DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were happily married for 45 years. We both come from large, close families, and we were devoted to each other. We virtually never fought. She died suddenly four months ago. There was no warning. I was devastated, but my family and my faith buoyed me up through the darkest times.
I still have great sadness over her death, but I'm starting to do better. More than anything, I am lonely. After being so close to my wife for so many years, it's hard being suddenly single. I have met several single women who seem very nice, who share my religion and have shown some interest in me.
I really don't have a desire right now to start dating, but I have realized that I do not want to spend the rest of my life alone and unmarried. I don't want my children and my wife's family to think I'm too eager or glad to be free of their mother. I also don't want to cause problems in the family. How long after a spouse's death is it appropriate and advisable to wait before starting to date? -- WIDOWER IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR WIDOWER: It used to be expected that widows and widowers would wait one year, out of respect for their late spouses, to begin dating. However, those rules have loosened over time.
When you feel ready to date, you will know it. That said, make no important decisions or commitments for one year after the funeral -- and that includes remarrying to avoid being lonely. Like many widowers in your age bracket, you may find that you are now a "hot commodity."
DEAR ABBY: I recently moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with my good friend from college. My room appears to be slightly larger. I also have a slightly bigger bathroom attached to my room. Her bathroom is smaller and down the hall. Amid the stress of moving, I impulsively agreed to pay $100 more for my room. I know I should have measured the footage to calculate what would be fair. We are two months into living together and, overall, things are going well.
It has finally hit me that I'm paying $200 more in rent. (She pays $760, and I pay $960.) It just seems like a huge difference when I don't feel like our situations are that different. She also makes a little more money than I do, if you consider that relevant.
Would it be rude to ask her to reconsider the difference in how much we pay? This time around, I'd definitely want to take measurements so there's no guesswork. However, I value our relationship as friends and roommates, so I'm hesitant to go back on our original agreement. -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN FLORIDA
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: You should not be paying $200 extra. Revisit the conversation you had while the two of you were moving in and recalculate those figures. Your roommate should be paying $810 and you should be paying $910, which adds up to the $1,720 you owe the landlord.
TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE ROSH HASHANA: At sundown tonight, the Jewish New Year begins. At this time of solemn introspection, I wish you all, "L'shana tova tikatevu" -- may you be inscribed in the Book of Life and have a good year.
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