Q: My husband and his sister had a rough childhood in foster care. Long story short, they lost contact for 10 years, until now. She found us on Facebook and was desperate to know if she had found her brother. My husband ignored her. He isn’t sure he ever wants to rebuild a relationship with her.
I know that’s his decision to make, and if he doesn’t want her in his life, that’s fine. But I couldn’t live with myself if I ignored her, too. I just wanted her to know she could stop looking and wondering if her brother is still alive. So I told her.
She was grateful to have some closure and know that he is doing well, and she reassured me that she wouldn’t contact him again unless he reaches out to her. Even if they never talk again, I think she deserved to know she had found him.
Now I feel guilty for going behind his back and meddling in things that aren’t my business. But I can’t imagine spending my whole life searching for a family member, when someone could have been honest with me and given me peace of mind. Did I make a terrible mistake, and should I come clean to my husband about what I did? — Feeling Guilty in Georgia
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A: You failed to mention the reason for your husband’s ambivalence about re-establishing a relationship with his sister. Now that she has found you on Facebook, she can follow his whole life, unless you block her. Whether you made a terrible mistake remains to be seen. If the sister contacts your husband again, you will have to tell him what you did. He may have wanted to protect his privacy. As long as she doesn’t, I think you should keep your mouth shut.
Q: My 18-year-old daughter has just finished school. She now wants to take a gap year and work to save enough to travel overseas. The problem is, she’s so eager to get away from home that she wants to move to another city to work.
I have advised her that staying home and working will allow her to save more to travel, since she would have to pay for her food, accommodation and transportation if she moves and would have little left over to save to travel. She got upset with me and could not understand why I wouldn’t want to pay her rent or support her. Am I being unreasonable saying that she should pay her own way if she moves out of the home? — Mom in Johannesburg, South Africa
A: If anyone thinks that an attitude of entitlement is a problem just in the United States, your letter should banish that notion. What you told your daughter makes perfect sense. If she wants independence, she should be prepared to accept the responsibility for living that way.
I would, however, encourage you to continue the dialogue with her so you can understand why she feels the need to live apart from you, on the chance that a compromise might be possible. I’m sure it would be enlightening.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.