Is It Wrong of Me to Tell My Husband to Keep Our Private Patio Private?

Updated on April 04, 2018
A.D. asks from Miami, FL
22 answers

This is my first time using a site like this, but I want to hear opinions. Honest opinions. We bought a house five months ago. We have two children 1 and 4 years old. Our neighbors have a 2 year old and they are expecting their second. We get along with our neighbors, and our children play, we had a couple of dinners together, but I do like to hang out with people in small doses. My husband on the other hand would like to have every single door open so they can have access to our house 24/7 (not really, but he is very welcoming and cannot ever say no to outside people). The next door couple, specially the wife, likes to hang out a lot and just drop by anytime. I work full time and go to school full time. I am extremely busy, but I am friendly and nice. I have communicated to my next door neighbors about my schedule so they know I am a busy mom. Last weekend, my neighbor (the wife) texted me: "I was wondering why your garage door has been shut" I did not like the text, but I did not text back, I called instead, simply because I know people interpret text messages the wrong way and I did not want to sound rude. I told her to please not to take it personal if I shut my garage door, but I sometimes need to stay in with my kids, plus I am busy etc. (don't know why I was even explaining this to her as it is my house and I can do whatever I want in my house) she then told me that I did not have to explain (so why on earth are you texting me that!) Anyhow, after the text incident I have been a bit distant because I feel that if I let them in a little too much, they can just assume it is ok to show up any time they want. I simply want to get along without overwhelming each other.

This is the issue: the house has two fences, which separates us from both neighbors - one on each side. The problem is that the wooded fences have access doors that you can permanently lock or not. My husband, without running it by me, opened this access door so now they can jump into my backyard or we can jump into their backyard (obviously I would never jump into theirs). I got home from work one night and found the door wide open and my husband talking with the neighbor (the wife), and the kids running back and forth. I totally disagree with this. I communicated this to my husband, but he does not seem to care. My neighbor finally crossed over my patio to grab her daughter and I told her that the door should be kept closed – anyone heard the saying “good fences make good neighbors” HELLO! she then replied, "well, your husband and I discussed and I wasn't sure etc." so I told her that I was not happy I was left out of "their meeting regarding the access door", now I know this interaction/exchange was not ideal with a neighbor, but she has been texting my husband a lot, even more than me(one time she texted my husband how come he was home on a day he was supposed to be at work and asked if "he was sick or something" (none of her business) – btw I am not worry about cheating etc. trust me! That is not the issue at al – she is just to a bit intrusive I guess, I don't even know what word to use to describe her.

This is another example of her weird text habit - After two months of living in my new house I went out with my two kids to run a quick errand, well I got a text from my neighbor (the wife) "maybe you should give me a key, your dog has been barking all morning - sounds like he's upstairs? maybe the rain is scaring him" I did not even address her request for my house key, I simply said: "thanks for letting me know - my dog is very dramatic and I am on my way home" the end. Why would you request a key to my house like that? no comments!

There are obviously big differences between my husband’s ideal relationship with our neighbors and mine, and that is something I need to address with him. I also told my husband they are welcome through the garage door or the front door, I never said they were not welcome, but not the backyard door, which has a giant glass door with a view to my entire house.
My husband told me I was an antisocial, and that I was overeating.

Please give me your honest opinion about this – do you think having access like that crosses the line, or should I let it go. By now, the neighbor probably hates me, but my needs/preferences are my priority and my house is my castle and my sanctuary whether she likes it or not!

By the way, my husband works full time as well so we both are really busy people.

What do you think?

Thank you all.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

For starters.. I don't think you should "tell" your husband to do anything just like he should not "tell" you what to do. You are partners in a marriage... not parents of each other. So, you should work on improving your communication skills with each other.

In my opinion, your neighbor has no boundaries. I used to have neighbor like this.. he walked in my house once without knocking, has come inside my yard where he almost got hit in the head by me with a shovel because I heard the iron fence close ,it was dark enough to not see well and I had a shovel ready to blow him to the head. He NEVER did that again.

Just because there may be access with no lock is not an open invitation to my yard.

Since my husband died in 2015, I have locked my gates which are all iron. There is NO access to my back yard without me unlocking a gate. I like it this way.

