Monday, February 18, 2013

Widow Wants To Date Again, Mother-In-Law Says "No"

Dear Tazi:

Two years ago I was widowed when my husband was killed in a car accident. Our marriage was not the best, but I stayed because of my love for his family. My in-laws are wonderful people who made all the difference in my difficult marriage. When my husband died, my mother-in-law was devastated at the loss of her eldest son, and our bond grew stronger as we grieved together. I truly thought we had a solid relationship that would weather any storm.

Tazi, as I mentioned it has been two years since "Fred" has passed. I would like to start dating again, and have mentioned this to a few close friends in the hope that they might know someone I would like to meet. I am not ready to join a dating site or go to any singles events; I would like to slowly enter the dating world, which is why I would like to go through mutual friends. I thought this was the respectful way to jump back into the dating pool, but even this doggy-paddle is too much for my mother-in-law to handle.

When I told Mom that a friend was planning on introducing me to one of her friends (the three of us plus another couple were going to go bowling) she did not take it well. She looked at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen and asked me if I had "forgotten Fred already". I hugged her and told her that I will never forget my husband, but that I need to move ahead with my life. I told Mom that Fred would not want me to spend my entire life grieving for him, but Mom disagreed! She reminded me that Fred could be very jealous (which was one of the issues in our marriage) and said that he would not approve of me starting over with another man. Ever.

Tazi, I am only 32 years old, and do not want to spend my life alone! I would like to meet someone and even remarry and start a family someday, something Fred and I wanted to do when we reached our thirties.  I do not want to destroy the relationship I have with my mother-in-law. Fred's brothers are all very understanding, and have even encouraged me to try dating, so I don't think it is too soon to start. I don't want to hurt Mom, but I don't want to appease her at the expense of my future, either. How do you suggest I handle this?

Widowed Wilma

Dear Widowed Wilma:

You have my deepest condolences on the loss of your husband. You do not mention for how long you were married or for how long you had been together, but thirty is far too young to have to go through the pain of losing a spouse. It is also far to young to be expected to spend your remaining years alone.

People grieve differently. For some, the pain of losing their spouse never goes away and they choose to remain single for the rest of their lives. For others, the time it takes to move forward varies from a few months to several years. Notice that I said "move forward", not "move on"; there is a difference between the two - in moving forward you are pushing ahead with your life, even as the memory of your late husband stays with you; to move on would be to leave his memory in your past. Someone needs to explain these facts to your mother-in-law, although I do not believe that someone should be you.

If one of your supportive brothers-in-law is up to the task, he should talk to his mother about the situation - as her son, as a brother who is still grieving, and as a brother-in-law who still has your best interests at heart. Your mother-in-law needs to understand that you are not looking to replace your late husband, but rather that he made a man's companionship so worthwhile that you find yourself missing having someone in your life. Think about it...if your experience with courtship and marriage was pure Hell, would you seek to repeat the experience?

Your mother-in-law may also have fears that she is not voicing. She could be afraid that you will meet someone new, re-marry, and forget all about her as you bond with your new mother-in-law! To lose a loving daughter-in-law as well as a son would be a burden no mother-in-law should have to bear. Please keep this in mind, as well, as you forge ahead in life.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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