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Nkem Says: Not Keeping Your Options Open is Your Own Fault

Nkem Ndem

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You know it. I know it. We know it. Dating more than one person at the same time is the new norm. You could be seeing Tobias every Tuesday night, but also spending your Sundays with Festus. You may call up Bartholomew when you want to grab a drink, but invite Timothy over when you just want to “Netflix and chill”. The idea is that you are keeping your options open.

For someone like me who is certainly almost incapable of giving her attention or affection to more than one man at a time, this concept of keeping options open has been a huge challenge. I have always struggled to see the benefit to it. But, last week, I was interviewing a friend, ‘Sade’, for an article, we started on the topic of multi-dating and she said to me: “Nkem. Please. Stay open to dating multiple people until you receive the official commitment you are looking for, because in the end, not keeping your options open will be your own fault.
For the first time, I was willing to entertain the thought without reservations.

Just like me, Sade had initially been of the school of thought that dating more than one person held the risk of dilettantish shallowness. It ensured you never do anything with any of the men wholeheartedly, and you get yourself trapped in the circle of indefinitely postponing a decision until you’re certain it’s a perfect choice – a conviction that is never achieved. Then, she met Bode.

Bode was like a breath of fresh air after a series of failed relationships. And with all the attention and affection he bestowed on Sade, she started to feel like all her relationship dreams were finally going to come true.

Out of the blues, Bode stopped calling or making plans with her as he used to. In her mind, he was already her prince in shining armour and somehow, they had already moved from courting stage to official dating. In fact, he was already her significant other.

Upon his withdrawal, the butterflies in her stomach were replaced by a gut-wrenching tension and she just couldn’t fathom where she went wrong. One of days, however, she ran into Bode at the movies with another girl. Of course, she had a mini-heart attack and called him out on it later that day, to let him know what she saw. To her utmost shock, he clearly told her that he was not aware they were dating exclusively, and she was being dramatic.

He was right too; he really had not made any commitment.

According to Sade, that moment of truth made her sit down and ask herself a question: if he’s keeping his options open, shouldn’t you do the same? She was challenged to try something new. She started going on casual dates with several different men and before long, she realized that not only did keeping her options open to make her feel and become more attractive to men, it made her journey to a committed relationship that much easier.

By not focusing all of her time and attention on just one guy, she cut out the risk of investing too much of herself in the wrong person. Also, she had a better opportunity to realistically assess the men. When she finally found the one who she felt the most compatible with and who was as serious as she was (he gave her the truest form of commitment – a ring), she cut out all the other men and gave him all her focus and devotion. By keeping her options open, she saved herself from all the heartbreaks she may have had to endure and saved herself from wasted time.

At the end of our conversation, it was hard to reject Sade’s advice, as I know she is currently in a serious relationship and genuinely content.

Sure, you are to be blamed if you get rejected for choosing to build your world around someone who has not committed themselves to you, instead of keeping your options open until they do. However, I don’t believe that you necessarily have to wait for a ring to focus on one man. While you are not keeping all your eggs in one basket, you should cut off the others the moment you agree on exclusivity with one man.

Again, you want to show every guy you decide to interact with some respect by focusing on each when you’re alone together. Put away your phone, stay off social media and spend one-on-one time with them. The idea is to get to know them, right? If you feel the need to flirt via text with other people while you are with one man, then you may want to re-evaluate why you’re keeping your option open in the first place. Perhaps you may just have a great need of constant attention – a weakness that needs to be worked on, rather than covered up by a constant stream of men.

Furthermore, keeping your options open does not in any way imply that you should “hoe” around or stick to the “player” lifestyle and try to run through as much randoms as possible.

Sex should not even be involved when keeping your options open, because sex has a way of clouding one’s judgment no matter how ‘mature’ you think you are.
If for some reason, you are already sleeping with the guy you’re seeing, and you decide – because he has not made the commitment you seek – to start sleeping with other men on the side, it’s important to let him know, so he can decide for himself whether he wants the open arrangement to persist. Put the ball in his court.

Some men like to know; others find it hurtful to hear since they have established a connection to you. It is either he refuses to “share you” or, he’ll leave you alone; and you’ll find out he wasn’t worth your time and heart anyway.

