SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 10, 2014

Dear Abby: Portrait of man’s late wife clouds couple’s life together

Dear Abby
The Salem News

---- — Dear Abby: My boyfriend of two years, “Clint,” recently brought a large framed picture of his deceased wife into our home. He placed it on his dresser in front of framed photos of us together.

His wife died three years ago. We are living together in a condo Clint bought for me. He made it clear from the beginning that he didn’t want to move me into “her house.”

Clint also still wears his wedding ring. He carries guilt and doesn’t seem to have made closure. I told him I don’t feel comfortable with her picture “looking at us.” He doesn’t think there should be a problem. Should I move on? — In The Shadows

Dear In The Shadows: That Clint still wears his wedding ring tells me he may not have accepted his wife’s death. How sad for him.

Ask him to move his wife’s picture to a room other than the bedroom because, while he doesn’t think it’s creating a problem, it is creating one for YOU. If he can’t bring himself to do that — and join a grief support group — then you should consider moving on.

Dear Abby: Enough with the problems! It’s time you printed a positive letter.

I’m an active, friendly senior who lives alone, but I’m not lonely. I have many friends of all ages and a devoted family. Why? Because as I traveled through many states during my life, I reached out to people along the way.

The saying, “If you want a friend, be a friend,” is true. If we want friends, we can’t sit back and wait for people to come to us. Smile, speak up, pay a sincere compliment — just communicate! If you do, the majority of people will respond positively.

I socialize with people my age in church circles, card clubs and dining-out groups who can’t understand why I’m always so busy. They don’t reach out except to people they already know. As people get older, that group is constantly shrinking. Join a religious group, community clubs and organizations. Volunteer to read at schools and libraries. Visit a senior group or center.

Many people of all ages fear they won’t be accepted. But if they show up with a friendly attitude, they will be. You have to contribute — whether it’s with a smile, an opening remark or some other welcoming gesture.

I served in the military, taught Sunday school, led Girl Scouts, garden clubs, church and neighborhood groups while following my husband through eight states and raising three children. My husband was often away in his business, but we had a strong, supportive marriage. He joined me in many activities when he could be home.

I think many people have forgotten we must give in order to get. When we reach out to others, most of the time those people reach back. — Not Lonely In Woodstock, Ill.

Dear Not Lonely: It’s easy to see why you have a wide circle of friends. Your positive energy leaps off the page.

There are two types of people in the world: those who come into a room and their attitude says, “Here I am!” and those who come into a room and their attitude says, “There you are!” You are one of the latter. If people want a warm welcome, they should keep in mind that the happier they are to see others, the happier others will be to see them.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.