Unfortunately, I’ve seen friends or friends of friends getting married to supposed men of their dreams only to be abandoned after their husband’s permanent residency is established. Not only have I seen it, but I almost became a victim.
I was introduced to a Nigerian guy who was living in the UK with a student visa that was expiring. He had no desire to move back to Nigeria. We conversed over the phone for about 6 months until I decided it was time to meet in person. When I got to the UK, ladies, he was a different person. He told me he wanted to marry me and had already arranged for a court ceremony (which wasn’t possible, because neither of us were British citizens) without meeting my parents. I refused. That’s when the trouble started. He was hostile, verbally abusive and condescending. I had never been with a man where I feared my safety. As soon as, I got back to the States, I broke our courtship off, especially since another woman called me confessing that she was with him the entire time and he told her he was using me to get his papers. Ladies, that was a frightening and confusing time for me. But I’m sharing my story so that others won’t go down the same path. Through the ordeal, I learned a few lessons that I hope you learn to.
1. Don’t Be Secretive About Your Relationship
They say love is blind and to an extent, it can be. Your man may be amazing to you, but do your close friends think he’s amazing? Do your Nigerian parents think he’s amazing? Do your siblings think he’s amazing? Everybody doesn’t have to know about your relationship, but those that love you and want the best for you should. Your love ones can sense the red flags better than you can in your lovey dovey state. When you’re courting, both parties put their best foot forward. However, some parties put their lying foot forward. It’s easier to identify character flaws when someone isn’t emotionally attached. It’s better to introduce them to someone you trust early on than to spend a year entertaining a fraudulent relationship and another six months nursing a broken heart.
2. Slow Down Your Timeline
There are couples who met, got married after 3 months of courting and are now living happily ever after. They are the exception. Generally, it takes most couples longer to grow together. A lot of factors should be considered before you vow to marry someone for the rest of your life. Someone who isn’t trying to marry you for the right reasons will tend not to be patient. If the two of you want to grow old together, what’s another couple of months in courtship to pray about it, seek pre-marital counseling and plan for the future? Be cautious about someone who can’t respect your timeline. Maybe he has another agenda you don’t know about.
3. Meet Him In Person Often
If you are in the States and are courting someone in Nigeria, try to meet the person as often as you can. Long distance relationships aren’t ideal for some, because of this very factor. It takes more effort to relate with someone you hardly see. You can’t holistically understand someone, if you don’t see how they react to situations in person. Texting all day and talking on the phone for two hours at night when you’re winding down and relaxing doesn’t give you the scope of that person’s personality. Because you are always in the same environment when you speak. It’s better to visit that person often enough to observe his non-verbal communication. Learning from experience, this is necessary.
4. Gauge His Interests In Moving
Again, if you are courting someone who lives in Nigeria and you live in the States, talk about where the two of you would like to move. If he is ready to drop EVERYTHING to move to the States, then ponder deeply about it. Does he genuinely want to be with you or is he eager for a plane ticket to start his life over? Why doesn’t he believe he can do well where he is now. Help him to realize that the States don’t have streets paved in gold. Although we have better infrastructure to plan for the future, it takes diligence to create a life that you want to live anywhere in the world. Unless his parents are oil tycoons, politicians, bank managers or CEOs, the same hustle he’s running from in Nigeria will come and meet him in the States. Make sure his expectations are realistic and manageable.
Your Turn: If you’ve been in this situation, what advice would you give?