Partner insurance; should you have a standby lover?

Friday, September 10th, 2021 00:00 |

I have a huge gang of friends. What I have always prided myself in is having a large number of guy friends and a few close girlfriends mostly because they balance each other’s views on life.

Both genders are open with me and share openly about relationships, money and life in general. 

While on most debates the genders tend to go at it from diametrically opposite views, it was interesting to learn that they all agree on one topic.

They all argue that with the high rate of cheating going on in Nairobi relationships, that one would be unwise not to have a Plan B for their lover, an insurance plan in case things soar with the person you are with.

Whether this applies to married couples was a source of heated debate, with those for having a plan B while married arguing that if a wealthy man like Bill Gates had a Plan B for over 27 years, who are we mere mortals not to? But what is the psychology of having a plan B?

Reasons for back-up partner

“There are many reasons people opt to have a back-up relationship. While it is a bit muddled for men, at times they genuinely love the main woman they are with and only go momentarily to other women to get thrills or emotional perks that they do not get from the main relationship, it is pretty straightforward for women.

Women get a back-up partner once they notice their main relationship is going sour. Women love wholly with their hearts and are great at serial monogamy.

They, however, are not that great at treating the main person in their life with the same respect as before once plan B is in the picture.

They automatically start looking for faults and instigating fights in a bid to sour the main relationship,” Silas Nyanchwani, a journalist and author explains.

He shares that it is easy to kn ow if you are the main person or the backup plan, especially if you are a woman.

If your man gives you time, such that you can call him at any time and he shows up for you, then you are probably the main.

If he readily gives to your life whether it is in terms of advice, money, and respects you, you are probably the main.

If he introduces you to his friends and family, then you are probably his main.

Thing is, one has to look at a combination of all the aforementioned things and if something is off, then re-evaluate the importance assigned to you in the relationship.

It might be different from that which you thought you had. Nyanchwani reiterates the importance of looking at a combination of factors rather than just one thing because some men tend to give time and money readily to multiple women. 

“Do not assign your value to the man based on the money or tangible things he gives you. Men have bought luxury cars and houses for their plan B’s and promptly repossessed them once the relationship sours.

Most of the value is in the intangible things such as accessibility and readiness to jump to your aid if you are in trouble. If the person calls you only on weekends, you are a plan B.

If you cannot access them at certain times, you are a plan B. If you are relegated to night meet-ups, and dark club hangouts with the fun promptly ending when the light and other people appear, you are a stand in partner,” Nywanchani explains.

Benjamin Zulu a renowned relationship expert and therapist agrees that many people tend to get a back-up partner when the main relationship is failing.

He advises that if that happens, it is important to have a discussion with the partner rather than emotionally check out of the relationship to the extent of getting entangled in another one or pretending to keep the main relationship alive.

Being in two concurrent relationships means that you are not giving either your full attention, which means that the quality of both suffer. 

Zulu expounds that in the absence of a ring or a formal discussion, multidating is not having a back-up plan.

It is exactly that—vetting potential partners in order to choose one with whom you can be exclusive.

“Many people tend to be in relationships in their heads after a single date, or even several despite the other person never having stated any intentions to be in a relationship.

Such people tend to be needy and insecure and will claim unfaithfulness if the other person goes on other dates despite there not being a clearly defined relationship.

It is, therefore, important for people to clearly talk and define their relationship. If you are the girl, ask what all the hangouts mean.

If they mean nothing, go date and find someone else. Multidating is like conducting several interviews to find a suitable candidate, till the contract is signed, and there is mutual agreement by word and deed,” Zulu expounds.

Way forward

As to what one should do once they discover they are the back-up plan, is a personal choice. One can choose to leave or to stay.

Zulu proposes a candid conversation between the parties involved where they address all the issues that led to the decision and its impact on the relationship.

They should then see if they can work towards resolving the underlying issue whose symptoms are the back-up relationship, or if the differences are irreconcilable, they can choose to end the relationship in order to heal. 

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