Manners Matter: What to Do About A Gold-digging Girlfriend

Dear Mary Pat,


My brother has been dating a woman for about two years. She’s only interested in his money and what it can buy. It’s so obvious to myself, my siblings, our parents and most of his friends. We have all tried in our own way to subtly point this out to him but he just can’t see it. He gets defensive and won’t hear a word against her. I know he’s not a child (he’s in his mid-40s) and needs to live his life. I just feel so helpless since he’s been talking about buying her a ring. And believe me, her “wishes” (more like demands) about what kind of ring she wants are so over the top. How did my humble, sweet brother end up with such an operator? And what can I do about it?



Please Dig for Gold Elsewhere

Brussels, Wis.



Dear Please Dig for Gold Elsewhere,


I think you already know what I am going to say. You even used the word helpless. I would say it’s more like powerless. Sometimes you just have to step back and let your family and friends make their own choices, even if they aren’t the choices you would have them make.

Relationships are hard to gauge from the outside. Unless she’s come right out and said, “I’m only with your brother because of his money” you don’t know that for sure. Appearances can be deceiving. Let’s say that your instincts about her are right though. The best way to handle it is to be supportive. If they do get engaged, you might want to suggest that they have some kind of pre-marital counseling. Some people might think it is old fashioned, but a good pastor/priest/rabbi or therapist can help couples go into a marriage knowing what to expect of each other and if they are truly compatible. (Are they both going to work, who is going to take care of the finances, how will children, if any, be raised, etc.)

Being accepting and supportive doesn’t mean you have to be blind and always bite your tongue, however, it will strengthen your relationship with your brother and enable him to talk to you more freely. And if their relationship ends and her true motives are revealed to be less than honorable, resist the urge to say “we told you so.”


Good luck,

Mary Pat

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