Dear Amy: A year ago my husband and I went to visit his relatives for a week. At the time I was pregnant with my first baby.
Toward the end of our visit, while conversing in the kitchen, my brother-in-law showed us some pictures of us that he had uploaded onto his iPad. He handed my husband his iPad to have a closer look.
In that moment, going through the pictures, we saw some other pictures. The moment was brief, but we both saw pictures saved on the iPad of nude young girls. They appeared to be very young pre-pubescent girls. My husband and I saw these photos very briefly and next thing we knew, the iPad was back in his brother’s hands.
My gut instinct told me that something wasn’t right. Amy, I chose to not report it as we didn’t know for sure what we saw, and I didn’t want to stir up drama.
So here we are a year later and the whole thing still doesn’t sit well with me. Any time I bring it up, my husband says we should have reported it when we first saw it. I’m torn. I can barely talk to his brother. I don’t want him staying with us. To make it more complicated, he’s my baby’s uncle.
Should I leave it alone? How do I know if it was anything that warranted being reported or if it was just some type of fetish thing?
— Upset SIL
Dear Upset: “Some type of fetish thing” is a crime if it involves possessing and/or trading nude photos of young girls.
You and your husband don’t actually seem to doubt what you saw. You both saw the same thing and you were both disturbed by it. You only seem to wonder what you should have done about it.
Yes, you should have reacted — either in the moment, or certainly after. It is understandable, when things happen suddenly or fleetingly, to not know what to do. It is also normal when faced with uncertainty to let your discomfort make you inert.
But it’s been a year now. You are parents. Your gut tells you that something is not right. It is your duty to act, and it is better to be wrong and embarrassed than to ignore your own knowledge and instincts.
You and your husband should talk to his brother together. If your husband refuses, you should do this on your own. Tell him what you saw. If he denies what you saw, you will have to decide what to do next. If he offers a preposterous — or benign — explanation, don’t believe it. There is no innocent reason for a grown man to possess nude photos of young girls.
You should never ever share any photos of your own (naked) child on any social media site — and be aware of any photos that may automatically be uploaded to the cloud. Be extremely cautious regarding your baby, and make sure that your child’s grandparents are, too.
Dear Amy: When asked if you like the new dish that someone has served you, how can you say “no” politely? If I am not honest, I might be served this dish again and again.
Does it matter if the person asking is an extended family member or friend?
— Am I Rude?
Dear Am I: This calls for a combination of honesty and deflection.
When family members or friends ask if you like something that you really don’t like, you could respond, “You’re a great cook, but this isn’t my favorite dish of yours. My favorite of all of your dishes is the corn pudding. I could eat that every day. Oh, and your rhubarb pie … !”
Don’t forget that you should be the grateful recipient of anything you are offered, even if you don’t like it.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your compassionate and helpful response to “Not Dead Yet,” who has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
This person reported that several people had greeted news of her fatal disease with this phrase: “Well, we’re all dying of something.”
In addition to pointing out the basic thoughtlessness, you supplied the response she asked for: “Well, how about we trade. I’ll take the thing you’re dying of and you can have the thing I’m dying of.”
I honestly thought that was genius.
Dear Grateful: “We’re all dying of something” is a truism, but it is an inappropriate placeholder for empathy or sympathy.
I was heartsick that this person had received so little sincere human compassion.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: email@example.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.)
Copyright 2019 by Amy Dickinson
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