Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – December issue Vision Magazine

Dear Readers:

The holidays are upon us. I think there is a really good spiritual reason why Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season and it is not the nirvana that comes with getting great deals at Target the day after “turkey overload”.

I would like to challenge each and every one of you to stoke the fires of gratitude in your heart the entire month of December. A great way to do that is by keeping a file on your computer of daily incidences you experienced or witnessed that you are grateful for.  When your mind starts to turn toward areas of lack in your life, pull out that list, it will instantly uplift your spirits and allow you to have a peaceful holiday season and 2012.

Dear Dr. Toni:

I have been a widow for four years.  We were married for thirty years. My husband was a prominent lawyer in San Francisco who fought legal battles for both the rich and famous and those cases that were pro bono. We had a very exciting life together. I have not been interested in meeting anyone else. Last summer I went to my 40 year high school reunion and reconnected with my first boyfriend.  He expressed interest in seeing me and I refused at first. He pursued me long distance and I finally agreed to his visiting me.

We have been dating now long distance ever since. Recently, I broke it off.  We really come from different worlds now and I don’t think I want to be with someone who cannot afford the lifestyle I have become accustomed to.

Although my children are adults and do not live at home, they are very threatened by this man’s presence in my life. They do not want to see another man in their father’s home. I have told them that this is my home now. My sister who still lives in the same town as this man, thinks I am crazy for giving up someone who has been so good to me emotionally. I am confused. I don’t know what to do. I have to admit that the sex with this man and the devotion I received I did not have with my husband although he was generous and a good man. He just wasn’t experienced.  I was his first, sexually. This man was my first and my husband was my second but my former boyfriend has been divorced for 10 years and has had a lot more experience than my husban

Can you help, Dr. Toni? What should I do?

Dazed and Confused

Dear Reader:

Opening up sexually again after the death of your husband has probably been made easier through reconnecting with someone who knew you when you were young. Loving sex for a woman produces large amounts of oxytocin. This chemical creates bonding and well being. If you broke it off recently, you may be feeling the effects of the “love chemical” withdrawal.

This man may have come into your life to reawaken you to life. When a partner dies that we’ve enjoyed a good marriage with, a part of us goes with them. You have been in a winter like mourning for sometime and perhaps Spring has come through this man. I suggest  you take the time to go through this withdrawal and then evaluate how important a common lifestyle is to your happiness.

As we age, we are not as flexible about downsizing or simplifying our lives for another. Women who have been well supported financially by their husbands tend to look to men to upgrade them economically not the reverse. Look at your values. Is it more important to be with someone who is kind and loving and with whom you are sexually compatible or is it more important to be with someone who can pick up the tab for a certain lifestyle?

Are you in love with this man or is he safe because he was your first lover and now your first again since losing your husband? Give yourself six weeks and then decide in the new year if your feelings for him remain the same.

My sense is that you will never know if he is truly the one until you venture out and risk dating other men. If you give yourself time to move beyond the identity of widow and actually become single again, you will discover if your old high school sweetheart is the guy for you.  I also would suggest that you stop listening to other people’s opinions about this and get quiet and listen to your own heart. Do what is good for you, not your family.

If you have a question for the LifeQuake Doctor, write to

Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, life transitions strategist, and author and is available for consult by phone or SKYPE.  Dr. Toni will be giving a teleclass called “Designing your 2012” in late January. You can reach her through her website,, or 310-890-6832.