Somebody’s Watching Me

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Dear Dharma, 

I need your help!! My husband, son, and I have been living in the same house for the past 5 years and we’ve recently had a new neighbor move in.  She is a single woman in her mid-twenties, early thirties I would say… A really nice woman, as I have talked to her a few times in passing.

I’ve noticed the past month she has been walking around the house completely naked with all the windows and curtains open. The weather is getting warmer and I guess that’s why it hasn’t been an issue until now. I have a 12 year old son and he is noticing too. I’ve caught him staring out the window, clearly looking and practically drooling over the neighbor. I guess you could call her “The Girl Next Door”…

Call me a prude… but I don’t think it’s right of her to be displaying herself that way and for my son to be looking! I know she is in the “privacy” of her own home but it’s making me super uncomfortable. Any advice on this? Also, I guess now would be the time to have “the talk” with my son.

Thanks for your help!

Peeping Toms

Dear Peepers,

Interesting that your husband hasn’t noticed, hey?  Or is he just super smart and knows when to keep his mouth shut.  🙂

So your concern comes in the form of two questions, the first being is it okay for your neighbour to be “displaying” herself and the second is it okay for your son to be looking.

You acknowledge that she’s in the privacy of her own home, so on an intellectual level, you know she’s not actually doing anything wrong.  However, you also say she’s “displaying” herself…  by displaying, do you mean she’s pressing her naked butt up against the window for everyone to ogle, or do you mean she’s going about her routine and happens not to be wearing any clothes… because there’s a difference, non?

By using the words “displaying herself”, which sound disdainful and pissy all in the same moment, you are allowing your discomfort of the situation to ramp up the emotional level of what’s going on, so try to keep things in perspective – like, in the scope of the world, is this the very worst thing that could be happening?  Nope, you know it isn’t, so once you bring it down to the level it deserves, you will likely have an easier time addressing it.

She may be oblivious to the fact that she has an audience, so if you wanted, you could drop her an anonymous note letting her know that she may not be aware of how visible she is.  From there, whatever she decides to do is up to her.  If the curtains remain open, you’ll know she isn’t bothered by who sees what.

In regards to your son – is it right that he’s looking?  Well, it may not be “right” in the respectful sense of the word, but it sure is normal!  And yup, it might be time to have “the talk”…  Part of that chat can include a lesson in healthy social behaviour, and knowing when to turn a blind eye.  Explain to him that people have the right to do whatever they like inside their own homes as long as their actions aren’t hurting others.

Also, I’m a big fan of encouraging empathy, so maybe ask him how he would feel if he knew a stranger were peering into your house, watching you go about your daily business, be it clothed or unclothed.  Sometimes just the re-angling of the same picture can make all the difference as to how it’s viewed.

Dharma

 

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Categories: Advice, conflict, Neighbours

8 Comments

  • rockwell says:

    So is it wrong that my first thought was, “how is she going to clean that window”?

    Seriously, your husband is probably making the smart play by keeping quiet (“what, naked? Honey I never even noticed!”), and if your neighbour isn’t installing a brass pole and sound system, I am pretty sure she can do as she likes in her own house, with an expectation that her privacy should be respected.

    I’m pretty sure YOUR windows have curtains, if you are that bothered by it.

    • Dharma says:

      I agree, the husband knows for sure… 🙂

      And yes, the neighbour is entitled to do what she likes in her own home as long as no one is getting hurt…

      Living with your curtains closed seems like a drab way to live, so hopefully Peeper tries some of the other sugestions.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Naked and proud says:

    Jeez, people are so prudish in North America! She’s naked in her own home. So what! Why does a woman’s body make another woman uncomfortable??? And as for you son: He is 12! What do you think is going to happen by him seeing her? I hope he turns out to have less a stick up his behind than you.

    • Dharma says:

      So… if it was a naked man bopping around his house, are you saying that another man might not be uncomfortable seeing that on a regular basis? I’m not sure I think this is a gender issue, but maybe it is and I’m missing the point…

      Either way, thanks for the comment, Naked and Proud!

  • Stop peeping. says:

    Close YOUR curtains on that side of the house.

    • Dharma says:

      I think there may be an element of not wanting to change the way you live your life (with the curtains always closed) because of someone else’s behaviour, which I can appreciate…

  • Sticking up for hubby says:

    I cannot believe that the husband has been brought up a couple times in this post during the reply as well as comments. The writer only mentioned him in the intro and the advice request has nothing to do with him. So why stir the pot on an issue that might not even be there? Who the hell cares if he’s noticed the naked woman? Also the kid is 12…. nothing is going to “happen” but they do get curious at that age and need to know certain things. A talk is never a bad thing. Ugh disappointed….

    • Dharma says:

      The advice was addressed primarily to the LW and the situation. The husband was merely a comedic sidebar and not the focal point, except in your comment. Pretty sure no pot stirring occurred, but thanks for weighing in!

Do you agree with Dharma, or think she missed the mark on this one? Leave a Comment

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