Coat-Hanger Star

Holiday Dilemma

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

My husband died a year ago. It was terribly hard on all of us. He was a good man and very close to our daughters. But, slowly I’m trying to move on.

I started seeing a divorced man last month. He treats me well. We enjoy each other’s company but I’m in no rush. (To be honest, he has some financial issues. I think he has a tendency to live beyond his means and he needs to borrow money from me sometimes.)

The problem is my two daughters. They are both loyal to the memory of their father and they are very skeptical of my new “friend”. (Of course, that’s my own fault. I shouldn’t have told them about the money issues.)

I want him to join all of us for Christmas and my girls have told me that they think it is too soon for him to meet their children and to be part of our big, family holiday. They also say they think it’s “strange” he doesn’t want to spend the holiday with any of his three children and grandchildren, especially since they all live around here. (I have to admit that I’m a bit curious about why he doesn’t have very good relationships with his children.)

I see what they are saying but I’m a lonely 78 year old woman who wants a little companionship. Am I asking too much for my family to give in on this one?

Lonely Widow

Dear Reader,

Isn’t it frustrating what dilemmas the holidays can present? It’s little wonder you are reaching out for a third opinion. I hope what I offer can bridge the divide.

I certainly understand why you would like to include your new “friend” in your family’s holiday celebration. Of course you want to share this special time with him.

I can also understand your daughters’ loyalty to both their father and their mother. It’s natural they are looking out for your best interests, especially since you told them about your own concerns about this man. Given this, they are protective of their mother, their children, and your family’s long standing holiday rituals. Naturally, they’re hesitant to  share something so significant and personal as a family holiday with someone they don’t know, nor feel may be the best fit for their mother. Finally, I imagine they are also missing their father, especially this time of the year. As you well know, tender hearts can be sadly prevalent during the holidays

So, here’s the bad news. Sorry, but this time around, I’m going to ask you to be the one to make the concessions. All things considered, this is a very, very new relationship and one that does not yet warrant inclusion in your large family gathering. If he is a man worthy of you, he will understand this decision. (If he doesn’t, perhaps he’s not the one for you?) I realize that I am asking a lot of you but there are so many people to consider.

Honestly, most of my decision is based on some of your friend’s questionable attributes, i.e. finances and family relationships. It’s far too soon to know how this relationship will play itself out, so please error on the side of caution. (I hope that your loneliness does not cloud your vision regarding how well suited you two are.)

I’d suggest that you two create your own Christmas celebration in advance of December 24th and 25th. Do something special to mark the holiday. It can be very simple or wildly festive. The fun will be on deciding what you two want to do to make it memorable.  What matters most is that you enjoy each other’s company … and that you and your family enjoy each other.

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