Do you agree?

Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for copywriting, editing and proofreading. She is also a content creator (web, T.V, radio) who has had stints with Jumia and SpiceTV Africa e.t.c. Now she works at Glam Africa as Online editor and BellaNaija as Features writer. E-mail: [email protected]; IG: @kem_dem; Twitter: @ndemv

44 Comments

  1. bodunade

    May 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Saint Nkem ??. Dater of one man at a time. Oh, that’s where my reading stopped. I thought this was going to be deep but I have to wait a little longer.

  2. Darius

    May 19, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Congratulations Nkem! With this nonsensical article you have finally succeeded in leading many ladies astray and ruining many relationships. Some dumb lady out there is going to stick to your advise and mess up big time. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is now a relationship expert, dishing out unhelpful advice.

    If you board a taxi and it breaks down on the road, you can either wait for it to be fixed or hop in on the next available taxi, right? A lady should be able to know when a man truly loves her and when he’s just leading her on. Come to think of it, why would any lady want to keep a man she can’t squeeze a commitment out of as an option. You know he doesn’t have your interest at heart, yet you keep him as an option. Does it make sense? Why not quit the relationship and move on with your life?

    So, is it also ok for a man to keep his options open

    Nkem, you’ve been leading ladies astray in this blog since 1960.

    • Dee

      May 19, 2017 at 9:02 am

      “A lady should be able to know when a man truly loves her and when he’s just leading her on. ”

      You think we all don’t wish we had that super power?

      “You know he doesn’t have your interest at heart, yet you keep him as an option”

      How would we just “know” he doesn’t have our interest at heart without having this same super power I referred to? Isn’t it after a while that we are able to realize this and then “know” he’s not a viable option?

      Oga Darius, these things are not an exact science. If they were, articles like these wouldn’t abound.

    • Dainty

      May 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      The last sentence got me in stitches ?

    • Grace

      May 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      I beg to disagree. Think back to early teens when a lot of guys were ‘toasting’ you and you went out on different dates for the fun of it. The guy you eventually dated earned your trust and you went in with your eyes open after he had asked you out or officially introduced you as his girlfriend.

      Go out on dates, enjoy the attention and go home, when a man has stepped up and earned your commitment with a ring, you make it exclusive

    • Kbear

      May 19, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Abeg forget all that “A lady should be able to know when a man truly loves her and when he’s just leading her on. ” What about if he spends all his time with you and acts like he just cant live life without you only to get hit up on Facebook by a total stranger asking if you guys were together as he keeps lying to her and she needs to know the truth??? Abeg,..dey no dey write this kain thing for face. At the end of the day, nah prayer sure pass to help reveal who these wolves truly are.

    • Abiola

      May 20, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you anymore. People should take the time to know themselves before getting to know other people or letting them in their lives. We feel the need to chase and fix and be the almighty hero or she-ro is why people run into issues when it comes to matters of the heart.

    • Abiola

      May 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      @Dee the super power is called listening to your intuition and trusting yourself.

  3. Meestyk

    May 19, 2017 at 7:13 am

    @Bonuade she said “almost incapable of…” ! Na wa. Oh ye trolls arise. She has laid out another mat for y’all to spread yourselves on. Nkem i dont know how you survive all the hating. If na me, i for don quit since. You must be one strong lady.

    • Oye

      May 19, 2017 at 7:35 am

      “For someone like me who is **certainly almost** incapable… ”

      What the heck was that statement supposed to be?

      How can “certainly” and then “almost” stand side by side when she’s trying to give us an insight on where she stands on an issue? No intelligent figure of speech here, just an attempt to use as many words as she can muster.

      I try to like this girl’s articles but she doesn’t help me.

    • Messy

      May 19, 2017 at 8:21 am

      @oye she can’t help you, yet you keep reading her articles and commenting, spending the time God gave you on someone that isnt helping you. You see your life? Smh.

