How social media fuels divorce

Nowadays, the news of divorce cases is no longer surprising as many people often set countdown clocks with the celebration of every marriage. And the advent of the internet has not in itself helped matters as couples, especially celebrities, often rush to the social media to post marital issues. PAUL OKAH reports.

“So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” is a passage in Mathew 19:6 that talks about the exclusivity and sanctity of marriage, which are often disregards or ignores when couples start experiencing marital problems.

Nowadays, it is common to see once lovey-dovey couples instituting legal actions against one another and doing everything possible to get divorce for different reasons, most times over minor disagreements.

However, from investigations, the social media appears to be fuelling the marital conflicts as details about couples’ lifestyles are often posted by embittered parties, to the derision of readers.

Also, even when either party wishes to work toward resolving issues in the marriage, a search on the internet is often discouraging as the opinions of supposed feminists, home-breakers and non-professionals always surface to fuel the disagreements, thereby eroding chances of settlement or reconciliation.

Recent cases

In the past few weeks, the internet has been awash with the news of divorce and marital problems involving some Nigerian celebrities, including Paul Okoye (aka Rudeboy) of the defunct P-Square music group, African Queen Crooner, Tuface Idibia, enigmatic actress Tonto Dike, Comedian Nedu of Wazobia FM, Tega Dominic of the Big Brother Naija, among others.

The marital problems of the aforementioned celebrities bordering on cheating, neglect and other complaints revealed by their wives or concubines have been trending on social media since last month, with twists on an hourly or daily basis by the “actors” and bloggers and other Nigerians adding “salt and pepper” to fuel issues; in order to generate comments and traffic to sites.

Invitation to more problems

Reacting to Nigerians’ penchant for rushing to the social media to disclose family problems, a veteran journalist, Azuka Onwuka, said in a facebook post on September 6 that it is an invitation to disaster as many would naturally offer unsolicited advice, while the internet does not forget anything posted on it.

“If you make your marital issues public, there are millions who love such and will help you to add petrol to the fire you have started. Deleting such a post afterwards is meaningless. If you don’t want more problems in your marriage, don’t post about your marriage in the first place, unless you have made up your mind to leave the marriage. You can’t ridicule your spouse publicly and still want to continue in your marriage. That is contradictory,” he said.

Speaking with Blueprint Weekend, a social commentator, Mrs. Rosemary Okorie, said many people will now be afraid of getting married at the rate marital issues and divorce cases are posted on social media on a daily basis. 

She said: “I am concerned and really troubled by developments in the country of recent. Gone are the days when elders and family members were invited to settle marital issues. Now, social media has taken the centre stage, with quack counsellors and illegal lawyers. Just last week alone, not to talk of the whole August or year, social media relationship update or marital problems of celebrities had Tuface Idibia facing his wife, Annie; comedian, Mr. Nedu vs his ex-wife; Tega vs husband, then Paul Okoye and wife. 

“Indeed, the devil is destroying marriages lately. What amazes me most is the fact that the women in these relationships were the first to put their marital issues on social media, whether guilty or innocent. In fact, I honestly wonder what Nedu’s ex-wife was thinking when she granted interviews to newspaper organisations now posting her reactions in bits. Her action is itself condemnable, but sharing it on social media and granting interviews is like washing her dirty linen in the market. I’m not thrilled by people’s private issues. I loathe it when adults are quick to forget whatever nice moments they shared together, just because they aren’t together anymore. It’s not nice at all! 

“You know, we have that mental fracture in our heads. It looks like our sense to reason is damaged and many can no longer think well. Everyone wants to be a celebrity by exposing oneself on social media, especially our women. To me, it is stupidity, because there are some things you don’t have to expose. 

“Of course, Nigeria is a drama country, including some of its citizens. Every week, there must be a new drama on social media. This last quarter of the year has been all about divorce/infidelity among married couples and lovers. You see this generation of mobile phone users, the rate of divorce will be much soon. It is not by ‘I am engaged or getting married;’ what do you have to offer in marriage? That’s why you see couples cheating up and down. However, I feel sad that most married women have no shame to expose their adulterous lives, waywardness and promiscuity. May God save us!”

Expert’s take

Speaking exclusively to this reporter, a marriage counsellor, Mr. Theophilus Balogun, said couples hardly meet family members and experts now for resolution of marital problems as they now believe that the internet offers better options, whereas it is counterproductive.

“From all indications, marriages don’t last long these days as a result of many factors. Apart from couples marrying for different reasons, other than love, too much demand, cheating, and love of material things are some of the reasons marriages are breaking up faster than you think. A visit to our law courts and a trip to the legal column of major newspapers will tell you all you need to know about once-in-love couples spending thousands and even millions just to be divorced.

“All the issues mentioned above are just as a result of intolerance, lack of understanding, lack of communication and other factors affecting marriages. Long ago, parents, family members and in-laws were always the people depended on by couples when issues crop up in marriages. More often than not, the issues would be resolved without the general public being in the know.

“With time and development, guidance and counselling experts and professional marriage counsellors started making a living out of helping couples in settling disputes outside family circles. More often than not, the success rate was high as I have personally talked couples out of divorce considerations over issues that are even ridiculous when restated.

“However, recently, there seems this new craze by Nigerians, irrespective of social class, to rush to social media to disclose their problems to the entire world, who often don’t care and will even add fire to ensure that marriages are broken as many of them are unmarried, divorced or just bitter souls on the lookout for whom to destroy,” he said.

He added: “They call it ‘catching cruise’ when they offer unsolicited advice to anyone willing to share his or her marital problems on social media, but it is the poster that should be blamed for disclosing his or her private life to the entire world as there is an African proverb that says ‘he who brings home ant-infested firewood should be ready to dine with lizards.’ People should learn to talk to marriage experts, instead of rushing to social media to share marital issues with people who don’t even mean well for them.

“God Himself does not like the idea of divorce or families breaking up as the marriage institution is sacred and meant for procreation, unity and a better world. So, I will always advice people to reconsider rushing to social media to meet bitter souls and those willing to fuel issues. When you cannot settle your marital problems within the family, meet professionals to help you. Any marriage or marital issue brought to social media or the public is as good as gone as they are many people not happy that you are married or succeeding in your undertakings.”

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