Q: My husband, “Pete,” is an only child. His mom, who was married, had an affair with a married man that resulted in his birth. His mother’s husband put his name on the birth certificate, but as a kid Pete had contact from time to time with his biological father. Both dads have since passed away.
Pete has known for years that his biological father had an older son, but he doesn’t know if the son knows he exists. Pete now thinks he may have found his half-brother online and wants to reach out to see if he wants a relationship.
How do we even begin to broach this with the half-brother? Is it worth it? Could it cause more damage than good? If you were my husband or his half-brother, would you want to pursue this? — Family Matters in Texas
A: The decision about whether to contact a long-lost relative is a very personal one. For some people, the experience is a happy one, but not for others.
Because your husband and his (possible) half-brother are both adults, I can’t see how reaching out would be harmful to the man. A way to do it would be for Pete to send him an email or a letter, explain who his biological father was and ask if there is any interest in further contact.
Q: My husband and I divorced 10 years ago. There were no children involved. After the divorce, we would occasionally get together for a meal. It was during those times that we managed to work through our issues and move forward with our separate lives.
Since then, we have remained in contact occasionally to say happy birthday or update the other on work. We are also friends on Facebook, but our contact does not involve discussion of love interests, family, etc.
Eight years ago, I met a wonderful man who accepts me for who I am. He also understands and supports the type of contact I have with my ex. My beau and I have finally decided to take the plunge and be married. What is the etiquette for letting my ex-husband know that I am remarrying? I know there will be photos posted to Facebook by friends in common. — Second Time Around in Utah
A: Convey that information personally. Because you are on speaking terms, call him and share the happy news. I think he will appreciate hearing it straight from you, just as you would if the situation were reversed.
Q: There’s an ongoing debate among my group of friends about using the word “texted.” When I used it, I was corrected, chastised and told that it is NOT a word. Five years ago, when my daughter was a teenager, I started hearing it used frequently.
I realize that “text” is not a verb, however, times have certainly changed, and many new words and expressions have been added to our vocabulary. Would it only be correct to say, “I sent a text”? Please settle this for us. — Busted By the Grammar Police
A: The English language is constantly evolving, and with the rapid advances in technology, words are added to the lexicon every year. According to Dictionary.com, “texted” is, indeed, a word and you have been using it correctly. However, because a picture is worth a thousand words, rather than tell your friends you got the information from me, consider sending them a descriptive emoji from the both of us.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.