DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife just passed away from ovarian cancer. She was only 48. She was my perfect life partner for 28 years and everything in the world to me. We shared every day together. I didn’t have any hobbies or guy friends; all I ever wanted was to be with her.
I’m not asking for help with grief, as there is no getting over what happened. But I became so emotionally dependent on her that I find myself like an addict in withdrawal. Because of this, I’m afraid I will appear to be desperate if I even talk to another woman. I need someone in my life. I just don’t know how to get from hollow to whole again.
Please help me figure out how to let someone know I would be a good and faithful partner without hanging a sign around my neck that says “Desperate!” — IN NEED OF SOMEONE
DEAR IN NEED: Allow me to offer my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved wife, but please don’t jump the gun. Before searching for another wife, it’s important you figure out the boundary between where you left off and your wife began.
While the closeness you shared was a special gift, I urge you to allow yourself time to heal from this great loss. By that, I am not implying that you should go into seclusion. Quite the contrary. But instead of searching for someone to fill the hole in your life, it would be healthier to start by looking for friends. Friends are easy to talk to, and from friendships deeper relationships develop.
Explore activities that interest you, whether they be sports-related, continuing your education, the arts, volunteer work. If you get stuck, ask for a referral to a grief support group or a therapist. You WILL get through this, but it will take time for the ache to subside. Have faith, accept it, go slow and you won’t regret it.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, “Jay,” has a 14-year-old daughter who has been home-schooling during the quarantine, and she refuses to put pants on. When we ask her to, she gets upset. She isn’t built like the average teenager. Abby, she’s 5’10” and weighs 200 pounds, so it’s like seeing a grown woman in her underwear.
I think it’s inappropriate for a young woman her age to be unwilling to dress herself fully, and I don’t like seeing her like that every time I go to their house. Jay doesn’t notice. He says it doesn’t bother him, and he doesn’t mind when I ask her to put shorts on. I don’t feel it’s my place at this point to dictate what she wears, but I’m uncomfortable. I don’t know if I’m crossing a line or if it’s normal to feel this way. Help! — DIDN’T THINK I WAS A PRUDE
DEAR DIDN’T: Your fiance is OK with his daughter’s attire in their home. If your engagement to Jay leads to marriage, you will be living there permanently, so your opinion should be respected. Someone has to have “the talk” with your fiance’s daughter about the fact she’s no longer a child; she has become a young woman. The person to do that is her father. The message would be better coming from him because you’re not her parent, and it may help you avoid being perceived as the “wicked stepmother-to-be.”
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)