Last August, a friend of mine visited from out of the country. Part of his stated mission for visiting the US was to “find a wife” so he could immigrate to the US. Toward the end of his stay, I made a mistake I’ll probably regret forever: my husband and I introduced him to my single, lonely best friend with the half-serious pretext that he could pay her for marriage (she is a non-working college student so we figured she could use the money, and she also desperately wants to leave her parents’ house.) Needless to say, two days after they first met they were “in love” and had decided to get married, no purchase necessary. They spent his remaining week and a half together, and immediately after he left she filed for their marriage Visa.
My best friend is wonderful. She’s intelligent, artistic, thoughtful and kind. But she is naive due to inexperience, and she does not love or appreciate herself. I truly feel that he has exploited this. I spoke to her in the beginning about the importance of taking things slowly, and I questioned her about whether or not she thinks he might be using her. She refused to consider anything other than a fairytale ending, and stated something to the effect that I’m just jealous because my marriage is “crappy”— which couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’ve stayed out of it since that conversation for the sake of our relationship, but their Visa is due to be finalized shortly and it’s heavy on my mind. She bought herself a $20 “engagement ring” from eBay since he wouldn’t buy her one. She visited his country to meet his family and the two fought much of the time; he had been watching porn while she was there and she was insulted. He also advised her that she needed to lose weight, grow her hair longer, and shave her “mustache,” all of which she has been working on per his request. It also troubles me that he has a Facebook that exists only to enable him to comment on her statuses; he has no other friends than her, my husband, and me. His brother has one and has hundreds of friends so I really don’t think it’s a cultural thing. The entire course of this relationship has been miserable for her, but she is so determined to make it work that none of it matters.
It is worth noting that she still lives in the same bedroom in her parents’ house that she lived in when we were in elementary school, and that this is where the two plan on living once married. This is her first relationship. She is 21, he 23. Her fiancé does not have any sort of degree or trade skill, and we live in an area with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Her father has just recently agreed to sign sponsorship documents, accepting financial responsibility for her fiancé for as long as he remains in the United States. Additionally, there has been talk of having children.
I know part of life is accepting the things you can not change, but I’m having a horrible time letting this go because I feel responsible for putting her in this crappy situation, knowing she doesn’t have the self-love to recognize that she deserves a man who will marry her, no strings attached. They also may be asking me to give a statement to the government validating the relationship and I don’t know what to say. Any advice? — Visa to Disaster
Wow, you really screwed up on this one, didn’t you? I’m sure you’ve beaten yourself up enough already, so I will restrain myself from asking what the hell you were thinking introducing what sounds like a pretty smarmy guy to your young, naive, insecure BFF. The damage has been done and the best you can hope for now is that somehow your friend comes to her senses before the marriage happens, or the government intervenes and disrupts this marriage fantasy. Hmm, how might that be able to happen??
I know! You could agree to give a statement to the government and then tell the officials the truth! Tell them that you knew this guy before he met your friend and that he told you he wanted to find someone to marry so that he could get a visa to immigrate to the US. It may not be enough to prevent the wedding, but it could at least provide enough reasonable doubt for officials to look into the relationship further. Maybe it would buy a little time, too — time in which you could speak to your friend’s family about what you know. Perhaps your friend’s father wouldn’t be in such a hurry to financially support this foreigner if he knew what his real intentions were with his daughter.
Yes, by butting in further, you run the risk of alienating your best friend. Maybe forever. There’s a chance that if she finds out you “sabotaged” her marriage, she’ll never speak to you again. But weigh that risk against the one where she stays in her childhood bedroom with this man, marries him and has a baby or two, goes on welfare because neither of them can get a job, and then her deadbeat, controlling husband runs off with some stripper he meets down at the Pink Cadillac some Saturday night, and your friend’s left with a broken heart, a shattered ego and a couple extra mouths to feed. Which is the risk you can live with in better conscience? The choice is yours. This is a mess you are partly responsible for. The least you can do is try to clean it up a little before it gets worse.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.