DEAR ABBY: I have been a widow for six months. My late husband was a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic. I spent numerous nights in the ER waiting to be seen and nursed many black eyes during the years. During all those years of abuse, which was witnessed by numerous friends and family, I remained faithful and dedicated to him and our marriage, but because of the toxicity of our relationship I was severely depressed and needed antidepressants. I tried many times to get him help and had family interventions, only to end up being threatened with getting all my teeth knocked out.
My dilemma is one of our friends has become more than just a friend. This man is a kind, caring individual and has done more for me this last couple of weeks than my husband did my entire marriage. I have been so happy recently, but I feel guilty for feeling this way and wonder if I should be ashamed for not grieving longer. I feel maybe I’m doing something wrong by being happy and not having to deal with the abuse. What do you think? — Survivor In Virginia
DEAR SURVIVOR: What I think is you should be grateful you are free of your abusive late husband. I see no reason why you should feel guilty for not grieving the death of that disturbed individual. That said, it’s very important you take your time before getting into another exclusive relationship. You are extremely vulnerable now. You need to heal from the years of abuse you experienced, and possibly receive counseling to ensure you don’t drift toward the “familiar” or overlook warning signs of another potential abuser.