While your new neighbor wants to be friends, which is ok... she just needs to learn boundaries. I am friends with some neighbors but we have a mutual respect of each other's time and I would never consider walking in to someone's house or yard without an invitation to do so.

I do not think it makes you antisocial. It is perfectly normal to want time with YOUR family and YOUR children. You are not saying the neighbor can never come over, you simply want mutual boundaries.

ALL of this starts with you and your husband communicating with each other and having a plan which is mutual between the 2 of you. Of course you can compromise for things here and there but personally, if I came home from work, had not seen my children... I would be a bit put off with neighbors already at my house ready to socialize.

You husband needs to respect your schedule over the neighbor's schedule.

Hopefully you can come to a mutual understanding with all involved.

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M.6.

answers from New York on

First, I think that you need to make sure not to take out what is going on, on the neighbor. From her standpoint, she is getting really mixed messages between hubby: come on over!, and you: stay away (I'm oversimplifying, but you get the drift). Not really fair to throw her under the bus.

Second, reaching some kind of compromise with hubby about personal boundaries/expectations is in order. Discuss what you think the boundaries should be, but listen with an open mind about his as well. If he is the "inviter" of all neighbors, then maybe he needs to make sure that only happens when he is home and available to entertain. At a minimum, I'd make sure that the connector door is always locked unless both parents are home on both sides of the fence and have agreed to open it - to minimize any liability issues.

Third, I guess if I was the neighbor, I'd want to hear some honesty about this. I'd love to have a neighbor come over and just lay out expectations regarding crossing yards, kids playing together, notifying of personal family time, etc. What a great way to start off what is likely to be a long term relationship - honesty!

Fourth, I think I'd address with my husband the texting. I know that it isn't about cheating, and maybe this is generational, but I'd be really uncomfortable with that kind of easy reaching out. I don't have a single neighbor, married or unmarried, that is female that would ever text my husband without a courtesy text to me first. Everyone on this block (and some of the next one over) has each other's numbers or are friend's on Facebook. If my neighbor across the street needs my husband's help with something, she always texts ME first "hey, if Joe is around and you aren't using him for anything important, would you mind if he gives me a hand, the garage door is stuck again and hubby is out of town for the day." It is just the courteous thing to do in my opinion.

Good luck!

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

I feel bad for your neighbor because she's getting caught in the middle of things between you and your hubby. Not her fault that she wants the kids to play together and your hubby is fine with that. But you two should be agreeing on some ground rules that each of you can abide by concerning this neighbor and then clue her in on things.

Personally I wouldn't want that access gate left unlocked. If their child came into your yard and got into something and injured you would be on the hook for it even if you weren't there.

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

I'm a bit of an introvert-- I'm so busy with work and kid things that when I get home I really want some time to myself. It's what I need to recharge. I can and am social with neighbors, but I'd be content living in the middle of the country with no neighbors.

My husband is exactly the opposite. He is a huge extrovert and will ride his bike around the neighborhood just to stop and talk to people. I finally realized that this is what he needs to do to recharge. Without that social interaction, he feels completely depleted.

So we had to learn to compromise. I don't stop him from interacting with neighbors, but he knows not to try to pull me into the conversation. He doesn't bring them into the house unless he's talk to me privately first. And I just stay inside on the other side of the house if I'm outside and don't feel like socializing.

I think you need to find the same type of compromise with your husband. It's not completely black and white, and you need to look for a solution that will accommodate the needs of both of you. I think that your neighbor is really pushy, you and your husband needs to help you set some boundaries.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

i used to live in a neighborhood with no fences, where the kids just ran in a wolfpack all over and we all watched them. it was pretty idyllic and drama stayed low.
one neighbor whom i loved and still miss was sort of like your situation- we were in each other's kitchens randomly to borrow things and our kids considered each of our houses to be second homes.
but even as close as we were we never actually just barged in without calling (this was before texting.)
i think you're perfectly within your rights to keep your household sacrosanct, and your husband is being disrespectful of you to insist that it be a revolving door.
but surely this is an easy compromise. why not keep the doors closed when you need some breathing space, but open them if you are okay with some social activity? it's actually a lovely subtle way to indicate that you're okay with a coffee visit or for the kids to play, without having to issue an explicit invitation.
the only real problem i see is you taking the matter up with your neighbor when you haven't ironed it out with your husband yet. how can you expect her to know the rules when you and your husband are sending mixed messages?
have a calm non-accusatory powwow with your dh. i'm sure you can accommodate both his gregariousness and your need for privacy.
khairete
S.

