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Specific issues

My friends and relatives disapprove of my dating

My friends and relatives disapprove of my dating

Paula Hall is PARSHIP's dating expert. Today, she offers advice to a widower trying to move on from the death of his wife. What happens if your friends and relatives disapprove of your dating?

Dear Paula,

I’m in my early 50’s and a widower. My wife passed away five months ago having being diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. The last three years were pretty tough on the family but given the length of her illness we were all able to reconcile to the fact that she would ultimately die. Therefore a lot of our grieving happened prior to her passing away. We were together for 24 years in total and have two wonderful children who still live at home.

I’m a very positive person and believe that life is for living and I’m sociable and love people. As I’m still in my early fifties and could possibly live for another 30 years, I know I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. So I decided to join an online dating website last month in the hope that I might meet someone special.

My children have been great about it, I’ve got their full support and they think it’s funny their dad is going online to meet a woman. However, relatives and friends haven’t been so positive; they think it’s appalling and disrespectful that I would even consider dating another woman so quickly after my wife’s death.

My first date was awful, as soon as I met the woman I knew she wasn’t for me. But I’ve since met a lovely lady, who’s great fun to be with. Who knows if it will work out but I’m enjoying myself. But my dilemma is this. How can I make people see that this is totally right for me? I’m not looking for a replacement to my dead wife, I just want to live and be happy.

_

Paula replies:

You know what you're doing and don't seem to have any doubts yourself, so surely if that's how you feel, that should be good enough for everyone else. You don't say how old your children are but I'm guessing that they're either older teenagers or adults. If they were much younger then you might need to be more cautious of what you tell them about your dating experiences, but if they're older and they can appreciate and understand what you're doing then I can't really see what the problem is. If you're fine with it and your children are fine with it then it isn't really any of anyone else's business.

If this new relationship develops into something more long-term then people will soon accept things. When you hear comments that friends and acquaintances are concerned for you or are questioning whether it's appropriate for you to be dating so soon, just let it go over your head.

The more you tell them what you're up to, the more you'll fuel their gossip. So in answer to your question, you don't need to do anything to convince people that this is right for you, in fact the less you do the better. Things will get better with time once people see that you and your children are happy and getting on with life.

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