Is it OK to go for a drink with someone else when you’re in a relationship?

by Adedayo Ademuwagun

Ehis and Chioma are colleagues at the office. When they first met the week Chioma joined the firm, they didn’t click straight away. But after a project they worked on together three months later went really well, Ehis thought it would be nice to hang with her somewhere and get to know her more. So he asked her if he could buy her a drink the following weekend, and she said okay.

Each of them was in a relationship with someone else at the time.

The question to look at is, is it okay to go for a drink with someone else when you’re in a relationship?

Some people think it’s not a problem. Ayo’s a journalist. He says, “It’s fine. I do it all the time. Sometimes a friend based in another city is in town for a day or two, and I ask her if I can steal her for a few hours in between her schedule. Sometimes I meet a female journalist at an event I’m reporting, and after the day’s work we just go somewhere and have a juice. It’s not a taboo to me. My girlfriend understands that.”

Victoria says, “It depends on the intention. If you just want to hang or catch up with an old friend you ran into, for example, then that’s an innocuous one. Having a drink with someone every now and then won’t kill you or your relationship, as long as it doesn’t become so frequent that your partner becomes suspicious.”

But sometimes a drink really means more than a drink. It’s effectively going out on a date with someone. Besides, even if that wasn’t the intention from the beginning, a few good outings might change the complexion and bring the two closer, as did happen to Ehis and Chioma. They hit it off, got together a couple more times. Effectively, they began dating.

Chinaza says, “I remember a time when I met one guy at an event and we just developed this chemistry. We chatted, laughed and had a good time. But it didn’t go beyond that because I had the sense to politely walk away before he made a move. I’m engaged already. However, I did feel some guilt for that moment of attraction. Now imagine if we were going to meet somewhere next time for a drink.”

Efe says, “I think it’s important to think about what your partner might think if they learned about that sort of thing. Will they be okay to find out? Will it hurt them or offend them? Some guys don’t give a stuff what their girlfriend is doing. If they heard she went out with someone, they’d just go on tapping their Blackberry. But for me, I’ll be offended. I won’t yell at her or something, but I won’t be happy.”

Relationships can be pretty unstable and unpredictable. One day you think you have the best relationship in the world. The next day you and your partner break up and might not even speak to each other again. So, because of this thing about relationship, people often don’t want to limit themselves or stick too strictly to one partner.

“It’s inexpedient to put all your eggs in one basket,” says Victoria, “because you could lose everything at once. You’ve got to keep your options open. I know it’s not the most moral thing to say, but you don’t want to be like people who stick to someone for years and the person ends up leaving them in a messed up situation. That’s not a good story to tell.”

Efe has a different tip though. He says, “Putting your eggs in multiple baskets is not the right thing. Some people keep putting their eggs in many baskets and eventually aren’t able to get them back. You can have baskets, but you don’t put your eggs in any basket unless you’re certain that it’s the right basket.”

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