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S.L.

answers from Denver on

I'm with you on this one. I have to have my privacy and we will be building a privacy wall around our patio this summer. There is a fence, but we live on a hill and our neighbors can see everything from their back yard to our back yard and patio.
We used to have a "come on over" relationship with our across the street neighbors (with their kids and my dd), but it just got too hard for me to have them over all the time. Eventually, my dd stopped hanging out with them because one of the kids started being mean to her. It's been much more serene without them over all the time.
As some others have said, I think the first discussion is with your dh. There are plenty of people to socialize with...it doesn't have to be neighbors intruding on your alone time.
I would definitely lock the fence...as others have said, there could be small children unsupervised and you could be liable if something happens. If everyone is outside and it's a mutual get together that's different.
If the neighbor starts to strike up a conversation...you could just tell her, oh, sorry I can't talk right now I have to study etc. etc. Eventually, she'll get the picture.
Your dh has a responsibility to you, not the neighbors. If he makes remarks about being antisocial or overeating...that seems like a whole separate conversation...about respect. It sounds like he's more of an extrovert...maybe you could agree to socialize with other people from time to time.
Neighbors that get too close usually have some kind of blow out. We rarely talk to our across the street neighbors now.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

As others have said, the biggest problem is that you and your husband are not on the same page. He's more social, you're more of an introvert. So some middle ground needs to be found. Do you feel that the workload is evenly distributed between the 2 of you? I'm just wondering if there is some lingering resentment that he is out socializing while you are studying, doing laundry, and getting dinner on the table. So make sure that is all worked out between the 2 of you.

Yes, the neighbor is getting mixed messages. She wants to check with you (woman to woman, which is kind of sexist in terms of women running the house) but it could be because she senses you are more hesitant. I don't know what she meant by the garage door being shut, and I think you did the right thing by calling rather than texting back due to misinterpretation. Two thoughts: 1) you don't have to answer every text immediately and you can say later, "Oh I'm sorry. I was busy with a class research project/kids in the tub/my phone was charging (pick one) and I didn't see it." 2) Next time, call her and say, "You had a question about my garage door, I gather. What's your question?" So let her explain her inquiry while you think of an answer. And it's okay to pause and let someone keep talking. Then you can answer, "I didn't even think to open the garage door as I didn't think it would bother anyone if it were shut." I wouldn't want neighbor kids in there with power tools or garden shears, and she shouldn't either. We also get squirrels and skunks roaming around and I don't want them in there either.

Next, if your husband and she are talking over the back fence, then I think it's fine for the kids to run back and forth if both adults are supervising. Leaving it unlatched all the time? No way. I wouldn't want a 2 year old in my yard if I wasn't there, and I wouldn't want my 2 kids running next door without my knowledge. So, if questioned, you can just say that you want to know where YOUR kids are and not have them make a nuisance of themselves by running around to the neighbors' houses (make it plural so it's not about her) without asking your permission. But get your husband on board with this from the get-go. Compromise - if he's there, the kids can run around with the open gate, but there's no open crossing when you're not there. You want your kids to learn to ask politely of the neighbor if her little Billy can come out and play, and that means going to her front door (or side door, whatever door she designates) just as you designate your front door. Tell your husband you don't want just anyone showing up at the glass doors if you're in your bathrobe or not in the mood. People can learn to call or ring the doorbell - which is teaching kids manners.

I'd imagine that, once her baby comes, she'll be tied up. But you want to set things straight now so that she doesn't send the 2 year old over every time the baby is napping!

If he wants to text her and vice versa and you're okay with it, fine. If he's making family decisions without consulting you, that's not okay. I had a bunch of texts with a neighbor man re sharing tools and my husband couldn't care less about being involved. But if your husband is making decisions that affect you, that's on him.

