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Chiugo Akaolisa: Keeping Your Options Open



I am serial monogamist which means that I can only focus on one partner at a time. My friends and family know this; so every blessed day under the blue sky till situations changed, I get the advice to keep my options open. According to them, it doesn’t make any sense to “put all your eggs in one basket”. To avoid the risk of total loss, it is better to keep various people around until the winner emerges.

Keeping your options open prevents you from investing too much time and energy on the wrong person and it gives you the ability to realistically assess the people that you’re dating through direct comparison.  Nobody wants to be the one after years has passed, still dealing with a person who may be a total mismatch or have fear of commitment. By being conscious of what the dating market has to offer, you create an insurance policy that guarantees you won’t die alone. The older I get, the more I see its value.

Truth be told, I have considered it many times as the benefits are overwhelming. The most important benefit of dating more than one partner until you are married is that it gives us the opportunity to find the best partner; oh and get multiple gifts and incentives.

It is more common with women than men although each gender does it for different reasons. For women, with the marriage game getting more desperate and complicated, it is easier to back up our back up, just to be safe. I know of a few friends who played the “First to Propose” game and ended marrying the fastest guy. For men, playing around till it’s time to tie the knot sounds good.

Personally, it doesn’t make ethical sense to me. Here’s why:

Keeping an array of partners in the aim to figure out the best or fastest one or just to have fun, borders on selfish. Primarily, your temporary happiness is more important that the hearts at stake. Leading people on and keeping them ‘just in case’ does not create a good karma balance, especially when most of them don’t make the cut.

You also run the risk of creating limited experiences of each partner and not fully opening up in order not to get too attached. Keeping multiple partners takes the focus out of finding genuine love to just finding someone that wins over the rest.

What I found out with each person who multiple dates is that, they enjoy getting lots of attention from various different sources which helps them get some sort of validation that they’re seeking.

If you are single, it is okay to weigh your prospects and decide the best one for you but being in a committed relationship that has prospects and still entertaining other people doesn’t sound fair to me.

With each relationship, I believe in letting it run its course, learning from past mistakes and applying the knowledge in the next relationship. When you focus on one person, it allows you to decipher his/her character faster and decide if it is something you are willing to deal with long-term. Nothing can slip through the crevices when you are fully involved.

In my opinion, dating someone exclusively will let you determine through their actions and interactions (not just words and your imagination) whether you are two people on the same page with similar primary values. Building a stable, loving relationship takes time utter focus and commitment.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Love doesn’t mean anything if you are not willing to make a commitment- Nicholas Sparks.


Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Orangeline

Chiugo Veronica Akaolisa is a graduate from the University of Alberta, Canada. She is a God-lover and a recluse. Her every spare time is spent writing and developing her business. She is an entrepreneur and a budding novelist. Her true passion is Poetry and Relationship Tips. She has a minor in Psychology. Twitter: Verachi | Facebook: | Instagram: missverachi |


  1. vickie

    August 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    well said…

  2. loveaddict

    August 30, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Chiugo and her killer articles. well written! I choose to keep my options open though. Just in case.

    • mariam

      August 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      how dare you, you are the problem of girls now adays , using men for thier money and keeping a small bf at the side .God is watching you

    • Zeeebby

      September 1, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Why are you taking it personal? abegpark well joor….she chose to, its her decision

  3. marvellous

    August 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Backing up a back up seems like a prudent idea…but make sure your back up does not know he or she is a back up,else you will become a back up never to be used. My point is your actions will be interpreted as objectifying the backed up. They might not live it down and might, f you are lucky break up with you and if you are not, continue the relationship but this time with the sole aim of exacting vengeance. Too dramatic a response? Don’t take my word for it, but playing with people’s emotions… Not a brilliant play.

  4. lara

    August 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks Chiugo well said my friends keep saying to me Lara its best you keep you options open so you don’t get heart broken after years of dating your boyfriend and so what if i get heart broken life goes on mehn, am a one partner stick on if there’s anything like that, as far as you guys are on same page on what you want. Multiple dating to me is tasking I just can’t deal, marriage is a long time commitment.

  5. Hope

    August 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Totally agree with you. I believe in exclusively dating one person and not having many guys around.

