Dear Debra: A Widow’s Dilemma
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use this anonymous question submission form.
I lost my husband last year and have since moved cross country to live near my daughter and her family. I rent my own apartment, am beginning to make friends and help my daughter out with my granddaughter, age 10 — doing some carpooling, taking her to ballet, etc.
I recently met a wonderful man. We have been going out for three months and are quite in love. My daughter has no problems with the relationship, but my new beau recently suggested that I move in with him. He lives and works 30 miles away and has no plans to retire in the foreseeable future. We take turns on the weekend; but if we see each other during the week, he is usually the one driving to me because of my carpooling commitments to my granddaughter.
If I move in with my beau, the distance is not so great that I couldn’t continue weekly visits with my daughter and her family, but I would not be on hand to pitch in for daily carpooling, etc. I don’t know that I would stay in touch with the new friends I am making, but it wouldn’t be impossible. I am pretty outgoing and foresee making new friends in my beau’s community. I’m inclined to make the move; I’ve never met anyone like this man before. Neither of us is getting any younger, but I don’t know if I should.
— Stay or Move?
Dear Stay or Move,
My first instinct is to tell you, “Sit. Stay. And don’t roll over so fast.”
In little more than a year you have been widowed; moved cross country, presumably leaving behind longstanding friends and a way of life; become a part of your daughter’s family life; and fell in love with a new man who wants you to move in with him. Notice how many buts there are in your letter. Five, just in case you need help. In my book, all those buts are like a traffic sign screaming, “Slow down!”
You’ve known this man for three months. Even though, by your admission, you are not a spring chicken, this cock-a-doodle-doer seems to be ruling the roost rather quickly. You didn’t mention the M-word or if that matters, but is your beau interested in making you the next Mrs. MacDonald or simply his chick?
Since you are expressing doubts (all those buts), why not give the relationship a bit more time to blossom before pulling up stakes? Perhaps you could carpool your granddaughter one afternoon less, using that day to visit your beau. Continue to develop your friendships where you are and continue to enjoy and deepen this winter romance. When you envision a future together without all the buts, that will be the time to make the move.
Is it OK not to tell my 96-year-old aunt that my son is engaged to another man and is getting married this summer? This aunt is very conventional and easily gets upset by changes and choices that other people make that are different from her own. She is very fragile, lives out of state and doesn’t travel.
Her only child, who sees to her care, says she could not make it to the wedding and the news would be very upsetting to her. He has asked that she not be invited to the wedding. I speak to my aunt regularly, and she usually cries on the phone, although she appreciates the call. She asks after my son, and I omit that he has a partner, who is a very loving man. I feel disloyal not telling her about my son’s happiness, but do think it would disturb her. Is it OK not to tell her about the wedding? My son knows his great aunt and is OK with it.
— Auntsy whether to tell or not
Rarely do I receive letters whose answer is so clear cut!
Yes, absolutely, it is OK to withhold the news of your son’s marriage to another man. For all the reasons you laid out, supported by her only child’s preference that she not be told and glued together by your son’s being OK with her not knowing. There is no disloyalty here, simply facing facts about a person and acting for the greatest good and peace. And mazel tov to you all on your son’s upcoming wedding. *
Debra Darvick shares her unique take on life, books and more at debradarvick.com.