DEAR ABBY: I am an attractive and intelligent woman from India. I have high moral standards. I live with my parents in America and have a good job. Last year some relatives told me that for the past two years my parents have secretly been planning my wedding to a man named "Rashid." I have never met Rashid because he lives in India, nor have my parents said one word to me about this marriage plan.
I have learned that Rashid is divorced with four small children. I have also learned that he thinks he's God's gift to women. He has a high school diploma and runs a small business that my family owns. He is a womanizer who lives with his "secretary," but tells everyone she is "only a friend." (She's expecting his twins.) He has told everyone at the business that he's going to America to marry the owner's daughter. His secretary has told everyone that I was "too old" for him, and that she's the one he really wants.
My parents are unaware of all these facts and think Rashid would be a good husband. I have no interest in planning a future with a man of loose morals. I want my parents to stop planning this marriage. I want to date other men, but my parents have discouraged me from doing so. What should I do? -- WANTING MY FREEDOM IN THE USA
DEAR WANTING MY FREEDOM: I don't know what is holding you back. You should be sharing these important facts with your parents instead of me. They may think Rashid is a prize, but he sounds more like a booby prize to me.
Four children from a previous marriage and two on the way are a lot to take on, let alone to swallow. Although there have been many successful arranged marriages, this one seems doomed from the outset.
If your parents still insist on this marriage, you may have to emancipate yourself from them.
DEAR ABBY: I am so sad. I am only 13 and thinking about killing myself. People have told me that it's just my hormones and that is why I'm so moody all the time.
Both my parents suffer from depression. They say it is hereditary. So, Abby, do you think it is my hormones or depression? Please answer as soon as possible. -- CONFUSED
DEAR CONFUSED: Many teenagers have mood swings. But with a family history like yours, they shouldn't be ignored or minimized. The person who should answer your question is your family physician. It is true that depression can run in families, and if your depression has lasted more than two weeks, you should get a medical evaluation. Please don't wait to ask your parents to schedule one.
DEAR ABBY: Are you aware of any organizations, projects, etc. that could make use of men's neckties that were made between 1946 and 2001? I've saved more than 50 of my late husband's ties and can't bring myself to throw them away. -- CAN'T THROW AWAY TIES
DEAR CAN'T: Why should you divest yourself of this treasure trove? How about mounting them in a decorative collage or two? If that doesn't appeal to you, consider using them to create a one-of-a-kind quilt. I'm sure the fabrics are not only gorgeous but collector's items as well. Readers, any more ideas?
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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