Dear Dr. Romance:

My husband/best friend crossed-over a few years ago and I still miss him terribly. I think of him every day and his essence is is always with me. I am still in love with him and cannot imagine having a relationship with another man. At this time, however, I have two male companions with benefits. I enjoy each of them but emotionally I can only love them as good friends. I do not feel capable or even want to release my heart to any man because it is still so torn and broken. Is what I am doing with these two male friends ok? I get personal gratification spending time with each and have explained to them that I do not want a relationship just a companion. They are both fine with the situation and there is no concern about STD's. I care for them very much but I cannot get past the block I have on my emotions and the fear of being hurt again. I am just not ready for rejection or loss in a deeper love situation. I really don't know if I will ever be ready unless I can get to a point where I am able to put my husband in a smaller compartment of my heart and emotions; still loving him but allowing room for someone else. Do you think this is possible for me?

Dear Reader:

I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't know how long you were married, but I do hear how deep your love is. The loss of such a relationship requires a lot of grieving -- several years. It sounds like you're beginning to come out of the grief, and after more time passes you'll feel more ready for a new commitment. Yes, I think it's definitely possible, and even likely.

I'm glad you have found some enjoyable companions. It's your own decision to have whatever relationships you want, and as long as everyone involved is OK with it, no one, including me, has a right to approve or disapprove. Take your time, enjoy what you can, and continue your healing and grieving. You'll get beyond your hurt and loss, no matter how unbelievable that sounds. "Surviving Loss and Thriving Again"  will help you understand your grief process.  No one will ever replace your late husband; any new relationship you have, however loving and long-lasting, will be entirely different from the one you lost.  The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty helps you create a journal process to reevaluate and reorganize your life and relationships.

After Forty

For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com 

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.