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Love thy neighbour; WIVES LOSE OUT TO WOMAN NEXT DOOR.

Byline: JANE RIDLEY

DIRTY Den's clandestine affair with his neighbour Kate in EastEnders, left, has been exposed with explosive results.

But it's not only in soaps that husbands run off with the woman next door.

Here, JANE RIDLEY meets three real-life wives whose neighbours caused heartache when they borrowed more than a cup of sugar.

He was always at her place

LISA Foulston, 23, a mother of two from Aberystwyth, Mid Wales, couldn't understand why husband, John, 23, was so distant during her pregnancy - and why he was spending far too much time at her neighbour's flat. She says...

JOHN and I met when I was just 18 and expecting my ex-partner's child. The father didn't want to know, but John was fantastic. He later adopted my baby, Niamh. He had a great personality and we moved into a new flat together.

I fell pregnant with our daughter Siobhan and John was delighted.

We got married when Siobhan was three months and that day was the happiest of my life. Our little girls looked so sweet dressed in bridesmaids' outfits.

Life settled into a routine, with John and I sharing the responsibilities. But that changed when we were introduced to Janine, 31, a friend of John's sister who lived in the neighbouring block of flats.

We became good friends. She even minded the girls when we went shopping or had a rare night out. Then John and I decided we wanted a third child. I conceived straight away and we were all excited.

But, as the weeks went by, John started going to the pub almost every night, once staying out until 5am. When I asked who he was with, he'd just shrug and say: "Friends." But he was actually at Janine's.

Next, he came home with a puppy which Janine had given him. I went mad, so it went back, giving him another excuse to go round there. He didn't seem the slightest bit interested in my pregnancy.

One night I got a text message from Janine saying he was drunk and had fallen asleep on her couch. John came home shamefaced the next morning, but said nothing had happened. My hormones were all over the place so I didn't know if it was all in my head.

However, after a week or so I got a phone call from Janine saying: "John isn't coming home. He's staying at my place from now on." I couldn't take it in. I begged him to stay but he just walked out the door.

I gave birth to our daughter, Shauna, in November, but there were complications and she died at just six weeks. Not only had I lost my husband, but also our baby. I was devastated.

I'd hear noisy sex sessions

MICHELLE Anten, 35, a trainee social worker from Stockport, Lancs, thought husband David, 36, was just being a good neighbour when he kept dashing over to help Karen next door. She says...

WHEN Dave and I moved into our new house with our two young sons, I thought we'd found my dream home. We got on well with our neighbours, Karen and Steve, who had five kids, and the children were always coming in and out of the two houses.

Karen and I would chat over the garden fence and we'd have a laugh and joke about the men in our lives. I liked Karen's company, but Dave wasn't so sure. She was brash and he said she was foul-mouthed.

Six years on, she and Steve split up, so Karen was left on her own. She'd come around for coffee, sitting at my kitchen table and sharing her woes.

One day she mentioned that her car needed fixing, so I suggested Dave had a look. He is a mechanic so at least he could save her some money.

Next, he did lots of little jobs around her house - changing the time on her clock or checking her washing machine. Before long, it seemed as if he was spending more time at Karen's than ours.

"If it's not one thing that needs fixing, it's another," Dave would moan. I tried not to mind because I knew Karen was going through a difficult time.

Then one day, when Dave was on his way to sort out yet another prob-lem, Karen poked her head out of her front door and shouted: "Hey, get your kit off!" I was a bit shocked but I just put it down to her larger-than-life personality. It looked like the old Karen was coming back.

After a while, Dave became distant. We'd have silly rows and he would never tell me what was wrong. One Friday night, after a particularly bad argument, he just walked out, saying he'd had enough. I didn't hear from him all weekend and was worried sick. On the Monday I had to nip home from work and, to my amazement, saw Dave coming out of Karen's house. I asked him what he was playing at and whether he'd been staying there.

But he just shrugged and said it was none of my business. He didn't come back that night, and, at the end of the week, picked up his stuff.

It was awful because the kids and I could hear him and Karen having noisy sex through the walls. It sounded staged and false, like a bad porn film. It was obviously for my benefit and it made me feel sick to think of them together.

The children didn't know what to think and it couldn't help but affect them. Dave and I are now divorced and, thankfully, he and Karen moved away a year ago.

I've managed to move on with my life and just accept what happened to us.

I've got a new man, Tony, and a fresh set of neighbours who are lovely. But I'll think twice before I get chatting over the garden fence again.

I hosed her washing

SUE Bond, 50, from Gillingham, Kent, an assistant manager at a cafe, knew her husband Bob got on well with the woman next door. But she didn't expect them to run off together. She says...

CLIFF and Sue moved next door in 1983 and we watched them walking up and down their drive, shifting their stuff. Bob remarked that the woman's figure was nice and I just laughed. "She's far too young for you," I joked.

The four of us got to know each other, always spending New Year's Eve round at our house, knocking back the sherry. It always seemed to be me talking to Cliff and Sue chatting to Bob but I never thought anything of it.

Sue became one of my best friends and I helped her get a job. Even though she was 10 years younger, we got on famously.

When Bob started behaving oddly not long after our 25th wedding anniversary, I confided in Sue that I was worried. He became quiet and withdrawn and kept saying he had late-night union meetings.

Sue's voice turned cold and she just said: "Oh, really?" It wasn't like her and I was puzzled. Then I noticed Bob would make any excuse to go out and chat to Sue over the fence. Once, I went out to join them but they fell silent as soon as they spotted me.

Eventually Bob said he wanted to leave me, but insisted there was no other woman. I was convinced he was lying. I'd see Sue walking up the path to her house. Then, a few minutes later, Bob would pull up in the car.

He eventually admitted he was seeing Sue when I promised not to rant and rave if he told me the truth. I went round to see Cliff, who already knew about it. He said: "There's nothing we can do. We just have to hope it runs its course."

The thought of my husband leaving was too much to bear and I fell into depression. I even suggested I shared him with Sue. But he left anyway. I refused to give Sue the satisfaction of having a stand-up row. It sounds daft, but I'd aim the garden hose at her washing sometimes. Once I saw a shadow passing by one of her windows. It was Bob, naked except for a towel. I felt sick.

Sue moved out and now lives in a flat with Bob in another part of town. Cliff has stayed and we say hello politely now and again. It's a strange situation.

I was admitted to hospital with a nervous breakdown. I even contemplated suicide.

Then, in 2002, I met my partner, Mick. I hate Sue for what she did but in many ways she did me a favour. Mick and I plan to marry as soon as his divorce comes through and I've never been happier.

CAPTION(S):

BETRAYAL: Lisa with her ex John and, right, today; MOVING ON: Michelle has a new man now; DASHED DREAM: David and Michelle's wedding day - but a house move brought disaster; SPLIT: Bob left Sue
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2004
Words:1509
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