I do think you could lose a little of your edge (as in what business it is of hers if your door is closed) - you're not wrong, but make sure your disagreement with your husband isn't spilling over and becoming her problem. She doesn't know who to go to right now - although I do think you're right about her expectations of boundaries being very different than yours. If you can state your needs positively, it will make things easier. Just say you want to be prepared for visitors so you can be hospitable rather than hassled with your school projects and kids' baths. And make sure, if one family is watching the other's kids, that they really are watching them, and not just sending them home without the other parent knowing they are coming home! Make it about safety, not just protocol, and you'll do fine with her. (I hope!)

But again, start with hubby who needs to cut you some slack.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

welcome to mamapedia, A.

You and your husband have TOTALLY different social skills and boundaries.

While I'm social and enjoy our neighbors, I do NOT leave my doors and gates open for entrance. Why? Because **IF** a robbery happens and we have left our doors open? It's called "open invitation" and insurance won't cover lost/stolen items as you invited them into your home. You really need to read your home owners insurance to see what they say.

You and your husband need to learn how to communicate. You're each dictating what the other can and can't do and NOT talking WITH each other. HUGE difference.

You want privacy. Totally get that and totally understand that. Your husband? Not so much.

Your neighbor is caught in the cross hairs of you and your husband and that needs to stop. NOW. You need to have a candid conversation with her - tell her upfront - you are caught in the middle of a difference of opinion with my husband and myself. I need and covet my privacy. I don't like people showing up anytime THEY feel like it. You can send me a text or call me and ask if we're available - then we can arrange something. this is what **I** want. My husband? He is different. I need space and privacy. I love social interaction - but when I get home from work or school, I need down time.

You and your husband need to get on the same page. He needs to respect your wishes for privacy. You need to understand his opinion on "open range"

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

This is between you and your husband.
You might need some marriage counseling so you can get on the same page regarding socializing and private time.
If Hubby has so much time for socializing and you have so little - maybe he should take on some more of what ever needs doing.
Some info on liability if the neighbors get hurt while wandering on your property might be a good read for him too.
Your neighbors are pushy - but your husband is encouraging them.

I might daydream about packing up what I need, taking the kids and planting my behind on the neighbors couch for all day several days in a row just to see how long they keep their door open to me - but it could backfire and they might actually like that.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Sounds like your husband is friendly and would like to have a comfortable friendship with the neighbors, something that seems to come easily for him while you seem to have a more difficult time with it and want to restrict him as well. That does not really sound entirely fair. I doubt the idea was that the fence would be open all the time, but if your husband wants to open it and let the kids play while he visits with the neighbor I don't see why that should be an issue, and clearly neither does your husband. Yes it is your house, but it is also his house. Sounds like you two need to find a compromise that works for you both allowing him to remain open and friendly while still letting you feel comfortable and private.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

I think you need to examine the schedule of your day versus your husband's day. You mention that you work full time and go to school full time. So...is your husband a stay at home dad?

I think there are possibly some "gender dynamics" going on here. If your husband worked all day and you were home with the neighbor's wife and neighbor's kids in the yard, that would not seem weird at all...and I doubt you would expect to ask your husband for permission to do that!

Maybe you want to have all the benefits of being the stereotypical "lady of the house" and "chief caretaker", while also working full time and going to school full time?

I think you need to work with your husband on finding a parenting balance. And try to find respect for his "parenting style", even if it involves more time with the neighbors than your parenting style might have.

(And, like you said, this does not seem to be about "cheating" at all - the neighbor's wife is just the person who is at home as much as your husband is.)

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Your husband is wrong for not respecting your need for privacy, and the fact that you are tired and probably need time to study, not entertain your neighbor. What is so unreasonable about having someone knock, call, or text before coming over? I think that would be a good balance, because you can then say no, or if possible, say yes, so not only would you have privacy when needed, but you could also be hospitable if you have the time and energy for it. He can also tell her she can come by only to the backyard area and only during certain hours when he is home, if he is wanting to entertain her and the kids, and leave you out of it if you're drained or busy with household chores or studying.

