DEAR ABBY: I've been divorced from my husband of 18 years for two years, separated for three. I have encouraged my ex to get out and meet new people. (He stayed home and alone for about two years.) It must have been a New Year's resolution of his because I no longer receive random texts to ask how I'm doing or to make casual conversation.
When I asked him who she was, he replied, "Nobody." Of course, I know him well, and I knew he wasn't being truthful. He's 50; she's 25. I'm grossed out, mostly because our older daughter is 27. The younger one is 22. I know I should be happy for him, but I'm not.
We still celebrate holidays as a big, old, happy family, which I don't mind. We have grandchildren, and I want the holidays to be special. But I have no desire to celebrate them with someone who is barely older than my younger daughter. I know it likely won't go anywhere, but what the heck?
I'm in a happy relationship. Granted, I'm enjoying life and not planning my future or anything like that. My mind says one thing; my heart says another. Do I need therapy? Are these normal feelings? -- THROWN IN MONTANA
DEAR THROWN: It would be abnormal not to have "some" reaction to the new woman in your ex's life. That he's obscuring the truth from you tells me he may feel guilty about the age difference or worried you will be judgmental. Therapy may help you accept that he's now the captain of his fate, so it's no longer necessary for you to help him navigate the seas of life. It would be cheaper to simply let go, allow him to make some mistakes along the way and focus instead on your own present and future.
DEAR ABBY: My heart is heavy for my sister-in-law, "Becca," and her family. Her brother recently passed away. He'd been ill, but no one expected his death. To make matters worse, his wife didn't contact his family about his death for several days and had him cremated without notifying them. They learned about his death when his obit was posted on Facebook.
From what I've been told, his wife has had little to no contact with his family. Becca can't understand what could have been her problem. He was an only son and brother. They didn't have an opportunity to say goodbye; therefore, they don't have closure. His sister and mother are grief-stricken and angry.
I can only offer words of comfort and prayers. With so many unanswered questions behind all of this, what is the best way to offer comfort and support? Or should I just give them time? -- SO MUCH PAIN
DEAR SO MUCH PAIN: Please accept my condolences for your family's loss. Call Becca and her family often. Even better, deliver your words of comfort by visiting in person if she would appreciate the company. Offer to help with shopping for groceries, laundry -- whatever she might be too depressed to do herself right now. And THEN give her time to heal.