Like Madonna, Usher, and Bono, Sumit of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way is known only by his first name. Unlike all other celebrities or humans in general, though, Sumit became famous not by singing, dancing, sporting, or being a Kardashian or Jenner. Instead, 32-year-old Sumit achieved notoriety by catfishing now 61-year-old American woman Jenny Slatten, encouraging her to move from California to India to be with him, and revealing, once she arrives, that he’s married.
That’s some messed up shit right there.
Sumit and Jenny are now on the second season of The Other Way, after having captured our hearts, but mostly our confusion, during Season 1. We’ve recently learned that Sumit is in the process (maybe? hopefully?) of getting a divorce from his first wife — the wife he was married to when he catfished Jenny; the wife he was married to when he was like, “Yeah, Jenny, sure, great idea, let’s do it!!” when she decided to leave her entire family, cash in her 401k, and move from her home in Palm Springs to his home in India; the wife that he didn’t tell Jenny about until his wife’s family literally showed up at the apartment Jenny and Sumit were staying in — so that he can marry Jenny.
In a nutshell, things are a little messy in Jenny and Sumit land. But if there’s anything we 90 Day Fiance fans love, it’s a flaming, toxic trash heap of a relationship that seems to survive against all odds or logic. So naturally, many fans love Jenny and Sumit, too.
One of those fans happens to be comedian Nicole Byer. Byer is the host of Netflix’s Nailed It, the author of #VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE, and host or co-host of a ton of hilarious podcasts.
One of those podcasts is 90 Day Bae, a show dedicated to all things 90 Day and Byer’s opinions on the various 90 Day couples.
As Byer tells The Dipp, she thinks Big Ed is “real trash,” that David and Lana’s plotline was “fucking bonkers,” and that the people who are obsessed with figuring out where Nicole Nafziger is (Morocco? Space? A random Starbucks in Florida?) “should find out how to stop corona.” A fair point.
But Jenny and Sumit? She loves them.
“Jenny and Sumit are truly a dream and I love to watch them,” Byer tells me. “I do think he will get divorced. He embarrassed her and his family, but honestly, Jenny makes me laugh so much and I want them to stay together.”
The couple are the classic will they, won’t they; a true love story for the ages, and just all around excellent for TV. But Jenny has standards, you know. She won’t wait forever.
She’s said on the show that she and Soo-mee/Soo-mit (her pronunciation of his name oddly varies) will only stay together if he shows her proof of his divorce filing ASAP. But things seem to be taking… much longer than anticipated.
And, per usual, Sumit has quite a few excuses. Tons of them. All of them. But there’s one that permeates.
Sumit Says Things “Take Forever” In India
Throughout this season of The Other Way, Sumit seems to dodge questions about whether or not he’s actually, officially filed for divorce.
In episode “Don’t Grumpy Stop” (thanks for inspiring that title, Jihoon), Sumit tells Jenny that they’ll go to the courthouse together so she can “see how many forms there are.” In the next episode, he brings her to meet his friend who explains how he himself has been waiting to get divorced from his wife for four years.
Just how realistic is Sumit’s excuse that divorces in India “take forever”? Well, first, it’s worth considering that India has the lowest rate of divorce in the entire world. It’s around 1%, while the U.S. hovers around 40% to 50%.
One of the biggest reasons the Indian divorce rate is so low is stigma. As India Today reports, “The low divorce rate owes up to the society pressure … If someone asks for divorce, they’re usually shamed for going against the rules and parents.” The stigma is so real, that only 1 out of every 1,000 Indian marriages ends in divorce. It’s just not a common practice, at all.
Add to that the fact that there are also different divorce laws for different religions in India, and it becomes all the more complicated.
After a quick Google search, it does seem like most divorce cases in India take at least a year to complete — and that’s only if it’s deemed a “mutual consent” divorce, meaning both husband and wife agree to separate.
So, while it seems relatively legit that Sumit would claim that his mutual consent divorce would take a while, it’s also worth considering that if the divorce is contested, i.e. not mutually agreed upon, it could take even longer, sometimes four years to 10 years, according to this (very informative) post on Quora. And a post on Medium says a contested divorce proceeding in India could last seven to eight years.
His Wife Agreed To The Divorce — Right?
In the first episode of this season, Sumit shared that his “in-laws finally agreed for a mutual divorce,” meaning that the divorce should, in theory, be granted relatively quickly compared to a contested divorce.
However, as we learned in the section above, a mutual divorce doesn’t mean he would necessarily have divorce papers in his hand as quickly as he told Jenny he would. (He told her it’d take two to six months, which seems highly unlikely.)
And there’s also another issue: Jenny claimed in the episode titled “Home Is Where The Heart Is” that Sumit’s wife alleged he was “treating her bad” and “hurting her,” things that were “false allegations and claims,” according to Jenny. Jenny also said that Sumit’s wife was supposed to drop the charges and agree to the mutual consent divorce.
But, as Jenny went on to claim, Sumit’s wife didn’t drop the charges and he still has to “go back to court and face those charges and speak to the judge.” Sumit said, “When I finally get divorced, like straight away, I gotta marry Jenny.” He also revealed that he got his court dates for his divorce mixed up.
“The date I was telling you, the 29th of November, I was thinking that is for the divorce date,” he explained on the show. “But actually it was a date for my case which my wife filed against me before we filed a mutual divorce.”
If Sumit’s wife did file charges against him, it’s possible that his divorce, in fact, isn’t a mutual consent divorce after all. And that means that Jenny might not be seeing Sumit’s divorce papers for years, let alone in six months. (The Dipp reached out to both Jenny and Sumit for comment about the divorce proceedings, and to Sumit about the claims his wife made about the alleged abuse, but did not hear back.)
So Many Times Bitten, Never Shy
Despite all the drama, I agree with Byer that there is something endearing about Sumit and Jenny’s relationship. They do seem to truly love each other and be committed to being together — but, this also seemed true their first season on The Other Way, when Sumit was, you know, secretly married the entire time.
Whether this season of The Other Way will end in a divorce for Sumit and a new marriage for Jenny is questionable, but according to her Instagram commenting habits, Jenny was still in India as recently as two weeks ago, saying quarantine was going “great.”
You’ll remember that Jenny said (and Jenny, remember, you said this), that: “If he lies to me again, that’s the worst thing he could do to me at this point. I don’t deserve that. If it doesn’t work this time, that will destroy me,” she said on the show. Jenny, we only want the best for you!
May the divorce gods, and Madonna and Usher and Bono, all shine down on Jenny and Sumit.
Feature Image: Instagram