Internet Dating, Internet Mariage, Gateway to Bliss?

Brenda Yufeh

Have you ever attended an "internet marriage"? By that, I mean a wedding which came as a result of using the World Wide Web to meet a suitable marriage partner. Statistics indicate that internet marriages are en-vogue nowadays. Although many people have not had the chance of attending such weddings, others have witnessed how many people met on different dating sites. Start dating, fall in love and get married. Why some people have ordeal stories to tell about internet marriages, others say it is not only a bed of roses but a gateway to find oneself in Europe or America.

Some might say an internet marriage is risky. It could be, but many choices in life are risky. And it remains true: nothing ventured, nothing gained. A pastor recently said he knows of three couples that met on the internet and are now married. He also knows a fourth couple who plan to get married. There is another woman in her forties who is corresponding with two men who have shown some interest in her through the net.

The web site was the meeting point for Melanie and Jeffery. In her early thirties, Melanie used to live at the Mvog-Atangana neighbourhood in Yaounde. She had never used a computer nor knows how to operate the internet. Being a cleaner in an administrative building, Melanie had to ask those who work in the office to show her how to operate the internet. This was to enable Melanie access to a web site which was meant for those searching for a husband or a wife. Jeffery came across Melanie's profile and became interested in her. Thereafter, they started dating each other. Over the internet, their love grew to the extent that they decided to tie the knots in holy matrimony. Before marriage, Jeffery, a French nationality, came to Cameroon to see Melanie for the first time. On his arrival at the Nsimalen Airport in Yaounde, he was with his son. For over two years, Melanie is happily living in France with her husband.

Not many people are lucky to narrate such a sweet story behind internet marriage like Melanie. Although Constance firmly believes in internet marriages, she says there is more than just dating and getting married through the web. "I married and divorced someone each month over the internet without ever having met them. One turned out to be a chimpanzee with really good skills at hitting the keyboard", Constance notes. Unlike Constance who was able to discover the nature of her man without ever meeting him, some girls have almost died of shock when they discovered that the person they use to discuss with never presented a true picture of him. Some have rejected their men on arrival at the airport when they realise he does not look like the person they expected. Others have travelled abroad just to discover that the person they called "my husband" was either a handicapped who could not do anything for himself or some person they never dreamt of accepting as a husband.

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