I lost my husband of 20 years to cancer six months ago. Our two children are away in their various universities and I am now unbearably lonely, and feel as though life is passing me by.
I’ve tried going out with friends but everyone in the area knows that I’m widowed, so I receive unwanted attention from men, as well as lots of advice like ‘it’s only six months since your husband died – give it time’.
Am I supposed to sit back and let another six months pass by and then say to myself, ‘my life can now start’? I hope not!
I know a man who is keen on me, but he hasn’t made a move yet. If he does, can I face the inevitable gossips? Or should I move away so that I can be anonymous?
I feel like I’m serving some kind of prison sentence.
Maria, by e-mail.
Part of adjusting to your husband’s death is allowing your sense of emotional and sexual loyalty to him to fade away.
You have lost your mate and father of your children. Accept that it will be sometime before you feel free to love another man, and recognise that you will always love your husband.
Other people’s view reinforces the doubts you feel about accepting a lover.
Unfortunately, the guilt that restrains you won’t disappear in a hurry. You cannot escape the sadness of your husband’s death and you need the comfort of being with people you know, and who care about your happiness.
Now that a new man has shown interest in you, encourage him all you can, calmly accept this new relationship on its own terms.
Your relationship with him is going to be quite different from the one you had with your husband. By expressing your affection for another man, you will help yourself and others accept your need for a male relationship.
If love grows between you two, know that that’s what everyone, including your late husband, would want. Good luck.
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