If you've ever been left hanging by someone over text, WhatsApp or the like, you'll know how unbelievably frustrating it can feel. In fact, being "blue-ticked", or left on "Read", can lead us to question our entire self-worth – especially when it happens in the context of a romantic relationship.
Which is why we were intrigued by the news that a woman in Taiwan has been granted a divorce after showing the "Read" indicators on her messages as proof that her husband had been ignoring her, as reported by the BBC.
The woman, who's in her 50s and is surnamed Lin, showed the messages she'd sent her husband, in his 40s, over the messaging app Line as evidence to the family affairs court in Taiwan's Hsinchu district, which ruled in her favour earlier this month. The app showed he'd opened the messages but not replied to any of them.
The ignored messages weren't the only problem with the couple's five-year marriage but Judge Kao said they were crucial evidence that it was irreparable, so the divorce was granted, the BBC reported.
The ignored messages, sent over a six-month period, included one sent following Lin's admittance to hospital after a car accident. She then told her husband she was in the emergency room and asked why he'd read the message but ignored it.
According to reports, he did eventually visit her once in hospital but the ignored messages following his visit were grounds for divorce, the court ruled. The fact that "The defendant did not inquire about the plaintiff, and the information sent by the plaintiff was read but not replied to," was evidence enough that the marriage was "beyond repair", according to the court.
If the husband's lack of concern after his wife's car accident wasn't bad enough, he eventually sent her another short message a month or two later – about their dog. Not a word of consideration about his wife's health. Absolutely charming, eh?
"It was about matters related to their dog and notified her there was mail for her, but he didn't show any concern for her," Judge Kao said of the pitiful message. "It appears there's very little interaction with the plaintiff; the defendant rarely replies to the plaintiff's messages."
Lin also reported being treated like dirt by her husband's family, with whom the couple lived. She was reportedly made to pay most of the household bills and expenses – and was even asked by her mother-in-law to take out a loan to cover her father-in-law's taxes, reported the BBC. Her husband, meanwhile, didn't have a stable income.
The family's unreasonable behaviour extended to restricting the duration and temperature of Lin's showers. Judge Kao said the ignored messages pushed the marriage to breaking point. "A normal couple shouldn't treat each other like that," the Judge said.
"The Line messages were a very important piece of evidence. It shows the overall state of the marriage… that the two parties don't have good communication." Because internet communication is so commonplace these days, it meant the messages could now be used in court, whereas previously it would have required hardcopy evidence, she added.
The husband has reportedly appealed the court's ruling by post but hasn't attended any court hearings or replied to any other court notices, so it looks unlikely that he'll get what he wants. Let's hope the court gives him a taste of his own medicine and overlooks his plea completely.