DEAR AMY: My husband and I started a blog together about our travels overseas. The blog did well, and we now have a sizable following. After about a year he lost interest in the blog, but I continued to enjoy reporting on our adventures and interacting with our small online community. We monetized, I wrote an e-book, and I plan to continue posting on the website. We are now divorcing. How do I tactfully announce the shift to my readers that my now-ex will not be featured on or taking part in the blog anymore? I find making announcements on social media tacky, but I feel like I owe it to my readers to let them know there will be some changes on the site (he has requested that I remove his photo). Our blog focuses more on travel than on our personal life, so sharing something like this would be unusual. What do you suggest?
DEAR TASTEFUL: I assume you and your husband will disentangle any legal or ownership issues concerning this blog.
Because you have successfully monetized this venture and your ex has participated, his contribution has value.
I am not aware of ex-partners fighting over custody of shared social media "followers," but I'm sure that prospect is very much on the horizon, so cover yourself legally.
If disclosure doesn't come naturally to you, then don't make an announcement to your readers.
In the "Contact" section, you should offer to include a line: "To Contact John Smith, you may email him at the following address..." You will be gradually rebranding yourself as a solo act -- and if your readers contact you wondering what happened to your ex-husband, you can answer them individually or as a simple and respectful answer to a publicly posted question.
DEAR AMY: I'm 28 years old and living with an amazing boyfriend. He is my best friend, with great family values. Am I wrong to start a family and not include my mother or brother? My father is not in the picture. At age 12 my mother placed me and my brother in separate group homes. Mom took my brother back home after three months, but I was left in the group home for two years. Along the way I developed many emotional issues. During the past year, contact with my mother has been minimal. She sounds sad on messages, but I feel as if she is looking for pity. My brother and I have had a difficult relationship. He terrorized me as a child. I miss them but am torn because I've clearly not gotten over the damage from my childhood. I just don't know how to fix my family issues on my own and they are not open to counseling. Having zero family saddens and frightens me.
Sad and Conflicted
DEAR SAD: Here's the great part about being a survivor: You can now form your own family and endeavor to make your own future. You may never "get over" the damage caused by your extremely challenging childhood, but you can learn to live well with it, and eventually to embrace it as part of your story.
The better and more secure you feel about your own life, the less vulnerable you will be to the toxic influences of the past. You do not need to have your family join you in counseling. Therapy for you -- with a skilled and compassionate professional -- would be a game changer.
The questions to answer before trying to include your family in your life are: Do I want to? Am I ready? Can I cope with the downside? If you can answer "yes," then you are ready to try.
DEAR AMY: "Jealous in Jersey" was frustrated by Facebook. Her beautiful cousin's updates about her wonderful life made Jealous unhappy. All Jealous has to do is look around to see how lucky she is. She has totally lost perspective.
DEAR NOT JEALOUS: "Jealous in Jersey" seemed aware of her loss of perspective. I hope she hops off of Facebook for a while in order to get her perspective back.