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Military Boyfriend in Contract Marriage

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My boyfriend Larry is in the Army. He and I have a 16-month old daughter together and another daughter on the way. We have been living together for three years.

When I first met him I was in the middle of a divorce. Larry had a contract marriage. At the time, I didn't care. I was finally "free" and met a guy who I really liked. 

This contract marriage was made for a girl who needed to be a citizen of the US. He was very young at the time and was assured he would get money out of it - not from the military but the girl said that her family was to give Larry money for the contract marriage. 

After our first child I wanted to be married and have a life of our own. I told Larry that it was time for them to get a divorce. 

He responded, "I promised her that I would do my part and get her to become an American Citizen."

Wow, did that hurt to hear! I was promised something too. I thought if you love someone then a marriage like his wouldn't matter. 

I let him know my rage about it and we had a break in the relationship. We were together again and I told him I would stay if he got a divorce within a couple months.  

The marriage still hasn't been dissolved. Larry assures me that the girl is taking care of it but she texts so many excuses. Larry insists she means well. 

He is getting out of the Army soon due to surgeries. Being pregnant and having a beautiful daughter, I’m getting tired of being the girlfriend.

My first marriage was unfortunate. I stayed with the guy who treated me in the worst way, but I was sure that that marriage would work if effort and time was put in - I could have left sooner but didn't. 

It seems I’m doing the same thing now, giving my time and effort to Larry and it seems to be going nowhere. 

Ms. Vicki, we are going to live in New York after he gets out of the Army and I’m scared he will still be married. If that’s the case then I think I might go on living with an incredible hate in my heart for not listening to myself. 

I love this man; we have really grown together and have a family. I am stuck and need advice. 

Sincerely,

Stuck

Dear Stuck,

In my practice, I help many people who are stuck. Many of them do not know they are stuck until they meet with me once or twice. I genuinely applaud you for recognizing that you are stuck.

You are also very insightful regarding your past relationships too. You stated that you were in a previous relationship with someone who didn’t treat you well. 

This is pretty easy to figure out if you can answer this question: why do you get in relationships and have children with men who don’t love you enough to put you first? You have to figure this out or you will continue to do the same thing over and over again. 

Honestly, I could blame Larry, but I won’t.  If you are stuck this is about you, right? I’m sure you saw red flags with Larry but you proceeded with a green light any way and now you have two children with a guy who is married to someone else and who is not remotely interested in divorcing her. 

You started out as the “side-chick” and you still hold that status. It’s not fair, but you have to deal with the truth. 

Here’s the deal. I hear about these arrangements all of the time and Larry knows he could be in a lot of trouble if this plot was discovered. Generally, one has to go to great measures to keep this charade from INS. 

My advice is please don’t be stupid enough to follow this guy to New York as his “side-chick”.  You will be there without his support and you will be alone with your two beautiful children who deserve better. 

You don’t have to be stuck. Please write me again and let me know how you are doing and what you decide. 

Sincerely,

Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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