Marriage Agreement

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    Tiny Dancer

    I have been struggling with this decision for almost 3 months now, and it still seems 50/50 to me, and no matter who I talk to about it, I still can’t decide either way. I’m hoping to get some anonymous advice here, as it is quite a sensitive issue.

    Four months ago, I met a man through an online dating website. We had a great first date, and quickly started getting together more and more often. We share a sense of humor, taste in music, and sense of adventure. For the past 2 months I’ve pretty much been living with him; he lives in a much nicer part of town, with a larger apartment and easy parking, whereas I live in a studio apt. in a low-income part of town, where it is nearly impossible to find parking. We always have a good time together, whether it’s visiting the winery or working out at the gym. He has been very kind and generous with me, and even when we’ve had disagreements, they were always civil.

    Here comes the hard part– four weeks into the relationship he told me that he is not a U.S. citizen, and asked me if I would consider marrying him so he could become one. In exchange for my help, he would take care of me– pay my bills, car pymt, and even grad school (at least $40,000 of it). At first, I was elated at the idea, it seemed so exciting to plan a wedding and get married! I was also excited about traveling to his country and learning about his culture. After the initial excitement cleared, I realized that I had a serious decision to make, and he gave me a deadline of the end of July. Over the past month, my feelings for him have been declining. Although I still enjoy spending time with him, the spark is not there. Our sex life is practically non-existent. We’ve talked about this, and I’ve expressed my feelings and hesitations; in response we’ve worked out an arrangement where we would only be married as long as was needed to secure his green card/citizenship and he would still keep his financial promise to me. Additionally, the marriage would be sort of “open” (on the DL of course), so that I wouldn’t feel unhappy and trapped in the relationship.

    This is a very attractive deal for me, as even when I worked multiple jobs, I have always struggled with having enough money, regardless of how simple and frugal I live. It seems something is always coming up– if I get a parking ticket, I can’t buy groceries. Since we’ve been together, I have definitely felt a great weight lifted, and breathed easier knowing that I didn’t need to stress out about paying my bills and overdrafting my bank account, as I normally do. I’d appreciate any insight/advice you may have. Thank you!


    My dear Tiny Dancer,

    I don’t want to tell you that marriage is about love and all the romantic movie stuff part. I know that you know it. Have you ever seen the movie “green card” with Gerard Depardieu? I think it will answer to a lot of question. Please, see this movie asap!

    Tiny Dancer, don’t marry someone nice. Marry someone right.

    I’m a little concern about the sexual part. If there’s no sex now…there will be no sex later. Please please please, be careful. And I don’t wanna sound racist, I’m not. I had boyfriends from different countries and from the middle east too, but if he is from the middle east, be careful. The law there is very different. You can be caught in a web hard to break. If you have any question to ask me, please, write me. I will be happy to answer you.


    I’m sure others are going to respond with a lot more compassion, composure, and clarity, but let me just start off by going with my gut on this one and saying there’s a whole lot of wrong going on in this scenario! As in WTF?! 😉

    I hear where you’re coming from – this could be a potentially profitable transaction and given your financial insecurities, it could alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety. But is this really the way you want to do it? Without a wholesome and sold foundation on which to build a relationship, mixing money, the law, emotions, and sex is a recipe for disaster.

    Please get some legal advice before moving further. I’ve heard stories of people of marrying people from other countries only to be left paying their bills and debts. If for whatever reason this guy starts having any legal or financial troubles, you could be liable to cover the costs. If you divorce as soon as he gets his green card, there could be a legal investigation and you could be charged.

    I know you’re feeling very stressed and anxious about money, but marrying for money and financial security, regardless of whether its a real marriage or a fake one, puts you in a state of dependance and will further undermine your efforts to become independent and financially stable.


    LA Lady,

    In addition to the other well intended words, consider that if you find love during the time where you are honor bound to help him stay you will be trading financial debt for a much more awkward debt. Trading chains for chains does not make us free…

    A wondering came up in my heart… did the connection fade before the proposition? Perhaps your love disappeared because it felt forced? You’re not a prostitute, perhaps did your sexual desire fade because of his financial offerings? I wonder what your heart would have done in the absence of the mental rationale. Parking, money, tickets, school… those are not goals of the heart, they are of the mind.

    With warmth,


    I had a friend who did this and 8 years later she is still dealing with the financial mess left to her from her “husband,” not to mention she had a visit from INS recently. Apparently, he was getting ready to take the Bar exam in her state and when the State was investigating his background they found “issues” surrounding their marriage, divorce and his Green Card. They notified INS. My friend never told her current husband about her past marriage …Surprise!!

    Here is the deal, you’re committing immigration fraud, and the naturalization process is increasingly rigorous to reveal these crimes. Immigration Fraud is a felony but how frequently it is prosecuted after deportation isn’t clear. You can be assured since 9/11 the INS and Justice Department isn’t hesitant about prosecuting these crimes and they aren’t afraid to ask to seek incarceration.

    The INS vigorously investigates anonymous tips, so if there is anyone in your life who dislikes you enough to make a phone call and report your fraudulent relationship, you’ll have to overcome suspicion and your friend risks deportation and you risk prosecution.

    The process is a pain, INS Agents will make unannounced visits at your door and are expected to be allowed into your shared residence. You can deny them entry but doing so will end the immigration process and initiate deportation process which you can formally appeal. I went with friends that were really in love and it was crazy. I was interviewed by INS about what I knew about their relationship. The couple was each interviewed separately and they asked all sorts of personal relationship question and questions about their home. I do not know if it is a requirement to have a witness but if it is, you will need someone willing to lie for you.

    Even if you pass the process and your friend attains his green card but the INS becomes suspicious afterwards, you can still be prosecuted and he can still be deported long after.

    Is this guy worth it?

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 2 months ago by Janis.
    • This reply was modified 10 years, 2 months ago by Janis.

    Be very, very leery about this. Beyond some extremely huge red flags, are you really willing to get “married” with the vague promise it will make you some money? I’m thinking that’s not the basis for a lifetime of love.

    Tiny Dancer

    Thank you for all your thoughts, guys.

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