Tribute to late wife upsets current spouse

Published 8:58 am Monday, August 21, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Randall,” was a widower when we met. His wife, “Sylvia,” had passed away in November 2010. We got married in October 2015. I recently was shocked to discover that Randall has kept Sylvia’s Facebook page open, supposedly so his grandchildren can send her messages on her birthday or anytime they feel like it.
Last September, he posted a message that read: “Happy Anniversary. Love you and miss you. 52 years today.” (If she were still living, that day would have marked 52 years of marriage.) When I read it, I realized that, in his heart, he still feels married to her. Am I wrong for feeling that way? – ONE OF TWO WIVES

DEAR ONE: I don’t think you are wrong, but please understand that some people don’t completely get over the death of a loved one, and your husband may be one of them. It’s not that unusual, if my Facebook is any example. People post about their departed parents, grandparents and even their pets, and memorial pages on Facebook after a person’s demise are not unusual. If you and Randall have a good marriage, I suggest you develop a sense of humor about it. Sylvia is not a threat to you unless you make her one. Knowing that may lighten your load.
DEAR ABBY: I buy pet food from a small local pet shop. (The store does not sell animals, only food and supplies. I support adoption.) I’m a regular customer and have been on a first-name basis with the owner, “Alicia,” for several years. When I went to buy my dog’s food the other day, she was wearing a scarf to cover her head. She has always had shoulder-length hair. It was obvious that she’s ill. (I suspect breast cancer.) I didn’t know what to do. I hoped my face did not give me away. I just proceeded as I normally do – made small talk and completed my purchase.
The next time I go there, should I continue to act like I don’t notice? Should I ask Alicia if she’s ill? I felt uncomfortable pretending not to notice. However, I feel it would be intrusive to say something. Please advise. – ANIMAL LOVER IN FLORIDA

DEAR ANIMAL LOVER: If Alicia wants to discuss her medical condition with you, she will allude to it. If she does, listen to her and offer a supportive comment. Many people seem unable to restrain themselves from asking inappropriate questions, however well-intentioned. Among them are likely some of her other customers. Don’t be one of them.
DEAR ABBY: We are a middle-aged couple who live together. I have been with “Jack” for seven years, and during those seven years, he held down one job for only three months and then quit. I love him, but I don’t believe the feeling is mutual if he can’t hold down a job and keep it. He never goes anywhere with me. Jack is a recluse. What should I do? Should I keep him or tell him it’s time to pack up and leave? – FINALLY FED UP IN OHIO

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

DEAR FINALLY FED UP: I don’t know Jack, and you have not listed even one of his virtues. Unless your idea of a happy future is supporting a recluse who refuses to hold a steady job, it’s time to sing, “Hit the road, Jack!”
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.
Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)