There are very few ironies in life as bitter as the situation surrounding social perception of relationship troubles in Nigeria. Perhaps the only rival to this irony would be the social perception regarding mental health in Nigeria. We all know that relationships are anything but perfect; yet for some odd reason, we manage to live in a society that negatively judges us for having relationship troubles. In other words, if our relationship is anything short of perfect, then somehow, we have failed at it.
Rather unfortunately, the health of relationship has become another thing we compete with among material success, and more disturbing or capabilities as parents. So like these other egotistical yardsticks, we end up being forced to hide the true condition of things in order to put up as ideal an appearance as we can manage.
Even amongst friends, sometimes we are unable to discuss our relationship problems, and some of us have become so competitive that we would give negative advice just to throw sand in the next person’s garri. As if the pressure to appear perfect wasn’t enough.
With the introduction of social networks, we now face a new dimension of keeping up with the Jones’ to contend with. Anyone that has ever gone public on social media with a relationship that didn’t work out will tell you about a unique kind of shame that goes with this. Arguably, we really shouldn’t care about what others think of us and our relationships, but that is a lot easier said than done.
Perhaps it is about time we reconsider how we judge other people’s relationships. We would all deny it to ourselves, but the evidence of our competition with relationship is evident in our social condition that encourages people to hide imperfections in their relationships.
This even goes as far as victims of emotional and physical abuse feeling isolated and suffering in silence. In fact, so ingrained in our psyche is this unhealthy competition that we find ourselves being a part of it without even knowing.
Words cannot explain how bad I felt reading negative comments about Toke Makinwa’s marital problem. Whether this mindset spurs from our own unresolved dissatisfactions because as they say, misery needs company. Or maybe it just comes from a human tendency to compete and dominate each other in every way possible. It is something definitely worth our attention as a society.
Friends and family should act as support systems providing safety and security to enable us get the most out of our relationships. The current state of our friends and families often playing judge is simply dangerous for our love lives.
P.S Have you ever felt unable to share your relationship issues with your friends or family? Or have you been guilty of happiness on the account of someone else’s pain? The floor is yours.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mellet77