DEAR ABBY: I am in love with two men at the same time, but one of them is dead.
Twelve years ago I met a wonderful man, ‘Carl’. We had each other at “hello” and got engaged two weeks later. We were very happily married until I lost him to cancer six years later.
Two years after I lost Carl, I decided to dip my toe back into the dating pool. A few months later I met ‘Philip’. We also immediately felt attracted to each other and are very happy together. We have been a couple for four years and are getting married this summer.
He is very understanding of my feelings and memories of Carl. Am I wrong in marrying this man I love dearly if I still have feelings for my late husband?
ADORABLE WIDOW IN MISSOURI
DEAR MIRACLE WIDOW: When a husband dies, the love the couple had for each other does not die.
The love you feel for Carl can last as long as you do, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. I have often said that grief is an individual process. The fact that you fell in love with Philip does not diminish your love for your late husband. Celebrate your happiness. I wish you and Philip a lifetime of happiness together.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 16 years. After the birth of my first child, our marriage went downhill.
My husband was withdrawn and often went out with friends. When my brother was in the hospital, I traveled three hours with my newborn to visit him. My husband drove up separately, stayed for a few hours and then left to go to a concert with a friend.
Our sex life dwindled to nothing and I felt like we were roommates. I became depressed and had manic episodes.
I am now on medication and taking good care of myself.
I have always blamed my husband for this. We now have two kids, and I’m afraid if I leave him, it will hurt the kids. I tried three different marriage counselors with him, but he was not interested.
I now spend my time doing everything with the kids and focusing on my well-being.
I met an old acquaintance from high school on Facebook and our friendship has turned romantic. I don’t see him often, but when I see him, I always want to be with him.
We are both afraid of what could happen. I love him so much. He is kind, loving and caring.
Do I have to wait until the kids are 18 to leave?
READY FOR CHANGE IN THE EAST
BEST READY: Make an appointment to talk to a lawyer. When you do, be sure to ask what kind of financial information you might need to make sure you get a fair settlement if you decide to end this charade of a marriage.
Once you have the information, tell your husband that the status quo isn’t good enough for you and offer him another chance at marriage counseling. If he refuses – and he probably will – continue to free yourself.
Raising children in the atmosphere you described can be more harmful than divorce. A word of warning, though: once you’re available full-time, your loved one may not be ready or willing to be your knight in shining armor. Be prepared to take care of yourself, just in case.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact DearAbby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.