  6. ak

    August 30, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    well put but it’s utterly wrong by moral standards, keeping your option open results to you having several relationship on deceit, or do you want to tell your PARTNERS you are sampling them ?

  7. queenE

    August 30, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I agree with you “writer”, personally I find it difficult to be in a relationship with 2 pple at the same time. My friends tell me the same ” don’t put all your eggs in one basket ” and my question or reply is “what if you put your eggs in different baskets and it got broken on the same day? What I rather do is I put my eggs in one basket and hand it to God fpr safe keeping.. If that egg is the right one for me, he will help me mould and prune the egg and if not, he will help thrash that egg and replace it with the best egg for me.
    If you get my point .

    • good comment

      September 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      Nice one queen. Thanks for sharing

  8. mabel

    August 30, 2015 at 4:36 pm


  9. Rrrrrrr

    August 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    The is no sure way to this relationship thingy, maintain one relationship and one person can wake up one day and say your breasts are too flat, your family is too much, too much responsibility, or my personal favourite, we aren’t working anymore?. To each his/her own.

  10. Las

    August 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    As long as you are not sleeping with any of the ‘options’, I don’t see anything wrong in it.

    We consider every option possibe while making all other decisions pertaining to life – you want to buy a house, you look at several and then make a choice. If you don’t find what you are looking for the first time, you keep looking.

    You are out of high school and planning to go to college/university, you consider the options, once you have pinpointed the best in your view, you register/enrol.

    Why should marriage be different?

    • good comment

      September 2, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      Marriage is different because it’s a life time commitment and if you keep sampling them,u may never know which is best for you. Instead of having all these options y not hand them to God for directions.

  11. nana

    August 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I regret having spent 7 years of my precious life with a man who i loved and was faithful to, for me to discover that he is married with children and has been using all this long. I saw a us when instead, i was never included in his future. I was naive and believed him when he told me that his studies were taking a toll on him, i gave him space, assisted him financially (have no regrets, a friend in need is a friend), but he played with my emotions. Never wanted to use protection and always encouraged me to take the morning after pill. “Baby, i am no ready for a child” “Baby i want to be settled before i ask for your hand or have children with you” “Baby, i have never loved someone as much as i love you” “I want you to be my wife, the mother of my kids” ” i want my daughter to resemble you” Baby this, baby that”. The guy never introduce you to any of his friends or relative, always silly excuses. Point blank, i was a fool to have loved a guy in pursuit of his interests. We were students at first, he saved money by moving in with me. Contributed at first and then it all stopped. I loved a gigolo and he is back with his family. Wasted years and the writing was on the wall and i ignored it. I so wish i had option B C and D. Problem, i am such a bad liar. I would have been found out calling Jean by the name of Raphael. So let not me regret the so called wasted years. Even the crook managed to make me smile all those years. I am grateful he has gone to his wife instead of continuing deceiving me. I am older than i was before and i hope wiser for the mistakes not to repeat. Somebody always give you clues that you are being used and not loved. Refuse to be a waste and be brave to be left alone, single for a while. Better to be on your own rather than surrounded with the wrong crowd. A life of a free loader is too dangerous to even flirt with the idea. Be good at the game or you lose yourself. Love yourself and you will know whether you are with the right guy. Somebody cannot claim to love you and waste your time, act on you, humiliate you, make you abort… Love and respect yourself and attract love to you and all the blessings!

    • Tari

      August 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      bn will make a post out of thos.
      We will discuss then.
      Sincere condolences for your wasted time.

    • natu

      August 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      You didn’t see the red flags or did you choose to ignore them. I will recommend a book for you. It is called ‘how to find yourself while looking for Mr right’ by shawanda Patterson. It is an easy read and I highly recommend it for all the women on bella naija.

    • owelle

      August 30, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      E-hugs dear

    • nonijaz

      August 31, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Seven years is such a long time. Wow! I am so sorry it happened to you this way, but I must tell you this, God can turn everything around in his time. Just like you, I suck terribly at lying, so I can’t even consider having an option B. I however don’t believe or indulge in premarital sex, for 4 main reasons;
      1, I am a Christian
      2. It complicates relationships
      3. Its harder to move on after being heart broken.
      4. So many STDs and pregnancy risk.

