DEAR ABBY: A year ago, I lost my wife of 16 years to cancer. "Ethel" and I didn't have a perfect marriage, but we worked at it. We both had grown children from first marriages. We also had a child together, a boy, "Ben," who is 13.
Last spring I began seeing a very nice lady I'll call Blanche. Ethel's daughters have little to do with me since their mother's death and are encouraging Ben to be rude and distant to Blanche. I realize Ben has issues, but I have tried to explain to him that life goes on. Blanche is not trying to replace his mother; she would like to be his friend.
My question is, when should I tell my in-laws about Blanche?
To everyone reading this: If at all possible, become a donor of some sort. My eternal thanks to the caring individual who gave his bone marrow to Ethel in an effort to save a complete stranger. God bless you. -- NEEDS TO MOVE ON IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR NEEDS: Ethel's daughters most likely have already told your in-laws about Blanche, so you should tell them the "news" now. If you don't, it will appear that you are sneaking around -- and it's important not to create that impression. It may be painful for Ethel's relatives to hear, so don't be surprised if they are less than thrilled.
Family counseling might be helpful for you, your son, and Ethel's daughters if they are open to it. Should the "girls" refuse, go with Ben. He is still young, and he lost his mother at a time when he still needed her. You are probably further along in the grieving process than your son because you had a chance to grieve for your wife during her illness.
For Ben's sake, I hope you take your time before remarrying. He apparently needs more time to adjust and to understand that the new lady in your life is not a threat to his mother's memory.