    • Pippy

      May 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

      But @Messy, why are you so irate? What @oye said is very true. And adding “God” into your comment doesn’t make you less of a negative person than the person you’re trying to correct.
      Y’all need to chill out sef, it’s Friday bikonu

  4. Spunky

    May 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

    “Keeping your options open does not in any way imply that you should hoe around…but it is what it is. You seriously think most Naija men have time to lick ice creme with you or hold hands while taking a walk with you in the park? Stick to one partner per time. If you ain’t catching the vibe, move on.

    • john

      May 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

      @spunky when I say nowaday women have fish brains , they say the sexist have started again…I have said it before..if not for sex and maybe children .. 95 % of men won’t have anything to do with women, the other 5 % are men like bobrisky( if u will call him that)..just tell me what other things women bring to the table in a relantionship..can u honestly name 3?..holding a meaningful conversation with one is a headache itself
      .the end goal for any man asking u out is just sex or feel it is time for him to start a family for the sake of having children …all other fancy thing u hear na wash.. believe it or not

    • Tee

      May 19, 2017 at 8:55 am

      John, please don’t blame us all for your preference for hanging out with the dull women who’ve made you generalize in this fashion.

      I suppose there’s a reason you attract those sorts. Search yourself.

    • Fear God...

      May 19, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Oga John please come up with a new ‘insult’ if you are hell bent on being that way. All your comments now start with a derivative of ‘if i tell you all women have fish brain, they will say i have come again…’ It’s frankly quite boring now.

    • Adunnie

      May 19, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Please john don’t be stupid this morning. You characterized a whole specie made in the image of God as fish brains and sex machines. Don’t you think a nut is loose up in your head? Have you met all the women in the women that you think you have the right to say 95% have fish brain? If all the women you’ve met in your life are dumb and can’t hold a conversation or bring anything to the table it says a lot about you as a person. You’re always forming intelligent but you can’t even pass your message across without being condescending and acting like a whiny child throwing tantrums here and there. Silly creature.

    • Adunnie

      May 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

      *world

  5. john

    May 19, 2017 at 10:02 am

    see all the deflections..tell it to the birds ……and yet no one have said The 3 things women actually bring to the table in a relantionship apart from sex and bearing children..infact,let me make it easier, leave the relantionship part ..name 3 meaningful new innovative things women actually bring to the society or created or founded in general not things handed to them by men to manage for a while? just no insults and deflecton..just name them, u can even Google

    • No Headaches Please

      May 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

      @John

      It’s because no one feels they can actually have a conversation with you or even wants to. Why would I want to discuss 3 things with a whining child?
      What difference will it make?
      Child will keep licking the snot dribbling from his nose and keep whining.

      *Oh by the way I suggest YOU use Google.
      It will help you a lot and hopefully save you the continued effort in embarrassing yourself.

    • www.thelmathinks.com

      May 19, 2017 at 11:21 am

      1. This website that you so consistently and relentlessly visit every hour of everyday is a creation of a WOMAN who was single at its inception and creation and did so singlehandedly. Her skill and constant innovation is what has kept you here.

      2. The most talked about Nigerian movie and highest earner in the history of Nigerian movies was directed by a woman for a production company solely owned by a woman. (Who both happen to be single btw). A woman who dare I say is achieving things in the media industry that no Nigerian man ever has.

      3. I’ve observed that all the Nigerians presently making great strides in the academia and other industries abroad, gaining PhDs at a very young age and being snatched up by the biggest industries in the world are women.

      I could go on and on but you also have access to google and theres a limit to the amount of time I allow myself spend on balderdash like your comments on this blog when I’m busy strategizing on how to turn my growing local business into a global entity, which wasn’t handed to me by any man. Neither boyfriend nor father.

      One day you’d be honest with yourself about why women make you so insecure.

    • Ideal

      May 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Oga If you can name 3 things men bring into relationships then I’ll answer you. Please remind me.If I hear sex, money or busines/career push…Smh

    • Kbear

      May 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      But forreal John…..you dont have sense sha. If you really want to know, pick up your bible and read it.

  6. funmilola

    May 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This isn’t called “keeping your options open” it’s called cheating….. please open your eyes well and ask the right questions before you commit deeply so as not to get hurt

    • Lacey

      May 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      @ Funmilola thank you !!! Nigerians think is only when you sleep with a man that is cheating!!! The emotional one is worse !!!
      No woman that knows her salt needs anyone to make her happy!!! A woman is a helpmeet, let that man that both your visions align find you, as a man is the head!That is why the Bible says men love your wives and women submit to your husband!!!

