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Feeling betrayed by sister’s money habits

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: Two years ago, my sister called crying that they were going to lose their house. She didn’t realize her husband hadn’t been making the mortgage payments. She said she wouldn’t have taken all those vacations or eaten out in fancy restaurants if she had known they couldn’t afford it.

Of course I jumped in to help. My husband spent a day making sure all the money was transferred into the right accounts in time to stop the bank auction. This was a loan, not a gift, but without interest charges.

Now I feel betrayed. My sister and her husband continue to spend money frivolously. They took a big vacation and lied to me so I wouldn’t know. They’ve been eating out again. They promise to make payments, but rarely do. Any amount is overdue and in tiny increments. Now they’ve stopped inviting us to get-togethers.

Is this any way to treat the people who kept you from being thrown out on the street? We have never hounded them for the money, but I know now this was a big mistake. We must have had ”sucker” written on our foreheads.

I am extremely hurt that my sister would do this to me. It’s not even the money anymore. It’s being lied to repeatedly by someone I loved and trusted. An apology might help, but I don’t see it happening. What do I do? – Extremely Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: If your sister knew how to be more frugal, she wouldn’t have needed your loan. Her lies and avoidance are how she deals with her guilt. We suggest you remove all vagueness about this. Have a lawyer draw up papers with the amount loaned, the amount repaid and a schedule of monthly payments. Insist that all of you sign it, and then remind her when she’s late with a payment. Be nice, but firm. She won’t like it, but once the loan is repaid, you can start with a clean slate.

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