Cheating goes online

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A counselling social worker says there has been an increase in issues of trust as more people are discovering that their partners are having online relationships.

It is easy for past relationships to be rekindled due to the easy access of social media.

Counselling social worker at Family Life Centre, Michele Hirsch, said she could not comment on the estimated number of divorces caused by social media.

However, she said there has been an increase in issues of trust as more and more people are discovering that their partners are having online relationships.

“It might not be that affairs are growing with the advent of social media but that detection is now as clear as day on all manner of technology,” Hirsch said.

He said this was not the case before the extensive use of the internet.

Pastor Leonard Mbiyoza said he deals with many couples who divorce because of social media. He said he cannot name the couple that he has been counselling but rather shares their story.

“The lady, aged 37, started talking to men on WhatsApp and then the man, 42, did the same when he realised that his wife was doing it. The man was then involved in a sexual relationship with a married woman,” Mbiyoza said.

He counsels people in his church and community. Some are Christian.

“It is a problem that is increasing every year. Social media is dangerous and I do not condone it but every time I say that I am taken to be old fashioned,” he said.

Mbiyoza said in 2010 he counselled 20% of couples who were facing challenges in their marriages due to social media. Eight percent of these cases were not resolved and resulted in divorce.

“The following years I did not have any divorces occurring from this issue but in 2014 I counselled 24% of couples and only 1% was not resolved and resulted in divorce,” Mbiyoza said.

He said in 2015 there were no such cases and he is now busy counselling a couple.

Palesa Manne, aged 26, is married with a obne-year-old son. She and her husband are DJs. She said social media cannot be avoided in her life.

“My husband and I decided to put our phones away after 8pm and have conversations as a normal family but it did not work because of the kind of work we do,” Manne said.

She said she was not always a DJ and when her husband would be on the phone and on social media all the time, she had to learn to trust him and understand that it was his way to market his brand as a DJ.

Joshua Collins, 35, and his wife, 35, work a nine to five and have a two-yearold son. He said there is a big problem with social media regarding marriages.

“People need to recognise the right time and moments to be on social media.

“When you are around your partner you need to acknowledge their presence and limit yourself,” Collins said.

SISANDA MADWANTSI

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