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SECRETS CORNER: It’s okay to move on

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

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THE DEATH of a loving partner is always traumatic. It’s an even greater shock if the person was young and his/her demise was unexpected.
This unfortunate situation is more distressing when the deceased leaves young children and heavy debts behind with no identifiable means of taking care of those responsibilities.
For the partner left behind, picking up the pieces after such an event is never easy as they have to cope not only with their loss, but also with the children and debts left behind, and the expectations of family and creditors. It is a tough period.
This week’s question – Would you be dishonouring the memory of your recently departed partner if you became involved with his best friend, given the fact that the family left behind to support is a young one? – comes from a 30-something-year-old mother of two who is faced with the situation outlined.
What makes matters worse is that her former partner’s best friend is interested in her romantically and has been assisting her, but is now pressing her to move in with him.
She admits to caring for him and being intimate with him, but fears that if they are open about their involvement, her late partner’s parents, brothers and sister, as well as her mother and siblings, will disown her. And she cannot handle that.
This young mother says that after five and a half months she wants to move on with her life, but can’t because everyone close to her feels she should still be in mourning.
“Imagine at my age I have to hide and have a man . . . I have to pretend he and I are just friends when I care about him. He helps me with the children real good and they like him too,” she said.
Those who called and emailed suggested that a surviving partner should pursue love after losing their spouse. They also noted that by doing so, it did not mean that one had forgotten the late lover; rather it was about moving on with your life.
“To find somebody who loves you and who you love once is tough. So if death intervenes and you’re able to find love a second time in your life, you should go for it,” said one reader.
That said, concerns were raised about the surviving partner becoming involved with a new mate for financial security.
Those who referred to this said that getting involved for such reasons was similar to prostitution and was wrong. However, if there was genuine affection that led to assistance, that was okay.
The following are edited versions of the responses received:
“Enjoying the rest of your life is what you should be doing, so go for it. Just make sure that this new partner does not abuse your children.”
“People, especially when they are still young, should move on with their life and find a new partner. Love is not meant to be sad and the last thing your loved one would want is for you to waste the rest of your life wishing that they were there.”
“To live on without the love of your life must be an awful situation, but as life is a continuum, there is nothing wrong with that. Having a new love in your life does not mean you no longer care about your late partner. He will always occupy a special place in your heart, but you have to continue living.”
“Before taking the plunge of someone new, you need to heal from your loss. That way you would not get involved for the wrong reasons, like financial security. That is no better than prostitution anyway.
“You need to heal, too, to stop the comparisons that will inevitably be made between your new and old spouse. And you have to be in good shape to take care of the children. Their welfare should be of primary concern and should not be compromised.”
“How recent is recent? And what is the family going to gain from his best friend? Regardless, life must go on, and he has already kicked the bucket. I don’t believe in worshipping the dead, so it depends on how good the dead person was to me and the family . . . If he is someone worth honouring, then it would be left for many cold showers and sweet memories.”
“If your family has your best interests and happiness at heart, they should understand that you need to move on. What I don’t agree with is doing so with the best friend. Don’t the two of you have any shame?
“It seems to me, and I’m sure others will also think, that the two of you were involved before the death.”