Q: A couple of years ago I lost my wife to cancer. We had been married for 10 wonderful years and were very much in love. It's been hard to move on, but I've fallen in love again. The tricky part is that the woman I'm involved with now is my late wife's sister, who also lost her husband around the same time. As time went on, we got closer, and we've been secretly dating one another for about six months now. We are afraid to come out with it to the family and we are terrified of negative responses, but we've decided that we want to keep pursuing our relationship. What do you think is the best way to handle this?
- D.W., Ken-Ton
A: Since you've both decided that this relationship is what you want, you should take the leap and let your family know about it. I'm sure a few of them may be shocked or surprised, but I don't see any reason for them to react negatively. It has been a couple of years, and the two of you have been a support system for one another during your time of loss, so it doesn't seem unusual to me that the relationship has deepened and romantic feelings have developed.
I'm not aware of your family dynamics, but use your best judgment as to how you let people know. If you think telling everyone all at once would be best, fine, but don't do it at the Thanksgiving table. What might be a better idea is telling one person at a time; confiding in the matriarch or patriarch of the family would be a good place to start, in my opinion.
Sober in a bar town
Q: I am a recovering alcoholic and I haven't had a drink in 15 years. I've been involved in AA and have enjoyed living soberly very much. My divorce was about three years ago, and I'm just starting to get back into the dating scene.
I'm noticing that the fact that I'm a nondrinker may be scaring some people off. I usually let them know on the first date that I don't drink, and I think second dates are not happening as a result. Is it really that big of a deal that I don't drink?
- K.M., North Buffalo
A: First, congratulations on your sobriety. Second, no, it's not a big deal. I think you'd do well to seek out a person who is also a nondrinker, but unfortunately, we're in a city that has a bar and a church on every corner. This makes the chance of meeting social drinkers much more likely. In these situations, don't talk about drinking on your first dates. Order the beverage of your choice and don't make it a big deal. Less is more, so don't feel you need to explain. Your recovery is your personal business and no stranger is entitled to know it.
If someone asks why you're not drinking alcohol, tell them that you don't drink and drive. It's not a lie, it's vague. After a few dates, if you feel comfortable enough with someone, go ahead and talk about it. At this point, he or she will already be interested in you, and the fact that you don't drink will be much less of an issue. Besides, anyone who gives you a hard time for not drinking isn't worth your time.
Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffaloniagara intro.com). Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your initials and hometown.