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Abby 0316
Widow fears grief for past may jeopardize her future
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    DEAR ABBY: The one-year anniversary of my husband's death is approaching. It has been a long and difficult year, but my children and I are mending. With the anniversary date coming up next month, we have all been feeling depressed.
    My problem is I have recently started seeing a gentleman ("Donald") who is kind, loving, generous, and understanding to both me and my children. Although I don't know where this relationship is heading, I do think he is special.
    Our conversations sometimes include my husband. (He also speaks of his ex-wife.) I do not want to make Donald feel like second fiddle to my deceased husband. How can I reassure him that although I am hurting over the loss of someone I loved for 20 years — especially on anniversaries of certain events — that my relationship with him is important to me? -- STILL GRIEVING, MELBOURNE, FLA.
    <B>DEAR STILL GRIEVING: The surest way to reassure Donald would be to address the subject. Ask him, "Does it bother you when I mention my deceased husband?" You may be pleasantly surprised to find that he understands completely. But if he doesn't, then you should tell him exactly what you have told me. I have always believed in the power of communication.<B>
    DEAR ABBY: I'm having a hard time making my friends understand that I would prefer not to go out for food or drinks to celebrate my birthday. I know their hearts are in the right place and have told them so, but they don't seem to get the message and are hurt by my not wanting to go out.
    I have many friends and family, and all of them want to do something different. I would prefer to let the day pass. Someone went so far as to tell me that it is "attention-seeking" to not let people celebrate my day.
    Can you help me find the words to tell them I'm not interested without hurting their feelings? -- BIRTHDAY GIRL IN WILMINGTON, DEL.
    <B>DEAR BIRTHDAY GIRL: Try this: Explain that not everyone views birthdays in the same light. Some people find birthdays to be depressing, and pretending that they don't so others can celebrate makes them even more depressed. This is not an attention-getting device; it is simply a preference for marking the occasion with quiet contemplation instead of forced gaiety.<B>
    DEAR ABBY: Two of my co-workers, both of whom are married, are having an affair. It seems as if they don't care if they flaunt it.
    They take long lunches together, and apparently he is now visiting her house while her husband is out of town. She has small children, and now the children know the man as "Mommy's friend who comes over when Daddy is gone."
    Abby, I have seen her write love notes while she's supposed to be working, and I have seen e-mails in which he confesses his love for her. I feel sorry for the spouses of these two people.
    Should I just mind my own business, let this continue, and let them get caught on their own? What would you do if you were in my place? -- LOLA IN LAS VEGAS
    <B>DEAR LOLA: I would mind my own business and let them get caught on their own. However, since the romance appears to be an open secret — and being as it's Las Vegas — I'd start a pool and take bets on how long it will take before one of the children mentions "Mommy's friend" to Daddy.
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