I am a woman in my 50s, happily living a single life in a country town after quite a demanding few years. The growing problem is my new neighbour who lives in the semi next to mine (we share a party wall). This man is 70-ish, a retired professor, with a much younger wife and young daughter living (very conveniently) in a Baltic country, whom he seems rather reluctant to visit. He has been trying it on with me for some time now (inviting me for drinks, Saturday evening walks and swims) and I have managed to avoid his advances – but it’s starting to grate quite a bit.
In every other way he is an ideal neighbour, as he’s quiet and considerate, but I can’t shake him off. I don’t want to be brutal, nor to get too personal (I am capable of being assertive should this be required) – but short of inventing an alpha male partner, what would you suggest please?
To borrow a phrase from Nancy Reagan, just say no. No matter how many invitations he may proffer, or hints he may drop, just say no and keep saying it. Any chink of light and the problem will continue for even longer. Some people have very thick skins and don’t get the hint very easily. You will get to a point where you feel incredibly rude but worry not, he will take no offence.
If he does something nice for you, be it a gift or some help in the garden, do not say thank you. Pretend it didn’t happen. I know you will feel terrible about doing it, but a thank you note or even a smile will be seen as encouragement. Some people force you to be rude and that is why you must feel no guilt. He has put you in this position. A normal sensitive person would quickly pick up on and accept your lack of interest. This man is not that sort of person. It may take longer than you thought possible but eventually he will give up. At the very worst, he is 20 years older than you, so you will win this waiting game!
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