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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Plans Best Approach to Best Friend's Widow

DEAR ABBY: My best friend since childhood, "Jeff," died eight months ago; he was in a 57-year marriage. I have known his still-attractive widow, "Della," since they were newlyweds. I have been divorced for decades.

I have long admired Della at a distance, quietly, out of respect for Jeff. It helped that over the years we lived in different states. I believe she sensed my admiration for her.

How long should I wait before I begin showing my interest in her as a potential partner in our golden years? -- WISHFUL IN THE EAST

DEAR WISHFUL: Did you reach out to Della to express condolences when you learned of Jeff's death? If not, do it now. If she responds, follow up with a phone call -- and possibly a visit to her community and dinner if she's agreeable. Once you are in regular contact with her, you will be able to determine if the interest is mutual.

Read more in: Death | Friends & Neighbors | Love & Dating