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Saudi Man Asks Wife for Divorce After She Ignores His WhatsApp Messages

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech

A man’s wife was reading his texts without responding. So he decided to deliver an in-person message that she couldn’t ignore.

“I want a divorce.”

No read receipt required.

It’s what we imagine has to be one of the first cases of WhatsApp’s new “message read” blue checkmarks ruining a marriage, though we can’t lay all the blame on the app’s developers.

Graphic explaining checkmark system in WhatsApp


According to a story from Gulf News, the Saudi couple were already having relationship problems, mostly stemming from the wife’s propensity to pay more attention to her smartphone than to her husband or child. The final straw for the husband reportedly came on a day when she ignored a call from him, and then a text message (which he noticed, via the read receipts, that she had indeed read). After racing home from work, concerned that something had happened to his dear wife, he found that she was safe, but simply too busy chatting on the phone with a friend to answer his calls and messages.

The read receipt feature that seemed to play a part in the couple’s divorce is common on most messaging platforms in the U.S., but new to the internationally popular WhatsApp. A duo of blue checkmarks in the app now inform senders whether messages have been read or not, and the implied privacy concerns have become a topic of controversy in sections of the world that are just learning to deal with it. (A recent update to the app lets WhatsApp users disable the feature.)

Though we can’t say we’ve ever heard of a marriage ending over an ignored text here in the States, there’s no shortage of memes and gags that poke fun at how Facebook and iMessage’s “read” notifications have the potential to cause problems between clingy partners.

Picture reading 'My iMessage says you read my text message. It's been 30 seconds. Why haven't you responded?'


In any case, this story is less about enabling or disabling read receipts and more about putting down the phone every once in a while. And, yes, never fear: There is indeed an app for that.

Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com. Follow me on Twitter at @danielwbean.