Smartphones have become a growing source of tension in many marriages in Qatar, fueling miscommunication instead of facilitating it, the head of family reconciliations at the Family Consultancy Center (FCC) has said.
Speaking to Al Arab this week, Hassan Bin Salem Al Buraiki warned couples to watch out for “electronic infidelity.” Gulf News translates him as saying:
“Smartphones have become the means for illicit relations. We have seen numerous cases of divorce from the first night of the marriage because of the phones.”
“The spouse discovers unwanted pictures of past relations on the spouse’s mobile and asks them to delete them. Arguments and fights ensue, followed by calls to get rid of the phone. However, some spouses refuse to change their mobiles and prefer to sacrifice their marriage instead.”
According to Al Buraiki, other major causes of divorce here include family interference and a lack of understanding of what marriage entails, especially among young people.
He added that couples must adapt to the changing times if they want to preserve their unions:
“It is highly inappropriate for a husband to treat his wife like his father treated his mother and for a woman to apply the way her parents lived. They must not be frozen in a traditional mould.”
To help tackle problems – and head them off at the pass – Al Buraiki strongly recommended that couples seek pre-marital counseling.
Earlier this year, a senior family counselor at the FCC echoed the necessity of getting professional help during rocky times.
Speaking to Doha News in March, Hadia Baker said that issues such as infidelity, financial problems, over-involved parents and partners who are insensitive to the needs of their spouse are all major causes of divorce here.
Among expats, there’s also the added stress of feeling isolated, far away from home and their support network of friends and families, she said.
However, Baker added that counseling can go a long way in helping a marriage, but only if professional intervention is sought early enough.
“Do not come when it’s too late,” she said.