A difficult dilemma

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Two's company ... but is three a crowd?

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I feel terrible for saying this, but I don’t want my husband’s grieving best friend to come travelling with us! Del and I were all poised to head off on ‘the big one’ when Del’s best mate, Eric, unexpectedly lost his wife and we delayed everything. They have been close since high school so I totally ‘get’ that Del wanted to support his friend in such a difficult time. But that was now three months ago and Eric is still clearly struggling with being on his own. Unbeknown to me, the pair of them hatched a plan whereby Eric travels in convoy with us. I’ll be honest, it’s not what I wanted or imagined. I don’t want to sit in my campchair and listen to them talk about footy or weight distribution hitches … but I don’t want to damage my relationship by coming across as the wicked witch, either!

Sudden bereavement is a terrible thing and it can knock even the strongest of people for six. You and Del have responded in the way that good friends should and shown support and encouragement for Eric while he readjusts to a different life than he imagined. I completely understand your reluctance to be the villain in this tragedy but also you have every right to wonder when you can focus on your lives again. You must talk to Del and explain how you are feeling. While I understand you would never ask Del to abandon his pal in his time of need, there are compromise options. Maybe Eric can just travel with you for a limited time, or maybe you can negotiate whereby you have evenings alone, or maybe it’s best just to delay your trip by six months to the two of you can eventually go alone.

Losing a loved one, particularly unexpectedly, is a hammer blow and it is only the support of friends and family that get many people through that initial terrible empty feeling. Sometimes we all have to make sacrifices to help those we care about. It is what makes us human and part of what makes life wonderful. You are lucky to be married to a decent man who is going to be there for his friend until he regains some of his equilibrium. Del was certainly ‘out of order’ to make travel plans with Eric without properly discussing it with you first, but he is probably struggling with conflicting loyalties. Make it easy for him. Show him sympathy and understanding. Time will pass and Eric will eventually adapt to his new life as much as anyone can, and then you and Del will have your time.


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