Dear Abby: Secret marriage threatens to tear Thai family apart

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 can’t wait until election season is over. One side of my family is liberal; the other side is conservative. At my request, they don’t argue when we are all together. There are occasional disagreements, but fortunately, they never escalate.

The problem is, when I spend time with any of them separately I am lectured nonstop about the “evils” of the other side. They don’t quit. I just want to scream, “Shut up! Shut up! I don’t care!” I am at the point that I no longer want to vote. I don’t know what to do. There’s no way I can avoid my family completely.

Please advise. – “Shut Up!” in New Mexico

Dear S.U.: Please don’t allow your family drama to stop YOU from voting. Try this: The next time your relatives inject politics into the conversation, smile, look them in the eye and say, “Let’s talk about something pleasant, shall we?” and change the subject.