Does he want her or citizenship?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am dating a man from another country, we are “engaged”, we have known each other for a few months now. He asked me to marry him on the 8th of Jan,09. I have been married before and so has he. He is now divorced. I am just starting my divorce proceedings, after being estranged for about 2yrs from my ex, and it should be final soon. My ex was also a foreigner and he tried to misuse me after marriage for status in the country but he didn’t really love me. Now, Im with my new beau and I like him very much but in the beginning, when we were just friends,he was saying that he needed to marry someone to stay in the country but he was saying that he wanted to marry someone for love and someone he can settle down with and not someone that he will be with until he gets naturalized and then be divorced from.

So some time went on and he asked me to marry him but he wanted to do it the same day. I said wait because i had to get divorced from my ex. So then he said okay. So some time has gone on and the marriage has come up a couple of times in conversation but it was always heated and he has said some mean and hurtful things to me. Then when things cool off he said that he was sorry for saying all of those things, he said that he’s just tired of sitting around waiting, not knowing what his fate is. I can understand that to an extent…

we had a conversation about it again and I said next month, we can marry. I told him that I love him but I will not beg him to love me or be with me. I said if you love me time shouldn’t matter but I can understand under the circumstances…But what scares me is that I think the divorce will be final mid-April and I’m unsure if he will blow up again.

Besides that I’m scared to tell my family about the marriage because they depend on me for a lot and they have a lot of respect for me. Im afraid that they are going to tell me that I just got out of a bad marriage and now I am wanting to marry into the same type of situation, not knowing if the man wants to use me for citizenship, etc.

I like him, and I love him, I cut off all contact with any other guys because i had changed my life, a bit before I met him, but even more so after we had made it official, and I think that it could work between us because we both love the Lord. He says that he wants to work in the ministry and I have been praying for a good husband, so this is why I’m kind of confused. I don’t mind helping with papers because u never know where you husband or wife will come from so thats not really my issue but I don’t believe in divorcing and neither does he (even though the last situation resulted in one). So my question to you is, what do you think I should do?

I know that you aren’t a counselor but I must say that
You are the only person I have been able to tell about this situation so please help me. I will appreciate it, whole heartedly, and may God bless You and your family.
Thanks!!

A: I think you should slow down. You are just out of a marriage, barely divorced. Most people need some recovery time, both to just settle down from the emotional upheaval of a divorce and to gain some perspective on what went wrong. Ending any marriage, even a bad one, usually requires a period of mourning. You didn’t get married to be divorced. You thought you were in love with your first husband. You apparently didn’t see warning signs. I worry that maybe you let yourself get caught up with the new beau so fast because you don’t want to deal with all the painful feelings that go with a divorce. New love is certainly a distraction.

The need for a green card is not a good reason for people to marry, even though it can certainly add pressure to a courtship. Your boyfriend is in too much of a hurry. I’m concerned that he gets heated when the issue comes up. I’m equally concerned that you don’t see that as a “red flag”. This should be a time of sweetness and romance. Instead, you are walking on eggshells.

If you were seeing me as a client, I would want to explore with you whether waiting at least 6 months might be a good idea. I’d also encourage you to get into some pre-marital counseling with your boyfriend so that the two of you could learn how to talk about something difficult without it turning into a fight. For a new marriage to work, you would ideally have the support of your family as well. I have a guess that they would feel much more comfortable if they knew you were taking steps to make sure you are making a good decision.

I hope this gives you a few things to think about.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Does he want her or citizenship?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/26/does-he-want-her-or-citizenship/