Dear Amy: My wonderful husband died unexpectedly seven years ago. I'm 49, and have no desire to meet anyone or go on dates. While I don't want to spend the rest of my life alone, the prospect of dealing with dating and all the hassle that goes along with it makes me wonder if solitude is really that bad.

I tried some online dating, and I wasn't ready. What if I'm never ready? I know women widowed for just a year or two who are already remarried. What am I doing wrong?

Amy says: First of all, solitude is not a bad thing. And you may not have a partner at home, but do you have friends? Do you have family? Do you believe you are growing — intellectually, spiritually and emotionally?

If so, then realizing this might allow you to relax into your reality and to stop seeing your life as flawed or somehow incomplete.

I view online matching as an opportunity to polish a person's communication skills — even if there is no love match on the horizon. If you see meeting new men as a way to revive and practice your social skills (vs. finding a new partner), you can walk away from even the worst date with a sense that you've learned something.

Fibbing about a man

Dear Amy: My wife of 30-plus years "makes time" for her male friend, "X," without telling me. She will then blame being late getting home, for instance, on work. I know for a fact that she is lying, because other friends will tell me they have seen her with X.

My wife doesn't think she needs to inform me about every little thing she does, so she's "fibbing." I call it cheating when you are not truthful with your spouse, and when you keep secrets, especially when these secrets have to do with seeing the opposite sex. (I have seen texts and emails that include serious flirting.)

I am beginning to think she is a narcissist because she tries to manipulate the conversation and has started gaslighting me. Your thoughts?

Amy says: I agree that your wife does not need to inform you about every little thing she does. But she does need to tell you about the big things — and lying about seeing a man you obviously perceive as a threat to your marriage is a very big thing.

It is quite obvious that your relationship is in serious trouble. You seem to be tracking your wife through talking with her friends and looking at her communications. You obviously don't trust her. Present her with your fears and concerns. Follow up with hard evidence.

If you want to stay in your marriage, you should ask her, quite sincerely, to recommit. Counseling can provide a neutral space for you two to express your divergent views.

Amy Dickinson is stepping down at the end the month and will be replaced by R. Eric Thomas. Send him questions at eric@askingeric.com.