Neighbour’s loud sex is an awkward problem
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://ibconline.ca/maternal-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.