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Ask Amy: Online meeting might lead to a trap

Dear Amy: I recently met a nice older man online.

After a few emails and phone calls, “Rob” and I went on several dates.

Despite the difference in our ages (I’m 30, and he’s closer to 60), we have many common interests and enjoy spending time together.

Romantically, he is quite shy. So far, just hand holding on walks and a goodnight kiss on the cheek.

Conversation the other night turned to the subject of money.

I mentioned how the lease to my barely affordable apartment would expire soon.

He then offered to let me live with him — for free! Wow!

He explained that since he has to pay the utilities, insurance and property tax anyway, my presence would not increase his expenses.

Then he suggested I should use the savings to pay down my student loans and credit card debt.

I asked him how I could ever repay his generosity. He responded by saying, “you could repay me by being the best possible mother to our future children.” I’m not sure whether he was joking or serious!

Should I accept his offer? It would be great to finally pay off my debts.

However, my friends and family will no doubt label me a gold digger.

Plus, I’m not quite ready for marriage and children.

Is this offer too good to be true?

— Wondering

Dear Wondering: You might call this offer too good to be true.

I’d call it: Too risky to contemplate.

Where to begin? First of all, if you offer your baby-making capabilities in exchange for living expenses, you would never retire your debt — you’d only exchange it for a different currency. (You would also be participating in a relationship that sounds a lot like the “traditional marriage” of my parents’ generation, but that’s another conversation.)

You are 30. Evidently, a college graduate.

Have you never seen even one true-crime program, or listened to a podcast?

If you had, you’d be skeptical enough to look into “Rob’s” background, social media and dating app presence in order to try to gauge his intent.

His choice to offer you an instant solution to your money issues is a huge red flag.

His suggestion about you being the mother of his children might have been a joke, or a suggestion designed to steer you in a specific direction. Either way, you don’t even know him well enough to decode his intent.

If you did participate in this scheme, you would be trapped in the household.

That’s the best-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario involves a “missing” poster with your picture on it and a camera crew from “Dateline” showing up at your folks’ door.

You should approach friends and family members for ideas regarding your finances. You could get a roommate, a second job, or perhaps ask your folks if you could move in with them in order to dig yourself out of debt.

Dear Amy: I’m in a pickle.

My wife and I are in our late-20s. We somehow managed to buy our own house last year and are planning to have a child within the next couple of years or so.

My wife has started heavily advocating for her parents to move in with us.

I would consider this if they were unwell and needing help, but this is not the case.

They are in their late-50s, healthy, and live about an hour away.

I do NOT get along with my in-laws, due to some issues we’ve had over the last five years. I’m not blaming them entirely for these clashes, but their behavior toward me has been extremely disrespectful. (For instance, after a minor disagreement during an overnight stay, they insisted that I needed to leave their home — but my wife could stay.)

I’m talking about oil meeting water, here. We just don’t mix well.

How should I approach this?

— Loving Husband

Dear Husband: You approach this by emphatically declaring that you will not cohabit with her parents.

Don’t put her folks down. Do say that you and she are forming a household and family together, and it is vital that you not introduce oil into your placid waters.

Dear Amy: I was really affected by the question from “Stuck,” about his dysfunctional relationship with his brother.

I could have written that!

Thank you for your gentle and understanding approach. Your description of this as a “perpetual dance of disappointment” is right on.

— Stuck Brother

Dear Brother: I hope you found encouragement to try to rewrite your own script.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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