The relationship I had before I got married obviously did not work out. We were a match in some ways. I wanted to be a triathlete and he was one. We were both horribly immature, sometimes we had similar humor. I thought he was really funny. We were also both horribly anxious that might be all we had in common. By then I had a long standing relationship with Lexapro and a licensed therapist so my issues were under control-ish. He would show up at my door sometimes at ungodly hours and want to fall asleep next to me. I would never know why but I must have given him some measure of comfort, at least more sleep. We weren’t perfect and in many ways we were the perfect storm. I thought maybe our mutual issues with anxiety would ally us against it but it was the opposite. I want to stress that this was just the relationship part of us.
What might interest you and our readers was that he worked for a company that provided a service for the government. He was not a government employee but the government had cleared him to do their work. He once told me that in order to obtain such clearance; his friends and family were interviewed.
So what are the chances an intelligent, neurotic, triathlete would date one of our 11 million? I don’t know. The same stupid luck that a woman at the DMV in New York would think the Philippines was a part of Puerto Rico after seeing my birth certificate. Karma works in mysterious ways.
I had a driver’s license, I was undocumented and I was dating a guy with government clearance. I should note he was required to tell whomever he reported to about foreign nationals with whom he came in contact.
In my 20’s I only heard the word “undocumented” used by a man who would later become my attorney. My boyfriend and I had no idea what I was. In our relationship drama, I was worried about losing him to his rowdy friends. Meanwhile, he was worried about me being deported. I wasn’t even worried about being deported! I just wanted a boyfriend who called me and made plans in advance. I hated the phone call at the end of the week to tell me he was out with his friends at a bar while I wondered when I would see him again.
We were a disaster in so many ways. A friend once said relationships never start and end cleanly. Even though I was already dating my now husband that there were times I missed the Perfect Storm. While finishing up my master’s, I would tell myself in the parking lot outside of class that if he and I were meant to find each other again, we would. I told myself I needed to keep doing what I was doing. So I did.
I should note that I started my graduate program for the same reason why I started doing triathlons. It wasn’t some epic desire to better myself and be the model Dreamer. I did it to get over breakups. The whole improving myself and the quality of my life were secondary effects.
My story brings me to the picture above. This was taken by the Perfect Storm’s, best friend’s adopted sister. She is a photographer in Colorado. This photograph was featured in a magazine. From what I understand, she waited for them to bloom and went out to take the photo despite some inclement weather. I tried to pay her for it but she wouldn’t accept it. She was happy to be recognized. She gave it to me because we were connected, through him. Actually, my friendships that came out of that relationship are his wonderful sister and his best friend’s wife. None of us wanted to stop being friends although my relationship ended with Perfect Storm. He also never wanted me to stop being their friend.
Looking back, he was a normal guy, brilliant and vulnerable, that ended up with me, a hot mess in the legal sense. Despite what his employer asked of him, he never betrayed me. Despite how “we” played out, he loved me, maybe not as his girlfriend but as a human. I was also not that pleasant actually. I was married to my job, I didn’t know squat about sports and I got downright mean when I was frustrated with him. I definitely broke a few things in my apartment. After we broke up I returned everything he gave me. He said that hurt him a lot.
Despite our drama, he never put me in harm’s way given my undocumented status. He did what any other person would do given his un-involvement with immigration, the right thing.
Jennifer is a formerly undocumented writer, blogger, mom, pharmaceutical professional, immigrant rights advocate, and trail running enthusiast. She grew up in Long Island after coming to the U.S. in 1987. She was seven years old and grew up undocumented for 20 years. Jennifer started writing about the experience of growing up undocumented after meeting Carolina.
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Categories: Dating While Undocumented