Is My Boyfriend Using Me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 months and we’ve met through a dating website 8 months ago. He lives in the same city as I, but he’s originally from Tunisia. He came in Canada four years ago as a student and he now has a diploma and he could be working! The thing is, we’ve hit a rough patch when we learned that his residency was refused and that he has to go back in his country. He’s now trying to fight for his case and he’s going in court in a few weeks. We hope he will get to stay. So I was telling one of my close friend about our current struggle and fear of not knowing if he will be able to stay in Canada, and she asked me how i knew that my boyfriend truly loves me and that he’s not just into me so he can have someone to marry to get his papers if the courts doesnt allow his to stay. I got to say that this made me mad, but at the same time it made me doubt because we hear so much stories these days and i dont want to end up making a mistake.!

I truly love him, but i wouldn’t marry him yet even if he could get his papers by doing that. But now, the doubt is installed in my spirit and I’m wondering “what if he is using me”, “how can i be sure that he loves me”, “what if he only wants his papers and nothing else”… My friend is convinced that he’s using me because he’s muslim and lots of “people of his kind” are known to have done this to get their residency papers. Im sure about my love for him, but im scared of his love for me. What do you think? Am I overthinking this? Am I Naive and careless? Should I be ashamed of myself for thinking like this? :(

A: Your friend’s attitude toward people who are Muslim is outrageous. Bigotry is never a good basis for making choices. However, your boyfriend’s situation with his visa shouldn’t force a premature decision about a lifelong commitment.

The smartest thing you said is that you wouldn’t marry him yet regardless of the court’s decision. You are only 21 and you’ve only known your guy for 5 months. That’s not enough time for a relationship to mature to the point of considering marriage.

Many couples are separated by jobs, school or circumstances. Skype, texts, and email keep them talking and keep them close. Regular visits now and then help them get closer. Over time, they are able to decide if the relationship has real promise.

In my opinion, you two should enjoy your love and spend as much quality time together as you can. If he has to go back, he has to go back. How you each handle the separation will tell you what you need to know about whether your love can last.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Jan 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Is My Boyfriend Using Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/01/26/is-my-boyfriend-using-me/