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I am facing one of the toughest situations in my life and I desperately need help.

Here it isÖ.. I met my boyfriend on a cruise ship. I was eighteen and practically suicidal over the recent death of my father. He was the Maitre D, extremely handsome, charming, Balinese, 38, and adored me from the moment he set eyes on me. Our eyes met and we fell in love. It was very romantic. We were head over heels for each other. Iíd never met anyone like him. We became lovers and he was my first. We vowed to keep in touch and would be together in Arizona when his contract was up the following April. Until then I had to return home and wait. He lavished me with gifts. He sent me his cell phone and called me on it at least once a day. He sent me flowers and an expensive digital camera for my 19th birthday. I waited for four months. A month or so before I was to meet him in Arizona I began not to care as much whether he called me, he was writing less and less. I began to seriously doubt my love.

I met up with him in Arizona. I was happy, but not as happy as I should have been. The next two days I actually spent mostly alone. He visited with his kids from a previous marriage. Sweet kids. I would go along with them, but was mostly like a fifth wheel. He gave me little attention, I was affectionate but it seemed not to get through to him. He was treating me like a doll or a pet. I felt like a harem girl. He paid enough attention to me to treat me like I was helpless, to have sex, and to buy me things I usually didnít want. This upset me because this wasnít what I wanted our relationship to be like. Then he began to pressure me about getting married as soon as possible. The thing about this is that marrying him would allow him to get a green card, so it is actually quite important if we wanted to lead a normal life. But I am only 19, and I wasnít ready to get married, especially when I wasnít sure I loved him. So I left him suddenly one afternoon. At my motherís suggestion I left a note while he was gone and took a grey hound bus back home. I realize this was cowardly and immature. But the bus gave me time to think. On the way I realized my mistake. I did still love him very much. I called him, but was sort of troubled to hear that his tone was utterly indifferent. He did not sound like he cared, or like he wanted me to come back. But then his strange mood left and he was loving and affectionate again. I wanted to try again, so I returned.

This time I was thrilled to see him again. My love was renewed. I was ecstatic to be there. But it was short lived. Things werenít any better, they were much worse. His ex wife was extremely jealous and nasty and made a lot of trouble for us. I was there for nine days. Out of those nine days he only spent the night with me - from dusk till dawn - twice. I was left alone in a hotel room for 95% of the time, and kept in the dark about what was happening with him. He would come to visit at night, we would make love, and then he would leave me a half an hour later. During the day I spent a few hours with him when we went out to lunch. The day after I got there he was actually ready to send me back until heíd smoothed things over with his ex. But that didnít have to happen. Even as I spent the majority of the time alone, and he came to me mostly for sex, he was still pressuring me to marry him. We even went to an attorney to see what marriage between us would entail. It was all put on my shoulders and I was torn apart. I am far too young to be married, and I have been miserable in this relationship. We also had issues with sex because I said Ďnoí when I discovered my IUD coming out and was in pain. He accused me of lying to avoid sex. That hurt, because I like sex and I love sex with him. I pretty much decided not to marry him because I didnít want to be unhappy. This was killing me because I still loved him very much. After seeing the attorney, he gave me until noon the next day to decided yea or nay. If I said yes he would remain with me and weíd be married ASAP. If I said no, then it would be over. Thatís it. Just over. He had to move on with his life. I really felt like this marriage would not be for love Ė just for the green card. I wondered if the green card wasnít the most important thing to him.

I decided no, but then I couldnít leave him because I wasnít ready for it to be over. I still loved him very much. I ended up saying yes. That evening he left for Bali to see his parents, even though he said he would stay. He figured that now it would be two years before he saw them again because it generally takes two years before heíd get the green card. Thatís two years where weíd be married, living together. I then went back home to get my stuff moved into our new apartment. But then I was still at odds with the idea of marriage, because I know he will never be there for me like I need him to, I will always be missing him and therefore unhappy. Even if we get married. And I am uncertain as to whether or not Iíd be able to stay for 2 years. If I left before he had the green card, then it will all be ruined and everything would have been for nothing. I am so miserable as it is. As things are now, Iím fairly sure we wouldnít last two years.

I wrote to him and told him all my concerns and all the things I was upset about. He said he was so sorry about his behavior. He said we would wait to get married for a year or two. But hereís the thing. Now that we are not getting married, he must return to the cruise ship. Now he will be going to Europe straight from Bali, then from there to LA and the ship. I will only have 10 days in June to see him before he goes back to the ship. Once he goes back to working on the ship I will not see him again for six months. Six months! I will be waiting in our apartment for six months in a strange city without my friends and family Ė completely alone Ė for half a year. I fail to see how this will improve our situation and make our love stronger. That was my whole problem Ė not having enough time with him. The only way I can go with him is to pay $2000 every month or whatever to be a passenger because I can not go with him as his wife.

It would be easier to just marry him, but how can I do that if my heart and soul is not up for it? I really did want to marry him so that I could sort of make it possible for him to get the green card and show him my love. Like a gift. But I canít to that. That would be the most foolish thing I could possibly do.

The only options I see here are to either A) Get married, or B) Leave and just call the whole thing off.

I am so unhappy with this. I canít express in words the pain I feel in my heart. I know the smart thing to do would be to leave, but I truly love this man. It was wonderful on the ship, when we only had each other to think about. I donít want to leave him. But I donít want to get married, and I refuse to spend a half a year or more just waiting alone for him to return. I canít do it.

Now I need to decide what is going to happen. Once again itís up to me what happens next. Do I become his wife Ė something I would do willingly if it were only this man Iíd be getting out of the deal as opposed to the man, the manís ex wife, the manís kids, the manís money etc., etc. Or do I end it now before itís too late? I donít know what to do. I love this man so much. He is so special to me. Iím stuck. I feel paralyzed by the choice I have to make.

Please, please help me.

[This message has been edited by Ravenna (edited 05-18-2003).]

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