Love, Without Papers

There's an inherent lack of balance when you're in a mixed-status relationship.

My unauthorized immigration status permeates all aspects of life, and when it comes to romantic relationships, it further skews an already unpredictable situation. Things tend to fall into extremes of joy or sorrow, with moments of tranquility few and far in-between, but that's just my experience. And although everyone experiences love -- and what is now referred to as 'undocumented love' -- differently, it is never an easy road to stroll.

In an unspoken way, I feel the need to constantly reassure and prove to my partner that my intentions are genuine and not advantageous in nature.

And if my intentions were indeed rooted in deception, I would have taken my family's advice of finding me a cute white girl and impregnating her, thereby putting her into a corner that would blind her to my diabolical plans to marry her for papers. Right. While this may sound like a foolproof plan to them, it's not in me. Marriage means nothing to me if love isn't at the core. And while other Dreamers may have used marriage as an escape from our interim status, my legal status certainly won't change overnight. In fact, even if I were to marry a U.S. citizen, I'd have to go back to my country of origin for 10 years in order to adjust my status (the getting back in line, idea). Or, I could be the victim of a crime and apply for a U-Visa. Neither will happen soon.

Yet, that doesn't mean I haven't been in said situation of walking down the aisle toward a green card. I've had my heart broken by a former lover because she thought my intentions with her were just that: to use her in order to adjust my status.

It took me two and a half years to mend my heart and I've had plenty of time to contemplate every which way of how things went down and whether it was truly because of my legal status. At the end of the day, it just wasn't the right time for that relationship, but I'll be damned if I admit that to my ex.

Up until that point, I had never dated someone who also happened to be undocumented, but that changed last summer. For six months, I was with someone who shared a great deal of experiences that paralleled my own. I mean come on, we both grew up in this country without legal status and that alone lends itself to a profound level of understanding and connectivity that is hard to come by. I felt that I was finally going to be with someone who I could move forward with.

But like I mentioned before, love is already complicated enough without having to add one's immigration status into the mix. And while that relationship ended for reasons not related to our status, it only took the misery of going through heartbreak to help me realize that maybe my immigration status isn't as much of a deal breaker as I make it out to be when it comes to love and relationships.

It'll still be an issue at times for obvious reasons, but it will no longer be the focal point of the relationship. It's as much a part of me as my long hair, sardonic attitude and delightful sense of humor. It was only in experiencing the depths of sorrow that I can appreciate the heights of joy and continue growing as an individual. And while I'm now able to get beyond my immigration status in a much more constructive and healthier way than in the past, there's still much to be discovered and experienced when it comes to love, whether I'm still undocumented or not.

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