DEAR ABBY: Our daughter, a young Thai adult, is socially immature. Her mother and I are American citizens, and we recently brought her to the U.S. on a tourist visa to expose her to Western culture. While she was there, a suitor -- who is nearly 40, divorced, with two small kids -- manipulated her. After she returned to Thailand, she continued communicating with him on Facebook.
The guy flew to Thailand, secretly married her and left the country. He is now in the process of acquiring a spousal immigration visa, and we are desperately afraid of losing our daughter. We're not convinced that she's in love with him. We think she's just trying to escape her Tiger Mom, who insists on Thai culture, respect and adherence to family values.
We are considering appealing to the government requesting denial of the visa request. Your take? -- CONCERNED DAD IN THAILAND
DEAR CONCERNED DAD: What this man did is reprehensible. Because you don't know him, one has to wonder if anything he told your daughter about himself is true -- including his age, marital status and whether he is a parent.
Since you didn't mention your daughter's age or if she is old enough to consent to marriage, consulting a lawyer to help you navigate through government channels would be a good place to start. You have my sympathy, and I wish you luck.
DEAR ABBY: I've been with "Derek" for two months. We're both 14, and had an on-and-off friendship before it started.
Derek has a history of mental illness (including depression and anxiety). Lately, he has started talking about things like college plans and even marriage. He flatters me nonstop and says repeatedly how "perfect" and "goddess-like" I am, completely degrading himself in the process. He says he is "weak, stupid and ugly" compared to me.
I'm afraid to dump him because Derek has attempted suicide several times in the past and has hinted at doing it again if I do. I can't say the words to him with that hanging over me.
His parents are unreachable, and he's already on medication. Derek has refused counseling in the past. I'm really afraid, but I can't stand staying in this relationship much longer. Thoughts? - AFRAID IN OREGON
DEAR AFRAID: If you haven't spoken to your parents about Derek and his emotional blackmail, do it immediately. You are not responsible for his welfare -- his family is. Derek appears to be in need of more professional help than he is receiving. Encourage him to think about positive things like college, but tell him you are too young for any kind of permanent exclusive relationship. Period. Once your parents know what's going on, I'm sure they will back you up 100 percent.
DEAR ABBY: What exactly should one be doing while being serenaded with the birthday song? -- LAUREN, THE BIRTHDAY GIRL
DEAR LAUREN: SMILE!
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