OPINION | Celeb splits: The end doesn't define their whole journey
It's been a tough week in Mzansi. Not only was it confirmed that Maps Maponyane and Nomzamo Mbatha had split, there was also talk that Maps had cheated. Despite his team insisting that the cheating rumours were malicious and had damaged his reputation, Mzansi was still devastated by the break-up. Over 74,000 tweets with his name on it were posted in 24 hours after the news broke. Folks were invested!
This was a couple that kept their relationship relatively low-profile. They didn't flaunt it and didn't do magazine covers together. It was theirs. And yet it became ours.
But as devastated as people were, they immediately looked for a replacement to fill the position of CEO of the Boyfriend Academy, since Maps was no longer "bae material."
ProVerb's name came up and those couple goals were swerved in the direction of the businessman and musician. But here's the thing: Pro didn't apply and certainly didn't want the position. He made it known that he wasn't interested in the gig and was resigning with immediate effect.
"I refuse to live my life in accordance with your pressure and unrealistic expectations."
And he's right. It is pressure. Yes, they're in the spotlight. Yes, they chose this life and know that along with fame comes all of our eyes. Bonang recently said in an interview with True Love that it's never just the two of you in a relationship. It's everybody else.
She knows the game by now. Yet, the same can be said about people who aren't famous. How many of us have been in a relationship or know of people in relationships where other people get involved. You're dating a nice guy who looks after you but you just don't feel a connection. Your mama likes him and your friends adore him, so you stay longer.
You're married and you know your man cheats, but you have kids and you feel obliged. You hide your own feelings. You forsake your own happiness. It takes a really strong person to know their own truth and have the courage to face that truth... and act on it.
Now you're in the spotlight and you're constantly being told that you're couple goals. That each is lucky to have the other one. That a break-up would be the end of the world.
Yes, Pro, it is pressure and unrealistic. That'll likely never go away, whether you're a public persona or not. The onus lies in the person's ability to separate themselves from it to the best of their ability. Like in Pro's case, taking himself out of the game.
The big question, however, is why do we keep looking to celebs to be our couple goals? Psychologists will tell us that it's because it's people that we aspire to be like, who we look up to and who we can relate to. They've "made it."
But hasn't history taught us that we need to stop putting these guys up on a pedestal? Zinhle and AKA. Nomzamo and Maps. Beyoncé and Jay Z (Yes, remember the lift incident) Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. We swooned when we saw them together. We thought that love had won. They gave us all the goals. And then? Boom. Our unrealistic expectations in them came crashing down and we're left feeling betrayed. Because we were so invested in this thing, somebody else's relationship, that we too feel the hurt.
So isn't it time we start looking inward? Surely there are better examples of couple goals in your inner circle that you can look up to? Grandparents? Parents? Siblings? Friends? Cousins?
And if not, then we need to acknowledge that these guys are human. They falter. They go through things, just like you and I. We don't know their story. Their Instagram life is not their real life.
Yet, we all (me included) continue to deposit our feelings into their romance. It's human nature. You can't help what you feel. But what you can do is realise that the end doesn't take away from what it was.
They were goals. They loved. They were happy. They lived.
Surely their end should not define their journey. I certainly hope my whole story isn't judged by just a few chapters.