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by Abigail Van Buren

No Room in Widow's Heart for Men Who Need Lovin'

DEAR ABBY: Why is it that men can be so insensitive toward recent widows? Some of them hit on us within a month of the death of our loved one, while we're still in shock.

Who are these culprits? Co-workers whom I thought were good friends and my church council president, to name a few. Once, while I was having coffee in a restaurant with a friend, a male acquaintance stopped by our table and -- as calmly as ordering a hamburger -- told me his wife was in the hospital and he "needed some lovin'"!

Don't these clods have any idea how demeaning and vulgar their behavior is?

A longtime friend of mine just lost her husband. She didn't believe me when I told her about my experience. Abby, within a month, she had her own stories to tell! What's astonishing is that 90 percent of these men are married.

When my husband was alive, I had great respect for men. For that, I credit my husband, who was an honorable and loving family man. Now, however, I'm whistling a different tune. My beloved has been gone 10 years, and I'm much stronger than I was.

Please don't reveal my name or city; this is a small town, and the people I have mentioned would be recognized. Sign me ... NO MORE BLINDERS IN WISCONSIN

DEAR NO MORE BLINDERS: I'm sorry you won't allow me to reveal your name or location. The wives of these men would be very interested to know what their husbands are up to, and I'm sure it would result in some stimulating breakfast table conversation.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are young newlyweds. His job takes him out of town five days a week, so I'm pretty much a weekend wife only, and I hate it.

The real problem is his drinking. He didn't drink as much before we were married. Now I'm starting to believe he has a problem. When he drinks, he becomes rude and violent. Not toward me -- yet. He also gets into trouble during the week when he's away.

I want to stop this before it gets worse, but I don't know how to begin. -- A WEEKEND WIFE WHO NEEDS HELP FAST

DEAR WEEKEND WIFE: YOU can't stop your husband from drinking -- only he can make that decision. Unless he is willing to admit he has a problem and to do something about it, the situation will get worse.

What you CAN do is contact Al-Anon. It provides information and support to family and friends of alcoholics. Call 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666). The Web site is www.al-anon.org.

DEAR ABBY: This is for the "shopping grandma," the "cooking grandma," and grandparents everywhere.

Let me tell you what I do -- I am a PLAYING grandma. I get down on the floor and play with my grandkids. I ask, "What do you want me to be?" Then I am the dog that barks, the tiny baby who cries, the mermaid who dives into the sea in search of treasures, or the prince cutting through the thicket with his huge sword to find Sleeping Beauty (stretched out on the sofa).

When my 5-year-old granddaughter was asked why she likes to play with her grandma, her answer was, "Because she makes the dolls talk." -- GRANDMA SHIRLEY IN METAIRIE, LA.

DEAR GRANDMA SHIRLEY: Your granddaughter is a lucky little girl. You are the grandparent every child deserves and dreams about.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600