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Could BBM and other social networking platform be preventing your marriage? Well in my case, I think it did. I got my first Blackberry phone several years back – a Tour 9630 I still count as one of my most precious possessions till date because it contains several notes and more contacts than I can ever regain if it gets lost.

When I got the Bold 6 in 2012, I was elated because by this time, most people were using BBM to stay in touch more and there was no addict worse than me. Constantly checking my contact list to see who to chat up, checking my twitter timeline or my facebook page and posting every thought. I used to carry my charger around as the thought of being without instant messaging scared the living daylights out of me.

I was just like you – seldom interested in what’s going on around me so long as I could chat with virtual friends all across the world without regard for the real people or friends around me.

Gone was the old customary text or phone calls on birthdays – once I put the person up as my DP, I figured I had done my part.

It was in the area of dating relationships that I felt most affected. The easiest thing to do on BBM/whatsapp is to maintain a virtual dating relationship and I had several of those. Chatting a lady up on BBM is easy even if you don’t have the presence, elocution or charm to woo her in real life.

Sex or casual dates could be set, reset and broken via the messenger – including sex-chats .

All you had to do was wait till after dark to see who would change her DP anytime after 10pm and chat her up with leading questions up till the crucial: ‘What are you wearing right now’ and then ‘I wish I could see you right now’ followed with the lovestruck smiley.

One thing always led to another… Nobody needs liver to do any of that so we never really know which guy is bold and confident or which chic is as daring or wild as she comes across.

Social Media platforms let’s you put your best foot forward or in this case, your best personality. Everyone always tries to seem happy, chatty and cool…until you meet them for real.

I can’t really remember anyone ever putting up an ugly picture – always the same beautiful Pic until you meet her in person. And I was easily distracted. You never know who really likes you enough to go the extra-mile.

A chic could be with her man and be chatting you up about how much she likes you and all that.

It wasn’t until that phone finally gave up on me after weeks of crashing and flashing that I finally gave up on it and decided to go off instant messaging. No more checking twitter or tweeting every thought, no more checking facebook or replying to every single inbox message and best of all: no more being deceived by thinking someone cares just because they PINGED when I changed my DP.

When the phone finally packed up, an old friend of mine whom I met online several years back was the only girl who stayed calling and texting me.

In the absence of the sexy DPs of other girls I was finally able to see that there was something here for me and I gave it my all in the good old traditional way of dating.

I’ve heard of couples who take each other off their BBM/WHATSAPP contacts just to develop the habit of phone-calling, texting and physical dates – it works…if one partner doesn’t start doing crazy stuff on their own BBM in the virtual absence of their partner. Gone were the ‘hey boo’ to every chic or from her and I could finally see. Social networking never lets you know who cares and who doesn’t…you’re always only just a ping away.

It’s those who take time or money to call or text that truly care enough to make the effort.

I miss it like crazy and I sometimes consider going back – tweeting from my laptop isn’t the funniest thing in the world but I’m grateful I went off it and found the one lady who cared enough to stay in touch when it wasn’t as convenient as it could be.

I married that lady.

You need not go off social networking like I did but recognise it for what it is: when you’re just a ping away anybody can act like they care. It’s those who come hunting you even when it costs them time and money at least that truly matter.

One other area where these platforms prevents marriage is how you feel inclined to put your relationship out there.

BBM and co exposes relationships too early if you aren’t wise about it.

Putting up info: ‘loving my boo rite now’, ‘I’m so mad at my boo’ etc creates an aura of bad vibes from romantic admirers, ex-lovers and some people on your contact list.

It’s like being in a relationship with your lover, with dozens of other people in it with you both. If I was on BBM in the months before my marriage, I’d have been distracted by other girls or tempted to put my fiancee’s picture and she would have done the same out of subtle compulsion.

Infact, when she put up my pix as her fiancé a week to our wedding, one person on her contact claimed she knew me through someone I’d dated recently to that period but by then, it was too late: She had known me for real, not only online.

If your BB goes faulty after reading this piece, count yourself lucky my friend…it just might be the sound of your wedding bells ringing for you!