Dad’s Dating Dilemma

7 Jan

Dear LetterBalm: Eighteen months ago, I lost my wife after a long and happy marriage. I miss her so much – she was an exceptional woman, and we had a wonderful life together. Now, I want to find a companion, a woman who can share some of the things I like and show me some new things to get interested in. I’m not necessarily looking to marry again, just to have someone to enjoy life with. But my 35-year-old daughter is being difficult about it. She says I will be dishonoring my wife if I date anyone else, and she’s angry. I need to convince her that it’s my choice and that I will always love her mother.

–Forlorn Guy

Sincere condolences on the loss of your treasured spouse. A happy marriage is a true gift in life, and it is often those who have experienced this who want to duplicate the happiness with someone new. Your daughter is grieving, which is clouding her reaction to your hopeful announcement. She also may be worried that you will get into an unsuitable relationship with an abusive woman or someone who will take advantage of you. Ms. L.B. counsels you to be gentle and reassuring, yet firm in your resolve. It’s your life – it isn’t fair to expect you to remain alone for the rest of it. Try this:

Christine, I know you’ve been concerned about my wish to start dating. You believe I’m being disrespectful to your mom. Honey, you’ve witnessed first-hand how your mother and I related to each other when she was alive. Do you really think I could turn my back on her memory and what we had together? She was the most amazing person I’ve ever known, the love of my life, and I miss her every day, as I know you do, too. It’s because of our exceptional marriage that I miss the humor and warmth with her and want to experience it again. I’ll be very careful to bring someone into our lives who’s caring and genuine – I know you wouldn’t want me to become friends with an abusive woman or someone who would take advantage of me. And, she must be someone who likes you. I’ll go slowly. But in return, I ask you to understand that it’s unreasonable to expect me to be alone for the rest of my life. Can you appreciate where I’m coming from?

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