agony-auntTime for a fun little experiment.  Imagine that you are an agony aunt and someone sends you the following problem…..

“My sister was going out with someone for 10 years. Then they split up, and she found a new guy online within a couple of months. She claims to be madly in love with him and says he’s very romantic, but I took an instant dislike to him. It’s difficult to say what it is, but I just find him creepy.”

What would you say?  Please…
1) Feel free to post your advice in the comments section below
2) Read other peoples’ comments – if you think the advice is good, press the ‘thumbs up’ button

Let’s see who can come up with the best advice!


  1. I presume this is like “Dear Abbey”…

    I’d say “Great, but wait three years before you do anything foolish like get married.”

  2. I would say…just take your time you are just out of a long term relationship. Sometimes a new relationship is exciting and new and you can get a wee bit carried away. Give yourself at least 6 months to get to know him, his friends and his family. Don’t say you took an immediate dislike to him it will just get her back up and she won’t believe you. You just gave to keep her trust and look out for her. Also ask him questions without interrogating him for you to be certain you have a genuine worry.

  3. Best thing to do would be to start spending time with the guy and really get to know him. Then he may find out whether his “feeling” is warranted. In the meantime, he should avoid saying much of anything to his sister unless and until he has a more solid reason to be suspicious of the guy.

  4. Hum…. People coming out of a relation ship – on the rebound, as in commonly said in Canada – are notoriously suceptible to seduction immediately after a breakup. Targeting the newly single was, after all, one of Casanova’s technniques. You might want to suggest that she takes her time before taking the plunge.

  5. Your sister has not announced an engagement. Therefore, say nothing. If your sister is as smart as you, she’ll see what you do. Or maybe you’ll see what she does!

  6. I don’t like the guy, I find him creepy. Remember I told you the same thing about your first husband but you married him anyway? Ten years later after losing your house in foreclosure, and having to file for bankruptcy, all because of your husband’s financial mishaps and outright lies and deceptions, I helped you get back on your feet. I give this new creep one year tops before you feel the same regret. But I’ll be there to get you back on your feet again.

  7. My advice is to do nothing. If you interfere, you risk harming your relationship with your sister. Your sister obviously finds something nice about him. Respect her judgement.

  8. Firstly, it’s obvious that you are concerned about your sister and her life which is a positive thing. Secondly, being in such a long term relationship and then splitting up is a massive change which brings about many emotions. It’s perfectly natural for your sister to seek a new partner and although it may not be your style, you do have to respect that she has chosen someone she has met online. Let’s address your remark that you find her partner ‘creepy’ for no specific reason. It could be that you do not know him well enough- could you perhaps make an effort to spend time with him and your sister? It could also be that he is displaying behaviour that you find unsettling- if this is the case and you feel there is a genuine concern, my advice would be to talk to your sister in an honest and caring manner. This will help reduce any fears you may have. Of course, if after the conversation you feel your sister is in danger or harm, talk to your parents. You must respect her feelings and remember to be supportive regardless of the outcome with this new partner. Good luck!

  9. Don’t judge or say anything initially. People make their own decisions and expressing your dislike could damage your friendship. You need to stay close and observe because if he turns out as you expect you need to be there for her. I would only intervene if your friend is in danger.

  10. It would be inappropriate – nay unprofessional – to comment until one has more information.

    If we knew the star signs of all three people (including the ex for completeness as that tells us much about the sister’s abilities to for a stable relationship) we could comment and give advice with a great deal of confidence. Birth dates and locations in addition would make this a breeze.

    It is a big danger on the Internet to shoot one’s mouth off before one has all the information needed for informed choice.

    By holding back until we have the necessary astrological analysis we are being kindly professional and helpful.

    This is something I am expert in so if anyone requires relationship advice please do not pause before contacting me. As ever I am always happy to help genuine seekers after truth.

    1. Don’t want to blow your cover, “Barry,” just want to say that I’m glad you seem to have gotten plenty more NSF funding for your long term research in the psycho-social dynamics of comment threads. Glad you have asked me to be a reviewer, and looking forward to the next series of papers. Oh, and how’s the DARPA money looking? (I hope I didn’t say too much.)

    2. @adzcliff

      That you for honest questions. It is always good to encounter someone who genuinely wishes to know more about the fascinating art that is Astrology.

      No one is “stereotyping”. Just using the obvious factors to make evaluations. Sherlock Holmes uses this skill all the time and he is considered a genius.

      Birth sign is innate. Those other factors you mention can all be changed or change with time.

      Birth sign though stamps us with a certain potentiality. We may not live up to or use or manifest that potentiality but it is always there and must be the starting point of any honest character evaluation.

