Sage Advice: Widower Deals with Demands to Not Marry
Does a lonely man owe it to his children to remain single for the rest of his life?
Dear Amy: After many decades of marriage to a wonderful woman, I find myself in my third year as a widower. Despite having many friends, an active church life, and a very loving family, I am lonely.
To alleviate my loneliness, I have asked several women to accompany me to various activities, like concerts, plays etc.
I shared my feelings with my adult children and told them that I have started to date. We are a close family of kids, spouses and grandchildren.
However, I was in for a shock, when one of my children asked me to promise that I would never get married again.
Marrying again had not crossed my mind until this demand.
I briefly reviewed in my head the criteria a potential new spouse would have to meet in regard to feelings, compatibility, religion, etc. Then I answered that I cannot make that promise. Needless to say, interactions with this child have been a bit frosty ever since.
I am not a person who takes a promise lightly, so I didn’t want to rule out a future marriage if the right person came along.
Can you offer your advice?
– Wondering Widower
Dear Wondering: You are wise to state outright that you will continue to live your life on your own terms, and that includes having relationships and possibly marriage down the road. Your child should never have asked you to make such a promise. To do so is to deny your right to make the sort of choices any adult has every right to make.
You sound like a good and kind person, and so the kindest assumption about this unkind demand is to assume that your child is still grieving the loss of their mother. Sometimes loss leads people to make twisted assumptions, for instance that a new marriage would somehow erase the long and loving one you shared with your late wife. Reassure this child of yours and then continue to assert yourself as a worthy potential partner.
And then, frosty or not, you should move forward, trusting that your child will also find a way to deal with your reality.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2019 by Amy Dickinson