My story and your thoughts

I recently met a Vietnamese girl here in America. We met by chance on public transit. She said she has only been here for 8 months and is learning English at local university. We live in same area and so started taking nightly walks together.  We have been visiting every night for two weeks. We started holding hands a couple of days ago. i leaned in to kiss her then and she explained her tradition is and she is shy.  I told her I respect her tradition. Last night we kissed for the first time.

AS I consider this relationship I am curious about a few things. I have several Asian friends and they said to be careful she doesn't want to just get a green card. (I know she already has a license and social security card here as well as a job (In a nail saloon).  Also my more traditional friend said it is unusal she has never married because she is 38. She swears she never married.

She has been very caring nice, and seems very sincere. While we were together last night sitting and being close on private beach she received a call and got up and walked a little bit away. I could still here the conversation and she was friendly and laughed a little. The conversation was long before she said good bye and hung up. I asked who it was because she spoke english to them. She said it was her friend from university. My question is if she likes me and is with me is it normal for her to take a call from a guy friend in the middle of our time together. I personally would never answer a call while on a date from a friend and would just call them later.

She said she told her mom about me (her mom is still in Vietnam). Her mom says she is happy she met me which she said made her happier.  We have several pictures together and last night she said she only wants to date me and called me her boyfriend. I asked if I could post a picture of us on facebook and tag her. She asked me to wait. I am her only non-Vietnamese person on facebook. 

I do not want to think only with my American thoughts on this or read to much into it. She has not asked me to spend money on her and seems humbled for a small gift I gave her last night.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Do you know the kind of visa she has to stay in the States?  If it's a short term tourist visa, then the green card issue may be a factor in her relationship with you.  If her visa allows her to stay for a reasonably long term, then it may not be.  Since many Vietnamese visitors hold 5-year multiple entry visa to the States, she may belong in that group.  What I mean is this: for a long term visa, she may have plenty of time finding a man to form a relationship if it's her wish, therefore, her budding relationship with you may or may not come to fruition.

The fact that she has SS and DL doesn't mean a thing in this scenario.  The state of CA has made it easy for anybody, including illegal immigrants, to apply for DL (and vote) since 2013.  I'm not certain about SS though.

How did you know the phone call she received was from a man?  If you're absolutely sure that her long conversation was with a man, then that would be an indication that she probably didn't have high regards to you.  It may also be the reason she didn't want to publicise the relationship while saying she wanted you for a boyfriend.

Please note that my entire response to your story shows a lot of uncertainty instead of the typical jumping-to-conclusion comments that usually happen on a public forum.   Stories can be seen in different ways when told by different persons, because the telling is influenced by genders and cultural rules.  IOW, you need to spend a lot more time with the woman, to watch her actions and listen to her words, not from the eyes and ears of a potential partner but also as an objective bystander.  Don't rush into any commitment until you're 95% certain of her feelings for you.  Look at it as an EOD mission (my assumption based on your handle) and collect enough data before making a decisive step.

I am American-born and I had several long-term friendships with people from Vietnam when I lived in California. Not that everyone is the same, of course, but I already see some similarities in your story and description to what I have personally observed.

Make no mistake, this middle-aged 38 year old woman has other boyfriends and love interests in the US and she is playing the field to get as much as she can possibly get--be that love, affection, attention, perks, contacts, job connections, funds for her family, or whatever it is she is after. It is unlikely that she has a plan or plot to marry you to get a green-card.

It is possible that she has a husband and children back home too.

Vietnamese people I've known, and all their friends, who have come to live in the USA have all had very similar behaviors to those you have described. They all tended to have numerous secret relationships who  they receive cell phone calls from and will at first reveal as "just a friend". Then next week say something like-- "his mother wants me to marry him but I don't like him that way" or something similar. Lots and lots of emotional games.

She is playing him (the one on the phone) and telling him that you are "just a friend." There is something dishonest and yet perhaps socially acceptable about this type of behavior or "playing the field" and not making a quick choice to get involved.

If she is away from her family, then she may be lonely and it may be quite reasonable for her to spend time with others and to then define her relationships with each in a way that will keep them --that is,  she will tell you whatever they want to hear to meet your expectations.

She knows you like her so she says that you are her "boyfriend". But what does that really mean? If you were living in a distant land you might do the same thing, out of need--for whatever it is she needs. If you were living in Japan, for instance, you would date and say things to please. Think about it. Have you ever lived in another country?  (When I lived in Japan I had to go along with certain social expectations without having any deep emotional connection to those behaviors).

Your "girlfriend" does not have the social obligations of an adult American living in this country since birth. She has less connection to society here and few deep social obligations. Simply put, she may be saying what she needs to say to keep the interest of any and all men interested in her.  And why not? She has strong connections and feelings to her family back home and will do and say whatever she needs to benefit them.

You know nothing about her and you cannot check on and verify or confirm what she tells you. She knows that and uses it to her advantage.

It is highly unlikely that she told her mother about you. That's just a harsh truth. Why would she? She says that to flatter you and make you think that she is serious about your relationship.

She is likely playing you to get some advantage. Does she need a job? Does she need connections for herself and family members? Yes, of course she does--now and in the future.

She might like you but she is playing all of her options with other guys too.  You can be sure that she easily hides the photos of the two of you together.

In the USA we would say that she is "stringing you along."

It's a certain style of emotional dishonestly that I have observed in great detail over years knowing transplanted people from Vietnamese living in the US. Also, I lived in a couple of Asian countries for a total of 4 years and it is quite common for men of high economic standing to have two families in different countries. Not all do this, but many do. It's an economic status.

A woman can do this too. Think about it. Your "girlfriend"  may have a husband and children in Vietnam yet she is economically able to travel to the USA. (You have no way of knowing how that came about. Did her family send her here to elevate them economically? Is she under pressure to do so by any means--that is play men? So maybe she just wants to expand her economic possibilities in the US. It could be summed up as simply as that.  She plans to return to Vietnam. DO you really want to get emotionally involved in that situation? Do you want to support her relatives in Vietnam economically in some way, either knowingly or unknowingly?

You can't believe what she tells you. The only way you will find out any truth about her is if you hire a private investigator--a good one--to follow her and get photos and to investigate her life in Vietnam. Do you want to spend money on that?

It's a very complex psychology you are dealing with--and you should start seeing other women. Don't get serious with this one. If she is seeing other men--and I can assure you that she is--then you need to start seeing other women. Don't fool yourself that you are in an exclusive relationship--you are not.

A "shy" 38 year old? Come on. Get real. More likely that she is not very comfortable for some reason--and learned to say "shy" to cover, or that you are interpreting her behavior as shyness. What might be making her react in a standoffish way that she then calls "shy"? Perhaps she's never cheated on her husband before with a non-Vietnamese man? Perhaps she only responds to Vietnamese men? Or maybe she just slept with someone else the night before? Do a reality check. Are you seeing her behavior as exotic when it is just dishonest?

It may be a learning experience, but you are also already caught in a tangled web and are trying to explain away her behavior even when you would not put up with it from anyone else! Of course she wouldn't have gotten up and left you to talk to a male friend. She was afraid her 'boyfriend" on the phone would overhear her "boyfriend" that is, you--that she was on a date with at the time. She knows that you are not in a committed relationship with either of you and that neither of you have any right to say anything about her phone conversations. You can't tell her who she can or cannot talk to. She's 38 years old! She is much smarter than you seem to give her credit for.

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