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Vanessa Willie: Tonto Dikeh & the Lifespan of Love

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“Mud Slinging is so much fun, when you do it to others. But remember the day someone else does the same to you,you’ll realise how bad the mud in your mouth tastes. Think twice before you go around ruining the reputation of others. Because what goes around comes around for sure.” Rachitha Cabral

Almost everyone is aware of the recent hullabaloo erupting from Tonto Dikeh’s social media pages. But I wonder if I’m the only person who is puzzled by the vitriol. If like me you have been wondering how love sours and goes to hell so quickly, then you’ll understand my reasons for being shocked.

So how does someone go from deep love to raging hatred? Are bitterness and hatred a part of love that only manifests itself after the love has faded?

Recently, people have gained popularity at the expense of their epileptic relationships. They blast their spouses in public and gain fame. First, it was Tiwa Savage, then Toke Makinwa ‘baring it all’ (a.k.a On Becoming). Today it’s Tonto Dikeh! Much as her tear-filled interview was heartbreaking, it was also depressing. These celebrities are so naïve, they can’t see through the schemes of gossip-thirsty bloggers and OAPs, who delight in making money off their misery.

So she (Tonto Dike) was sitting in front of an interviewer who feigning concern, probed and fished for juicy stories that might ramp up their social media ratings and Tonto couldn’t even protect her dignity? Whoever convinced her that she had suffered more than any woman that ever lived? I’ve heard people say things like: “women are dying because they are not talking about their pains and problems,” or “I tell my story because I want to control the narrative.”

Crap! Absolute Crap! Pardon my French but I totally think it’s crap.  Playing the blame game and acting the victim has become the norm. At the risk of sounding judgemental (even though that’s not my intention) I believe there are better ways to share your life experiences to motivate and help other people so they avoid certain traps. But why vengefully seek to tear down the reputation of someone you openly professed to love especially when you have a child with that person?

It just shows pettiness and a lack of maturity! Don’t forget that your child will grow up someday and that the internet never forgives or forgets. You’re a celebrity because of your talent. What happens in your personal life should stay private.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’ve read ‘On Becoming‘ and all you’ll want is for the Maje guy to burn in hell. It’s not surprising that the book got that much buzz because in reality, that book chronicles probably 8 out of 10 women’s stories worldwide. And there are few things women love more than a pity party. And no, this isn’t another case of women being each other’s worst enemy. I don’t hate Toke. I can’t hate someone I don’t know. I am only concerned about this new shaming and naming culture.

We love Tiwa; she’s an awesome entertainer. We love Toke for her flair and verve. W also love Tonto; the amazing actress. But there is something terribly immoral about publicly tearing down your spouse and baby’s daddy, someone you sworn for better for worse with. It makes the world question your character and intentions. Is this now a new strategy for remaining popular and relevant? Did Toke even consider that her ‘tell all’ tradition might scare off eligible bachelors? Surely, every sane man will fear that his flaws will be fodder for her next bestseller, where she’ll quote long passages of scripture.

It’s fine to become very Christian but be warned: God cannot be mocked. You can’t expect God to vindicate you when you have advanced with your chariots to be your own soldier and advocate. I worry that my daughter will grow older and ask questions about love. I want to proudly tell her that love is not blasphemous, not shaming, not self-seeking. Love doesn’t quickly sour like evaporated milk left overnight on the kitchen counter. When it hits the rocks, please show a little kindness irrespective of how devastated you are. The love code mandates you to continue to support that person, even when its over. Love is not for the spineless. If you don’t have the spine for it, don’t play. Love is not about sex and money. Love requires commitment.  And if, for any reason, you can’t cope, walk away and acknowledge your part in the whole thing. Have the decency to take some responsibility for your choices. Resist the temptation to become famous and rich at the expense of the person you swore to love for better or worse.

To all the single people aspiring for marriage out there, don’t be deterred by the failing marriages. Many other marriages are blossoming. Look to celebrities like Tara Durotoye, Betty Irabor, Joke Silva, Omotola Ekehinde, TY Bello, Gloria Young and the list goes on and on. Love is a beautiful phenomenon, especially when you know what it really means. A God marriage is hard work but is quite enjoyable. Take time to study positive material on successful marriages. They will help you make the right decision. But If things fall apart, nonetheless, pull yourself together. You will emerge wiser and stronger and with your dignity intact. If you need to speak to someone about your relationship and don’t have anyone, feel free to email me on [email protected]. I’ll give you my time for FREE!!

VANESSA WILLIE She is a certified Marriage and Relationship Coach from The Institute for Marriage and Family Affairs, USA. with more than 6 years’ experience. She is the founder of Janessa Foundation International and host of the radio talk show; TheTalk with Vanessa on Dream 92.5fm.