      And as you would guess, absence of sex already limits my options to the bearest minimum.
      Only a few brave, understanding, and godfearing men will toll that path in these generation. Happy one of them found me and I pray it ends in marriage.
      It is deceitful and distracting and risky to keep more than one partner.

  12. Diddie

    August 30, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    U mean ure a recluse, i used t feel weird that I am one, so there are people like me?? @ Chiugo

    • j

      August 31, 2015 at 8:53 am

      yes yes!

      we are here. lol

    • Chiugo Akaolisa

      August 31, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      There are many of us out there. Maybe we should form an association 🙂

  13. Ndidi

    August 30, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I love this article. I am glad to know that someone somewhere shares my exact sentiments. I honestly do not have the time and energy to date multiple people at the same time. I find it very draining but applaud people who are able to do this.
    As soon as I realize you are a good fit for me and we agree to stay commited to each other. What is the essence of looking else where? To avoid heartbreak or to see who gives you a more sincere and secure love?
    Often times, Heartbreak is inevitable but the tone of this article elicited that we can learn and grow from it. By staying commited to one partner, I am able to fully realize the flaws and strength of the relationship, my partner and mine as well. It is such a beautiful experience. I also had a good friend tell me to keep my options open just incase. But hey, how sure and confident are you that your backup will not hoodwink you?
    I am certain that people who prefer keeping their options open will have solid reasons why they do so. Good for them. My case is swhen I amsingle, dating multiple people at the same time is still draining to me.
    I also think that people who stay commited to one partner may tend to have less transitory relationships because they are not looking for other options, they simply put a lot of time and effort to make it work with that one person. My advice to people like myself is NEVER rush into these relationships. Take your time, have fun together, study your potential partner, explore and communicate effectively. That way when you decide to be together, you have an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Another advice is to set goals before you get into the relationship, what are you and your partner working towards achieving together? That way when emotions begin to attenuate (yes emotions will fade), you will still have something strong to hold unto that brings you both together.
    Do not be scared to commit to one person because of the fear of not getting married to that person eventually. All relationships must not end with marriage. Better to marry a good partner later than to marry and evil one earlier.

  14. Tosin

    August 30, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    sorry, i don’t understand. getting this mixed up with my corporate finance video lessons (opportunity cost etc)
    nna/nne, do whatever you want.

  15. Manny(Yes!, that Manny)

    August 30, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Started reading the article from the view of a guy…..then skim through to comments and bang!….author’s name mentioned with killer article. Oh, a lady’s view then!. I swear this Akara for breakfast might be affecting me!.

  16. aproko

    August 30, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    God will punish all those men who have wives and girlfriends and are still chasing girls like they are single. Later you will see their wedding or child dedication on BellaNaija. They have a special place in hell, I swear!!

    • Tolu

      August 31, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Amen! Me, i have decided that i will make any man i meet now swear on his life (and Bible/Quran/ogun/esu/ayelala etc) that he doesn’t have a wife & kids. Life is too short to be wondering if I’m dating a married man or not!

  17. Ta

    August 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Praise the Lord o…I just got the right wisdom I’ve been looking for. Now I’ll add 4 more ladies to the single one I’ve been with for years. Thanks for rightly educating me.

  18. B

    August 30, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    People(both sexes) need to appreciate relationships generally. Newly single I got advice from a few people saying things like ‘oh you are still young, sample different people so u get the best option. Or things like ‘the girls with the best husbands are the ones who play around a little’. I saw the sense in what they were saying after all no one is to be trusted, a guy that has interest in you could also be interested in someone else.
    I eventually met a guy and we really like each other but we haven’t defined anything yet.
    Then someone tried to caution me about the possibility that he might be talking to someone else too, which really got to me and I realised I even like this guy more than I thought
    That night I said to myself not to toy with anyones feelings as I won’t want anyone to do the same to me.
    I came to a conclusion that trying to see more than one person can lead to 3 things
    1- you might hurt yourself if eventually u find someone u like that doesn’t feel the same way
    2- you might actually meet someone genuine but because you still wana sample around u lose the person
    3- while trying to look around u might waste time and not eventually find what u want because u won’t be content since u are looking for the best

    Taking things spiritual now, I then said it’s not possible that I have to date different people to find the best one. God is so great u might never have a boyfriend and end up with the best partner for u

    Just my thoughts

    • Tosin

      August 31, 2015 at 7:05 am

      or you might be looking for nothing at all and have the joyful experience of seeing a number of wonderful people at the same time.
      all this gulder ultimate search… 😉

      as Bez sang, always do things with zuciya daya, with one heart. if you’re married, be honest. if you’re hanging out, be honest. ladies, blokes, stop being scammers. stop pretending, stop lying, everything will be better then. but you know, “corruption ti hit nation” so that’s the current state of things. maga maga the maga, to infinity, na so we see am.

