Q. How do you deal with a family member who has done something morally and legally wrong? My brother “borrowed’’ all of my parents’ retirement money and signed a promissory note to pay it back. He has no intention of paying it back. My parents have next to nothing to live on, yet refuse to take him to court. Additionally, he has stolen my father’s and his own sons’ identities, opening credit cards and taking out loans in their names. When they found out, they all refused to prosecute him because his “life would be ruined.’’
He is in a relationship with a woman who has no idea any of this occurred and cannot understand why his relationship with his family is so uncomfortable. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to have a relationship with my brother because of his actions. I also think his significant other who lives with him should know the truth so she can make an informed decision about the relationship. What do you think?
A. The people in your family who have been ripped off sound daft. They are worried about this criminal because his life “might be ruined’’? What about their lives? To take it out of their hands, I would go to the local district attorney with the information you have, giving all the victims in the family a clear conscience.
Q. My boyfriend and I, both in our 20s, are not friends on Facebook. We used to be until I caught him untagging photos he did not want me to see. I thought not being friends was the best way not to “stalk’’ him. Well, a few days ago, we were hanging out, and he logged into Facebook. I glanced at his laptop and saw a picture of him and his ex-girlfriend. When I asked if I could look, he responded, “You’ve already seen my photos.’’ I told him I wanted to see him with his ex, and he told me it was an old photo. Then I saw it was in one of her albums labeled “Spring/Summer 2011.’’ He contended it was an old picture that must have been put there by mistake.
I looked through the album and determined by the dates that the other photos had been posted recently. He later admitted the picture was recent, and he didn’t tell me because he thought I’d get mad. The fact that he was hiding something from me is upsetting, and the fact that this picture is out there for others to see makes me feel disrespected and embarrassed. I asked him to untag the picture, but he refuses. Am I wrong to ask him to remove it? Are there rules of etiquette for dealing with an ex online?
TRYING TO BE A GOOD GIRLFRIEND
A. You will forgive me - I have basically no idea what you’re talking about. I do not know from tagging and untagging pictures, but you do sound like a very good Facebook detective. What I think I understand is that you “unfriended’’ your boyfriend, which in the world of older people sounds somewhat odd. I also think an older generation would not have photographic evidence of the reunion, even if platonic. While I understand your feelings of jealousy, I am also thinking that your boyfriend may feel a little hemmed in. As for “rules of etiquette’’ online, I think that area is new enough so that each couple can make their own. If you think he has stepped out of bounds, he has.
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