Fiancee loses sleep over widower’s mementos

Published 11:22 am Friday, December 25, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: In three months, I will be marrying a wonderful man I’ll call Harold. We are in our 60s and widowed, me for more than 30 years and him just under two years.
At first, I thought he had worked through his grief because his wife suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s and the last six years of their marriage she was very ill. We are not living in the home they shared, but a lot of their life together is in the home we are trying to create together.
Harold is a good man. I know he has a big heart with plenty of room for me as well as love for his late wife. My dilemma is the amount of memorabilia he has here — pictures of vacations they took together, their unusual wedding cake, a piece of furniture she made for them and a painting of the home they shared. Many of the items are in a downstairs office, where he spends a lot of time.
The closer we get to our wedding, the more I find myself losing sleep worrying over whether the strong reminders of his former life are an indicator of whether he truly is ready to move on. Am I being overly sensitive? I do understand loss and working through grief. In no way do I want to pressure him if he isn’t ready to move forward. I am just conflicted. — LOSING SLEEP IN NEW YORK
DEAR LOSING SLEEP: Harold’s loss is much more recent than yours. With time, he may decide to retire some of his memorabilia. Keep in mind, your “rival” is no longer on this side of the sod, and letting it keep you up at night is unproductive. If this doesn’t resolve itself, have a frank conversation with Harold about the fact you are not comfortable with the amount of memorabilia in the house.
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DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a wonderful, low-key, easygoing man for two years. “Stan” is crazy about me. To him, I’m a princess, and he treats me like gold. The downside is he lives an hour and 20 minutes away because he got laid off and had to move back home. We used to live near each other, which was great. He is now taking care of his parents, who are 81 and 84.
The long-distance relationship is making me very stressed because I see him only twice a month on weekends. Because his mom is so sick, I’m starting to see him even less often. He plans to stay with them to the end and promises we will be together one day. I rarely go to his parents’ house because his mom can no longer enjoy company.
Abby, is this all worth it? He keeps telling me he loves me and says he will propose down the road. I’m 58. Should I keep this sweet, loving, long-distance romance or move on, which would devastate him? — MISSING HIM IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR MISSING HIM: Although you wrote that you miss Stan, I am struck by the fact that nowhere in your letter did you say you actually love him. Would ending the relationship also devastate YOU? Have you considered relocating to be closer to him? Many couples survive being separated for long periods of time, but if you can’t sustain it, then perhaps you should move on, knowing that men like him are not easily replaced.
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TO MY READERS: I wish you all a Christmas that is joyous and meaningful. Merry Christmas, everyone! — LOVE, ABBY
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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.
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What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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