Dear Abby: Should we date two months after our spouses died?

Longtime friends have been finding comfort in each other’s company but wonder if it’s too soon to explore a romantic relationship

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DEAR ABBY: A lady friend of mine I’ve known for more than 20 years and I recently lost our spouses to COVID in the same hospital, four rooms apart from each other. During the 2 1/2 weeks that our spouses were in the hospital, we visited, prayed for and offered comfort to each other, as well as after their passing.

Throughout the years, we had always had a slight attraction to each other, and we realize that it’s still there. We know each other’s flaws as well as good points. Keep in mind we were very much in love with our spouses, and we’re able to openly talk about them as well as grieve for them. We also find a great sense of comfort in each other’s company but, over time, our physical attraction has grown.

I’m 64 and she’s 57, and we’re both experienced in the game of life. My question is, it’s been only two months since our spouses died, so would it be wrong for us to start seeing each other on a romantic basis or is this too soon? Also, there’s the question of being judged by others. — NEW WIDOWER IN FLORIDA

DEAR NEW WIDOWER: Please allow me to offer my sympathy for your loss. You and this lady are not strangers. You are adults who have known each other for a long time. If the two of you have feelings for each other, there is nothing stopping you from exploring your relationship to see where it leads. Understand that this is a process that will take more time and should not be rushed. Please don’t allow your lives or your decisions to be ruled by what “others” might think.

DEAR ABBY: A couple we occasionally double-date with likes to meet for dinner. Usually, we both throw out a few suggestions, see what sounds good and go from there. Recently, though, my friend chooses the same restaurant and then announces they want to buy us dinner. The problem is, we don’t care for that restaurant as they only serve one type of food — soup. I think it’s her way of controlling the cost of the meal.

I have no problem with finding other, less expensive places to go that offer options so we can all be satisfied. When I suggest something different, she goes blank and can’t think of anything, and I can tell she doesn’t like my suggestions. I also do not want them to buy our dinner because I know finances are tight. My husband and I order appetizers for the table and we ask for them to be placed on our bill, and that seems to be OK.

How do we continue to double-date and not have the selection process create tension that spoils our night out? — NOT APPETIZING IN THE WEST

DEAR NOT APPETIZING: You can accomplish that by speaking up. Be honest with your friend. Tell her you don’t mind having dinner at the soup place once in a while, but you would prefer to go to a place that offers more variety. And while you are at it, tell her that although they are generous in wanting to pay for your meals, you and your husband prefer to either split the check 50/50 or alternate picking up the tab.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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