DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost my husband about 15 years ago. I know I should be past it by now, but I’m not. I have never met anybody who even holds a candle to him.
My husband was a wonderful man. He was kind and attentive. I’m not saying he was perfect, but he was perfect for me. Every time I date, I hold men up to my husband as the standard. They never win the contest. How can I learn to look at them for who they are? -- Missing My Man, Allegheny, Pennsylvania
DEAR MISSING MY MAN: People grieve at their own pace. Your feelings of loss about your husband are real and clearly continue to affect your ability to be fully in the present. Take some time to remember all that you cherish about your deceased husband. Give yourself space to honor his memory, and literally ask for his blessing to move on.
You may want to get professional support, too. A grief counselor may be able to help you disentangle your tendency to evaluate potential suitors based on your husband’s characteristics and your desire to hold on to his memory. You can have one without the other.
Regarding your male suitors, your job is to be in the moment. Stop looking for a replacement for your husband. Instead, enjoy the companionship before you. Look at the person who is with you and notice his good qualities. Pay attention to see if you two mesh and if you enjoy each other’s company. Stay attuned to what’s happening before your eyes, and choose not to bring your husband into the moment. You can do it.