DEAR AMY: Recently on Facebook, I shared my story from a former relationship, involving how poorly I was treated and how his sexual assault resulted in me getting pregnant and — after weighing all of my options — choosing to have an abortion. I finally felt strong enough to tell this story without being ashamed. Well, my (future) sister-in-law saw this post, and chose to tell her parents. Now my future mother-in-law has either been told or has misunderstood this as me getting pregnant and having an abortion with my fiance (her son), even though all of this happened before I even met him! She is acting very rudely toward both of us, and refuses to speak to him when he asks what is wrong. Naturally, I am upset with my future sister-in-law and do not want to be near her or her mother. This betrayal of trust has hurt and angered me, and these gossipy people are spreading this venom through the family instead of asking either me or my fiance about it. How do I make it stop? I feel I can never trust my future sister-in-law again, and have restricted her view of anything I post on Facebook. I also feel betrayed that they are all talking about us, rather than coming to us to ask questions. It hurts, and this has definitely damaged what little relationship I had with them in the first place. Any advice?
DEAR GOING CRAZY: First of all, I applaud your choice to tell your story. Given abortion’s place in our current cultural conversation, telling the truth about your own choice is laudable. (I also completely understand why women also exercise their right to keep their legal choice for abortion private.)
Unfortunately, despite what you say, you don’t seem fully ready to own your decision to disclose your assault and abortion.
And so, here’s a word about social media: When you post something on Facebook, you are taking your news public, regardless of your intention.
Surely you have heard the admonition that you shouldn’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t be happy seeing on the bulletin board at work? Well, Facebook is the world’s bulletin board.
Ideally, you would have anticipated some confusion or push back from others, and you would have informed family and future family members about this before going public.
I agree that this news was not your sister-in-law’s to tell, but —given the nature of your posting, you shouldn’t have been surprised at her disclosure.
If there is obvious confusion about your posting, you and your fiance should make an attempt to address it directly with family members by repeating your original story once (or sending them the text of your posting). Asking, “What’s wrong?” and then being upset when they don’t answer doesn’t count.
DEAR AMY: We work in a wonderful office with numerous longtime, dedicated employees. When a person retires, we are very generous when providing a retirement gift. We ask the retiree for any suggestions, which in the past have included items such as baseball tickets, laptops, and or gifts sent in their name to a charitable organization close to their heart. Our boss is retiring. After retirement, the boss is going on an extended vacation with their spouse to New Zealand and has uncharacteristically suggested that we give them cash to be used for excursions, with the promise to send us pictures. I’m perplexed. Does it seem crass to request cash for a gift, particularly from the boss who is compensated to the tune of twice that of any other employee? Should I just hold my tongue and provide my normal gift?
DEAR KEN: You should do whatever you want to do. Yes, it does seem crass for a high-earning boss to openly ask employees for money as a gift. Your team could deal with this by purchasing an affordable ”experience” for your boss and their spouse to enjoy while in New Zealand.
A ride in a hot air balloon might be appropriate.
DEAR AMY: I was appalled at your reply to the letter from “Want to Stay Peaceful,” who didn’t want to attend her niece’s same-sex wedding. Your decision to call her preference a “prejudice” was inflammatory. You should show a little respect for people who disagree with your world view.
DEAR READER: When a person doesn’t believe in another’s right to a legal relationship status she herself enjoys, I don’t know what else to call it.