DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife just passed away from ovarian cancer. She was only 48. She was my perfect life partner for 28 years and everything in the world to me. We shared every day together. I didn’t have any hobbies or guy friends; all I ever wanted was to be with her.

I’m not asking for help with grief, as there is no getting over what happened. But I became so emotionally dependent on her that I find myself like an addict in withdrawal. Because of this, I’m afraid I will appear to be desperate if I even talk to another woman. I need someone in my life. I just don’t know how to get from hollow to whole again.

Please help me figure out how to let someone know I would be a good and faithful partner without hanging a sign around my neck that says “Desperate!”

— IN NEED OF SOMEONE

DEAR IN NEED: Allow me to offer my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved wife, but please don’t jump the gun. Before searching for another wife, it’s important you figure out the boundary between where you left off and your wife began.

While the closeness you shared was a special gift, I urge you to allow yourself time to heal from this great loss. By that, I am not implying that you should go into seclusion. Quite the contrary. But instead of searching for someone to fill the hole in your life, it would be healthier to start by looking for friends. Friends are easy to talk to, and from friendships deeper relationships develop.

Explore activities that interest you, whether they be sports-related, continuing your education, the arts, volunteer work. If you get stuck, ask for a referral to a grief support group or a therapist. You WILL get through this, but it will take time for the ache to subside. Have faith, accept it, go slow and you won’t regret it.

— ANDREWS MCMEEL

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