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by Abigail Van Buren

Brother in Law Puts Brakes on Widow's Loving Advances

DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away suddenly from a heart attack seven months ago. We had been married 15 years and have two children, 14 and 15. He was a very loving husband and great father. We had a wonderful life together.

A short time after his death, I began having strong feelings for his unmarried brother, "William." I always liked William, but since he is the direct opposite of my late husband, I never expected this to happen. Now I am head-over-heels in love with William.

When I confessed my feelings to him, he held me and kissed me and helped me cope with the loss of my husband, but he refuses to get any closer to me. He says he feels guilty because I was married to his brother.

I have talked to his family and mine, and most of them just want me to be happy. My children adore him. I know my dear late husband would have no objections. He loved us both and would want us to be happy.

William and I see each other about three times a week and we get along great, but he is still reluctant to touch me except to hug me goodbye when I leave. Is it wrong to pursue this? -- A.J. IN S.C.

DEAR A.J.: You are still in the process of grieving the loss of your husband, and it is understandable that you find yourself turning to his brother. However, it is seldom wise to make serious decisions during a period of mourning.

Give yourself some time. Find a grief recovery group and attend some sessions. Focus on your needs and those of your children during this difficult period. Your emotions will eventually stabilize and you will be in a better position to judge your feelings for William. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

DEAR ABBY: I'm responding to "I've Dealt My Hand," who was upset because her husband's card parties went on until midnight. I would like to share my solution:

On the night of the card parties, instead of staying home and seething, "Dealt" should go out for dinner and a movie with women friends. Or, if she has any interests, pursue them: Join a gym, a book club, a quilting or sewing club, take a class in art or music, whatever. Or, she can take a nap before the "boys" come to play cards so that she won't miss so much sleep.

One thing I learned early in my marriage was to stop staying at home and whining because my husband wanted to do something with the guys that I wasn't interested in. "Dealt" should cultivate a life of her own, too. -- BEEN THERE IN HAYWARD, CALIF.

DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree with your practical philosophy. However, the majority of my readers were angered because the husband seemed to be forcing his will on his wife rather than being concerned with her happiness. They felt that his card game should be secondary to her comfort. Of course he should be concerned with her comfort, but she should also be willing to take a back seat to his needs occasionally.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a man who loves to travel. I especially enjoy the nightclub shows I've seen. However, I do NOT enjoy being part of the show.

A female performer (in Las Vegas) once picked me out of the audience to go on stage with her so she could sing to me. Even though I politely refused, she was very persistent and even involved the audience in coercing me to go on stage. I would have walked out, but I had paid a lot of money to see this show.

The audience enjoyed it, but I felt like a fool standing up there on the stage while she sang to me.

How do you think I should have handled this? -- EMBARRASSED IN GREENVILLE, S.C.

DEAR EMBARRASSED: You could have refused by saying emphatically, "No way; I paid to see this show, not perform in it."

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