      Date of birth is one of the first questions the police ask when the arrest you. And it is very commonly asked before you can sign up to many websites. Why would that be if it were not a crucial data point for evaluating you?

      I am proud of my skills in this field. I hope you will be too.

    3. @Barry Goddard

      Thanks for this. Maybe your ‘obvious factors to make evaluations’ are as obvious to you as any other prejudice held by any other bigot.

      With regard Sherlock Holmes, I’m not sure we should take intellectual inspiration from the successive successes of fictional characters (especially those created by superstitious authors). I certainly would gauge risk based on the antics of James Bond, Rambo or Ethan Hunt – would you??

      You also ask: Why would [the Police ask for your date of birth] if it were not a crucial data point for evaluating you?

      One reason maybe to differentiate you from other Barry Goddards. They may also ask about your ethnic background, gender, nationality, sexuality, religion, employment and educational background. I don’t deny that all of that helps develop a picture about an individual (and their identity), but am confident that date-of-birth alone tells us no more about a person’s character than any of the above. I think the best way to learn about a person’s character, is to ask questions about a person’s character.

      With respect, I would usually be happy that you felt proud about your ‘skills’, but I think you are mistaking your ‘skills’ for outright prejudice – albeit a relatively harmless prejudice (thankfully). Sorry if that comes across more critical than you had expected

      Thanks for your time.

    4. @adzcliff

      I think you have answered your own doubts here. It is so often that we truly know the answer to something but are blind to it until we realise we knew all along.

      You say that date of birth can show us no more than ethnic background, gender, nationality, sexuality, religion, employment and educational background.

      That is already a tremendous amount you say we know from just date of birth alone!

      And we can indeed know more – much more!

      Trust your intuitions. Back them with rigorous Astrological science and you will find that you can know more than you ever perceived possible. It is like Luke Skywalker, He trusts the force yet flies fully suited in a highly engineered space vehicle.

    5. Thanks Barry Goddard.

      I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t deliberately misinterpret a minor ambiguity in my post. I am saying that date of birth ‘alone’, tells us nothing more than ethnic background ‘alone’, gender ‘alone’, nationality ‘alone’, sexuality ‘alone’, religion ‘alone’, employment and educational background ‘alone’.

      I think it is no more controversial to tell someone with an ‘X’ birthday that they would have a lesser chance of relationship success with someone of a ‘Z’ birthday, than it is to tell someone with a ‘Q’ ethnicity that they will have a lesser chance of relationship success with someone with of a ‘P’ ethnicity. When it comes to stereotyping people based on arbitrary demographics, I would recommend that individuals trust their intuitions much less.

  11. Do you only ever see him after dark? And does he have an aversion to garlic in his food? If so, I advise testing him with a mirror to see if he reflects, and check your sister’s neck for bite marks. He may be a vampire. If so, please consult with your local vampire-hunter at the earliest opportunity.

  12. I’m just assuming the dislike you feel is just from the impact of change. You’re not used to this guy, you’ve never seen him before, it’s completely expected to not like him right away. You don’t know his intentions with your sister, you are simply being protective. Try to get a better understanding of what kind of man he really is. He may be a scumbag, he may be a perfect gentleman, you can’t just make a decision based on a first-meet experience.

  13. I had this exact scenario but in my case it was my daughter. I told her how I felt about him (her second husband) and lost a daughter over it. They’ve been married for 3 years now and he is the bum I always thought he was: he hasn’t worked a day since they got together and took an oath on their wedding day to “Love honor and obey” and has been ever since. She says she loves him more than ever. I’ve cried every day since then. The answer: say nothing and keep your family intact. Bad answer but the only one I’ve learned from my mistake. UGH!

  14. …..did you see any horns or eyes glowing the dark? look she broke up a long term relationship and yes she is sowing her oats with a rebound but your sister is your sister Have some faith in her, she’s happy. but keep the bat ready just case!!

  15. I’m intrigued as to what the purpose / envisaged conclusions of this ‘experiment’ might be.

    Will our personalities be revealed by our answers?

    For what its’ worth I wouldn’t interfere in my sibling’s love life

  16. I know it’s difficult to say what it is … and you’re instinct is probably right … so just ask yourself what exactly is creepy about him. Get specific; What behaviour does he display that you interpret as creepy. Then ask yourself how you might appear to another person if you displayed the exact behaviour. Then ome back & see me next week. That’ll be 250 guineas.

