Hax: Moving on past husband’s suicide

The Washington PostJanuary 24, 2014 

Dear Carolyn: My husband committed suicide a year ago and it’s been absolutely horrifying, not only for me but for my 8-year-old son as well.

Recently, I have been trying to date and mingle due to my son’s worry I will be alone. I’m 30 and feel as though I’m doing something wrong. I feel like I’m cheating or being unfaithful to my husband. He chose to do what he did, so should I be feeling this guilt when on a date? Please help.

PENNSYLVANIA

I am so sorry. That is such a heavy thing to carry with you.

But please free yourself of any pressure to date.

It’s OK to be alone while you’re healing; it’s OK not to be interested in dating, yet or ever; it’s OK to be open to having a partner — but also open to being single unless and until you meet a worthy one. It’s OK to find companionship through friends, family, colleagues, the regulars at the coffee shop, pets — as in, however it’s available — instead of in one specific form over which no one has full control.

And it’s OK to address your son’s worries with a gentle, firm, loving and consistent adherence to this message. It’s a message of inner strength and stability for two people no doubt still staggered by a devastating external blow.

Dear Carolyn: My fiance cheated on me. Five months after we split, he dated one of my friends, writing to say that since he’d “been dishonest in the past, he now wanted to be a better communicator.”

I broke off all contact with both parties.

My question: This was awful, and I did the right thing, right? I’m still reeling.

SAD IN CHICAGO

Dating a friend’s cheating ex-fiance just months after he torpedoed the engagement seems awful to me, yes.

You’re in pain; these two people are a direct and ongoing source of this pain; and you have no obligations to them beyond your (former) fondness of them. You’re fully entitled to leave them to each other. Reel, and heal, in peace.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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