it.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 08-May-13 17:44:08

How very awkward.

I'd definitely want a fuller and totally honest account from your DH as it does seem as though more has been said than you know about.

What does your DH think about the neighbour's daughters, has he perhaps moaned about them to someone else and its got back to your neighbours?

suburbophobe Wed 08-May-13 20:23:43

These are not real friends. Their dog attacked your husband twice and he got stroppy about it?


Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 20:55:45

DH is actually fully supportive of my decision to contact Sue (we've just been talking about it) he said that if we never manage to sort it out, at least Sue will have heard his version of events.

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 20:57:43

PS - I should add that this is not about backing down, it's about having a frank discussion in the hope that we can sort this out.

limitedperiodonly Wed 08-May-13 20:59:16

oh great. So it's all all right then. Problem solved. Next...

Petal02 Wed 08-May-13 21:02:52

No it is not all right - I'm hoping that Sue and I can actually get Jim and DH together, on their own, to sort this out. They are the only two people who know what really happened.

You know the way they say let kids sort their own battles?

You and Sue getting them together and all that will not end well.

Petal02 Thu 09-May-13 08:42:55

Yeah, I think you're right. Having slept on it (again), I'm just going to leave it. I think Sue and I are at the point where we're both backing our own husbands (understandably) but both wish to be cordial with each other. And that's probably the best position for the time being.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now