I know that I am about to lose the respect of at least a few of you by admitting this, but so be it.
For those of you who are new, or who have forgotten, a summary: Several years ago, I divorced my ex-wife but stayed on friendly enough terms to continue to share a roof with her. Mostly because it was a nice house, owned free and clear by a corporation that she and I own along with a couple other investors, which essentially let us live there almost rent free. A couple years after the divorce, I married her sister.
Both were Ukrainian nationals (although the ex became a US citizen in 2007) so immigration was heavily involved. The first time, it was reasonably easy. The second time was anything but. Post 9/11, with it being my second request for a fiancée visa, and the familial relationship between the first and second beneficiaries – you can understand their skepticism. Eventually, it was approved, she got here and we got married.
At the time, I was working at BigBoxRetailer, after having been fired from my last real job on some bullshit that isn’t worth explaining. After the termination, and the subsequent two years of unemployment, I had had enough of the rat race. I had made lifestyle adjustments, so I didn’t need $25+/hour. I was living with ex-Roomie free in exchange for keeping the company’s books. I could support myself and my new family well enough on thirty hours a week at minimum wage. Living arrangements had been discussed prior to the marriage, and everyone seemed to be on the same page.
About a month after we got married, she started having panic attacks. A month later, she decided that she needed to go home. I had already sent in the green card paperwork, along with the requisite fees, which totaled just under three thousand dollars. So in addition to being hurt, I was pissed!
I explained that she was walking away with no second chance option. By leaving before the process could be completed, the money was lost and the petitions were withdrawn. I explained that I would not shell out that kind of cash again. She acknowledged, and left anyway.
I kept in touch with Wifey after she went back home almost three years ago. At first, the communication was sporadic, particularly while ex-LadyFriend and I were trying to make a go of things. At first, it was nothing more than brief, polite conversation. After ex-LF and I parted ways, contact became a little more regular. Wifey congratulated me on my job at FaucetCompany, and was particularly interested when she found out that I had bought a house and moved out. I was still pretty upset about her decision to leave, so I didn’t notice at the time.
I decided to stop being polite. I asked the hard questions, and insisted on real answers. What did I have to lose? She had already left, and I figured she’d just quit writing back when I started pushing. She didn’t. She gave answers.
I’m sure that she didn’t tell me everything that contributed to her decision, but she hit the high points. The biggest factor was ex-Roomie. While ex-Roomie can be a sweet, kind, lovable kitten when she wants to, she spends a significant percentage of the time being a demanding, disagreeable bitch.
Wifey couldn’t handle living with her sister. The ex’s bitch fits an the fact that she and I had been a couple for roughly a decade before Wifey entered the picture was bad enough. But the whole situation reminded her of her first marriage (forced to live with her impossible to please mother-in-law for the entire fifteen years) she just couldn’t deal with it.
Of course, she failed to share these details before she left. She claims that she didn’t want to present me with as an ultimatum. That left me wondering how important our marriage was to her. Looking back, I see a lot of myself in her decision. I have to fight the instinct to run when shit gets tough.
And it was tough. New country. New language (even with the translation assistance provided by ex-Roomie). New relationship (we’d never lived together, and hadn’t had much of a traditional courtship). Difficult roommate. Knowledge that her new husband and said roommate used to be a couple. Worry about her eldest son who was finishing up college in a country where even menial jobs are rare, even with a degree – much moreso than here. Financial concerns for the family that she left behind, that I couldn’t afford to help support, and she wouldn’t be eligible to work until immigration approved her petition. Hell, I’d have probably ran away a lot sooner than she did.
She admitted regret over her decision, but I didn’t see how that changed anything. I wouldn’t pay for round two of the immigration nightmare, even if she wanted to try again. There were hard questions during the fiancée visa process. Leaving the country after less than three months of marriage, before completing the permanent resident paperwork, would almost certainly prompt a very unpleasant interrogation.
A little over a year ago, Ex asked me out of the blue if I would be willing to give Wifey another chance. I was alone. The search for ex-LF had been so arduous, only to have the relationship end with a whimper after less than three months. I had finally come to terms with how my life was going to go.
After thinking about it for a while, I answered in the affirmative. I was still upset about her decision to leave. I still cared about her, though. I figured, what could it hurt? There were only three possible outcomes. Either she is denied the visa, she comes back and can’t handle it again, or she comes back and we manage to tolerate each other and grow old together.
Well, Ex-Roomie financed the endeavor. I did the paperwork, and paid for a couple copies of official documents. The case is now at the National Visa Center, where they are reviewing the financial and civil documents. Assuming everything passes muster, it will then go to the embassy in Kiev, where she will be interviewed. I expect this interview to take place by the end of the year. Almost there!
But life just threw me a huge curve ball. Explanation in Part II.