The Stopgap Theory Of Relationships – JJ Omojuwa

I am not an expert on relationships. Don’t take my words to heart. Just read and think about it as unbiased as you can.

The Stopgap Theory (SGT) states and I quote; A person will only remain your unmarried partner for as long as it takes to find someone else who loves him/her as much as you do and with the same assurances that you provide but with better resources and/or prospects for the future.

The above theory has been tested for five years (now eight years) and has not for once come up short in the discussions I have had with sincere people and most importantly in the realities I have seen over the years. If you have been following this blog, you’ll understand the examples I gave to show this theory at play. Let me also state that it is not a bad thing – at least as far as my own convictions on personal preferences go. It would only be a bad thing for me if the Stopgap effect lasts into marriage. I believe that once a man and a woman are married, their business should be about learning to grow into the ultimate beings each person would desire daily even if they lived for a century more after the marriage. I don’t believe in what I call karakata (commercial) marriage, where every seemingly bad experience spurs you to want to change your partner – like I would rush to change my BIS service provider if one refuses to act up with me. Marriage should not be that way. Once you decide this is the person, I believe the games and the antics should stop, or better than playing games as a married person, stay out of it entirely, stay single. Marriage is not a fundamental human right. It is not compulsory to be married!

The Stopgap Theory is a theory and not a law because no matter how prevalent or how much it has proven to be true, it does not apply to 100 per cent of relationships. There will always be men and women who will stick to you no matter what, irrespective of the conditions as long as you don’t push them out yourself. These are a rare breed and if you find or have one, cherish, love and protect them as they are more endangered than good men in Nigerian politics. As for those whose lives are a reflection of this theory, no qualms, just be ready to take it on the chin when you are on the receiving end of its effects. As for me, I’d rather avoid the stopgap crap entirely by waiting. If you don’t fit the bill, we don’t date! If we date, then you are not my stopgap, you are the real deal. I don’t do relationships except I feel “This Is It”, it takes friendship to show that for me, hence my friendships with quite a select group of ladies and as long as I haven’t felt the This Is It effect, the gates of strategic friendships remain open. We don’t have to be in a relationship to take ourselves out, to share intimate thoughts and bla bla bla *coughs *coughs. See, this is my point, it will hurt to find that someone actually played you as a Stopgap, so won’t it be better to call a spade a spade –friendship – until it evolves into a spoon – like instrument that takes things to the mouth and offers refreshment to the body and the soul? Don’t dwell on this picture J

Whether or not you admit it, everyday of your relationship with that guy or lady is a day that asks again, “is s/he the one?” and the question gains more significance after a squabble, a major quarrel or an act of infidelity or even inability itself; Inability in all its denotations and connotations.

Once upon a time on twitter the hash tag #youknowyouareasiderunswhen provided some pointers to the reality of being a Stopgap as the answers poured in, some of them unprintable but true. You know you are not his or hers most of the time if you ain’t, but people like to fight lost battles. A battle where you are defeated before it even gets started. I don’t have the space to write the signs that show you are someone’s Stopgap, but most of the time Stopgaps are aware of their position in the unhealthy relationship. You cannot be with a man or woman who truly and wholeheartedly wants you for the long stretch into the twilight of his or her years without knowing it. First the words will always show it as people speak to people based on the value they place on them (these words count over a long time not a quick-fix time at the cinema or dinner), actions prove it because out of the abundance of his/her words, s/he acts and the bottom line lies in your position with his/her inner circle including his/her parents, siblings and friends. Of course this is no guarantee as it’s even a strategy for some boys to get their urgings satisfied quickly. Loool.


Open and shine your eyes, open your soul to the realities of where your relationship is and do yourself the honours. It never feels right to be used and dumped but most of the time, your insistence on keeping what does not belong to you leads to that. Every heart shall find its match, every lock will find its key and every hole will find its peg and when you do, you know you are both unstoppable as the SGT cannot apply to you.

Remember: The Stopgap Theory states that a person will only remain your unmarried partner for as long as it takes to find someone else who loves him/her as much as you do and with the same assurances that you provide, but with better resources and/or prospects for the future.

I have been listening to Brandy all morning. Don’t me if I feel like talking about relationships. #np – Almost Doesn’t Count. Aphrodisiac comes next 🙂

PS: This was posted in 2011. I felt an urge to repost it today. 

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