AIBU to not tell this woman about the state of my marriage/divorce?(55 Posts)
I live a couple of doors down from an elderly woman who I bump into fairly routinely. She's always been pleasant enough to me and is lovely to my DD and has given her various presents etc, and although she whinges a lot about almost everything I'm quite happy to speak to her.
My H and I separated a couple of years ago, he moved out and we are getting divorced. He's still fairly involved in my DD's life and is at the house fairly regularly for childcare-related reasons (I work FT and he does various pick-ups and drop-offs), so I can imagine there may be times when we could appear to be a couple.
Every time I see her she talks about him in a roundabout way about him which is clearly designed to elicit information about whether or not we're still together. Sometimes she describes him as "your" (exDH) in a way which I feel is an attempt to get me to clarify, and she will say things like "he's obviously a very hands-on dad". Other times she will moan about her own marriage and say she wishes she'd "done what you did years ago."
Last time but one I saw her she started talking about another couple she knew who had separated and said it was a shame they weren't able to open up to the rest of the "community" and get the support they needed. It felt like a dig.
All of this is delivered in front of my DD as I'm always with her when I see this woman. I have no wish to discuss my marriage with her as I don't know her and don't want her gossiping to other neighbours about it. I certainly don't want to talk about it in front of my DD. I don't want to be rude to her and tell her to butt out as she's clearly lonely and trying to have a bit of a gossip. But it's got to the stage where I dread bumping into her.
Am I really being that un-neighbourly in refusing to talk to next door about this? I am starting to feel resentful about being put on the spot all the time about it.
She sounds like a genuine friendly neighbor who just wants to know so she can offer support and not put her foot in it. I can't see why you wouldn't let her know? Just say "yeah we separated but on good terms" if she asks for more details say you don't respect want to talk about it. Why's it such a big secret?
I think YABU. What's the big deal telling her you're getting divorced, is it meant to be a secret! You know her well enough to accept presents from.
God, she sounds nosy! It's none of her business and she knows it, which is why she keeps pushing you. Tell her to bugger off!
I'm just not comfortable sharing things like that with people I hardly know - its none of their business. She isn't a close friend and doesn't need to know, she's just gossiping.
I also think its one thing to ask me when I'm alone but asking me in front of my DD is putting me in a very difficult position as it inevitably leads to discussion about why the marriage broke down/impact on the child which at best is uncomfortable for me and at worst upsetting for my DD.
She sounds very nosy.
"Why do you ask?" or "Why do you need to know?" are also good staple comebacks to nosy questions.
I’m confused also as to why you wish to keep it a secret. What’s the big deal with people knowing your separated and getting divorced?
I also don’t know why you don’t want to talk about it in front of your daughter, surely she knows you’re separated and it’s a simple statement, along with “yes he’s very hands in and loves Dd very much”
It's not that I want to keep it a secret, I just want to be in control of when I do and don't talk about it and with whom. And I want to decide how the topic is raised in front of my daughter and not be bounced into it by someone I don't know very well.
I also find the fact that she keeps probing weird. If I asked someone a leading question and was gently put back in my box I would back off. I was very clearly sending out a signal that I wasn't prepared to discuss this with her and she has kept pushing me on it which I think is verging on being rude.
But maybe I'm unusually private.
And yet, here it all is, on the internet?
So - ok to share with 6 billion, not ok to share with friendly neighbour.
Funny old world.
Op, in two years you’ve not been able to tell your neighbour you’ve split up. Could it be more about your feelings about the divorce, of course you don’t need to talk about it, but it’s unusual for this length of time not to want to tell a neighbour you see regularly.
Onalong....the OP is clearly not known on MN as she is in real life. There are things that I would admit here that I wouldn’t want plastered around my neighbours!
Agree, I don’t see how this is on the Internet for six million people, where is that number from and she’s is completely anonymous.
I can't see why you are keeping the fact you have separated a secret. In fact I think it could be a bit confusing for your DD if she sees it as something that must not be talked about and kept a secret. I could see why you wouldn't want to go into the ins and outs of why you've split up. But that wouldn't be necessary anyway. YABU.
God, can we stop fetishising neighbours as though it's one of the most important relationships in your life?! Living next door or nearby does not mean you'll be friends and it doesn't mean that you owe them any details about your life. The whole thing makes my skin crawl.
I totally agree you do not owe her any explanation. Try to avoid her, others probably do.
onalong you seem to be missing the point about MN chat which is that you are -- or should be - anonymous.
Bluntness I do find discussing things like this with people very difficult, its true -- I tend to think that people will judge me for things like this -- it took me nearly six months to tell my dad that we had split up.
But I do also think there's a separate point here which is that you don't have an automatic right to know these details about people's lives. If I want to keep my private life a secret from my neighbours I am entitled to do that. They are people I am friendly-ish with but they are not friends and I think I am perfectly within my rights not to want to talk about personal and potentially difficult and emotional things with people who I hardly know, just because I live in close proximity to them. But judging by this thread maybe my reaction is unusual.
I think the fact you can't just say it, means she thinks their is some big secret.
Confused as to why you can't discuss it in front of your daughter. Surely children learn what to say in public from what you say in public?
Op of course you’re right, you don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to and if you’d rather she didn’t know then don’t tell her.💐
As for the difficulty in discussing it, have you had any councilling to help you through the break up? There is no stigma attached to divorce, there is nothing to judge. Honestly. They are more likely to judge the fact you may be hiding it than the fact your relationship ended.
viviennemary, gosh I have and do discuss it in front of my DD - I have talked about it with her as and when she's asked about it and been as open as I can for her age without upsetting her.
I just would like to do this on mine and my ex's terms, not on those of a random busybody who is clearly more motivated by nosiness than anything else. I also don't feel its great for a child to be put in a position of having to hear about the reasons your parents' marriage failed.
She probably know already and thinks your the weird one for not saying anything!!
bluntness I have had counselling -- I was the one who initiated the breakup and while I would be lying if I said it was all roses and sunshine it hasn't been too bad as breakups go and I'm now in quite a good place. It's not like I'm devastated or heartbroken.
It's more to do with awkwardness/squeamishness about talking about these things than trauma or being upset, I think. I always feel discussing things like this with people makes me very vulnerable.
You aren't being unneighbourly, your divorce is none of anyone else's business. Stop feeling bad about that FGS, you aren't there for her amusement. There will be be no comeback , you're worried about that - you haven't done anything wrong, remember.
I don't think you are being unreasonable, OP. As you say, she is not picking up on your hints that you don't wish to discuss it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to keep your private life private. Other people may like to more open but that's up to them. We should all respect each other's wishes on how much we want to share about our lives. And I'm sure you have discussed it with the only people you need to -- your DD and your exH! I would say don't be pushed into giving details you don't feel comfortable giving.
If some random stranger kept pushing themselves unwanted and uninvited into my life in search of gossip, I wouldn't even tell them my favourite colour, let alone intimate details of my personal life.
The woman clearly has no respect for boundaries.
It is interesting to see the responses on here which are quite polarised though. It makes me think maybe I'm more repressed than I think I am!
I wonder if it's a city/country thing. I've generally lived in cities and while I've had good relationships with some my neighbours I've never really bought into this whole idea that you need to be mates with them.
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