Dear Ms. Vicki,
My family is judging me because I finally found love again.
My husband was killed in Iraq in 2006. He was my best friend, and I lost everything when he died. I was in a deep, dark depression for years.
People kept telling to take advantage of the different resources the military offered me, but no matter what what was available, it wasn't enough. I wanted my husband back. I wanted my life back, but my life was over. I would never have that life again.
People from the Army community did reach out to me, but things were different. I felt like I was the woman with the bad news and the bad aura. People slowly started to back off.
I understand that life goes on, so I wasn't angry at anyone, but I was angry at the war that took my husband.
Now, after seven years of depression and therapy, I have slowly started to piece my life back together again with the help of great people. I have been working in a new career, and I have been dating someone for a little over a year. I didn't introduce him to anyone in my family or my friends until about four months ago.
Believe it or not, my family is not happy! I am still good friends with my in-laws and they are not happy either. They say I am moving too fast and that I haven't healed from my grief.
Should I stay alone for the rest of my life? I am with a good man, and I love him. He is very different from my first husband. He's in a different career, has different interests -- he is just totally different. We love each other.
Ms. Vicki, do you think I am moving too fast in this relationship? How can I get my family to accept my decision to move on with my new love?
-- New Love
Dear New Love,
I am very sorry about the loss of your husband. Quite naturally, you experienced an array of emotions and all of them were normal.
I meet many military spouses who, years later, are finally beginning to share their deployment survival stories. They are filled with anxiety, anger, sadness, happiness, etc. The emotions are bountiful. Having not shared this experience, I know that I cannot begin to understand the grief you've felt.
While I understand your family's concerns, they have to understand that you are still alive and growing. You are in a different place now. It's been 10 years since your husband's death. I believe people grieve differently. I'm not saying by any means that it's time to get over it but, after 10 years, it is only normal that you would move forward in many ways. And a new relationship is one of them.
I think you are doing right by not forcing your new beau on your family and friends. They are still checking him out. They don't want you to be hurt, and he has to give them a reason to trust him. Your family and friends will know his heart by the way he treats you. If he continues to treat you well, they will trust him.
Thank you so much for emailing and sharing your story with me. I would love to hear from you again because there is a lot that I would like to learn from you so that I can help others who have experienced a significant loss. Please stay in touch.
-- Ms. Vicki