By Daisy Campbell
When you meet someone and start the ‘getting to know you’ process, there are many issues that can hinder the formation of a wonderful relationship. Kim was an undocumented immigrant and had met Steven, a citizen of the United States. Both had met while at a public event one night. They both took a liking to each other and started dating. After a month into the relationship, Kim began to see qualities in Stephen that she really admired but there was an issue, she had kept her immigration status from him. She had now became fond of him and now found herself in the predicament as to the right time to tell Steven about her status.
We use trust to judge the relationship with each other and in the process, determine how much we are prepared to give. Being an undocumented immigrant and the stigma attached to such a situation can often times pose as a challenge especially when that individual enters the world of dating. Meeting people and forging meaningful and long-lasting relationships can certainly be a painful experience. To determine the opportune time or whether or not to declare your immigration status can be quite burdensome as the risk of making it known is far greater than keeping it a secret.
As adults we know that relationships grow in stages. The more time that is spent to build the relationship, the more intimate and meaningful it becomes. At the beginning of the relationship, before the initiation of sexual contact, being an documented immigrant, makes the situation more complicated. It would be best to use that introductory period to get to know the person. Ask questions, try to get to know him or her, learn about the things that they are passionate about and talk about current events.
If you decide to tell him or her, the upside to this is that he or she would appreciate the fact that you are very honest and therefore trust would be cemented and the possibility exists for the relationship to grow. The downside could be that he or she might not be prepared to undergo the challenges of the situation and may opt to end the relationship as they may find it difficult to endure. The greatest fear however of any undocumented immigrant is revealing his or status and then that information is used against them afterwards. There is a fear that the partner might raise an alarm and notify the authorities which can lead to deportation.
Sharon, an undocumented immigrant revealed her status to her boyfriend. At first he was okay with it after a few months into the relationship things changed. He became very verbally abusive and she tried to defend herself, he made threats to call Immigration to send her home. She was devastated by the threat. He didn’t make the call but the relationship was never the same. They eventually parted ways.
At the start of a new relationship, sex is a means to share intimacy and be playful, while also building deeper levels of trust and care. It is a great way for new couples to connect and learn about each other’s passions and desires. Sexual intimacy and the connection that couples share can lead to both parties falling in love. When you are an undocumented immigrant and your partner is a citizen, your partner deserves to know the truth. At this stage, the issue of trust can be questioned which may either make or break your relationship. In making a decision about the right time to reveal your immigration status, is dependent on you the individual and your comfort level with your partner. There is no hard or fast rule, the final decision is yours to make.