I find it creepy that your husband wants to allow them free access into your home and is making you feel bad about disagreeing with his choices, and wanting to impose them on you. It's not fair, and is very much an invasion of your privacy and a lack of consideration for your needs. He is free to go over to their house and socialize, right? Why can't he just do that without making you agree to open all doors and allow full access to your home? Plus, it seems dangerous. You don't know who can be wandering in if you leave all doors open. Sure, it can be her today, but tomorrow, a laborer or someone passing by can see that all your doors are open and come to steal while you're in the shower.

Your husband, and the neighbor, would drive me NUTS! I guess this is why I cannot date extroverts and feel comfortable with their intense need to be around people constantly, and force others to conform. I don't need people showing up at my home unannounced or watching my every move, asking why I didn't go to work or asking why my door is locked...wth? It's YOUR home, you can lock your doors if you please. That sounds stalkerish, and beyond creepy. Assuming she's just a nurturing mother type, she could leave a dish with cookies on the front door with a note mentioning that she made cookies and leave it at that. I have texted neighbors before, but only about issues, or concerns regarding the property or other neighbors/association, and also when we evacuated for the hurricane just to make sure they were okay and viceversa. I never blew up their phone daily. I never walked into their condo uninvited, nor they to mine, either.

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A.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello, I agree with you, you don't mind company sometimes but there are time when you just want to chill. You are handling it really well, you are as kind as you can be, but it seem like she isn't getting it. Why would you give someone the key to your house. That don't make sense

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I think you and your husband need to communicate better with each other and really work this out and come to an agreement (instead of you telling the neighbor woman the door should be kept closed). Work this out between the two of you. Explain to him that he is an extrovert and you are a bit of an introvert and neither way is wrong. See if you two can come up with a compromise. If it were me I would bring the neighbor some cookies and say I'm sorry if I was coming across as unfriendly. I really do like you guys and love having you as neighbors. My problem is I'm a bit of an introvert so I need some down time sometimes, but I also like seeing you guys and hanging out sometimes. I know...I'm impossible. Then tell her what you and your husband decided. For example...decide to keep the door closed except on Saturday afternoons when you both are home (or whatever). Ask her if that sounds good to her too.You are not wrong. You just need more privacy than everyone else does. But it's very important to be friendly with the neighbors and to be kind and to help each other out when needed...so don't burn any bridges! Try to make the time every other month or so to do chat with them or hang out for a bit.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

There is absolutely nothing wrong with your wishes. It's perfectly ok to want a certain amount or privacy. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with liking things the way your husband does. He enjoys the open access and being able easy go into each other's yards. There's nothing right or wrong about either opinion! That's not the problem. The problem is that at least one of you is not happy about the situation, and you need to find a way for both of you to be happy and that will mean compromise.

Give yourself some time to think about ways that you could both be happy. Would you be ok with the door being open during certain hours of the day? Or just on the weekends? Or maybe when you're at work or school and your husband is home with the kids? Just think about it it. I think you've just hit on an area where you and your husband have very different personalities, and that happens to all couples from time to time. You can find a way for both of you to be happy. It just might take a little creativity.

Is your neighbor by chance a SAHM? I just wonder if maybe she is home a lot and notices things. When I was a SAHM, I was busy with the kids and the housework, but I was also a bit board and sometimes lonely. It's possible that she enjoys your friendship and your husband's friendship and sometimes looks to see if your home so that she can have another adult to talk to. She may have texted, in part, because she was looking to see if you were free.

Compromise. Find a way for both of you to be happy.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I think there are a few issues here.

One is you need a code/cue for when you need to have her/kids leave - and just have family/alone time. We do in our family. I would say our code to our kids and they knew it was time for their neighbor friends to go home for example. There's no awkwardness. Decide on this ahead of time. Ours was "Kids can just come in and help me get supper ready?"

As for how 'familiar' you want to be with neighbors (or anyone for that matter) - such as having keys to your house, access to your house, yard, texting husband, etc. that's a big conversation you need to have with your husband. It's not about telling your spouse - it's about communication and conversation.

My husband and I went to a counselor early on in our marriage because my in laws were doing what your neighbor was - showing up unannounced, etc. and my husband wasn't sure how to say no without appearing rude. I grew up with strong boundaries - his family didn't.

