DEAR ABBY: My husband has stage 4 cancer and is in constant pain. A big worry for him is my being alone in life after his passing. Several months ago when the subject came up, I told him that while I’m not a prophet, I know I’ll be OK. I’m a social person. I have a nice support group with various organizations, and I’m close with family and co-workers, etc.
Four months ago, a high school friend and I reconnected. We have shared many conversations and have built a meaningful relationship. The gnawing question is, do I share this information with my husband now, wait until he mentions his leaving me alone again or say nothing? There is a fine line here between putting my husband’s fears to rest and potentially making him feel he will be easily replaced.
This is not a topic I feel comfortable sharing with my friends. I’m curious what other women have done in similar situations. Do they explore the new situation, have an affair or maintain a celibate relationship? Your response will help with some of the stress I’m having at this juncture. — Not Easily Replaced
DEAR NOT EASILY REPLACED: I know I will hear from my readers once your letter is published, and I’m just as certain their responses will indicate that they have done each of the things you mentioned.
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I agree that there is a fine line between putting your husband’s fears to rest and making him feel he will be easily replaced. The reality is, whether things work out with your old school chum or the budding romance comes to nothing, relationships are not interchangeable. You have shared history with your husband that can’t be duplicated.
While your husband is a special man whose only concern is for you, in my heart, I don’t think news of this relationship should be shared with him. I don’t know how much more time he has on this earth, but I think you would feel better about yourself if you postponed an affair until after your husband is gone. If this old friend cares deeply for you, he should be willing to wait.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, “Jasper,” says I’m weird for talking to my daughter while I’m driving to work and 90 percent of the time on my commute back home. She’s a young mother with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old. Her husband is “difficult,” and there are also some personal issues, but I am proud of how well she’s doing.
I work full time and she works part time, so even though we live in the same town, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. At 25, she is growing into my best friend, and I love helping her through decisions, etc. I don’t agree that this is weird at all. I believe most mothers and daughters do this.
How can I get through to my fiance that this is normal? Even if it weren’t, it isn’t getting in his way or taking anything away from him. Don’t you agree he should just let it be? — Good Mother in Massachusetts
DEAR GOOD MOTHER: Yes, I do. If your fiance had said he was concerned that you might get into an accident because your conversations were distracting, I would answer differently. However, that he would label your closeness to your daughter “weird” makes me wonder if he might be jealous of the bond you share with her. Are you giving him his fair share of your attention?