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Ask Ellie: Divorced woman seen as 'predator' for dating widower

A reader asks about how to deal with her friends' reaction to a new relationship with a widower.

Dear Ellie: I’m a woman in my early 40s, who, with my then-husband, became close friends with three other couples. My marriage was rocky (separate goals, many disagreements). I sought a divorce four years ago. He soon moved away, remarried.

The other three couples were initially awkward about it but included me in plans for the next get-togethers (bowling/a new play, etc.) followed by dinner at someone’s home, and discussions.

Then, one of the men revealed that his wife had been diagnosed with a serious illness. She died six months later. We all attended her funeral, helped him with bringing meals, encouraged him to rejoin us after his year of mourning.

Several months later, I arrived at the meeting place by taxi, as my car needed repairs. He drove me home.

We talked for hours, comforted each other and attended the next gathering together. One of the women was outraged, shouting: “Are you kidding me?” This was directed only to me.

After two more tries to have the group accept our being together, we stopped attending. Only one friend, a man, offered an explanation.

He said that the women felt insecure about what happens as we all age, have health issues and a partner dies. One even said that single women become predators to regain security.

I was shocked! How do I handle this attitude in once-close friends. It’s so hurtful!

Not A Predator

Focus on your own truth about this new relationship. Discuss it with your partner. Assure yourselves that the connection was spontaneous and mutual, and that you both still honour his previous marriage through fond memories.

If he had grown children who lost their mother, reach out as a friend, not a stepmom (unless a child of his seeks that in you).

Your couples’ group may eventually adjust to your new situation. If not, stay polite. You’ve no reason to apologize.

Dear Ellie: My daughter just informed me that her husband bought a bigger boat! He was fired at the pandemic’s start and didn’t work for two years. He finally has a job. They’d previously mortgaged their house to buy a cottage.

Now, instead of paying off the mortgage, he “needs” another boat for the cottage.

Their kids seldom use the cottage, hardly ever go in the water and he doesn’t swim.

I don’t agree with this expenditure. Soon, their kids will be attending college/ university and that’s not cheap.

I intend to rewrite my will so that the grandchildren receive money, not my daughter. The way her husband operates, I imagine him just getting a bigger cottage with any inheritance.

Am I A Grinch?

Well, you do show some grinch-like grumpiness of not appreciating others’ enjoying themselves.

Yes, your son-in-law spends easily on bank-borrowed money for a more pleasurable boat. But he’s apparently not asking you for that handout. Until he does, it’s not your business.

As a mom and grandmother, you have a better role than “grinch” if you gently discuss basic finances with your daughter.

Ask her their plans for the kids’ higher education costs. Suggest that she gets more information/guidance from their bank. Show that you care about their future instead of just listing your disapprovals.

However, your will is your business. Ask a lawyer at what ages children can inherit without having parents be named executors in charge.

I’m betting those “kids” will ultimately carry similar sentiments for cottage and boat… hopefully, at whatever cost they can manage.

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