  19. nwanyi na aga aga

    August 31, 2015 at 10:17 am

    The issue I have with the relationships of these days is that young people don’t cultivate friendship anymore before jumping into their “sexuationship”(coined from sexual relationship)/unsigned marriage – . Why wont young people make friends? Why would you confine yourself to just one person whom you re not even married for no just reason? Why not have a lot of friends male or female? A lot can be gained if you just make friends, get to know people beyond their vagina and penis. Expand your network, go out for drinks, sight seeing, movie partners, book partners, road trips, discuss businesses, partner in business, it will ease your mind from sex and relationship, If from your friendly circle a young man proposes at least you don’t run the risk of him being a married man, you don’t have to start wasting time getting to know him, at this time, you will either know if you can or cannot marry the said person, so time wasted is limited. If you propose to a young lady she wont start giving you the gist of getting to know you while stringing you along, at least you would ve known her on a neutral ground so you will know her dos and donts. You meet a man today all you start seeing is wedding gown, what if he came into your life to better your career? Or to give you that introduction you ve been waiting for into the business of your dreams?
    For me I encourage young people to develop friendships, its easier to move from friendship to courtship, if the courtship works good, if it doesn’t good. When u re courting you wont need a back up plan because you already have a plan in motion, you understand where the relationship is heading, but this undefined “sexuationship”/unsigned marriage of these days, you don’t know the boy/girl’s mind whether he/she will want to marry you or not, whether he/she shares the same sentiment as you do. lets be real the tendency to have a back up plan is usually high, a lot of people might claim serial monogamy but then there will be that one guy/girl that you like small that you re neither here nor there with in case of incasity, that in itself is a backup plan.

  20. wunmi

    August 31, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    If anyone had told me I’d EVER double date I would probably have had a fight with that person but I did try out multiple relationships and yes it is draining – physically and emotionally. I felt guilty all through. In fact I had to confess to one of the guys. It wasn’t something I did for fun but cause I was dating a guy I didn’t feel anything for; friends encouraged me to give it a try since the guy liked me, age wasn’t on my side and he really was a great guy but I just couldn’t bring myself to fall crazy for him no matter how hard I tried. I got attracted to this other guy and BAM! I was dating 2 guys. It was plain selfish but I suffered too. Looking at guy 1 in the eyes and not necessarily lying but withholding information from him killed me a thousand times over. This relationship thing ehn is just by God’s grace. Some are favored others just bag experiences from repeated hurts. Sometimes I wonder if we truly have a choice. Are we not just characters in God’s script of life playing out a role (I digress). *Sighs* God help us jare

    • Tosin

      September 1, 2015 at 9:16 am

      when i did this, they both knew from day 1 or 2. a lot of work, a lot of fun, highly recommend. it’s sort of like having two sons.

  21. loveaddict

    August 31, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    The good girls are stupid and will die stupid. Look around. People with options will forever marry first.

    • Blessedheart

      August 31, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      And then what? Why do we keep acting like the wedding day is the beginning of heaven. Be true to yourself and you’ll find happiness and peace.

    • IMO

      August 31, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      …and i think they are the lots with most problems – gay, porn watching, sex addict, womanizing, filthy (etc) husbands.

  22. Tunmi

    August 31, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Until you are monogamous and exclusive with one person, keep your options open.

