Gbolabo and Dudu met at a mutual friend’s wedding. Gbolabo had come home from the USA, to feature as part of the Groomsmen for Dolu while Dudu was part of Obiageli’s bridal train. Gbolabo was slugging it out as they would say in modern-day parlance – “in the abroad” while Dudu worked in the Oil and Gas industry.
Their meeting was the beginning of a year of romance across the ocean whereupon both of them grew very fond of each other and started visualising marriage. After a year of video calls, chats, and other communication Gbolabo traveled back to the country on a visit and both of them agreed to relocate to the USA and execute their marriage there. Gbolabo had gained admission to do a post-graduate course in the United States and proceeded forthwith on the assumption that his fiancé would visit on a visitor’s visa and the wedding would be contracted in the USA. Both their families were carried along and insisted on contracting a traditional marriage ceremony prior to Gbolabo’s departure as an indication of their joint commitment to be wedded. Shortly after Gbolabo’s departure, Dudu realised that she was pregnant and informed Gbolabo who reassured her that the wedding plans were still imminent.
Dudu then applied for a visitor’s visa to enable her to contract the marriage to Gbolabo in the USA as well as to enable the delivery of their child in the USA and entitle the child to dual citizenship status. Unfortunately, her application is refused and after several failed attempts, she became disillusioned.
In the meantime, Gbolabo ran into some difficult times regarding finances and was advised by friends to contract marriage to a citizen thus entitling him to all the benefits that accrue to a green card holder e.g., work, loans, etc. After giving it much thought, he succumbed to the pressure and got married to Hetty, a pretty, hardworking American of Hispanic origin. He however omitted to inform her about Dudu and his daughter back home. He considered his marriage to Hetty as one of convenience and expected to exit it at a later date. Contrary to his expectations, Hetty got pregnant and bore him a son.
Fast forward, it is five years since he left home and Dudu has finally obtained a visitor’s visa to visit her “husband”. She travels down with her four-year-old daughter (Lulu) who is eager to see daddy whom she had only seen on video calls, in flesh. Dudu arrives in the USA and Gbolabo puts her in a hotel. After a couple of days, he visits them as usual and she inquires as to why she cannot visit him at home. At that point, Gbolabo is forced to inform her about his marital status which he explains as situational in order to keep him legally within the USA. Her emotions are shattered, she queries her status as his wife and whether there is any likelihood of redeeming the relationship. She outlines the issues concerning the relationship. Where did she go wrong?
- They never envisaged the inability to get a visa for her.
- She had assumed that the Traditional Engagement secured her relationship as his wife and gave her the liberty to engage in sexual relations with him.
- The inconsistencies and dangers imminent in long-distance relationships were underestimated.
- She had kept her life on hold regarding relationships for the past four years labouring under the illusion that she had a husband.
Now, she is in a state of confusion in determining how to pick up the pieces of her life and how to relate with the father of her daughter. How does the daughter fit into the life of her father and sibling? Why did Gbolabo’s parents conceal the true position regarding their son’s life from her even though she related with them and often allowed Lulu to spend vacations with them?
Dudu returns home with Lulu and after deliberations with both her family and Gbolabo’s, she resolves as follows:
- Return to her job and opportunities.
- Explore options for meeting the right person to play the role of husband and father to her daughter.
- Continue to enable Gbolabo’s family, access to Lulu.
It is now five years since the visit and Dudu is happily married with two more children. Gbolabo and his parents are now requesting that Lulu lives with her biological father and his family in order to benefit from his citizenship status and its perks. What would you advise?