Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Nowhere to hide an illicit affair

Supposedly a tool of great convenience, the cellphone has brought a few headaches for some couples, writes EPHRAIM KEORENG

The sheer convenience of the tool is what makes it one of the greatest inventions of all time.

But for many people, the cellphone is a menace.
Keithaile Mokgwaro knows of relationships gone sour because a jealous lover snooped on their partner’s cellphone and got to know of liaisons on the side.

Even then, he has a standing arrangement with his girlfriend that they have nothing to hide from each other, so he occasionally reads her messages. She returns the favour ÔÇô and reads his.

“I read her messages and answer her calls and she does the same with mine,” he says. “It is nothing unusual. We really have to assure each other that we are faithful to each other and are transparent in our affair. That is the basis for a good relationship, and we understand each other clearly.”

Lorato Kelebone looks at it differently. She has a hard time understanding why someone has to ransack her phone every time she comes back to her house, as it happened with her ex- boyfriend. Perhaps due to his situation as a statistic of Botswana’s rising unemployment, his insecurity turned him into maniac.

He wanted to read every text message, listen in to every conversation and find out the girlfriend’s relationship with the latest addition to the address book. No wonder, then, that she says it got to a point where the cellphone lost its allure, and became a source of abuse.

“It was so traumatic. He would take my phone and scroll through it to see if I had entered a new number; if he found it, he would erase it.

He read all my messages. I was living a strange life, such that I was not allowed to answer the phone at night. He screened every call that came in, and if he didn’t want me to talk to the caller, whether a male or female, he would simply tell them never to call again. It was a terrible relationship and I felt a fresh breath of air when we finally split,” she says.

She is not alone. And it is not only women who are at the receiving end. Men tell of obsessive girlfriends and wives who listen in to conversations, read text messages, and just turn themselves into a nuisance. Eric (surname withheld for fear of the girlfriend) has been seeing his current partner for 13 months, and, boy, has it been hell ÔÇô all thanks to the cellphone!

“Sometimes she takes my phone for the whole weekend to answer the calls and read messages sent to me. I remember an incident when she hurled all sorts of insults at some young woman, a former classmate, who had called me. Every call that comes through costs me a friend.

These days, colleagues and friends are now keeping their distance. It is so horrible, but the fact of the matter is I love her and I wish she could realise this and stop tormenting me with her insecurities,” he says.

Is it right for lovers to invade the private space of their partners and access personal things such as cellphones?

Some people say it is the only way to ensure that the war against moral corruption is taken to the forefront. One such believer in “snooping” is Grace Mathape.

“Sometimes it is necessary to invade your partner’s privacy,” she says unflinchingly. “Promiscuity and general moral degeneration are getting out of hand. You would be shocked to realise that even people you thought occupied the moral high ground are so steeped in this immorality.

The world is experiencing a serious moral drought, and to protect a relationship, sometimes one has to keep an eye on their partner’s cellphone.”

She has a theory why the cellphone ÔÇô not its owner ÔÇô needs to be closely monitored. This is because the cellphone is the go-between in all liaisons.

Mathape is talking from personal experience. She found out what lovey was getting up to when she stole a peek in his cellphone’s mailbox.

“I had never been interested in my boyfriend’s cellphone until the day he left it behind and I got curious. All along I had been thinking that he was faithful, and I would have branded you blasphemous if you suggested that he was not. But what I saw completely shocked me.

I realized that he was dating four other women, besides me, and he was chasing others. I think in a way the cell phone is a major contributing factor to so much unfaithfulness in relationships because it allows for easy and secretive communication,” says Mathape. (FPN)

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.