DEAR ABBY: My husband has stage 4 cancer and is in constant pain. A big worry for him is my being alone in life after his passing. Several months ago when the subject came up, I told him that while I'm not a prophet, I know I'll be OK. I'm a social person. I have a nice support group with various organizations, and I'm close with family and co-workers, etc.
Four months ago, a high school friend and I reconnected. We have shared many conversations and have built a meaningful relationship. The gnawing question is, do I share this information with my husband now, wait until he mentions his leaving me alone again or say nothing? There is a fine line here between putting my husband's fears to rest and potentially making him feel he will be easily replaced.
This is not a topic I feel comfortable sharing with my friends. I'm curious what other women have done in similar situations. Do they explore the new situation, have an affair or maintain a celibate relationship? Your response will help with some of the stress I'm having at this juncture. -- NOT EASILY REPLACED
DEAR NOT EASILY REPLACED: I know I will hear from my readers once your letter is published, and I'm just as certain their responses will indicate that they have done each of the things you mentioned.
I agree that there is a fine line between putting your husband's fears to rest and making him feel he will be easily replaced. The reality is, whether things work out with your old school chum or the budding romance comes to nothing, relationships are not interchangeable. You have shared history with your husband that can't be duplicated.
While your husband is a special man whose only concern is for you, in my heart, I don't think news of this relationship should be shared with him. I don't know how much more time he has on this earth, but I think you would feel better about yourself if you postponed an affair until after your husband is gone. If this old friend cares deeply for you, he should be willing to wait.