Sandra Wekesa @AndayiSandra
“I love your lips. “You look so yummy!” “So sexy. Would you be mine?”… If you thought these cheesy love lines are from a lover, you are wrong. In fact, the people involved are strangers and the person being addressed is taken. The platform? Social media. So, what do you do when people openly declare their love for your partner in front of your eyes?
Francis Kiarie aka Frankie of Just Gym It, who runs a YouTube channel Alpha Beta, with his wife Maureen Waititu, says online crushes are not a strange thing. However, over time he has learnt to ignore them. However, some are difficult to deal with, so he blocks them. The most annoying are gay men who outrightly hit on him. “It is so annoying. I wonder why people cannot respect that I’m married, respect my space and just leave me alone,” he says.
His wife, Maureen, says the hardest bit of living a life online is having to deal with disrespectful people without boundaries. “I once had to deal with a woman, who was crushing on Frankie. The stalker went to an extent of creating a pseudo account and kept on messaging me on how Frank will leave me, claiming they had a relationship,” she recalls.
The couple are open to one another and share their experiences. “Our line of communication is always open. When crushes become too much, we block them,” she adds.
Having many followers means getting our online posts viewed. No wonder, many couples in the limelight such as musicians, journalists, leaders, among others, are bound to face such issues. And while back in the days, it was almost impossible to be in touch with your crush, social media has brought them closer. The anonymity of it makes it even worse, because some admirers use pseudo accounts to post and comment their hearts out.
Radio personality Anita Nderu, also knows this too well. “Sometimes I go through my comment section and just laugh. But I’m happy they don’t get into my love or me. He trusts me. So when he sees those suggestive comments on my posts, he just ignores them,” she says. However, when it gets worse, Anita doesn’t hesitate to press the block button.
Peter Kabi alias Kabi Wa Jesus, founder of Bantu Films, a videography and photography company, says he and his wife Milly wa Jesus do not entertain suggestive comments on their social media platforms. “We only appreciate those great comments we get from fan love,” says Kabi.
However, he says whenever he sees suggestive comments on his wife’s post, he ignores them. “It is okay to get comments, especially if you are in the limelight. But of course, we know some comments are not meant for good,” he says.
But not all are understanding of the situation. Despite being open with her husband, Jasmine Wambui says every suggestive comment or compliment she gets irks her husband. “On many occasions, we talk about understanding each other and how it would be great if trust was built between us. But he still raises questions,” she says. One day it got worse and she had to delete some comments. “I delete suggestive comments to date. I do not want to have issues with my husband,” she says.
Ken Ouko, a sociologist at University of Nairobi, says social media has created a new dilemma in human relations known as ‘existential incongruence’. “Social media has today invited a new complication in domestic or romantic relationships. It has replaced relational exclusivity with uninvited spectatorship. Instagram, for example, makes it appear as if relationships are on a thespian stage complete with a clap-or-boo audience,” he says.
Also, in many instances, Ouko says saturated positive reviews may cause the other partner to feel relegated, ignored or shadowed, sometimes leading to jealousy. Intense negative reviews may carry the impact of causing the other partner to feel slighted, disrespected, offended or exposed, sometimes leading to doubts.
Ken Munyao, a psychologist at People Centric Management Company, says that is why it is good to try and moderate crushes through the posts you share. “It is not bad to have crushes because it means someone is admiring you. But how far does it go? How much do you entertain the person and do you let them know that there are boundaries?” he poses.
When you get crushes, it is good to reach out and tell them to stop, That is if they get in the way of your relationship. It is also good to declare your relationship online. “You need to come out and say you are taken. This way, maybe some would stop going too far. You will be able to stop jealousy through acknowledging,” he says.