We need to discuss a growing trend in the Nigerian/African community, in which men pursue women abroad, through the targeted use of Social Media. While on the whole that sounds innocuous, it is becoming a harmful epidemic.
It is called PayPal love, I’ve also heard it called by other names, Wife Hunting, the American dream, Ticket out of nowhere, to name a few. A young man who is in his early 20s to late 30s, decides that he’s had enough of the economic climate he lives in. He thinks the only thing keeping him from his destined greatness is geography, and rather than going down any of the orthodox routes, decides all he needs is a wife with a foreign passport.
The first time I heard of it, it sounded funny to me even far-fetched till I continued listening to the stories. After a while, it began to sound too familiar, eerily so. I only truly believed it until my research found me three men who admitted to using this same approach, 2 of them claim to be ‘happily’ married (one with kids) while the last man is currently in the middle of an ugly divorce.
The scheme outlined was quite simple, Twitter serves as their chosen messaging platform, there they start following a bunch of women overseas, particularly in the US, UK and Canada. The men I spoke to unanimously agreed that you have to be patient for this to work, you start interacting with these women, and you stay consistent until they know you by name and face, and then, you approach.
They also shared their observations with me about Nigerian/ African women abroad.
“These women are all still romantics at heart not like the ones here at home that only care about money and status”
“The women abroad care about status too, but they measure status differently”
“These women are more independent and career focused, but they are extremely lonely, so it means a lot of work, but it is worth it eventually”
“These women tend to claim to be feminist, so they have to think you believe the same things to even talk to you”
“All you have to do is show them love, very publicly, give them love and attention every time so they can brag online, and watch how quickly they fall for you!”
“When they fall for you they’ll do anything as long as the public attention continues”
“You need to start discussing marriage as soon as they fall in love so they know you’re serious, the men abroad run away from marriage, but if you start telling them of your future plans for both of you, they’ll go along”
“Whatever they want when you’re dating, just agree. They’ll change their mind when they have children, but to progress things, just always agree”
“Make sure you have children immediately oh! That is your insurance policy, children means it will be very hard for them to leave, so get them pregnant as soon as possible”
I will stop here although I have a lot more. I appreciated the honesty shared with me, but I couldn't help but be shocked by the callousness of their scheme. This is really how they ‘got’ their wives, one even bragged that he shared his scheme with his single friend, who is now currently engaged to a woman in the UK, after following this plan. It is upsetting. The scheme is simply to lure women into love, just to secure their future away from their country. No one can blame the women though, to quote Stephanie Myer,
“No one can resist that amount of devotion"
Most women aren’t gullible. Women get a lot of direct messages from ridiculous people claiming to love them immediately which are immediately disregarded or ignored, but when it is from a good looking man that seems normal and very genuinely interested, well, that is a different ball game.
If this story is familiar to you as well, it is because we all seem to know one person close to us whose story is like this. You have that disquieting feeling about his motives, you feel uncomfortable about their relationship, but you can’t say it out loud at the risk of sounding like a hater; you can tell they’re moving much too fast and the speed of the relationship only seems to benefit one party ultimately…yet you join the chorus of people hailing their very public relationship.
This scheme became deeply personal to me when I realized it was also my close friend's story. She shared her experience with me, and it became even clearer the importance of writing this article, so women could be aware that a scheme like this, even exists.
Please read an excerpt she bravely shared with me, to help other women understand the devastating effects of being a victim of this scheme.
Gosh, Hearing the guys talk about how they get you to fall in love, got me triggered. The 10 months before I married my now ex-husband, was the most exhilarating time of my life. I had never had someone do so much for me, and so publicly. He showed me off, he was so open on social media about how much he loved me, and I loved it all! I loved the comments from my friends on twitter, I loved being ‘goals’, and he loved me so much, and so when he started talking marriage 6 months in, I didn’t waver, I had found my happy ending. A man that supported my career, publicly displayed his love for me, who was feminist (or least claimed to be). A man who was totally focused on his goal, to be with me…The problem was that I did not know that his motivation for this goal was simply to get out of Nigeria, and have a wife that would not demand too much of him, simply because she had a high flying career of her own….all of this under the pretense of love can be very heart-breaking when you find out.
Once he achieved his goal of getting out, as you can imagine, he became less loving, a whole lot less; no one can pretend forever, but they can pretend for as long as it takes to achieve their burning life objectives. He became a different man, the man he truly was. When we started having fights and inevitable issues, he started trying desperately to get me pregnant so that I would have no choice but to stay married to him. In the end I had to get out for my sanity, and also out of fear for my life.
He was so emotionally abusive.
He has since apologized, one thing I do appreciate, was how truthful he was at the end, his parting words shook me to my core
“I could have grown to love you for real, if you weren’t so stubborn and independent. This feminism thing is fine as long as you still accept me as your spiritual & marital head”.
Yes, it turned out feminism was just another tool he used in making me fall in love with him all because he wanted out of Nigeria. I might have understood his intentions, just as long as he was honest from the start, but to deliberately put on a false persona just to make me fall in love, taking away my option of choice, is wrong, it is very wrong.
Only after things crumbled and fell apart did my friends tell me that they all had misgivings about the speed at which we progressed, and his motives. They never said a word to me. While I understand their position, I can’t help but think that friends are there to have the difficult conversations that normal acquaintances wouldn't have. It’s all very disappointing but I am getting better and stronger each day. I was lucky enough to get out of that bad marriage, without getting an anchor baby. Apparently an "anchor baby" is what they call getting their victims pregnant, to keep them stuck in a marriage with them. I am lucky that my eyes got opened early enough.
It is my hope that this article acts as a wake-up call to those whose friends have decided not to speak about the things gnawing at them about their friend's relationship, a wake-up call to those being used, and are giving their hearts to men with desperate motives.
I hope you find the strength and conviction to make a decision I wasn’t able to make.
I hope that you can avoid being fooled, like me.
This writer of this submission opted out of attaching his real name to this article especially to preserve the identity and privacy of his close friend. His intent was to warn women living abroad that this scheme exists, and to be very careful about the motives of the men living in Nigeria who attempt to interact with them romantically on social media.