Neighborhood Romance Drama (long)

I returned yesterday from a weekend of camping with my son to a tale of my neighborhood gone horribly awry. The events will have an impact on my family, and I’m not exactly sure how to navigate this apparent minefield. So I’m turning to you respected Dopers for some advise. So without further ado, the story:

We have lived in the same neighborhood for about the last 15 years or so. We’ve gotten very close to our next door neighbors, an older couple (let’s call them family A), and have spent many holidays with them and their extended family. We consider them family, and they consider us family as well. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful people living next door to us. The wife of family A has a son, single, who has had a bit of a checkered past, but is trying to get his life together. He’s got some rough edges, but is a decent enough guy. His mother (wife A) looks out for him, and is interested in finding him a decent marriage minded girlfriend. Son A takes this in stride, and plays along. He lives by himself and certainly doesn’t rely on his mother to find him dates. He comes over a couple times a week to have dinner, do laundry, see his mom, etc…, and sometimes stops in at my house to have a beer.

Enter Neighbor B. Neighbor B moved in about 5 years ago. Neighbor B is a single mom with 3 kids. One of which has Downs Syndrome. Another of her children is best friends with my 12 year old daughter. Neighbor B has a tough life and gets a lot of help from her family in dealing with her kids. She doesn’t have a great job (grocery store cashier), but has been going to school to try to advance herself. She obviously doesn’t have many opportunities to date anyone with her schedule and responsibilities.

Son A has developed a casual relationship with Neighbor B over the past 6 months. Since he’s around a couple of times a week, Wife A has tried to encourage this. Wife A helps look after neighbor B’s children sometimes, and often has Neighbor B over for dinner, to chat, etc… .

Apparently Neighbor B has a new flame, but has not broken up with Son A. New Flame apparently confronted Son A over the weekend, which resulted in Son A going to get his baseball bat from his car to settle things. There was no fight apparently, but Son A has decided he’s done with the relationship. Wife A tried to talk to Neighbor B about what’s going on, which resulted in Neighbor B calling the police and filing harassment charges against Wife A and Son A.

Neighbor B has told her children that Wife A doesn’t want to be their friend any more, and has told my daughter that Son A doesn’t like her or her friends any more.

I had thought that Neighbor B was a hard working mom who was just trying to do well by her kids. Apparently she feels that it’s okay to use her kids (and mine as well) as pawns in this ridiculous game. Wife A’s agenda, looking for a mate for her son, should not include providing child care benefits to further a relationship. I want no part in this nonsense, but how the hell do I keep my kids from it?

My apologies if this is not as clear as I would like it to be; it’s rather involved. I’d be happy to clarify any part of it in the pursuit of clarity.

Thanks for sharing…it seems clear enough (the major plot points, anyway, but not the motivations of some of the principal characters.)

I wish I could think of something to say to help you, but I think what you’ve done so far is best: stay out of that mess. You probably aren’t going to succeed at entirely shielding your kids from it all; I’m sorry that you’re caught in the middle. :frowning:

Maybe it’ll all blow over in a couple of weeks/months if people stay calm about it.

Son A and Neighbor B are probably through, but then, who knows. Stranger things have happened.


How much ‘breaking up’ was there to do? Why should there be any? A woman can have two male friends.

If there was sex involved, how can you be certain Neighbor B did not break up with Son A? Some men don’t take, ‘I don’t want to see you any more’ seriously without a court-order.

That sounds like an age-appropriate description of the situation to me, and not at all like she’s dragging your kids into it.

There is nothing you can do other than stay out of it. Assuming you have relayed all you know about this vignette, you don’t have enough information about the specifics of the confrontation between Son A and the new boyfriend to make a judgement as to the right and wrong of how things went down, and even if you did it still wouldn’t matter.

It sounds like a messy Jerry Springeresque triangle you and your family should want no part of. Family A and Neighbor B need to sort this thing out themselves. There is no upside in any way, shape, or form in these situations in dipping your toe into this scrum, regardless of supportive you may want to be.