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Dear Webby
Dating after spouse's death

Dear Webby,

My sister died about 16 months ago. Her husband was very devoted to her all through her long illness. He started dating a woman from our senior group about 3 months ago. I am pleasant to her but do not know her well.

His children are up in arms and feel he is disloyal to the memory of their mother and that I should not speak to her and tell both of them why. I do not want to alienate them nor do I want to speak to my brother-in-law or his friend about it.

In the Middle

Dear In the Middle,

Better to be in the middle than hanging off on one end. Seriously though this is a tough problem because emotions are running very high and common sense is scarce.

Webby has received several letters of similar problems and hopes the examples below might help.

Man #1 was very dedicated to his wife all during her illness. After her death he was lost. He had worked all his life and knew nothing about cooking, shopping, laundry and the like.

He sat at home and moped around for about 6 months. He only saw his children on holidays and had very few calls and contact with others.

Then he was persuaded to get active at his church. Eventually he met a very nice widow and they went to movies, dinner and plays together. They are now planning a cruise and he spends many happy hours at the library checking out the Islands they will visit.

As Webby sees it he might never have the same spirit and joy. He will never be the same man he was before her death. He will never forget his first love. But why deny him some happiness in his remaining years?

Webby also heard from a family member of Widower #2 whose wife died and her best friend seemed to walk in and take over. She is fifteen years his junior and is spending his money like water - redoing the house to erase all memories of his deceased wife.

She always has new jewelry that she shows off to the unhappy relatives. The children now tell me he is putting her in his will. His wife is only dead 3 months.

In this case Webby sees reason for the children to be concerned. She feels they should have long talks with him, try to fill some of the void in his life. Make sure he is healthy.

But when push comes to shove the final decision is his; that is unless he is getting senile.

He should be supported and assured that his health, well being and happiness are what his family and friends want. He should be encouraged to take his time in making long term decisions and not be swayed by the attentions of a younger woman.

If indeed she is sincere in her feelings for him, she will understand and be patient.

The children should appreciate the love he and their mother shared and realize that to cut their dad off is their loss as well as his. It will only push him more into her arms.

Webby hopes in your case (Widower #3) that the children will not regret their actions. They have no right to expect other people to share their feeling or give in to their wishes.

Webby suggests that you explain to your nieces and nephews how much you love them but that you have to follow your conscience and feel your brother-in-law and his friend have to make their own decisions.

Remind them that he is still their father and someday when they lose him it will be too late for regrets.

Webby strongly feels our deceased are smiling down on us and wishing us happiness and peace - not hate and turmoil.

Good luck,


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