By Abubakar Suleiman
If you are conversant with the Arewa cyberspace, it will be surprising if you are unaware of the cliché, “Please, hide my identity.” It has gained so much currency (or notoriety) on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And it is mainly followed up with bad news, especially related to relationships and marriages – cases of incest, infidelity, marriage battery, heartbreaks and others.
People usually send their relationship or marital problems to popular social media pages or handles managed by self-styled marriage counsellors. These counsellors or opinion shapers then subject the problems to the public for solutions while hiding the identity of the sender of these problems.
Surprisingly, these people who found themselves in a toxic relationship or abusive marriage have parents or guardians who married them off to their spouses. Still, they many times seem to bypass them for advice or counselling.
They also rarely approach certified marriage counsellors or therapists for solutions. Therefore, the problem is thrown to the public, and with too many disjointed ideas or solutions, sieving the best solution to the peculiar problem becomes complicated.
Not so fast; how are we even sure these stories or problems are true? What if someone sits in the comfort of their room or basement and concocts these unfounded narratives to make the stories trend? Many people don’t check the logical validity or fallacy of these stories.
Social media gave everyone a platform to air or voice out their views. The problem with the advent of these platforms is not the access to information but rather the processing of information. Many people find it uneasy to check the authenticity of stories or the validity of statistics.
The blowback or unintended consequence of this ‘hide my identity’ trend is that it has made many young people consume many negative stories, thereby fuelling suspicion between both genders. Moreover, stories of successful and happy marriages have been in short supply. Therefore, some young people no longer see marriage as a worthwhile endeavour wherein you invest your patience, energy and prayers.
On the one hand, love movies from Nollywood, Bollywood or Kannywood made young people see marriage or relationship as a perfect bed of roses or land of Eldorado instead of the cocktail of happiness, sadness, compromises and sacrifices that it is.
On the other hand, ‘hide my identity’ stories have increasingly made partners or lovers dine with each other with a very long spoon. Each sees the other as a veiled threat or a potentially dangerous person. These trends have created overnight feminists and misogynists.
The above backdrop does not downplay the effects of abusive or toxic marriages or relationships that appropriate authorities could reasonably address – parents, guardians, certified counsellors or the court. However, young people must be guided on what marriage entails, its prospects and its challenges. They need a direction or triangulation amidst a plethora of negative information and scary marital or relationship stories.
They should also be fed with successful marital examples or stories and the possibility of a happy marriage. And this makes parenting a more difficult task in our contemporary world.
The last time I checked around, we still had more good homes than broken ones. But, unfortunately, the familiar stories of abusive marriages or relationships are just the case of bad news flying more than the good ones.
Check out families around you, your pairs, neighbours, colleagues at the workplace or married classmates. You’ll understand that except for the usual day-to-day challenges in marriage, they are relatively not bad as it is being portrayed. However, we can canvass for improvements, coping mechanisms or detailed exit plans for worst scenarios. Therefore, ‘hide my identity’ stories are many times fabricated stories or isolated cases than the whole.
Abubakar Suleiman wrote from Kaduna and can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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