Dear Spike, My elder brother, 34, was briefly married to a woman who broke his heart. As far as I know, he hasn't had a girlfriend for the past five years.
The other week he turned up at a family party with a girl in tow. They seemed well into each other and she, in particular, was very affectionate, hanging off of him all night.
We were pleased for him at first but then one of my sisters did some digging and found out that she has a reputation as a serial gold-digger.
We are worried about this, the more so as he's quite well off, but a bit naive, to put it mildly. Should we tip him off? If so, how?
Hmmm . . . tricky. If you warn him, chances are either he won't believe you and this will cause a rift in the family or, alternatively, he will believe you're causing him to ditch the girlfriend and go back to his old hermit-like ways.
I think, on balance, you ought to warn him but, before you do so, make sure there's evidence of her bad conduct, not just hearsay or local gossip.
Apart from breaking up an otherwise promising relationship you might find yourself lumbered with a writ for slander.
So far as picking the moment goes, I'd have your siblings round for a dinner party and broach it gently: "Look, we're a bit worried about you . . ."
But do be prepared for being told to naff off and mind your own business.
>Here's what readers think:
"You don't need to warn him. Just make sure if wedding bells start to ring that he has a lawyer who can draw up a good pre-nup."
"He's a big boy. It's his life and his money for that matter. Let him have a bit of fun and go to hell in his own way."
"DON'T label this lady a gold-digger. Maybe she's just a lonely person. After a broken marriage I had two one-night stands in quick succession. Neither developed into a relationship, worse luck. Now I'm stuck with a reputation as a slapper. My girl friends won't introduce me to their boyfriends and any man I meet just wants to get me into bed."
MARY, BY EMAIL
"Maybe this is what he needs to stop him being naive"
"LEAVE well enough alone. Who's to say that the information you have is accurate or merely spiteful tittle tattle? Keep your nose in your own business and let him take care of his own, he is an adult.