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Ask Lisi: Visa 'husband' will understand it's time to move on

I think he’s sadder about “losing” his bestie than about getting a divorce.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: My girlfriend asked me to marry her and I’ve said yes. The problem is I’m not yet divorced from my husband. But it’s not what you think. I married my husband for visa purposes. We were good friends in high school and both decided to leave our home country and move to Canada. He got a work visa easily but for some reason, I couldn’t get one.

He left and I waited months. Nothing was working, so we decided to get married to see if that would help. I got my visa right away. We had always planned on living together, as roommates, so that wasn’t an issue. And the one time we had an unannounced visit from a government official, our house was set up in such a way that his room really looks like a guest room, and mine looks like the master bedroom.

It’s been several years and we’re happy. We’ve both found friends, a community, and careers that we really enjoy. Neither of us was looking to get serious with anyone, though we’ve both had a few relationships.

Until I met my current girlfriend. We are totally in love and want to move forward. Is this wrong?

Marriage issues

Absolutely not! There is nothing wrong with your current situation. (I’ll reserve judgement on marrying for visa purposes). You and your “husband” both knew what you were doing, and why. And though you are easily and happily living the lie, you are also both living your true lives, as you mentioned, having other relationships.

Surely, your “husband” knew that this day would come for one of you before the other. Talk to him. Maybe for financial reasons, you could all still live together for a little while longer. If that’s not possible, help him with this transition. I think he’s sadder about “losing” his bestie than about getting a divorce.

Dear lisi: My roommate and I have very different schedules, which is usually a good thing. I’m training for a marathon, so I get up early and am out the door while she’s still sleeping. By the time I get back, she’s usually drinking her coffee and getting ready to walk out the door. We’re warm and friendly, and then go our separate ways.

I end work early, and then spend time helping my mom, who just had an operation. I’m usually home by 8 p.m., and go to bed early, especially while I’m in training. My roommate is often walking in the door at that time, and then she is ready to party. She turns on the music, or the TV, dances around, has friends over, and just has a good time.

Surprisingly it doesn’t bother me, I think because I know her so well, I like her taste in music, and I know that she has a good heart. She would never do anything to upset me.

Unfortunately, she has started hanging out with a girl who is changing all of that. This girl likes different music, smokes pot, and loves to party. Just as my roommate is starting to wind down, and I’m about to go into REM, she shows up and pumps it all back up again.

The first few times, I said nothing. And the days following, my roommate apologized for any disturbance. But now my roommate is starting to smoke pot and the whole vibe is changing. She’s less thoughtful, less caring, and becoming much more selfish.

What do I do?

In training

Roommate issues suck, full-stop. Your time as roommates may have run its course. That’s normal, just a logistical pain. But give her a chance. Talk it out with her. Maybe she can recognize her changes and pull back. Or not.

FEEDBACK Regarding the cousin missing her cousin (Aug. 10):

Reader – “I think the writer needs to understand that when her cousin goes off to university she will, inevitably, meet new people and enjoy new experiences. You were the one she could confide in and help her with the transition. But she is making that transition successfully, with your support.

“No one can give priority to everyone they love or enjoy being with. Your lives will likely go in different directions (after university). Distance and time apart do not have to destroy relationships.

“Arrange a time together and let her know it has been a difficult transition for you. That though you’re happy for her, you miss her and your close familial relationship. If you have been as close as you claim, she will understand.

“You are young. You’ll learn that relationships change over time but they don’t need to dissolve.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: or

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