Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers questions from readers in a live chat. Now she’ll be answering a few additional questions for Slate Plus members only.
Q. Should I Tell My Girlfriend I’m Married? About a year ago I married a woman who went through incredible hardship in her home country so she could get a visa and settle here. She was a divorced single mother in a conservative culture and experienced poverty and abuse from her own family, so I am proud to have helped her find a new life with her young child. We plan on staying married for a while longer before filing for divorce, since it would look pretty suspicious if we divorce just after she is granted residency. The problem is that my relationship with my real girlfriend is now starting to get serious. Do I need to tell my girlfriend about the fact that—legally speaking—I am already married?
A: Yes, you should tell her, if you think that doing so would not put your friend in any legal jeopardy. I don’t think spreading the details of your green-card marriage is a good idea in general—you don’t want word to start spreading that your marriage was not part of a romantic relationship if it means your friend could be deported as a result—but if you trust your girlfriend, tell her what you just told me. If she understands your situation, you know you’ve found someone who shares your values and you can trust completely.