  17. I suspect you are in love with your sister and are merely transferring your own feelings of disgust and revulsion at yourself and you’re own creepiness on to her new boyfriend. This is no good for your health and you can’t go on like this. Talk to your sister. She may reveal that she feels exactly the same way about you, but understandably just needs a bit of space and to watch the next episode of Sex in the City to get her head together. Helpfully point out in an Australian accent that she can’t keep running away from herself! In the meantime, play the Banjo and spit loudly within earshot regularly to help raise the mood music. When she finally, she does reciprocate your feelings, suggest to her new boyfriend that a boy’s own adventure weekend together out the bush would be just the ticket to get to know each other. If he’s a genuinely creepy chap he’ll jump at the chance of being out in the woods after dark with a George Michael lookalike.Then at a convenient moment, grab a sharp hunting knife and proceed to gut and make a human sacrifice of him, taking care not to arouse the suspicion of any nearby mountain bikers or bog-snorkellers. If it makes things easier, Imbibe some peyote and Incant in a mysterious tongue to help the mindless slaughter along. When you return home, move with your sister to Kentucky and have two slightly cross-eyed children in rapid succession together. I would suggest you name them Ched Junior, and Seabass the IV. This will make it easier for them to fit in at school and in church. My final advice to you is never look back and never feel guilty about the life that has chosen you. Remind yourself daily… hourly… that It’s a mad, mad, world and that marrying your sister is normal in more countries than it’s not normal. After all, It was good enough for Zeus and the Gods. .

  18. Do everything within your power to keep the channels open. If you’re right about him she needs a friend. If you’re wrong about him you’ll miss the chance of making his friendship if you bad mouth him to your sis. Ask yourself whether you’d welcome being told how to run your own love life. Would you welcome the not terribly hidden implication that you were a mug? Do unto others etc etc

  19. Please take your time in this relationship. I know it is easy to just jump into a new “squeeze” play. But remember, do not share private / personal information or your house key at any time of this new relationship. Get to know that person and make sure you experience many different dating situations like Film, Sports, Dining, Theater, visiting friends and family. Get to know their family members and find out what they do for a living.
    I would check an on-line arrest/criminal website just to keep our “peace of mind” that this person isn’t quietly running from the authorities. (No guarantees)
    Good Luck. (Glad I’m not dating them!)

  20. I would frame your sister for human trafficking and ensure the courts freeze all her bank accounts and other assets. If he sticks by her during the trial and sentencing, he’s probably ok.

  21. Whilst your first instinct is to be protective of your sister, remember she that she has been through a tough time and is now thankful of finding happiness once again. You find the new guy ‘creepy’, but without anything concrete to base this on you risk alienating your sister if you tell her your feelings. Make an effort to get to know him, and if you still don’t like him in a few months then you may have some evidence as to why this is, rather than just an initial feeling, which may turn out to be unfounded. Your sister is a grown woman, capable of looking after herself.

  22. Sorry, imagination failure. I just can’t get past the implausibility of me ever becoming an agony aunt. I’ve simply no wish to dive into giving personal advice, especially on the basis of a few lines of scant evidence from just one party.

    Now, if you want advice on what computer to buy…

    1. How ’bout the best way to transfer data, pics, music files, bookmarks etc. from an old computer desk top to a brand new one?

    2. @RP – for Windows, use the transfer settings wizard. Macs have something similar (forget what it is). You’ll need a sufficiently large thumb-drive / USB key.

    1. @Gabby

      I fear you have misread the question that has been put to us. The mystery online suitor was not named and it is most definitely not me.

      Even if I were invited kindly to “go out” with your sister I would have to decline. You see Gabby I am already partnered this past decade and a half or more. Our star signs aligned and it was almost like we were intended for each other.

      I would not break that up to go out even with your sister (no disrespect meant to her or your parents who I am sure have properly schooled her in the safe ways to internet date).

      Thus thank you for your kind offer. I pray that your sister is not too disappointed. Please give her my regards and wishing her the best of luck in the future. I am sure the two of you will in time find happiness.

      Yet do not try to offer online agony aunt advice without properly reading the questions. Incorrect advice may launch someone delicate into an emotional malestrom from which they will have diverse reactions.

  23. What would I say…? Hmmm, interesting.

    “There could well be more than the obvious reasons behind the way you and your sister feel about this new man but, without any more details, I fear that any advice I give might lead you down the wrong path.

    The important thing is for you to understand why you dislike the new man so intensely. Could it be that you are grieving the previous, long term relationship that your sister had with her previous partner? Perhaps as a sibling you feel protective, and her falling for someone new so suddenly worries you more than it should? Could it be that you have a mistrust of people met on the internet? Until you understand exactly why it is that you find this man creepy, you may well be judging him based on some outdated prejudice or bias towards someone else, and that’s unfair to him and your sister.

