Ask Amy

Ask Amy column

Q. A year ago, my husband’s brother “Jimmy” asked us to “lend” him $1,000. My husband asked for my opinion. We found out this was to finance a trip to Las Vegas, and I was of course against it. My husband gave him the money anyway.

Years ago my husband’s other brother, “Vinny,” was the recipient of many “loans” from my husband, which were never repaid. Vinny is an alcoholic and a marginal character, and my husband finally stopped giving him money (as far as I know).

The thing that bothers me the most is when Jimmy “borrowed” the money a year ago, he said, “Don’t worry, this is not a ‘Vinny loan,’ ” implying that he did intend to repay the money, unlike his derelict brother.


I would like to just let this go, but every time I’m in a “mood” it seems to stick in my craw and I’m tempted to say something.

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I asked my husband recently if Jimmy has said anything about the money he owes us. The answer was no.

I am aware that “loans” to family members are rarely repaid. I’m hoping you can reaffirm this and I will just be able to move on.


A. I like your husband’s choice to run these family payments past you, but not when he completely disregards your recommendation and simply goes on to do what he intended to do all along. If he is going to involve you, then he should be brave enough to give you an actual vote on the family loan consideration committee.

When there are no terms, conditions, or consequences attached to loans, they are called “gifts.”


Take this episode as an opportunity to talk with your husband about how to run your family’s loan operation in the future. I like the idea of setting aside a maximum amount for family gifts/loans and considering all requests (from either side of the family) together.

The trick for getting this $1,000 back — or stopping further requests — is pretty simple: The next time “Jimmy” comes to you for a loan (and there will be a next time), you say, “When you pay back our initial loan of $1,000, we’ll consider lending to you again.”

Q. A few months ago, I started dating a wonderful woman. She is beautiful, educated, and has a good job helping others. I had strong feelings for her but right from the start, she did not follow through on things. It started with little things like promising to call and then not calling. I ignored this, even though it bothered me. After a few more episodes, I decided to tell her how it made me feel.

Rather than apologizing, she became defensive, making me feel even worse. I did my best to ignore this part of her behavior.

The kicker came a few nights ago when she called to say she wanted to spend the evening with me. She then called to say she was running late — five hours late — too late to spend more than an hour together.


I passed on the opportunity to see her and haven’t spoken to her since.

In addition to what I perceive to be insensitive and rude behavior, I discovered she’s been withholding information from me. They are little things, but it makes me wonder what else she’s not telling me.

I’m on the verge of ending this relationship. Is that the right thing to do? I need a reality check.

Check, Please

A. Quoting Maya Angelou here: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Consider your reality checked.

Amy Dickinson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.