Ann from Michigan writes:

My husband of 23 years and my dad died within a week of each other. It was awful. We had a large circle of close friends who were great to me, but when I met another man, they were not happy and were always looking for faults with him and trying to tell me not to be with him. They don’t understand that I am just trying to move forward with life. I will always love my husband, but I know I must move on. I can’t go back to the way it was before March 2006. Some people have even broken off their friendship with me. Why can’t they understand and support me?

Abel Keogh, author of Room For Two, responds:

Ann,I’m sorry for your loss but glad that you’re moving forward with your life.

Your friends’ reaction to your falling in love again is, unfortunately, common. Some of them are probably grieving over your late husband’s death. Others might have a hard time seeing you with someone else. Whatever the reason for their negative comments and remarks, don’t let them stop you from loving again and moving on. Hopefully, those who have difficulty seeing you with a new love will eventually see how happy you are and realize that falling in love again doesn’t mean rejecting your late husband.

I fell in love again within a year of my late wife’s death. It was very hard from some family and friends to see me with another woman. However, after they saw how happy I was and that our love was real, most of them came around and were very supportive when I eventually remarried. I remain close to most of them.

For those who have decided to end the friendship or continue to make disparaging remarks, don’t hold a grudge or be angry at them. Their actions and decisions are out of your control. Simply let them know that the door of friendship will remain open when they’re ready to return. As your relationship with this man blossoms, I believe many of them will eventually become supportive of your decision. They probably just need some time to let their emotions settle down and adjust to the idea of seeing you with someone else.

You’re a great example to others – including your friends – that despite losing a spouse, life does go on and that it is possible to be happy again. Keep pressing forward no matter what others say or do.

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Abel Keogh

Abel is the author of the relationship guides Dating a Widower: Starting a Relationship with a Man Who's Starting Over and Marrying a Widower: What You Need to Know Before Tying the Knot as well as several other books. During the day, Abel works in corporate marketing for a technology company. His main responsibilities include making computers and software sound super sexy, coding websites, and herding cats. Abel and his wife live somewhere in the beautiful state of Utah and, as citizens of the Beehive State, are parents of the requisite five children.

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