Dear Annie: I’m in my 50s and since I was widowed three years ago, I’ve been getting close to a man who was a good friend of my husband’s, on Facebook. More recently, he’s begun to call.
He lives in a different part of the country and so there’s always been a physical distance. Now he wants to meet and his conversation is turning more towards a future I’m not sure I’m ready for. What should I do? – KB
Annie says: What an uncomfortable dilemma for you. It sounds as though for a while this friendship really supported you through your grief, and perhaps over time it started to develop into something more, which now, as time has continued to pass, you don’t feel so comfortable with.
Firstly remember, you are not obliged to do anything. You don’t owe this person anything just because he has been a friend to you over the years.
If you are noticing that you feel like things are going faster than you’d like, then perhaps you need to assert some boundaries and explain to him that you need more time before meeting and/or discussing your future. It may well be that with this space, you realise you would like to pursue things and see where they go, in which case you can decide how and when that happens.
But the important thing is not to rush. You are still grieving, and grief can cloud our emotions. This is totally natural and needn’t be a problem, unless major decisions are made on this basis. So hold off, if you can, making any big decisions, and tune in to your gut. It sounds to me like it’s already telling you what is right for you.
If you have a question for Annie to answer in this column, you can write to her at DearAnnie@funeralguide.com
Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.
She is the author of bestselling book We Need to Talk About Grief, inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.