Dear Amy: My husband’s job requires that he be active on social media. His primary account contains mostly work-related content, but he also uses it to direct people to some personal writing and photography. He has several thousand followers.
When my mother died, he posted a “tribute” to her on his blog and promoted it on all his accounts. He included lots of personal details, including her maiden and married names.
A few days ago, he forwarded an email to me from a man who had read his blog. The man said he'd done genealogical research and had determined that his grandmother and my mother were half-sisters. He asked if our family was aware of this and invited someone to contact him for more information, if they were interested.
My grandparents were very candid about their past and never indicated that they were hiding a secret. If so, it was clearly information they did not want to share. I know my husband never intended for something like this to happen, but I resent that he put me in this situation by ignoring my request for privacy.
I have no interest in pursuing this, but other family members might feel differently. Should I share this with them? I’m very upset and don’t know what to do.
Bereaved: People who are more public with their social media sharing should respect the privacy of others in their lives who have the right to control their own personal or private information. Your husband should have shown you his tribute to your late mother in advance of posting it to his followers.
I maintain that the reason he did not run this past you in advance is because he didn't want you to weigh in or to edit him. His writer's ego was running the show. It was insensitive of him to make this particular choice.
All the same, the information you object to his sharing (your mother’s birth surname and married surname) would also be published in a death announcement in the newspaper, on the funeral home’s website, in an obituary, or in any number of online memorial tributes. The contact from the alleged relative would have made its way to you, eventually.
Someone linking their family to your family through their own genealogical research does not make it a fact. I suggest that because this contact came through your husband and you’re not interested in following up, you could leave the decision up to him on whether to forward it to your other family members.
If your other family members also object to his oversharing, he should hear it from them and face the personal consequences of his choice.
Dear Amy: I have a fear of driving with most of my friends. These women tend to speed at 80 to 90 mph in the passing lane of our interstate highways. Where we live, the speed limit is 70 mph.
They assure me that they know what they are doing and that they are aware of their surroundings. I don’t want to ride with them for fear of ending up as roadkill. I am a responsible driver and obey the speed limits and laws. Am I being ridiculous?
— A Nervous Passenger
Nervous: Being “ridiculous” and safe is better than being a passenger in a car crash.
This is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov): “For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2020, speeding was a contributing factor in 29 percent of all traffic fatalities.
“Speed also affects your safety, even when you are driving at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions, such as during bad weather, when a road is under repair, or in an area at night that isn’t well lit.
“Speeding endangers not only the life of the speeder, but all of the people on the road around them, including law enforcement officers.”
Dear Amy: “Heartsick in the Heartland” said that he wanted to ask his eldest son to have his DNA tested because he suspected the son might not be biologically related to him.
Thank you for pointing out how devastating the “ask” would be — for the whole family.
Upset: This father’s suggestion was heartbreaking.
© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.