  7. john

    May 19, 2017 at 11:50 am

    lol…I know it

  8. Skits

    May 19, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Guys, please i need your opinion on something. My husband has a cousin of his living with us, she is as stubborn as they come but my husband is a very jovial person so he just lets alot of things slide. She is 17 and just talks to my hubby anyhow as if they are mates. I have spoken to hubby several times to not let her disrespect him like that, but he says its my job to talk to her not his. I have also reprimanded her on several occasions but since he does not mind, i had to let them be but just that they should not do it in my presence.
    Anyways, the reason for this epistle is that she has some eczema looking things on her back and hubby took her to the hospital to get some drugs which includes an ointment. So after bathing at night, she would just walk past me to hubby to rub it on her while she is just tying only towel.
    I confronted them after the third day that its not proper for him to do that since i am in the house. But hubby said she is his cousin and he has the right to apply it on her whether i like it or not.
    I just want to know if i am wrong to feel the way i do? I feel so disrespected in my home. And this is not the first time he lets his family members disregard me.

    • Kbear

      May 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      It doesn’t make sense Skits but prayerfully attack the situation.

    • I

      May 19, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      I’m sorry but whatever relationship your husband has with his cousin (who is his sibling by the way) is between them. Why are you catching feelings for his cousin disrespecting him? You should have no qualms with it if it isn’t done to you and if he isn’t complaining. Before you know it, the family would think you are trying to cause strife between them. Be guided. As for the rubbing part, my brother can still apply ointment on me whether he’s married or I’m married. Some cousins are close like siblings, some aren’t. Me thinks these ones are the former so just view it from that angle. Don’t turn an innocent relationship into ‘disrespect’ please.

    • memebaby

      May 20, 2017 at 7:22 am

      hmmm you should feel disrespected.. a TEENAGER is doing all this in your home and shes not scared ?? or are you 18-20 year old.. hmm Talk to that husband of yours.. this isnt right.

  9. Adelaide

    May 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I totally agree with the article.

  10. mmhhh

    May 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Dear all,

    I think what Nkem is trying to say to the ladies is “Act like a Lady, think like a man”. Unfortunately, men keep their options open, they have been doing it for years including in the name of hanging out as just friends.

    The reason a woman cannot keep her options open is because of the emotional involvement. and the innate desire for attention and affection. The minute a guy pays a lady affection or attention, said woman starts to dream dreams of happily ever after without looking closely. Should any one decide to keep their options open, I think the only honourable thing is to inform all parties involved so they can decide whether to play your “pick me game” or exit left.

    Finally dear John, you are who you are because of your mindset and those you hang around with. When you address women as good for sex or babies, it is because that is all you want from a woman and you therefore attract those who operate on your level of deficiency. You can take a look around you at intellectual women who are making great strides in their chosen fields. The moment you change your thinking that’s the moment you will attract the right kind of woman.

  11. ladybird

    May 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Nkem!Your ananlysis is very interesting but I disagree.Keeping your options open is a fancy way of multidating…and unless the person you go on a date with is aware and doesn’t mind (which I think is totally crazy) I would say don’t do it!The fella your friend reffered to how do you think his new squeeze would feel if he mentioned that “oh I went on a date a few weeks ago while i was still flirting with you?”Bet she wouldn’t take kindly to that at all.
    My ex used to say something similar -Until you are in a relationship everyone is fair game…Well if you think I’m worth the trouble and want to test the waters why would you be doing same with someone else?makes no sense to me.

  12. J

    May 19, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    What is wrong with some of you people? Dating does not mean you are in a relationship. It does not mean you have a commitment. Women will always find themselves on the short end of the stick for being ok with men dating and getting to know many women while themselves they sit and hope he chooses them when he’s finished. Rubbish.