    Remember that your sister is capable of long term relationships and that this man might be with her for the next decade of her life, or even longer. Even if you find that you have a completely legitimate reason to dislike him, that may not make a difference to how your sister feels about him. And that may not be a bad thing. However, while you should trust in your sisters judgement you shouldn’t be afraid to voice your own concerns. Tell her that you are not condemning her new man but let her know that you have reservations. It would definitely be a good idea to identify why you dislike this man before that conversation though, as realising you had a misplaced prejudice is much harder to come back from.”

  24. So, you’re like, I’m not interested in this guy anymore? because he’s, like, I don’t know, not cool now, right? So I’m like, hey, he was pretty hot, you know? and now you’re going out with this, like, you know, creep? I mean, rilly? So, like, hey, so you wouldn’t mind if I like, went out with your old boyfriend? because, I mean, like, he’s still kinda hot? even ten years later, and you *are* my sister and you want me to be rilly happy? and the best for me and everything, right? so you won’t, like, mind if I call him up, OK? I mean, like, I’ve had his phone number in my head for, like, about the last nine and half thousand years, right? so if you’re so into this other, like, goth dude, well like why would you care what I do if you’re going to just jump into the sack with the next thing that crawls by, you know? So, I mean, like, well go for it, sis, I’m outta here too.

  25. I say praise your sister for good judgement, acknowledge her keen ability to attract authentic love, and direct her attention to her self-love. This will give her a natural posture of confidence and faith in the mystery of the future; the magnetic qualities she exudes will either attract or repel her new man. The key is in helping her to see the truth (whether creepy or not) for herself. Besides, as an agony aunt, and human being with a preference, I am probably projecting my emotional experiences upon her decisions, and that’s not a right use of will.

  26. Hold back – if you object now it will only make her reserve stronger. Talk to her and try to see what she sees in him, try to understand and you may agree with her point of view, and see how the relationship develops. If it is a mistake she needs to see it for herself and they will break up – if not your sister might be making the right decision after all.

  27. I would make him do a couple of Richard’s Friday Puzzles (RIP).

    If he gets through them without being put off by lame/inane comments from other contributors, some idiot disclosing the answers, the question wording changing over the weekend (22 anyone?), or consulting star signs, then marry him.

    1. Perhaps this IS a Friday puzzle (although we are encouraged to post the answer) and we’ll get the official solution on Monday.

      (But looks as if I lost the sweepstake – it’s not even the end of January 🙂 )

    2. This is the hardest Friday puzzle I have seen in a long time.
      Is it something to do with Monty Hall?

  28. I would say that you’re really pleased that she’s happy & remind her not to rush into anything as it’s on the rebound. Then take more time to get to know him until you’ve worked out what the reason is for finding him creepy, or perhaps you’ll like him after a while, then you could express concern when you’ve had more time. And of course be there for her if she needs you.

  29. She’s in the honeymoon stage, so she’s going to be raving about how great she think’s this new guy is. I would pay attention to what she says once they’ve settled a bit (e.g. they have been together in 6 months), her opinions may have changed.

    As for you’re instincts, my advice is to be tactful, and respectful. At the end of the day, it’s her life and telling her exactly how you feel isn’t going to help things (she isn’t going to take on board your thoughts, because of all these hormones filling her brain). I can’t possible say why you feel the way you do, and maybe you’ll figure this out in time, or grow to like the guy.

    Just be a good sibling: be there for her through good times and bad, and let her know this.

  30. Is the sibling male or female ?…creepy for a man is different to creepy for a woman. Meeting people online brings lots of problems…Is his phone always on silent…? anyway don’t sleep with him for 3 months…that should do the trick…

    1. Mark, a sister is usually female.

      And your advice to Richard to not sleep with his sister’s new boyfriend is probably unnecessary.

  31. Take time to define what you think is wrong. Then make a rational decision. At this point it’s feeling against feeling. That doesn’t say enough.
    When you’ve made your decision, explain your rational thoughts to your sister. Give that as an advice. Leave the decision to your sister. It’s her life.

  32. Google him and ask make a request to the police under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. If you find anything bad on Google or the DVDS comes back showing he has a record then sit her down and show her the evidence. If itching comes back you can tell her he gives you the heebie geebies but there’s no point in telling her more than once. She’s an adult and it’s her life, it’s up to her who she goes out with. Be supportive, if he’s a creep she’ll work that out for herself. If you keep on about him it won’t speed up the break up but will drive a wedge between you and your sister. Be kind.

  33. Well honestly, i don’t think its any of your (the woman) concern what she (the sister) does. If she likes him, then that’s all that matters. If you don’t like him, them think of his good qualities. Name a few. Then think, is he really that bad? if you still don’t like him, then you should try and start a conversation of HIS interests. I know it sounds stupid, but it helps you to focus less on how much you don’t like him, and more on what you are going to say in the conversation.

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