Question: Dear Luise: My husband died 4 months ago and I have had a terrible time with it. His best friend has helped me a lot and we are very close. All of a sudden I have a desire to have a sexual relationship. I hinted and he told me he definitely wanted to. I am afraid it will ruin our relationship or I will fall in love and he won’t. Maybe he just wants sex and I have never done that. I told him I was scared and worried and nervous. He is not. I feel weird but still can’t quit thinking about it. What should I do? M.
Answer: Dear M.: This is a tricky business. You are reeling. For most people the time right after a loss is not the time to make any serious decisions or changes and you, at least, are looking at the situation seriously.
There are all kinds of ways to seek and find comfort. And what works for one person is absolutely the wrong thing for someone else. Some people isolate, some travel and some get incredibly busy. In four months you may not know yet what will help you most and it is apt to change from day to day.
Your late-husband’s friend has been a strong source of support. No matter what you do, now, the dynamics have changed. You changed them when you “hinted” that you were interested in physical intimacy. It may have been wise to get it out into the open…but now what do you do with it?
My take on this is “don’t go there.” Not yet, at least. Acknowledging it doesn’t mean you have to act on it. You are seeking comfort and thinking of using this man to get it. He has lost his best friend and is thinking of using you for comfort as well. Seen in that light, it’s not really about intimacy, is it? It’s about your shared pain and loss. I think you are right in thinking that it might bring about more complexities than comfort…and neither of you need that.
Why not take this issue to a counselor and bring a wise and well-trained advocate into your life while you are adjusting to both your huge loss and this uncomfortable attraction? The man in question might profit from the same approach.
You both have your work cut out for you. Who knows where it will take you and where you may end up. This, however, is just the beginning. Blessings, Luise