Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

I’m a divorced woman with two grown children. For the past four months, I’ve been dating a widower who lost his wife five years ago. His wedding photo still sits on his piano and her portrait still hangs on his wall. He has told me a lot about her, and while he’s wonderful to spend time with, it’s clear to me that this loss took a heavy emotional toll on him.

Meanwhile, I’m growing very fond of him, but I’m afraid he’ll never love me — or anyone — as much as he loves the memory of his wife.

What should I do?

…Cautious in Cancun

Dear Cautious,

Since you have two children, it’s safe for me to assume you’ll understand what I’m about to tell you: Come with me down memory lane.

Remember how you felt when your first child was born and you held that baby in your arms for the first time? You probably couldn’t imagine loving any other human being as much at that moment.

But when your second child was born, you discovered that your heart was bigger and deeper than you realized, and there was equal room in it for both babies … and any and all children that might follow.

An emotionally healthy widow or widower has the same capacity for love. They can and will love their second spouse as much as the first.

Four months is the blink of an eye in terms of a lifetime. If you care for this new man, give him time. But by the same token, keep your eyes wide open. You need not tolerate any behavior from a widower that you wouldn’t tolerate from a non-widower.

I hope this helps.


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