  23. Etekamba

    September 1, 2015 at 3:20 am

    This is real talk Chiugo. When you’re mature, looking for a fulfilling relationship and awesome married life, you’ll learn to take time and focus on one person whose worth the while. You would not be all about the physical but try to see if this person complements you and fits just right with some compromise on both parts. They would grow on you and when you’re both sure, voila! Like a rose you’ll both blossom and your union is blessed..And for the person who asked if we have a choice, yes you do. He who finds a wife finds a good thing, the wife also has to be available to be found innit? Ladies don’t get caught up in the wedding and forget that you’re enrolling in the institution called marriage. Shout out to you Vera for this jewel of a piece. Happy new month! Bless

    • Tosin

      September 1, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Chiugo darling, what are you waiting for? oh wait, for Etekamba to make the second move? 😀 😉 🙂

  24. Zeeebby

    September 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Its hard enough to date one…. then you want to add more…abeg I dnt have the energy.

  25. Awishkaa

    September 2, 2015 at 11:09 am

    First of all, I find this post very well written.
    I am currently dating a man, he is an awesome boyfriend; kind, generous, handsome and always here for me and people around me. But here is the point; he comes from a family where the tradition is to ”give” theirs sons a wife. He is 32 and has a wife in our home country. He has no kids yet and we both live in the same country. I always knew about this situation but I still dated him. I know what y’all think, ‘if you knew from the beginning then why have you date him in the first place’ ? I did because I know he did not choose his wife and this situation is common with people from his ethnicity.
    Many of them marry their gf as second wives as it I out of question to divorce the ‘family wife’.
    But now, after a year of sweet love I find myself wanting to get married and start a family as I’m turning 27.
    I used to think that having a boyfriend ad being exclusive was with no doubt the right thing to do.
    For a year, even tho’ he went to our country 2 times I did not cheat at all.
    But I am starting to think that in my case this in not the right thing to do. Because even if we love each other there I clearly no future possible between us. So I’m changing my mind. I already told him what I think and to him, time will tell.
    Well no, time won’t tell because even if we keep the status quo 10 years from now, he has nothing to lose.
    I do, I am a woman, I am young, educated, I work and I want to get married. If I stay like this knowing about all of the elements, then I am a fool. This is common sense.
    Still he doesn’t want to hear about a breakup. So what should I do ?
    I met a guy a week ago, he is 27 too, not married, no kids. I have ben frank to him and told him I have a bf. It doesn’t seem to bother him s he frequently asks me to have dinner with him.
    I have decided to see him once I a while for dinner or having glass when I feel like doing so.
    My opinion is that if you know what there is no future for your relationship and the bf still doesn’t want to let you go, well, KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN !
    Your husband or future husband when you are sure about it deserves your exclusivity, otherwise, think about yourself first, think about your parents- who raised you to be somebody’s mother and wife one day and not t have the gf status for years and yeas for no result-
    My father is a very opened and understanding person, thank God we are very close..
    When he told me last time that he wanted to see his grand children, I took it as a sign.
    I won’t rush things with the new guy as I usually do, will take my time to learn to know him better.
    Now I am keeping my options open ad I am thankful that I met this new guy … who knows, maybe is he my future husband and the father of my children …

  26. uju

    September 2, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I have tried to date exclusively three times as i am too damn lazy to invest my energy in having other options. I must say none of them worked out as the guys all had other options (cheating) and one of them was even married and i had no idea i was dating a married man…dont come for me, his wife lived else where and he was a VERY VERY smooth criminal.. anyway i met a charming young man and i told myself never again would i not have another option and i tried to do that and it almost backfired because i am just not good at lying and sneaking around, One day i told him i was travelling as i had been doing that frequently, he told me point blank that if i go to another city to see another guy i shouldnt bother checking up on him when i get back because its over as soon as i board that plane that he understands that girls need to keep their options open once they are hiting 30 but he would not play second fiddle and he wasnt here for sampling…i froze on m tracks that day and decided to see what this big talker was about and decided to commit fully to dating only him exclusively. it was a big rsik for me considering all i had been true, trust me this platform is too small to go into details. I put the relationship in God’s hands, learnt from my past relationships, stopped been bitter, loved myself, kept my trust issues in check and gave the relationship my best. He asked me to marry him after 4months and now and we are engaged to be married….I am beyond happy as this man is better than any of my ex boyfriends and he is REALLY the one for me. I am happy i did not lose him while looking for other OPTIONS. But then again what works for nkiru may not work for janet. To each his own.

    • missappleberry

      September 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Kai! Beautiful story :*

  27. uju

    September 2, 2015 at 11:41 am

    pardon my typos..i left my glasses at

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