Widow’s adult kids begrudge her dating a family friend

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I was married for more than 30 years and have two grown children. The marriage wasn’t perfect, and I admit there were times when I badly wanted to walk out the door. My husband was charismatic and talented, but he was also an addict. I covered up most of his bad behaviors so our children would be protected from being hurt. He passed away suddenly. My children adored him but never really knew how hard it was for me to keep our family together.
Fast-forward to today: I am dating an old family friend I’ll call “Jeff,” who knew my husband well. He saw my spouse at his best and his worst, so I don’t have to sugarcoat my feelings with him. My issue is, I was so hurt during my marriage that I have a hard time trusting anyone. My anxiety is sometimes overwhelming.
Jeff is supportive and understanding and loves me despite my emotional behavior at times. My adult children are upset that I am dating and try to make me feel bad about it, which creates more stress. I don’t want them to know all the hell I went through, but at the same time, I don’t think their belittling me is appropriate. Is there a tactful way to explain to them that I just want to be happy and have the freedom to move forward? — READY FOR THE FUTURE
DEAR READY: A polite, but assertive, way to convey your message might be to say: “I have just one life to live, kids, and I intend to live it to the fullest. Jeff and I are old friends — he’s not a stranger. I don’t need your approval to move on with my life. If you can’t stop belittling and second-guessing me and treat my friend with respect, you will be seeing a lot less of me.”
DEAR ABBY: My brother has married a pushy woman who is incessantly forcing her way in where it is not wanted. With the recent death of our father, she has started sticking her nose into the family’s business affairs. This is not about money; our father died in debt.
I finally took exception to her overbearing behavior, and now I’m afraid I have damaged my relationship with my brother. What can be done? — CORNERED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR CORNERED: The “pushy” woman your brother married is now a member of the family. When there is a death in the family, emotions can run high. If you feel you were too rough on your sister-in-law, you owe her an apology.
DEAR ABBY: A young, attractive female co-worker of my husband’s addresses him by his first name ending with “ly” (example: “Georgely”). When I asked how the name was acquired, both of them claimed they didn’t remember. They know I do not approve, particularly on social media for the world to see.
I consider pet names a term of endearment, to be reserved for one’s significant other. Am I out of line, or are they? — NAME-DROPPING IN WISCONSIN
DEAR NAME-DROPPING: What the pet name may signify is that your husband and his co-worker may have a closer personal relationship than simply a professional one. And in most cases, that isn’t good for business. That he would allow this to persist publicly, knowing it bothers you, is disrespectful, and THAT is what is out of line.
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