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 calls. 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?

Amy says: 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.

Same old cheating story

Dear Amy: The reader's letter 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!)

Amy says: 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.

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