Dear Davina,

23 years ago, I got into a relationship with a lady while we were in university in Nigeria. The relationship lasted for roughly 5 years and we sort of went our ways. We however met once out of the blues and one thing led to the other and we had sex.

A month later, she informed me that she was pregnant and insisted that we get married for the sake of the child. I already was in another relationship and I countered by offering to take up the child after birth and raise the child. We met with my family and I reiterated the offer. She refused and informed me that she was going to abort the child. One day she appeared in my house to inform me she was on her way to the clinic to take out the child. Despite my pleas, she insisted on going through.

Those were pre GSM and social media days. I later heard from a mutual friend that she had married a guy and had a baby about 1 year after this incident. I thought the timelines were tight but left it at that. One day, I summoned courage to go check on her but learnt she had relocated to the USA.

When Facebook came out, I tried searching for her on Facebook but never got wind of her for almost 7 years or more. Last year, via a series of events, I located her on Facebook via one of her family members. I saw that she had a male child that would have been about same age as ours if she had kept the pregnancy. At this time, I had changed my surname and I had also relocated to the US. My Facebook DP was also different. I sent her a friend’s request and she accepted.

About 2 weeks later, I changed my DP to be my face and uploaded new images to my Facebook page. I noticed a few days later that she had befriended me. She had also deleted all pictures of the boy from her Facebook page and then one day, I found that she had closed her Facebook page entirely as I couldn’t find her again.

I got suspicious and asked my family to get in contact with hers. She finally admitted that the child was mine but has refused to communicate with me or allow me communicate with my child. She says that the child had grown up thinking her husband is his father and that she didn’t want to devastate the child by letting the child know after 18 years that his father was someone else.

She has forbidden me to see the child and has threatened to make serious trouble for me if I try to contact her or the child. I am married with kids. I haven’t told my wife or kids about this yet and I am lost as to what to do. Because we are both in the US, I must take her threats seriously. I kindly welcome your advice.

Jide

 

 

My 2-Cents:

Dear Jide,

I wouldn’t lie, this your matter is heavy. I took some days going over your mail, I prayed about it and even sought advice from other colleagues as well. It is quite a complex issue and has to be handled with the sensitivity demanded.

There is no easy solution and I can only give what is see as the best out of several solutions.

I can’t apportion blames here. I guess you were both too young to understand the future implications of your actions and as such, I will encourage you both to move beyond your past and look at the present.

The primary person to think about is the child who is now more of a man than a child. He has been dragged into matters that wasn’t of his own making. You need to carefully weigh your next moves as they would have implications for him. Imagine having lived your life for 18 years and suddenly waking up being told that one of the most important things in your life is now a lie. He would wonder what else is true. How do you expect him to adjust to you or his mum? You guys think he would understand, shrug his shoulder and move on? Stuff like this have serious and monumental psychological effects which could be worse if the guy was already unbalanced.

There is also the matter of your present family and the dynamics of a new nuclear member. How would your wife take it, how would your kids take it? The transitions aren’t always that easy despite how simple they might look. If I had my way and if it was in a pure and parallel world, I would have suggested you let sleeping dogs lie. The guy is settled in a family he has come to grow up in. It might be better to let him be.

But we know how this world is… you might find yourself with explanations later in life that you should have made today: for example, what if your son finds himself marrying your daughter? So here goes:

 

My Advice:

  1. Find time and a way to convince your ex that the best thing to do is to break the news to the boy despite how hard and difficult it might seem. If you could find out, one day, the boy would find out and it could be too late. It is better you allow her break the news to him herself and then you can both take it from there. If he chooses to want to see you, fine. If not, allow time to be a healer.
  2. First of all, break the news to your wife alone. She should understand that this happened in a time period before you both were together. It is more than likely she was aware of your ex and would take to it more kindly.
  3. After breaking it to your wife and getting her to a place of comfort, you and her should seat with the rest of your kids and jointly let them know what has come up. When both parents communicate together, news like this is easier.
  4. Please don’t get carried away with all those oyinbo movies of children looking for their parents’ blah blah. The boy just might not want anything to do with you. Appeal to be given an opportunity for him to hear your side of the story. Let him understand that you never knew he existed based on what his mother had told you. Also let him see the efforts you made to get in touch with him once you learnt about him and let it flow from there.

Hmmmm, this is a real tough one but I wish you God’s blessings and hope it works out for you sha. Please keep in touch and let’s know how it goes. I would like to do a part 2 of the outcome.

Davina

________________________________________________________________________________

TO ALL DD READERS….

You can send your Dear Davina letters to me directly @ davina.r@davinadiaries.com. I assure you whatever you send to this mailbox is for my eyes only and I promise complete anonymity when I decide to publish your letter.

I look forward to hearing from you

xoxoxoxoxo

Davina

 

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A Psychologist by training, I love to help people make sense of their unique circumstances and sort through their issues. I realize that relationship issues and matters of the heart can be quite daunting when there’s no one to talk to so at Davina Diaries, I play the “Love Doctor” –
You talk, I listen and We work it out together.

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