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I'm a US citizen and I began dating a girl from an online website. We've known each other for a month and have been officially dating for about two weeks.

She told me on the second date that she wants something long term because in her culture most people are married by now (she's 27). Then she said that if I didn't think I'd be ready for marriage in the time frame of 1-3 years, we should reconsider continuing the relationship. Obviously this caught me off guard because I barely knew this girl, but I agreed to continue dating her because I could see myself marrying her eventually if the dating continued to go as well as they were going.

We didn't kiss until about the 5th date and didn't have sex until about the 8th. I didn't want to have intercourse with her initially because I was scared of getting her pregnant. We only had a condom and she wasn't on birth control. After I told her why I didn't want to do that she threatened to leave my apartment, but I eventually calmed her down. In the back of my mind I was thinking "what if she sabotaged my condom", but we continued anyway and I thoroughly checked for anything that looked like a hole in the condom. No hole was found.

Now she is at the very beginning of a 60 day grace period where she needs to find a job, which will allow her to work in the US for one year. After that she plans to go back to school for another two years. As soon as I heard about the grace period I began putting a document together to track jobs and her applications. I stayed up late at night trying to look for jobs for her. However, yesterday she called me and was pissed. She told me that "if you love me, you would marry me.", but I was shocked because it's only been a month! On the phone she started saying that she'll just go back to her home country and that I'm a good person so I'll find a better girl. I hung up on her after she said I'd be fine and I replied "I won't be ok". Looking back I know this kinda sounds like I was contemplating suicide, but I wasn't. After that phone call she drove to me, which is an hour away. She apologized and said it's just been stressful at work. Last night she slept at my house.

My question is, how can I ask her if she is just using me for a green card? Even if she gets a job and is here for another 1-3 years, she'll still need the marriage to get the green card. Sometimes she is very sweet and loving, but other times she hurts me emotionally. I don't want to waste years of my life on a relationship that is fake.

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    Hello, welcome to IPS! I edited your question to narrow down your goal to asking her if she wants to marry just because she wants to live in the US. "Finding out" whether she is using you is pretty broad and can't be answered 100% accurately, because we don't know you, her, or your situation as a whole. Asking her seems to be the most straightforward approach, but very tricky. I hope that helps, and if you disagree, go ahead and roll it back and edit it to something you prefer.
    – ElizB
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:07
  • What kind of visa is it that she could work in the US for a year?
    – mkennedy
    Dec 20, 2018 at 19:22
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    Asking her is easy: "are you using me for a green card?" There, done. I suspect that there's more to your question than that, however. What result do you want from asking that question? An honest answer? For your relationship to continue and her not to be hurt? Something else? Dec 28, 2018 at 1:21
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    my comment isnt worthy of being an answer, espeically since you asked in 2018, however I think your suspicion is correct. Even if it isnt, your interplay is sounding very one-sided. I'd walk away Sep 3, 2021 at 11:01

6 Answers 6

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Unless you're God, you can't know what's in a person's heart. And if you are God, you probably aren't asking people on the internet for advice.

How do you know she wants a green card? You really don't. However, one thing jumps out at me pretty quickly. "If you love me, you'd..." I've dated women that have said that, and it's always been manipulation to get me to do something that I didn't necessarily want to do. I learned to respond with "Well, if you loved me, you wouldn't ask that" in response.

If someone here does figure out a way to ask a question in a way that guarantees an honest response, I'd love it if they'd share it. I don't think that there is a way to do so. The only thing you can do is look at behavior and response to your behavior. And manipulating as part of the relationship is not an honest way of getting things done.

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Getting a green-card is something that is very specific to this relationship because of her citizenship issue. But really, even if she was a US citizen, would you not suspect something was amiss if she was pushing for marriage after only a month? Her behaviour is ringing alarm bells for you and her need of a green card is the most likely reason, but if it was someone else pushing for marriage this quickly you might think they were after money, or maybe trying to get away from a family or living situation. You'd have the same sneaking suspicion.

Really, the questions you should be asking yourself are more general:

  • How do you know if you can trust someone?
  • How do you know if you are being used?

On the question of trust - this is something that is earned, and that requires time. After a whirlwind relationship of just one month, you can't possibly know someone well enough to say you can trust them. You just don't know them fully. Knowing someone isn't simply the accumulation of facts about them - it involves experience such as seeing how they react in different circumstances. There is no shortcut to these things. Fact is, you believed that she sabotaged your condom! Unless you are normally that paranoid it sounds like she may have given you reason not to trust her!

On the question of being used - there are telltale signs that someone is manipulating you:

  1. There is a lack of balance. You pay for dates more than she does. Her emotional needs are talked about more than yours. Everything is about what she wants, not what you want. Okay, so she wants to get married quickly, but do you want to get married? She wants to go to college after working for a year - what do you want to do in a year's time? Support her financially while she studies?
  2. They make you feel uncomfortable. Constantly threatening to end the relationship. Making you afraid to say no. Everything is a power play.
  3. They play with your emotions. One minute they are in tears, the next minute they are all over you. One minute you're breaking up, the next minute you're making out. They are taking you to extremes to see how you react and when they don't get the reaction they want they go the other way.

