DEAR ABBY: I have been married to the same woman for more than 30 years. My wife has recently been diagnosed with cancer. During all the years of our marriage, I blocked out everyone else because I thought all I needed was her. Now my biggest fear is that if I should lose her, I'll be completely alone. What in my personality caused me to do this? -- REGRETFUL IN LOS ANGELES
DEAR REGRETFUL: It's possible that your wife has fulfilled all of your needs for companionship during your marriage -- and/or you may not be a particularly social animal. Please don't waste your time looking backward and feeling bad about what you "should" have done but didn't. So many advances have been made in the treatment of cancer; your wife could survive to spend many more happy years with you.
If your fear is that, in the event of your wife's death, you will face a bleak and solitary future, please realize that eligible widowers in your age bracket are highly desirable. Rather than worrying about being socially isolated, worry more about holding the "casserole brigade" at bay until you're far enough along in the grieving process that you don't get involved too quickly.