Ask Amy: Sibling relationship affected by loan request
Dear Amy: I’m wondering if my brother, “Stan,” has written me off because I wouldn’t loan him money.
In 2015, both of our parents passed away, several months apart.
Stan and I each inherited $20,000. I socked my money away in CDs. I don’t know what Stan did with his inheritance.
He has always had a bad habit of asking female relatives for cash loans and then never repaying them.
About a year after my parents passed, Stan phoned me, asking if I would loan him $30,000. He never said what he wanted the money for.
I told him my money was tied up in certificates of deposit and I’d have to pay a penalty to withdraw the money. (I had no intention of sending him money, anyway, as he is such a bad risk.)
He sounded miffed and ended the phone call.
Since then, Stan never phones me. Before that last call asking for money, he would call me about once a month. Now if I don’t call him, I never hear from him.
I make the effort to call him once or twice a year and he seems friendly enough, but it’s always me making the effort to stay in touch.
Do you think my brother has written me off because I wouldn’t lend him money? — Sad Sister
Dear Sad: The thing about debt is this: It leads to shame, embarrassment, dislocation, and estrangement.
Being in debt is a spiritual, emotional, financial and relational anvil, tied around the ankle and weighing a person down.
I assure you, if you had loaned your brother $30,000, you would never see the money again and your brother would never again pick up the phone. Fortunately, you have not become part of his debt problem.
As it is, he still picks up the phone when you call. So, keep calling.
He may have a major problem that interferes with his ability to reach out to you. All you owe him is to do your part, which is to like and love him as well as you can. And all he owes you is to pick up the phone.
Dear Amy: My daughter’s boyfriend of seven years regularly cancels his plans to join us for an event at the last minute.
They have lived together for over five years and he is well liked by family members. He has not shown up for casual pizza parties, has bailed on attending entertainment shows, which my daughter has paid for, and dropped out of helping us move furniture, causing me to scramble and find someone else.
Last Christmas, he showed up, brought in presents from their car, then sat in the car insisting my daughter drive him home.
On Thanksgiving, he called at the time we were going to eat to say he wasn’t coming. The reasons for these many events? Migraines, upset stomach, colds, etc. He occasionally apologizes.
I don’t know how to address this with him or my daughter, or if I should just ignore it. He supposedly never misses work and sees his own family.
Ideas? — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: Your daughter’s boyfriend might have serious social anxiety. This might explain some of the physical symptoms he reports having when he has missed an obligation. He might be an extreme introvert, and easily exhausted by being around other people.
Unfortunately for you, I think you should proceed by simply not expecting to see him. He has proven extremely unreliable (for whatever reason) when he is obligated to show up. And so, you should not rely on him, because doing so only leads to you being disappointed, again and again.
You could start by asking your daughter if she can explain some of his behavior. Surely this is hard on her, and you should make sure that she is OK and able to cope with her challenging partner.
Dear Amy: The letter from “Painful” about her cheating boyfriend sounded like an old story.
She found incriminating messages on his iPad.
He claimed he’d been hacked.
People need to understand something about hacking: Hackers don’t go after individuals — they attack massive companies, banks, governments, etc.
Your comparison of his excuse to “the dog ate my homework,” was right on.
(Although one time, the dog really did eat my homework!) — Computer Savvy
Dear Savvy: You make an excellent point about hacking. Time and time again, when individuals claim to have been hacked it turns out to be a red herring. And — like a herring — the claim quickly starts to rot.