Dear Amy: My friend “Cynthia” and I have become much closer recently, as we have both gone through divorces and shared our experiences (I’m a guy).
Cynthia recently moved back into the area after living a few states away, and we have been able to go out a few times.
I am enjoying finally being on my own after a very mentally and emotionally draining divorce.
I have been very open that I will not be sleeping around, and I have stated that I am interested in pursuing a long-term relationship, with an idea that we can begin exploring moving in together sometime next year.
I have recently come across a “TikTok” page of Cynthia’s that (basically) is filled with videos airing out every small disagreement we’ve ever had, not to mention viewing me as a guy who “won’t commit” because I want to take my time working toward moving in together.
These videos get thousands of views, and some of the comments (mostly very negative ones at my expense) include references to the specific apartment complex where I am currently living. These comments are from friends of hers. This is a hard line for me, and I asked her to remove these videos if she wants to pursue a long-term relationship. She then made another video about that conversation, and I abruptly ended any semblance of a relationship with her after seeing this video.
I’m wondering: Was it unreasonable for me to request that our personal conversations should not be aired on social media?
Dear Unreasonable: You know that asking “Cynthia” to respect your privacy is a perfectly reasonable expectation.
You also know that Cynthia is an unethical jerk who has used your private experiences to shamelessly climb TikTok’s oily algorithm, aided by her obnoxious friends.
These are all things you already know.
What I know is that — these days — in-depth conversations about privacy and social media use should accompany any deepening relationship.
This conversation should certainly precede any speculation about cohabitation, and if any potential partner intentionally violates your privacy, offering you up for online abuse, you should break off the relationship immediately.
I appreciate and endorse your honesty and openness about what you are looking for in a romantic relationship.
I hope you will continue to pursue your goals with this in mind: Trust but verify.
Dear Amy: After the pandemic, I made a decision about who would benefit from my trust.
For many years, there have been family members who have reached out, remembered me in their events, and acknowledged cards and gifts.
There are others who have not.
For years, everyone in the family was going to benefit equally in the proceeds from my estate.
That has changed.
The pandemic has put behavior into perspective ,and now those who have remained silent when, for example, a gift has been given, will not be given a gift from my estate.
No one will know of this decision while I am alive.
My question for you is whether I should put an explanation into the trust so that everyone will understand why some people have received life-changing amounts of money, and some have received nothing.
I actually like all of my family members, but their behavior has made a difference in terms of how generous I want to be toward them.
— Should I Explain?
Dear Should I Explain?: I do love the idea of a “Knives Out” reading of the will, and picture all of your family members circled around a large wooden desk, leaning forward with anticipation as your lawyer reads aloud from your will.
I don’t suggest inserting this specific language regarding family members into your will, but discussing with your lawyer the idea of attaching a letter of explanation as a codicil.
This gives you the opportunity to write the letter and then make a decision later about the specific language, or whether you want to attach it at all.
In my opinion, you should keep the language positive, noting that you’ve decided to reward those family members whose relationships and behavior most rewarded you during life. Do not deride specific family members.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your response to “Not Laughing Anymore,” and for pointing out that sarcasm, put-downs, and “humor” directed at one’s partner is not funny, but abusive.
I know I tolerated this for too long. My children started imitating my husband’s behavior. I wish I had ended the marriage sooner.
Dear Regretful: I hope this family gets help.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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