DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife passed of a terminal illness six years ago. I was married to her for 15 years, and she was the love of my life. Our son is 14 years old and has fond memories of his mother, as well as remembering her final months.
I have dipped my toe into the pool of dating and found a woman whose company I truly enjoy. She is around my age, is very educated and has lived an interesting life. She has no children. I brought up the idea of bringing her around to meet my son, and she is willing to do so. When I told my son later that night, it ended with him screaming at me and slamming doors -- disastrous to say the least. My son refuses to meet my new girlfriend. Should I surprise him when he comes home after school? I feel like once he meets her, he'll see how great she is. -- Merging Sides, Boston
DEAR MERGING SIDES: You definitely should not surprise your son with your girlfriend when he comes home from school. That could make him feel unsafe in his own home. Instead, take your time. Talk to your son about dating, in general, so that you can learn his thoughts for himself and for you. He is at the age where he may be thinking about girls, which could only more strongly conflict with the notion of seeing you date.
Tell him little things about your girlfriend so that he becomes familiar with her through your stories. Let him know why you would like for them to meet. Over time, you can win him over.