DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law, "Fred," is on his fifth marriage. We know it won't be his last. Every time he is courting his next unsuspecting wife, my husband and I wish we could tell his new fiancee what we know about Fred, but of course, we can't. And they never ask.
The questions we wish these nice women would ask:
(1) Ask how many times he has been married. Multiple previous marriages are a big red flag. Don't think you are different from the others. You're not.
(2) If you wonder how he affords the expensive wines, the five-star restaurants and the trips to Europe on the salary that someone in his line of work earns -- the answer is he can't afford it.
(3) If he wants to buy a house with you and asks you to buy it in your name alone, then add his name after you obtain a loan, run for the nearest exit. His credit is bad.
(4) "Went to" a college and "graduated from" a college are two different things. What a shame that someone would even lie about that.
(5) If he hasn't been able to hold a job because he was "smarter than" every boss he ever had, don't count on having his income in your budget.
(6) Are you much younger than he is? Does he try to control your every move? (He likes the young ones because he can no longer fool the older, wiser ladies.)
(7) Have you ever wondered why nothing is his fault? The divorces? The bankruptcies? Think again!
(8) Does he tell you that his accountant advises him to make expensive purchases (that he can't afford) on the basis that they're tax-deductible? Don't believe everything you hear.
We know that Fred is attractive and charming. But please take off the blinders before you walk down the aisle. My husband and I are just glad Fred's creditors have finally stopped calling us because we share the same last name. -- SORRY IN THE NORTHEAST
DEAR SORRY: Stop apologizing. You have done nothing to be "sorry" for. I'm sure my readers will be grateful for the reminder that before making a lifelong commitment, it's imperative to know well with whom one is having the pleasure.