We worked on being united as a couple and having couple boundaries. We've had strong ones ever since - it was really worthwhile. To this day, we continuously discuss how we will deal with certain situations as new ones come up.

Say I feel and I would prefer ... rather than Don't do this and Don't do that ...(i.e. don't TELL).

I think it would go over better.

As for your neighbor, no explanations necessary. A simple "No thank you" to invites when you don't want to .. or "Thanks but another time" or "Sorry, that doesn't work for me" is all you need to do. If she doesn't get the hint - that's her problem. I don't think explaining boundaries is necessary. Honestly - that's too involved. This is a neighbor. I just think that's too personal and too familiar - and the point is, you don't want this level of involvement to begin with.

Hope that helps :)

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S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

The issue isn't really between you and the neighbour, it is between you and your husband. You and your husband need to set ground rules together that you can both live with, and clearly communicate them to the neighbour.

I get where your husband and your neighbour are coming from. We have removed the fence between our house and our neighbours house so that we can be closer. We have keys to one another's houses so we can look after each other house when we go on vacation. We do each other favours, we lend and borrow tools, appliances etc. We look after each others kids. We are closer to our neighbours than we are to our families. I can't tell you how valuable it is having good, close neighbours.

It is fair to tell your neighbour that you need alone time to recharge. My husband is a bit like you, antisocial, and our neighbours know that and understand if he wants to hide in the basement while the neighbours, kids and I enjoy each others company. Maybe when you are feeling overwhelmed you could ask her to watch your kids while you retreat to your "sanctuary"?

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K.H.

answers from Richmond on

Your husband and your neighbor are probably having an affair ,at least it sounds that way to me,invite little miss hotpants over ...but only if her husband comes with her,if she balks at this,then you know she is probably guilty..your husband is enjoying her attention too much for it to be a figment of your imagination

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A.L.

answers from Jamestown on

#1 DON'T LET THE " WIFE " ALONE WITH YOUR HUSBAND.

" The next door couple, specially the wife, likes to hang out a lot and just drop by anytime. I work full time and go to school full time. I am extremely busy, but I am friendly and nice. "WHAT?!!!!I IS YOUR HUSBAND ALONE WITH HER? EVEN IF YOU TRUST HIM, HE IS DISRESPECTING YOU AND SHE IS DISRESPECTING YOU. AFFAIRS START EMOTIONALLY AND " INNOCENTLY " AND MARRIED WOMEN DO CHEAT ON THEIR HUSBANDS WITH MARRIED MEN. EVEN IF YOUR HUSBAND IS TRUSTWORTHY THIS IS DISRESPECTING YOU.

BOUNDARIES!

#2 YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND TO DECIDE IF YOU WANT PRIVATE PORCH FOR YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND AND YOUR FAMILY. TELL YOUR HUSBAND YOUR BOUNDARIES RESPECTFULLY.

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T.D.

answers from New York on

I think your husband is out of line. You need to talk to him about this and come to an agreement. My husband is private and like a to keep the curtains drawn and the yard fenced with privacy fence. I like to let the sunshine in.
No neighbor of mine past nor present has ever had A key and never will they. Never has a neighbor been in my yard without an invitation, except the one night that my dog was loose and she put doggo back in fence and barricaded the opening.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you are out of line. If your husband wants to be social and chat with the neighbors whether it's through a door that he opened or whatever then he's an adult and can visit with whomever he wants.

If you and he have private plans then I would expect him to not go open the door and chat with the neighbors but he's a person who has the right to talk to anyone that he wants to talk to.

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T.M.

answers from Las Vegas on

I totally understand your dilemma. My husband, at times, sees no one as a stranger and will let the craziest people in to my "sanctuary".
At times I'm envious of his ability to be so kind to everyone and me wanting my "space".
I, honestly, would not trust a lonely, female neighbor with access to my yard. She should be talking to you and not your husband. Where is her husband in all of this?
Your husband needs to respect the fact that you are not wanting spontaneous visitors and that you prefer a call first in order to decide whether or not you want company.
Basically, this is about you and your husband communicating and him respecting your wishes.
It's always much better to get along with neighbors, so try not to ruin that relationship. She sounds needy and bored.

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