DEAR ABBY: The letter from "In Love Again," whose wife died of cancer four months ago and who insists he's ready to remarry, impelled me to write. My husband died suddenly nine months ago. He was only 47. (I am 48.) I joined a grief support group for people under 50.
In one of the sessions, the subject of hasty remarriage was discussed. The counselor leading the group dropped this pearl of wisdom: "Women grieve alone, and men grieve with another woman."
I agree with you and with "In Love's" pastors that four months is too soon to become engaged. If he can find a support group like the one I had, he should go. It gave me tools to cope and affirmation that I wasn't crazy as I experienced the stages of grief. -- BEEN THERE IN MANSFIELD, MASS.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Although I warned "In Love Again" to take his time, some readers disagreed. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My first wife died unexpectedly in 1991. Eight months later, I married a widow I'd known for 12 years. Some of my seven children were so angry they refused to attend the wedding. That really hurt.
To make a long story short, we celebrate every month of marriage with an anniversary card that I create on my computer, flowers from the grocery store, and dinner at a nice restaurant. We just celebrated our 163rd month anniversary. Tell that man to get married! -- JOE F. IN INDIO, CALIF.
DEAR JOE F.: If the two of you are happy, I'm happy for you. However, you knew your present wife for 12 years before you married her. "In Love" has known his lady friend only four months. Call me cautious, but that's an awfully short time.
DEAR ABBY: My father, a prominent minister of a large church, married his secretary three months after my mother's death from cancer. After mother's funeral, Dad was besieged by a hoard of single women offering food, help ... and more. His marriage may have been partly in self-defense.
My brother, my wife and I loved the new wife. She was wonderful for Dad during the five years before their deaths in a car accident. Although I agree with your advice to take it more slowly, I'm glad Dad had a great partner in his final years. Good luck to "In Love Again." -- LOWELL IN DENVER
DEAR LOWELL: I'm sorry your father's time with his second wife was so short. Several readers wrote to say that if "In Love" is a senior citizen, his age should be taken into consideration.
DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter from "In Love Again," it was like I was revisiting my recent past. Today marks exactly one year and one day since I lost my beloved wife to cancer. We were married 13 years.
I was lonely, depressed and starved for physical intimacy. Two months later, I began dating a woman at work. It wasn't long before I thought I had met the next "love of my life." Despite warnings from family, friends and co-workers, I persisted. I isolated myself from anyone who said I was making a mistake.
The relationship finally ran its course, and we ended it. Now that I have some perspective, I see I was blind to what everyone who cared about me could see: It was happening too soon and for all the wrong reasons.
I encourage "In Love" to slow down. If it's true love, and not a reaction to grief and loneliness, it'll stand the test of time. If not, he'll be doing himself and the lady a big favor. -- ROBERT IN LAS VEGAS