A torch for newly widowed former flame

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

bio | email

DEAR AMY: About 15 years ago, a very close female friend approached me and told me she was leaving her husband (in part) because she had feelings for another man. To my surprise, the other man turned out to be me. I was overwhelmed and on top of the world. We started seeing each other, and things couldn't have been better. I thought I had finally found my soul mate.

After two or three months, she said that because of pressure from her parents and for the benefit of her young children, she had decided to give it another chance with her husband. I was really hurt, but understood and gracefully bowed out. Since then, I haven't had any other relationships. Now fast-forward to the present. My former flame suddenly became a widow. It was a real shock to everyone, including me, and now I honestly don't know what to do, if anything. Do I let her know that the feelings of the past are still in my heart, or should I just stay away from her and hope she will come to me again someday? It's been a couple of months now, and we have spoken via telephone very briefly. I truly want to be respectful, but at the same time, I don't want to mess up any opportunity to see if she still has the same deep feelings that I do. Do you have any suggestions for this brokenhearted guy?Heartbroken

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You don't know what this woman and her family are going through right now, but you can assume she is shocked and (perhaps also) heartbroken over this sudden loss.

Reach out in friendship. You don't need to remind her of your experience together because she was there -- she experienced it too.

You respected her actions at the time (good for you) and must respect her choices now.

She was assertive enough before, and if she wants to revive a relationship, she will let you know.