I’m sexting my brother’s widow – and we’re both loving it. Should we stop for the sake of our families?

I’m a man in my late 50s who recently came out of a long, abusive relationship. My brother died last year and, after a family get-together, his widow came on to me very strongly. After so much unhappiness, I loved the attention, which ended in some sex play and, after returning to our homes in different countries, some pretty intense sexting. She says that she has wanted me for “decades”, but I just don’t know what to think about that. It is obvious that she wants more from me. Although I delight in her company, feel relaxed in her presence and have enjoyed the sex play and sexting, I have no clue what to do next. Neither of us has any idea how our families might react if they knew what we had done. That aside, we live so far apart that it would be difficult to make a relationship last. How can something feel so comfortable and right but at the same time so wrong and unworkable?

When eroticism develops between bereaved people there can be an underlying reason – to maintain ties with the person who is recently deceased. It is not uncommon for such feelings to arise, and the sexual spark is always inflamed when there is something forbidden about the liaison. In fact, every obstacle you have mentioned is enhancing the heat of this relationship. I hear that family may disapprove (in itself, hiding ignites passion) but in reality, what’s the harm? It is clearly making both of you feel better – at least in the short term. You are already aware of practical considerations. Just try not to lose sight of those.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.

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