My sister became a widow just two years ago, at age 53. She’d adored and experienced a big life with her husband, travelling to visit family in several countries, after their one adult child was on his own.
She started early grieving when her partner was diagnosed with an incurable disease. I feared she’d never recover her inner spirit and strength of mind.
Then recently, at a grief counselling meeting, she met a man whose wife passed away eight years prior. She says she approached him because he was still struggling to find a new pattern of life alone.
The thought of being lost in grief for so long frightened her. She discussed it with the grief counsellor, who said, “Everyone struggles alone with grief, but they don’t have to struggle alone with their own life.”
To my surprise, my sister emerged from despair. When another man whom she met through her work suggested a coffee, the two started meeting after work. Respecting her loss, they only went for walks.
A few months ago, she said she enjoyed his company. Now they’re dating regularly.
I’ve met him. He’s very likable but I worry that he’s rushing her into a full-on commitment. If this is happening too fast (which I think), I know she’ll feel guilty about finding someone new.
What should I say about her not rushing ahead just to avoid being lonely?
Ask questions instead of offering answers. You’re a very caring sister for which I’m sure she’s grateful. Show her your support and love, which is strongly evident in this letter.
Remember that she’s an adult woman with her own life experience and love language.
If she tells you that she trusts this man and believes he’s sincere and a good person - and if money (on either side) isn’t a factor that arises in their current closeness or future plans - wish her all the best for her new future.
I dated a man for a while around eight years ago, during my early 30s. He was lots of fun and good company, but we weren’t in a relationship. We both dated others, and that was fine.
What I liked most was his sense of humour, and that he enjoyed mine. Then, one day, he said he’d met someone and it felt “special.” When I first bumped into them as a couple, (he with his soon-girlfriend, me with my new and forever guy), I felt so happy for them. They were perfect for each other.
Somehow, from our very casual dating, this friend of mine and I both hit it lucky at the same time. What were the odds?
Timing is Everything
When you’re emotionally ready for the risks and road bumps of a relationship, and willing to give as good as you get back, you recognize this is IT.
There’s often a coincidence of the “right” person along with the “right” time.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the frustrated husband (August 14):
“He should make one final effort to get his wife into addiction treatment, if she’s smoking pot at least four times daily.
“It’s easy to become depressed after losing or leaving a job to become a full-time parent. It’s mostly fear — e.g., you don’t have the necessary energy to work and parent, etc.
“But now the marijuana is sapping her mental energy, and possibly her physical health.
“Also, it’s expensive. If she just kicked the habit, their financial situation would improve. The husband must stop financing her disabling addiction.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the girlfriend who wants “more” (Aug. 2):
Reader – “I always read your column, and I have good advice for the boyfriend who could only ‘do it’ once.
“Foreplay isn’t needed here. Instead, I advise the boyfriend to satisfy his girlfriend with oral sex.
“He should try not only arousing but also satisfying his lusty wife before they begin to have penile sex. He should make her reach a climax, as much as satisfies her, and then finish off with old-fashioned sex.
“He’ll find that it not only makes for a happier wife, but also for a much better sexual experience for himself.
“My wife taught me this very good approach 47 years ago, and our sex life is still going strong.”
Ellie - That’s good advice. It may not be the only approach that everyone in a sexual relationship wants, but it certainly starts a conversation about it, if both parties can discuss sex openly.
Tip of the day:
Sibling love and support is most appreciated when it’s given without doubts.