And those are just a few.

The direct answer to your question of how to find out if she only wants you for a green card is to take your time, get to know her properly, and not allow her to rush you into marriage. But to be honest, what you have already said would make me run a mile.

"Marry in haste, repent at leisure" -Proverb

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  • In some cultures [citation needed, I know] it is expected that the man prove his ability as a provider by picking up the tab for all dates, so that red flag is not as reliable and not as easily testable.
    – EvilSnack
    Jul 4, 2020 at 20:32
  • I've known someone who said their goal was marriage and a child on day one of a relationship. Being upfront isn't necessarily "pushing"... Aug 28, 2021 at 15:21
  • I've also know someone else who says a former GF dumped him immediately after winning the US diversity visa lottery, although they were both living in the US... but that he was totally clueless before the fact. (Never met her myself, so no idea how true the whole story was.) Aug 28, 2021 at 15:30
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You can't. Humans aren't mind readers [citation needed]. The only person who could know for sure whether your girlfriend is only using you for a green card, is your girlfriend.

Ultimately you need to figure out how much you trust her and whether you feel that continuing a relationship with her is worth the risk that she is using you. That, however is a personal decision that is outside the scope of this site.

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    Pretty much this. Just like cheating. You either decide to trust her, or not. If you decide you don't trust her then it doesn't matter; Even if she doesn't want a green card or isn't cheating.
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 2, 2021 at 19:42
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The real red flag for me here is the emotional manipulation: "If you really loved me, you would marry me" and the pressure after only one month of dating. Also the pressure to have sex.

After I told her why I didn't want to do that she threatened to leave my apartment

Stay away from this type of person whether they need a greencard or not!

The question was

"How can I find out if my gf only wants me for a green card."

The answer is, you can't really, and probably it is not a flat yes or no. So, yes, she might need you for the green card but she might actually like you.

But, what was described above is enough to end the "relationship" because there are several behavioural patterns:

  • emotional manipulation
  • pressure to have sex
  • pressure to get married
  • most likely dishonesty
  • the drama: after the OP's refusal to have sex because he did not want to get her pregnant, she "threatened" to leave the apartment she was so upset he had to "calm her down"

After I told her why I didn't want to do that she threatened to leave my apartment, but I eventually calmed her down.

  • the OP does not trust her. This might be justified because he has a good gut feeling about people. But it does not really matter. He does not trust her. Exhibit a: searching for a hole in the condom. Exhibit b: asking this question here.

I thoroughly checked for anything that looked like a hole in the condom. No hole was found.

  • she appears to get angry for no reason. Being disappointed because he did not offer to marry her might be appropriate. Being angry after one month and after a night he staid up late to help with job applications seems very inappropriate to me

Also, this would probably be more obvious if the gender was reversed.

Disclaimer: I live in Germany. Culture is reasonably similar to U.S.


Some resources on "red flags" / emotional manipulation:

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POV from someone who could possibly have been on your GF's end which may give more perspective (old question I know, but this is relevant enough to answer imo)

In all honesty, for people who are born into not so great countries, any person of a first world country would have a base line attraction due to the sole fact of inheriting the passport. Typically the life of the average person in such not so great countries is horrible and they range from both a lot of social and economic issues.

Secondly, most of these worse off countries have been colonized/ occupied by those people who make up the western countries. Eg, the white people, and I can say for sure, that still, the idea that white people are superior due to skin color is ingrained in people's mind. I can say first hand that internalized racism is a very real thing.

Thirdly, for a person to get such a thing as US citizenship being born in a so and so country, it'd be incredible difficult by honest means. And, some countrys have more difficulties than others, and often, there is not even a tangible path for a person who wishes to migrate to take to have that.

Now, that you've understand this, the question is what you should do? Well, I'd say to confront and talk to them about it directly and ask what their opinion is. It's a bit crude, but I am sure that they are way more aware to the dynamic than you are.

And, I'd like to tell you that this dynamic would also exist if you were to date, say, between economic class or constructed racial classes as well. It's a very fundamental sociological problem.

I'd say, the main thing you should ask is, if your needs are met, and if that is there, then you should go for it.

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It seems that she needs a green card and can only get it through marriage. Therefore you cannot have a long term relationship unless you get married. That's the fact unfortunately. She could have said "If you love me, and want to be together with me for more than a few months, that is only possible if you marry me". So in this case, yes, she has to ask. She has no other choice. and you have no other choice if you want a long term relationship.

You still cannot know whether (a) she loves you, wants to stay together, and that's the only way, or (b) she is willing to be in a marriage with a not so perfect partner in order to get a green card, but will respect her marriage vows, and you will be alright, or (c) she is taking you as a fool and once she gets the green card you will never see her again. But the point is that unlike some people suggest, (a) and (b) are indeed possible, and asking for a quick marriage is in itself not a red flag.

A possibility to get an answer is to talk about what would happen once you are married, what your and her expectations for the future would be, and in case (c) where she has zero expectations for a future with you, that might become visible in these conversations.

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