DEAR DEIDRE: MY family think my new girlfriend is a gold-digger, but I love her as much as I loved my first wife.

I’m a widowed man of 51 and lost my wife to breast cancer one year ago.

She was 50 but we had 25 wonderful years together. After her diagnosis, I sold my successful online business to care for her.

My wife had a friend who is 53 now. She’s a divorcee and my wife always said she’d taken her older husband “to the cleaners” when they divorced after just two years of marriage. He was a rich ex-City banker.

At my wife’s funeral, her friend chatted to me. I sensed she might even have been flirting with me — even though it was a funeral.

She visited the following week, bringing everything for a dinner which she wanted to cook for me.

I began to feel happy for the first time in months.

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She messaged me when she got home saying what a lovely time she’d had and that she wanted to “look after me”, saying it’s what my wife would have wanted.

We dated, in secret at first. We had sex after a couple of weeks and I felt like a red-blooded male again.

I told my two adult sons about her after we had been seeing one another for three months. My youngest son didn’t seem to mind but my eldest son said: “How can you do it, Dad? She’s after your cash.”

Now a cousin has said the same thing and so has my brother. I don’t feel they’re right. We have a real connection. She’s lovely and I feel alive again.

I’ve got a close family so how can I make them see that I’m happy? I want them to be happy for me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: People often have set ideas about when it is “acceptable” to move on with our lives after a bereavement but it is nobody’s business but your own.

Right now, you’re dating, nothing more. You haven’t given her access to your bank account so everybody else can calm down. She’s making you happy and perhaps you’re good for her too.

Talk to your sons and remind them that you loved your wife more than anything but that you have a right to happiness. Ask them to give your girlfriend a chance and support you.

Losing your wife must have hit you hard though, so if you feel you’d still like to find some support, do contact The Good Grief Trust ( where you can source local help.

My support pack called Standing Up For Yourself teaches assertiveness techniques to deal with the doubters.

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