9/18/2023 | By Amy Dickinson

A widow strikes up a friendship with a widower and wants to include him in family gatherings. Sadly, her daughter is against the widow’s relationship, leaving the woman sad and conflicted. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson says.

Dear Amy: 

My husband of 50 years died over two years ago. I was happy and content with my single life and have had no interest in dating. 

Last year I went on a group trip to Spain. There were several single older people on the tour.

I was totally shocked when a gentleman asked me to join him for lunch when we returned home. Both our spouses had died at about the same time and we had a lot of similar interests.

Over the last year we have become great companions.

The trouble is that one of my daughters is adamant about not wanting to meet him.

I am not interested in marriage, only friendship. He has no local family. I would like to have him meet her family and I’d like to have him celebrate with us for holidays.

She says that she will let me know when she is ready.

I feel very bad that I have to exclude my friend when my daughter is around. I am sure that she would not come to my home for Thanksgiving if he was invited.

How should I handle this situation?

– Sad Mom

Dear Sad: 

Your daughter has told you that she will meet your male friend when she is ready. So – take her at her word.

mother in wheelchair sad because her daughter does not approve of this widow's relationship

You might not be able to knit this group together the way you’d like to in the time frame you’d prefer. You do not have to exclude your friend when your daughter is around, thus letting your daughter control your friendship. Your daughter can make her choices based on her own preferences and priorities.

I hope you will talk with her about this. Reassure her that you have no desire to replace her father and have no thoughts of marrying again. This gentleman and you have both lost spouses, and this friendship has helped you to move through your loss. Ask your daughter to share her own feelings or fears about this relationship, and listen with compassion. (Would she respond this way if you enjoyed companionship with a female friend?)

And then – move forward. Before inviting him to spend the holidays with your family, you should start with an invitation for coffee, and ask your daughter to join you. If your daughter won’t share this time with him, be patient and trust that she will come around when she is ready.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from a widow’s relationship to a disagreeable grandmother and etiquette on food restrictions. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. 

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson

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