Ask Amy: Sister puts brother's illness out there online

FresnoJuly 29, 2013 

Dear Amy: Recently, my brother was hospitalized for a serious mental health issue. My sister is an avid social media user. She was all over her social media accounts, sharing the details, which were very unpleasant. She "tagged" his name in posts.

I felt she violated his privacy and told her so. She says she is bringing attention to an important mental health issue. My feeling is that should be my brother's choice and he is in no shape to make a choice. We're at an impasse and wonder about your thoughts.

— Private sister

Dear Sister: This is not debatable. Your sister is violating your brother's privacy and may well be damaging his recovery.

Tagging him on posts invites others (including strangers) to weigh in, and some may choose to do so in ways that are not supportive or helpful and may in fact compromise his recovery now or reputation later.

Furthermore, it doesn't sound as if your brother is in a position to clarify, educate or even make a statement on his own behalf.

Dear Amy: Fifteen years ago my wife fell in love with a married man. We went to see a marriage counselor but it didn't make any difference. Our kids were quite young at the time and instead of getting a divorce, I decided to stay in the marriage. My kids were involved in religious activities and sports teams, which they would've missed out on because my wife isn't religious or into sports.

I don't believe my wife is in love with the other man anymore, but she's not in love with me either.

She doesn't really like doing anything with me (like going to a movie or out to dinner, etc.), and if we do go out with one of the kids, she treats me like a third wheel.

Our youngest daughter recently graduated from high school, and now I'm considering getting a divorce. I love my wife but don't want to live the rest of my life like this. I know I'm going to have to talk to my kids about the divorce but what would you recommend I tell my kids — other than that I love them very much?

— Sad dad

Dear Dad: Now that your youngest has graduated from high school, you can expect the dynamic with your wife to change, for better or worse. Before giving up on your marriage, however, I hope you will try counseling again.

Your children have noticed the dynamic. They will see that you have been marginalized over the years. All you need to say is, "Your mother and I have not been happy together for a long time. We love you very much, but our own relationship isn't working out."


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