How can I keep my neighbor from “coupling” our kids…and her kids with my husband?

By | July 26, 2022

I have a neighbor, we’ll call her K, who has 3 daughters (~8, 5, 3?). Before my son (11mo) was born, I would always notice that she makes remarks about her kids having “boyfriends” in the neighborhood, and sometimes making jokes about things they would do that, to me, seemed inappropriate. For example, her youngest daughter and a 2 year old neighbor boy were getting dressed for the pool and she saw his penis and made some kind of comment and K said “Curious about them already, huh!? Lol!” She calls that little boy her daughter’s “boyfriend” and she and the boy’s mom always get them to hug because they think it’s cute.

K also couples her daughters with men in the neighborhood by saying “E said you’re her boyfriend!” or “E, is that your boyfriend over there?” about GROWN MEN.

Recently, we saw them in the park and she made a comment about how my son is cute and got one of her daughters to say he’s cute. Then, she said “Tell M (my husband) he’s cute, too!” And the little girl didn’t want to, and K thought it was funny.

I like K and I know she just thinks it’s cute, but I absolutely do not. People used to do that to me when I was a kid and it led to a life of thinking I needed to have a boyfriend or a crush all the time. I don’t want my son growing up being told he’s someone’s boyfriend, and I feel sick to my stomach when K says things about the men in our neighborhood being her girls’ “boyfriends.”

Again, I know it’s a cutsie thing she’s trying to do (I’m not worried about the girls’ safety or anything) but I’m looking for advice on how to tell her I don’t want my family to involved in that kind of joking.

4 thoughts on “How can I keep my neighbor from “coupling” our kids…and her kids with my husband?

  1. dragonakai

    K seems like the kind of person who is in need of attention herself, and makes these comments because she gets it when she does; most people probably are squicked out by this on SOME level so they laugh it off without thinking it through.

    I doubt K has thought it through, either, and if she genuinely thinks it’s innocent and harmless, it’s not. It’s removing these kid’s agency to choose for themselves who they’d like to be with, and also why they’d like it, imho.

    What to do? Tell her it’s kind of creepy when she does it with little kids on little kids; but grown adults on kids is more than creepy; she’s saying your husband is a pedophile AND a cheater, right? Some peoples fun matchmaking is other people’s very real abusive situation excuse.

  2. Peloquin Post author

    The father/husband can speak up too. “Ugh, no, I am not your girlfriend. I already have a wife. And I am not comfortable arranging my boys sexual relationships. They can wait until they are older to make those decisions themselves.”

    Repeat ad nauseum.

    “Are you aware that you are implying that I am a pedophile?”

  3. quwerty

    It’s also dangerous. It can make young children easier prey for grooming and abuse when these lines get blurred in this way.

  4. henry

    I have a friend who constantly did this with her 2 daughters and my 2 sons. The “nope to young for a gf” comments from me didn’t work so I switched tactics. I would say, you’re setting those girls up for failure/being pregnant too young/boys taking advantage of them. I always said it with a smile and a bit of a laugh. It stopped almost immediately.

    I my experience the bf/gf talk is more prevalent with older generations and my friend definitely learned it from her parents. Breaking away from this kind of talk can be difficult when it’s heard your entire life.


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