Ask Amy: I refuse to promise my child that I won’t get married

DEAR AMY: After many decades of marriage to a
wonderful woman, I find myself in my third year as a widower.
Despite having many friends, an active church life, and a very
loving family, I am lonely.

Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune) 

To alleviate my loneliness, I have asked several women to
accompany me to various activities, like concerts, plays, etc.

I shared my feelings with my adult children and told them that I
have started to date. We are a close family of kids, spouses and

However, I was in for a shock, when one of my children asked me
to promise that I would never get married again.

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Marrying again had not crossed my mind until this demand.

I briefly reviewed in my head the criteria a potential new
spouse would have to meet in regard to feelings, compatibility,
religion, etc. Then I answered that I cannot make that promise.
Needless to say, interactions with this child have been a bit
frosty ever since.

I am not a person who takes a promise lightly, so I didn’t
want to rule out a future marriage if the right person came

Can you offer your advice?

Wondering Widower

DEAR WONDERING: You are wise to state outright
that you will continue to live your life on your own terms, and
that includes having relationships and possibly marriage down the
road. Your child should never have asked you to make such a
promise. To do so is to deny your right to make the sort of choices
any adult has every right to make.

You sound like a good and kind person, and so the kindest
assumption about this unkind demand is to assume that your child is
still grieving the loss of their mother. Sometimes loss leads
people to make twisted assumptions, for instance that a new
marriage would somehow erase the long and loving one you shared
with your late wife. Reassure this child of yours and then continue
to assert yourself as a worthy potential partner.

And then, frosty or not, you should move forward, trusting that
your child will also find a way to deal with your reality.

DEAR AMY: Less than two weeks ago, my mother
passed away after a battle with cancer. She was a wonderful mother
to my sisters and me, and though my grieving began with her
diagnosis, I’m devastated that she’s gone.

Our father passed away four years ago, and, like my mother he
was a wonderful parent.

For the past year I’ve been living with my boyfriend and his
93-year-old mother. We’ve broken up a few times over the past 20
years, and, suffice it to say, he’s been verbally and physically
abusive. He is also charming, humorous, adventurous, (sometimes)
kind, and is very handsome.

He has always lived with his mother, and she is often insulting,
judgmental and meddlesome.

Three years ago, my boyfriend was diagnosed with terminal
prostate cancer. He has been enormously strong mentally and
physically; however, with each passing month, the cancer is taking
its toll.

I’m so conflicted. I want to leave this relationship, as I
question why I have fallen back into its tentacles over and over

How do I leave this man when he’s suffering from terminal


DEAR CONFLICTED: So far, you seem to have made
many important choices in a reactive way — you’ve bounced in
and out of this relationship with a man who has been physically and
verbally abusive. His situation seems to be deteriorating, and you
are thinking of bouncing.

How can you leave this man who has terminal cancer? How can a
man physically abuse a woman he is supposed to love? Human beings
are sometimes inhumane.

Yes, you should have left a long time ago. Now you have to
behave in a way that is both humane toward him, and protective
toward yourself.

Your own mother’s death may have unlocked something inside
you. Call it a self-protective spirit. Perhaps she worried about
you as you have cycled through this abusive cycle.

You should move out. But you should also consider remaining in a
friendship with this man, in order to be supportive and emotionally
— if not physically — present.

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DEAR AMY: Responding
to “Stressed Server,” who was so upset
over negative online
reviews of her cafe, whatever happened to: “If you don’t have
anything nice to say, don’t say anything?” The way you tip
speaks volumes, anyway.

Cafe Customer

DEAR CUSTOMER: I think the internet pretty much
destroyed that useful maxim.

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You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a
letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also
follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
Ask Amy: I refuse to promise my child that I won’t get married