When American journalist, talk show presenter and relationships writer, Keyaira Kelly, flew into Nigeria for some days of holidaying and exploration, she hadn’t really known what to expect.

Invited over by her friend, KayCee, a Nigerian brand and Hollywood events coordinator based in Los Angeles, she had tagged along with an open mind, the intention to have a full, rich experience and a desire to connect with her African roots as much as possible.

And that was what she did.

She started with a mini-tour of Abuja's scenery and its nightlife, and then went on a trip to the East, where she joined her friend’s family for an event that acquainted her a little more with Nigerian culture and traditions.

By the time she finally arrived in the bubbling, fast-paced economic hub that is Lagos, Pulse connected with the prolific writer who has works published on Madamenoire, Hello Beautiful and a host of other media outfits promoting Black culture in the US.

Keyaira Kelly [right] visits Pulse alongside her friend, KC, an event coordinator based in New York. [Credit: Pulse Nigeria]

Keyaira took us through her experiences in Nigeria, stating that it was an eye-opener of sorts, a further attestation to the fact that the African continent isn’t really what mainstream western media often portrays it as. She said she “loved the vibes [of] seeing so many black people,” and being in the same space with so many people with whom she shares a common heritage.

She also spoke on her shock and eventual fascination with masquerades in Anambra state; she touched on the startling interwovenness of opulent wealth and pitiable squalor in Lagos, as well as the gorgeousness of Nigerian men in traditional outfits.

She commented on Nigerian food as well, saying that she enjoyed the meals, even though her allergies may have limited her to rice and stew most of the time.

Eventually, we got to the issue of relationships, an area in which she has the strength of experience and a wealth of knowledge.

So we spoke on the possibility of cheating while still being in love with your partner…

Is it even possible to cheat on a partner, and still really be in love with them?

For Keyaira, it all boils down to the consistency and regularity of the infidelity. The whole of this cannot be judged with an umbrella rule, either. Each case is to be considered separately from others.

You cannot be in love with someone and consistently hurt them. Love and cheating don't particularly mix, Keyaira says. [Credit: Pulse Nigeria]

In her words: I think of love as an action, a series of repeated actions, really.

“Yes, in some situations I think someone may feel they love you but If you continually disrespect somebody, that’s not love.

“And so I fall somewhere in the middle where I can understand a one-off here, or a one-off there and there can be grace for that but whatever you consistently do is who you are and shows us who or what you love.

“And to me, Love is not a feeling. It’s purely actions and choice. I cannot [generally] say you can’t love someone and cheat on them. I think it is case by case.”

Ntianu Obiora, Pulse Nigeria’s lifestyle editor chips in with an opinion on how Nigerian men easily compartmentalise their affection and responsibility to their wives and their desire to be with other women outside of their matrimony.

“Nigerian men are so far removed from reality,” says Ntianu. “A married man could hit on you and you comment on his married status and he’ll go: ‘what has that got to do with us?’”

KayCee, Keyaira’s Nigerian friend and travel partner chimes in with her own opinion, too, essentially stating that cheating has nothing to do with love.

“It has to do with power, control, integrity,” she says. “You can love something and not know how to protect that thing.

“I feel like improper communication can lead to cheating… because if a couple is not communicating enough, not talking about the things that they feel, the things that affect them, then it leads to resentment and eventually it’s like no one is going to say that they don’t feel appreciated and then they’re gonna trigger emotional [cheating.]”

More on emotional cheating

She expatiates on the subject of emotional cheating, and her opinion on how there are more women guilty of the act than men.

“I think men and women cheat… but women do a lot of emotional cheating.”

For example, a woman could be with a partner who offers financial security and a foundation for her life but maybe that person works a lot and doesn’t have that much time and therefore leaves a lot of emotional needs unmet. Going on to find that needed emotional support in another man is emotional cheating, according to KayCee.

“Is that cheating? Maybe not in the way that you think about it, but yeah it is. You are emotionally giving yourself to someone who is not your partner,” she concludes.

Watch Keyaira Kelly share more of her thoughts on the subject of cheating in the video below: