Ask Amy: New relationship not ready for old harassment
Dear Amy: I’ve met a great guy. We’ve gone out on six dates, and I am taking things very slowly.
This is my first time going out with someone in the seven years since my ex-husband and I divorced.
The real reason I’m taking things slowly is because a person who has a vendetta against me has made fake social media accounts to harass me.
It’s all over the internet, but all of these postings and references are under my old married name.
I am working to officially change my name back to my pre-married name, and have tried to contact the internet sites, to no avail.
I’d love it if my “new guy” never found out about it, and so far I don’t think he has.
Getting my birth surname back should solve some of my problems, as you have to dig deeper to uncover slanderous information. It won’t surface in a quick search.
Should I tell him about this, or wait until we are in an exclusive and monogamous relationship?
I am afraid to tell him now, as the relationship is still new.
I hope that once he knows me better, it will have less of an impact.
What do you think?
— On the Fence
Dear On the Fence: I suggest waiting until you are more confident about burying this online harassment.
One reason you should wait is — if you disclose this now, the man you’re dating might (out of curiosity) look up these fake accounts and inadvertently make things worse for you by sharing, commenting, or attempting to fix this for you.
As you know, any traction at all on social media accounts can kick start the algorithm and push the material out to more readers.
The person who created these accounts could also become aware of any traction and renew this vendetta.
I hope you are seeking legal and law-enforcement advice about what further action you can take.
Dear Amy: My 62-year-old brother has just announced that he has been in a long-term relationship with a 26-year-old woman.
His adult children (ages 29, 32, 36) have known about her for over two years, have been in family therapy, and are still not accepting this woman in their lives. My brother has been divorced for years and has a history of dating very young women.
While I’m fairly disgusted, ultimately it is not my choice, as I will not be spending time with him/them.
My parents, now in their 80s, do not know what to do.
They feel the age difference is wrong and are suspicious of the young woman’s motives.
My brother recently showed up at their house and left her sitting in the car while he visited our parents; when my mother discovered this, she went out and gave her a hug because she felt sorry for her.
We are all at a loss of how to handle this situation.
Should we accept her and pretend it’s not creepy?
Or should we continue to refuse to accept her into the family.
— No-Fun Dysfunction Family
Dear No-Fun: It is illuminating that — as rude as your brother was to keep his partner waiting in the car — your mother was both polite and kind enough to find and greet her with a hug.
No wonder your mother is suspicious of this young woman’s motives. Only someone with a powerful ulterior motive (or very low self-esteem) would put up with that level of rudeness from a long-term partner.
Yet I suggest that you should behave as your mother did. Behave in a way that is polite and kind. Do not pass judgment. Do not form alliances. Do not banish this younger partner in order to punish your brother.
None of you need to “do” anything or handle anything.
You don’t need to understand your brother’s behavior, or his girlfriend’s. So yes, I guess I am saying that you should accept your brother’s partner, and pretend it’s not creepy.
Dear Amy: Your response to “Distracted Concertgoer” about fussy babies in the audience of a concert was so off base! In addition to insulting audience members who want to be able to hear the music, you described community bands as organizations where amateur musicians “dust off instruments from the back of their coat closet.”
Dear Upset: I suppose I was really describing my own long history performing with a local community band and chorus, which truly is an experience straight out of “The Music Man.”
I meant no insult to my fellow musicians.
(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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