Recent divorcee is surprised to find love close to home

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I am recently divorced after a 19-year marriage, and to my great shock, I already find myself in love with another man. I didn’t come out of the marriage looking for anyone, nor did I think I’d ever marry again, but this man wants to marry me, and I’m seriously considering it.
We bonded when he contacted me to offer support after he heard about my divorce, and it was love at “second” sight. Why “second”? Because we grew up together — literally next door — and he’s my first cousin.
Despite the societal taboo, it is legal in my state for first cousins to marry, and genetic issues with offspring aren’t a concern. We’re both sterile and have no ability (or desire) for more children. My siblings suspect and aren’t pleased with the situation. His parents know and are happy for us.
Am I crazy to think I’m in love again this quickly? It doesn’t feel too fast because we’ve always known each other and been close; it’s just that the form of love has changed. How do we break it to the rest of the family? The world? People can be so judgmental, even though in many parts of the world it is perfectly normal to marry your cousin. — SECRET LOVE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR SECRET LOVE: You are not “crazy,” but you may be in an altered mental state, as many recently divorced people have found themselves. They describe it as a kind of high.
If you are wise — and I hope you are — you will slow this romance down and allow enough time for your family to become accustomed to the changed circumstances of your relationship with your cousin. The “world” isn’t going to care about this the way your family does, so don’t concern yourself with explaining anything to the general public. (How often have you asked couples to explain if they are related in addition to marriage? Not many, I’ll bet.)
My advice is to let this new relationship evolve more slowly. If you do, the outcome may be more positive than if you hurtle to the altar.
DEAR ABBY: I have the best wife and daughter ever, and here’s my dilemma. My daughter lives in another state and would love us to build a second home nearby to be closer to their family.
My wife and I are nearly 80 and very active. I play tennis or pickleball every day. My wife walks an hour to an hour and a half every morning. We are happiest when we are active. Where my daughter lives is not conducive to walking, and my wife would be very unhappy.
Please don’t suggest a gym or a treadmill — been there, done that. Plus, my wife has no desire to take on the added burden of a second house. We just downsized five years ago. How do I keep the two women in my life happy? — FIGURING IT OUT IN FLORIDA
DEAR FIGURING: Recognize that it won’t be possible to make both women happy. Your first loyalty should be to your wife.
Explain to your daughter that you know she means well, but that at your ages (80), your routine is extremely important. (It’s true.) That routine may be what keeps you as healthy as you are. Back it up with the fact that two homes would be too much for you and her mother to manage, which is why you have BOTH decided — as much as you love her — to keep things as they are. And stick to it. Your daughter can visit you, and you can visit her, but stay where you are.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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