DEAR ABBY: I am a widower. I lost my wonderful wife of 35 years to heart disease eight years ago. I have had no relationships with women since then.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a very nice woman, “Yvonne.” She’s 11 years younger and has never been married. We see each other socially and enjoy each other’s company. We are both retired and have our own money, and neither of us is interested in marriage.
My son and daughter, both married with children, are split in their opinions about this. My son is happy for me, but my daughter thinks Yvonne is too young for me and wonders why she never married. Some of my friends actually side with my daughter.
At our ages, I don’t think an 11-year difference is a big deal. Why Yvonne stayed single is none of anyone’s business. Since her mother’s death, my daughter has been protective of me. Am I wrong for enjoying the company of this woman after so many years alone? — LONELY WIDOWER IN ARIZONA
DEAR WIDOWER: No, you are not wrong. If you and Yvonne enjoy each other, you are both unencumbered and entitled to it. Eleven years is not too great an age difference. Your daughter seems to be more possessive than protective. Seeing you with a woman other than her late mother — regardless of age — may be what’s really bothering her.
If you want to allow your friends to run your life, I can’t stop you. But I see no reason why you should allow them to dampen your enjoyment if all they can find wrong with Yvonne is her age. (Could any of these “friends” be jealous or closely tied to your late wife?)
DEAR ABBY: I am the youngest of three. My brother is the eldest. Our sister died of cancer 20 years ago.
It breaks my heart that he and his wife can’t seem to decide whether they like me or not. Sometimes they are warm and inviting, but for most of my life they’ve been cold, critical and distant. They create imaginary problems, blame me for them and then keep me on the outs until they decide to forgive and forget. I’ve spent many hours crying about this.
I have finally reached the point where I refuse to be hurt any longer and have chosen not to engage with them anymore. It has been nearly a year since we’ve had contact. My husband sympathizes with me and recognizes their behavior as odd and hurtful. However, he believes I should reach out once more because my brother is my only living sibling. I’m fearful that if I do, I’ll be hurt once again. — UNDECIDED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR UNDECIDED: Your husband is a kind and forgiving man who has not experienced the pain your brother and his wife have subjected you to with their mind games. Your brother may be your only living sibling, but it is an accident of birth. He is incapable of the kind of relationship you would like to have had with him. Having been hurt repeatedly, you are right to be fearful. You will shed fewer tears if you continue keeping your distance.
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.
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