Ask Amy: Girlfriend balked when asked for IOU on loan

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • March 22, 2013 - 2:31 PM

Dear Amy: My girlfriend and I have been together for a few years. We’ve had our share of ups and downs. We live a few blocks from each other. Recently, we discussed our tight money situation. A few days after that conversation, she asked me for a $1,000 loan, which she would pay back over the next couple of months.

She needed the money to pay off a settlement with an attorney she used during her divorce. Not having the $1,000 readily available, I told her I would have to withdraw the funds from my son’s college savings account. I replied to her loan request by agreeing on the condition that she sign a promissory note for the loan.

She says this is the last straw, and proof that I don’t really love (or trust) her. We haven’t spoken since. Was I out of line?

Amy says: Not only were you not out of line, but my thinking is that the person asking for a $1,000 loan should approach this respectfully by offering up front to sign a note, without being asked. You report that money is tight for both of you. This should give your lady friend some insight about how high the stakes are for you. Because you would have had to withdraw the money from a college fund, she was essentially mortgaging your son’s education to pay her debt. Putting this in writing is not too much to ask.

Ideas batted away

Dear Amy: My husband, best friend and I like to go out together. Here’s the typical scenario: They ask me what I would like to do, what restaurant to go to, or what movie to see. Basically, I tee up ideas and they swat them away. We invariably end up doing something they come up with. What is going on here?

Amy says: The next time this happens you can say, “Well, every time I tee up an idea, you two swat it away, so my first suggestion is that baseball season is almost here. Let’s go to Cooperstown!” If you have something you really want to do, then you’ll have to be firm. Otherwise tell them, “Next time we go out you two can come up with all the ideas, make the arrangements, and I’ll happily go to bat.”

Sister needs support

Dear Amy says: A woman worried that she was “enabling” her sister by allowing her to crash on her couch during times when the sister’s husband was being abusive. Sis needs a therapist and her sister’s emotional support.

Amy says: I agree. It is challenging for family members to see a loved one return to an abusive relationship; a nudge toward professional help, along with emotional support, is the answer. Thank you.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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