DEAR HARRIETTE: My father died a few years ago, and my mother told me that she has met someone who has been taking her to dinner. She wanted to make sure my sister and I would be OK with that. She and my father were married for 35 years, but he is gone. We miss him, but I don’t think she should be restricted from dating. She is still vivacious but also lonely. My sister doesn’t agree. She says my mother should never date again. She had one love, and that’s enough. I think it’s none of my sister’s business. How can I referee this? -- Widow Ready to Date
DEAR WIDOW READY TO DATE: Get tough with your sister. She needs a reality check. Your mother deserves to have some joy in her life. Who knows if she will ever get married again? That’s not the point right now. What is at stake is your mother’s happiness. Help your sister to understand that your mother’s happiness is linked to how you react to her new life. Encourage your sister to welcome your mother’s new beau or to back off. She should not pass judgement as she has no idea how challenging it is to walk in your mother’s shoes.
If your sister is concerned about this man or any man running away with your mother’s wealth or your father’s legacy, suggest that she address those things. She can do so independent of your mother’s date. She can point out that it is wise for your mother to protect herself. Talking to an attorney to set up her affairs is a wise idea. Your mother will hear her better if she is not judgmental.