‘Does he just want a green card?’

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Hi Meredith,

I'm in a very conflicted long-distance relationship. I met this beautiful South American artist last summer. We were inseparable for three months until he told me they weren't renewing his visa (which I later learned he probably knew was happening sooner than he let on). We spent every day of his last week together and I even went to go see him in his country two months later. He tried to come back to the states on his own accord but couldn’t, so I suggested we do the K1 fiancé visa.

We proceeded to take vacations on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, and eventually in March, just before COVID changed the world. It was seemingly good, but not perfect. He has a mean streak and I never trusted him fully. We started to fight a lot and I think he had someone on the side that he'll never admit.

Does he just want a green card? Is he just a cheating artist? Why are we both still holding on to this dysfunctional relationship? I can't seem to make up my mind. Should I leave him? I feel guilty because we've been through all of this and his country is practically in ruin.

– Why are we doing this?

"He has a mean streak and I never trusted him fully."

Well, that's what does it for me. I'm less interested in his intentions when I know you think he's mean. I don't expect three holiday trips in a row to be perfect or without conflict, but if this man were local – if you saw him all the time – you might not be committing to him as much as you are right now.

You call the relationship dysfunctional, which means it's time to end it.

I do object to the "cheating artist" line. I'm not sure his art has anything to do with his ability to be honest about his commitment. Also, you don't have to be in charge of his life plans if they're not going to include you. You can care about him – even as an ex – without taking responsibility for where he lives. It doesn't sound like he's asked you for marriage, and remember, you were the one who suggested the special visa. Assume he can fend for himself.

I wonder whether you're hanging on because it's something to do, and someone to think about, as COVID-19 continues to change the world. It might feel daunting to start over, especially now. But you can find attention from other people. If your gut is telling you this relationship isn't worth the effort, there’s no need to put so much thought into someone who isn't around. You simply have to make a decision and follow through.

– Meredith

Readers? Is COVID – and the loneliness that comes with it – the the reason this relationship continues?