In a recent issue of a glossy magazine, a TV siren poured out her heart about rumours touching on her personal life. Chief among them was that of a doomed marriage that failed shortly before its first anniversary. I read the interview keenly while at a salon and felt sorry for the celebrity who told her story in a most honest manner. I could almost feel her pain.
Her story reminded me of a fashion blogger who famously got engaged and married but is now said to be single. She may not have poured her heart out as her fellow celebrity did, but it is probable that she is trying to put up a strong face even on social media.
One of the hallmarks of millennials — my age group, I must admit — is that we have a penchant for loving very loudly and publicly.
If you are in a relationship or marriage, then your Facebook friends must know about it.
Your friends on social media will be treated to a litany of pictures and profound birthday messages, painting a fairy-tale marriage or relationship.
They will be treated to “surprise” engagements by the sea shore, invite-only wedding ceremonies (complete with hashtags), pregnancy photoshoots and other traditional ceremonies, including the payment of dowry.
Then there are those very enterprising couples that take the intoxication a notch higher.
On top of Facebook pictures, some are even having YouTube channels, where their followers are given a front-row seat to their personal lives.
Their children and families are thrust into the limelight, with a cavalier disregard for their privacy.
One even filmed herself in the delivery room and broadcast the video for her followers to see! How desperate are these people getting that they are now sharing their inner courts?
What is it worth? Is it for attention or is it a textbook case of an exhibitionist problem — that constant need for attention and validation from complete strangers?
Relationships, marriages, engagements and all that pertains to family life are private matters and should remain as such. Let me tell you something about these public relationships. If you look closely, if you keep your ear on the ground long enough and if you are smart enough to connect the dots, you will most likely realise that these public marriages are trying very hard to hide the cracks of a bigger problem behind the scenes. Be wary of people who publicly love and want to show all of you how picturesque their lives are; they are most likely struggling with some deep-seated fundamental issues that they are too afraid to confront. Do not be surprised if their relationships eventually crumble.
Love privately. Keep your dating life under wraps. Keep your marriage to yourself. Avoid the razzmatazz. Keep your marriage out of Facebook and Instagram.
The legion of fans you think you are impressing don’t matter. Most of those who like your pictures and leave glowing comments don’t have your best interest at heart. They don’t even really care about you. Worse, they will be the first to snigger when your marriage breaks down.
I know blog posts about “Kenya’s top 10 hottest couples” are a massive boost to your ego. The glossy magazine covers are amazing.
However, I implore you, for your own mental health and for the sake of your children, keep private matters where they belong. And please, keep the faces of your children off such drama. Your children have their own personal lives, exposing them to online mud-slinging is the last thing you want for them.
This is not to mean that you should hide “your person” as many of you call your significant others on Instagram. However, disabuse yourself of the notion that you must parade your spouse on social media to prove your love.
Of course, relationships fail whether or not they are broadcast on social media. My point is, in the event that a time comes when you will have to mourn the loss of that relationship, social media amplifies your pain because people begin to wonder loudly what became of your marriage and why are you not recording videos together anymore. Trust me, it is far much better to mourn the end of a marriage privately than publicly.