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by Abigail Van Buren

House Is Too Small to Hold Both in Laws and Criticism

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing to confirm your advice to "Confused," who lost her boyfriend in a motorcycle accident and is wondering if it's too soon for her to get involved with another man.

I lost my husband of six years the same way. I can tell her from experience that six months is too soon to become involved. Grieving people are very vulnerable. The first advice grief counselors give is, "Make no serious life decisions for at least one year after the death of a loved one."

Some very poor decisions can result if they are made while grieving. I married my second husband two years after my first husband died because of an overwhelming need to feel connected. I divorced him two years later.

My advice to "Confused" is: Involve yourself with a group of people so you don't become emotionally dependent on one person. Although loneliness can become overwhelming and the need to reach out is very powerful, give yourself some time. You will be doing yourself -- and the young man -- a favor. -- A WISER WIDOW NOW

DEAR WIDOW: Thank you for writing. I hope "Confused" sees your letter. Your hard-won wisdom could spare a younger woman unnecessary pain.