Dear Aunty,

Five years ago, I lost my beloved husband, who I had loved for 27 years.

I thought I’d never look at another man again but, in March, friends introduced me to someone charming, and we’ve been dating ever since. I can’t ignore the fact he would clearly like to go to bed with me, but this still feels like a betrayal. Is it wrong to ask for more time?



Hi dear friend,

There’s no stopwatch on grief, and every bereaved person has to find their own way and timescale in which to mourn. So it’s impossible for me to say whether five years should be sufficient time for you to come to terms with your loss.

While we never completely move on from the death of those closest to us, you can learn to be happy again. And this is surely what your spouse would have wanted. Think about the situation in reverse. If your husband had been left on his own, wouldn’t you want him to find love and companionship, even as he held the memory of you dear?

It seems that, when you talk of “betrayal”, the emotion you are truly harbouring is guilt. You need to acknowledge that you can still grieve while opening your heart to a new partner.

Have you talked about your husband with your new man? Bear in mind, it’s difficult for him to live up to the memory of your spouse and that, much as you need his support, he also needs reassurance that you want to be in a loving relationship again.

The more you explain what’s going on in your heart, the more likely he’ll be able to give you the space you need. Providing, of course, you feel you can make some kind of commitment.

It would almost certainly be beneficial to talk to a third party. A good grief counsellor can help you transition to this new stage.

And remember, in your 50s you are still very much in the prime of life. It would be a shame if – when sufficient time has passed – you did not feel the consolation of sexual intimacy again. It may even help you heal.

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