Neigh­bour’s loud sex is an awk­ward prob­lem

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - EL­LIE Ad­vice Colum­nist Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­[email protected]­ or visit her web­site, el­liead­ Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q: My neigh­bour’s al­ways been kind and friendly to us. How­ever, I’m de­vel­op­ing a prob­lem with the loud sex he has with his girl­friend. The walls are very thin in our town­house com­plex and his girl­friend is very loud.

She of­ten screams. They some­times leave win­dows open too. This might be tol­er­a­ble for some, but I’m a 20-year-old univer­sity stu­dent liv­ing with my par­ents.

I have is­sues with anx­i­ety, and I’ve be­come so sen­si­tive to and trig­gered by noises from his house that I start to panic.

The last loud noise caused me to start cry­ing, over­heat­ing and shak­ing. I’m feel­ing that I have to write this neigh­bour a let­ter about the noise.

But I’m wor­ried about how he might re­act and that it’d be more em­bar­rass­ing.

I con­cede that it’s dif­fi­cult to reg­u­late such ac­tiv­ity in one's own prop­erty, and they’re never loud late at night, but I don’t be­lieve I can con­tinue to sit silently through this, with my men­tal health is­sues. Awk­ward Prob­lem

A: Start with what you can do your­self, to ease the level of sound. Earplugs may help (in­ex­pen­sive, easy to use as needed), as might a white noise sys­tem that masks un­wel­come noise (some avail­able from ap­prox­i­mately $30 to $80).

That way, you don’t have to have any awk­ward con­ver­sa­tion with your oth­er­wise help­ful neigh­bour.

Though I’m not blam­ing you for the ef­fects of his girl­friend’s screams, the in­creased level of your anx­i­ety re­ac­tion war­rants talk­ing to your doc­tor about it.

Should you feel that some­thing sim­ply must be said to the neigh­bour — es­pe­cially if the scream­ing and open win­dow con­tinue be­yond your tol­er­ance even with noise-- mask­ing aids — con­sider a sub­tle ap­proach:

When you see your neigh­bour, ask him gen­tly if ev­ery­thing’s OK be­cause you heard screams and won­dered if there’s any trou­ble … (if you can’t han­dle that ap­proach in per­son, you could write/email the same con­cern).

Lastly, there are noise by­laws in most mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. If you feel this ex­ceeds the lim­its al­lowed, you could com­plain to mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials as “a neigh­bour” and re­quest anonymity, say­ing you don’t want to ruin your oth­er­wise good re­la­tion­ship with that neigh­bour.

Reader’s com­men­tary re­gard­ing the friend’s worry about a new mother’s baby, since the oth­er­wise-good mom was drink­ing one or two al­co­holic drinks when­ever breast­feed­ing (Oct. 30):

“I’m a doc­tor. The study you quoted does raise some con­cerns with al­co­hol use and breast­feed­ing but one study does not have all of the an­swers to this ques­tion.

“Dr. Jack New­man, con­sid­ered an in­ter­na­tional breast­feed­ing ex­pert, has ex­cel­lent ad­vice and re­sources on his web­site: https://ib­con­­ter­nal-med­i­ca­tions/ about med­i­ca­tion and al­co­hol use while breast­feed­ing.

“Ev­ery mother can and should make their own in­formed de­ci­sions about al­co­hol and med­i­ca­tion use in breast­feed­ing with the help of qual­i­fied med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

“This new mother doesn’t need a friend ques­tion­ing her par­ent­ing de­ci­sions, un­less there are ob­vi­ous con­cerns around im­pair­ment and in­abil­ity to care for the in­fant or other chil­dren.

“As a new mother and ob­ste­tri­cian/gy­ne­col­o­gist, I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced this is­sue from all sides and hope that your read­ers will un­der­stand that there’s no clear an­swer to this ques­tion.

“But most cer­tainly this new mother doesn’t need her friend judg­ing her be­hav­iours that aren’t caus­ing any sig­nif­i­cant and im­me­di­ate dam­age to her in­fant.”

El­lie’s tip of the day

Neigh­bour­hood sex-noise is­sues can be ex­tra awk­ward to ad­dress, so start with what you can fix your­self.

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