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How will a relationship with my late husband's friend affect me?

Q: I am a 38-year-old woman who lost her husband 4 years ago. Our marriage lasted for 14 years and I have a teenage daughter. I had a love marriage and my husband was an understanding man and I was very happy with my life. After my husband's untimely demise, I was totally shattered and lost interest in life. It became a burden for me. But I decided not to marry again neither do I have any intentions of doing so. A year after my husband's death, I came in touch with my husband's close friend, who helped me a lot during those days. I felt good in his company and we got along very well, talked till late in the night and went for walks and discovered a lot in common. Gradually, we got into a physical relationship. I really don't know, whether I am to be blamed for it or he. He is a thorough gentleman and happily married. He lives out of India and we meet whenever he is here. I have never done anything wrong in my life, but I don't know why have I suffered this way. Now the thought of being linked up with a married person is killing me. I am in tremendous guilt, but I can't do without him. He has become my strength and a reason to live and go on. I don't expect anything from him except that I want to be in touch with him. But I know it’s a sin. What should I do? His wife is a good friend of mine. There is no other person in my life, nor do I intend to have one. I feel good having him in my life. He is always with me in my lone moments and I feel happy. If I look at my life without him, I see a dark void everywhere. Nobody knows about our relationship. Should I continue with the relationship? What will be the consequences later on in my and my daughter's life?

A:The questions are indeed the million dollar questions. While we are all aware that every action has a reaction, it might not be every time an equal and opposite reaction. No one really would be able to predict as to what the fallout would be if a particular secret comes out in the open in the future. However, what we need to understand that you have gone through a bad patch in your life and as anybody else required the strength to get functioning again and managed to get the strength successfully from your late Husband’s friend and now after a long period of the relationship are questioning yourself. There is no known right or wrong, but it is based on individual cultural values and also numerous factors, which pitch in at any point of time. For e.g. a murder can be premeditated, can be in self-defence, can be by accident, or because of any reason and the court considers it in context. Thus, an action is considered in context and that delineates its rightness or wrongness. While even if we do not want we have to agree that nothing is ever permanent. The other question that arises is to how his family is going to react to this and also what is going to be the outcome of this relationship. Have you discussed with him? What is his response? I would suggest that you should be able to discuss the intricacies with him- it may lead to a lot of turmoil initially but then it would give you the strength to weigh and decide what would be the best course of action – to continue or to cease, to continue a platonic, inspirational, relationship or to continue a physical relationship. You should make the decision, whatever you make would be full of turmoil initially but you would have the dignity of having made a decision based on judging the pros and cons, also after having had a discussion with him, and not a decision, which was just swayed by emotions. You may need to also visit a psychiatrist and psychologist for adequate help if you are not able to cope with the decision-making.

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