    • Halle

      August 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Exactly!
      I agree with the article sha…
      I wouldnt cos one guy is semi=talking to me (not even toasting yet), lock my heart there.
      in my opinion, it is a huge recipe for heart break.
      I keep all my options open (no physical stuff attached – not even kiss; No unnecessary gifts too – highest you pay for dinner) till one is serious enough (and I like him enough to date)
      Also, it i have gone on dates with you for up to 3times and nothing is forth coming, I just move on and have zero expectations (aka the friendliest part of the friend zone)
      This has saved me from unnecessary heart break so far and focus on other things that matter.

  13. john

    May 19, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    @www.thelmathinks.com
    lol..stop grasping at straws..as I said talking with a woman is headache itself..they make no sense and I am tired of coming back to this article and this will be my last since ure all beating around the bush..so let me simply my answers for u
    1) so a gossipp / fashion site is an innovation for women…so we should clap for you…whatever makes u sleep better at night..infact ,Are u aware that the bra ure wearing right now was designed and invented by a man…that is how pathetic this has become

    2) as for u second excuse .. two words – Rotimi amechi.. he made it possible for his mistress and her so called magazine..it is an open secret..so if I were u ,I will keep quit for that angle.

    3) ur observation is not a fact…stop peddling lies and fake myths. .. come up with something better ..this is actually pathetic to watch u know and I am starting to feel sorry for bringing this up..u cant even come up with tangible stuffs even with the help of google.. kai

    • Adunnie

      May 20, 2017 at 1:03 am

      I wasn’t going to reply your comment but I couldn’t stop myself. John do you know you are truly a raging mad creature and you need to be chained and locked up in a dungeon? You always try to come across as wise but you are too damn STUPID. The same blog you call a gossip and fashion site is where you take the time to comment on articles every single day. You even commented 4 times on this particular article. I hope you’re understanding that you’re mad now.
      Since you brought up the issue of a man inventing the bra which is very false BTW. Let me inform you. Do you know a woman invented the beer you and your “entitled” men drink? Do you know the famous board game monopoly was invented by a woman? Do you know the refrigerator you use to cool your food items was invented by a woman? Who was the first computer programmer?? A woman. Who invented the windshield wiper? A woman. Who invented 3D movies? A BLACK WOMAN. The heater? Another BLACK woman. Who invented rock and roll?? A black woman. So many other examples.
      But guess what women are hardly given patents for innovations so your men folk took credit for most of the things women actually invented. While you continue to act like ITK (I too know) a.k.a. na me sabi pass, try and educate yourself and take correction. Thank you for your hateful comments you actually pushed me to read up and learn the amazing things women have done generally. And when you read this comment you will be aware too and probably want to choke on your bile and hatred.

  14. ShutUpJohn

    May 19, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    @John – Your mother should have aborted you for having this type of HATRED towards women. The same “woman” who gave you life SMH. Women can bring anything and everything to the table even way better than a man can. It’s just society that has painted the picture as the man being the bread winner of the family. I can bet you One million dollars, your future wife (that’s if any woman even says YES to you) that your wife will bring more to the table in your relationship than your Sorry ass of a MAN.

    • baby4u

      May 20, 2017 at 7:26 am

      i bet you .. he must have heard his mom wanted to abort him but changed her mind. ? thats why he think with his ass.

  15. john

    May 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

    John u can’t win on a blog Full of ladies

    • Janeee

      May 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Oh shut it John!

  16. tunde

    May 21, 2017 at 7:21 am

    @adunnie Everything You said is a pure lie.I just googled it on Wikipedia, it is all false from beer to refrigerator , they are all false even the so called first woman programmer Ada Lovelace Is still argued in the scientific world with some saying she copied everything from her tracher and mentor ‘charles barbage’even though feminist are trying to push her as the first. lol,If John return back to this post , he is going to roast you like a babecue.

  17. yummymummycumchick

    May 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    celeb john..!!!!!Bellanaija pls do a feature of John.. i need to see him..lol .funny, he might be a lion online and a cat in reality.. he probably do the chores, and wash panties for wifey and dares not speak in the house ………………….

  18. Not a bad idea

    May 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    This is not a bad idea NKEM, as long as you and your fellow BNers wont mind if i have 6-10 other girls im straffing, tagging along, seeing aside you.

    You are game yea?

    Cool

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