DEAR ABBY: I am a widower. I lost my wonderful wife of 35 years to heart disease eight years ago. I have had no relationships with women since then.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a very nice woman, "Yvonne." She's 11 years younger and has never been married. We see each other socially and enjoy each other's company. We are both retired, have our own money and neither of us is interested in marriage.
My son and daughter, both married with children, are split in their opinions about this. My son is happy for me, but my daughter thinks Yvonne is too young for me and wonders why she never married. Some of my friends actually side with my daughter.
At our ages, I don't think an 11-year difference is a big deal. Why Yvonne stayed single is none of anyone's business. Since her mother's death, my daughter has been protective of me. Am I wrong for enjoying the company of this woman after so many years alone? -- LONELY WIDOWER IN ARIZONA
DEAR WIDOWER: No, you are not wrong. If you and Yvonne enjoy each other, you are both unencumbered and entitled to it. Eleven years is not too great an age difference. Your daughter seems to be more possessive than protective. Seeing you with a woman other than her late mother -- regardless of age -- may be what's really bothering her.
If you want to allow your friends to run your life, I can't stop you. But I see no reason why you should allow them to dampen your enjoyment if all they can find wrong with Yvonne is her age. (Could any of these "friends" be jealous or closely tied to your late wife?)