Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Becca*, 28, and Michael*, 25 have been dating for five months. Today on Love Life, they talk about transitioning from work besties to friends with benefits, then deciding to relocate to London together.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
Michael: She doesn’t know this, but I was coming to work one day when I saw her sitting among other people probably waiting for an interview. She looked nice in her hat and suit, and I thought, “Hmm, this is a fashionable woman.”
A week later, she was back. She had been hired, and she wore the same suit.
Becca: Wow, tell everybody o. It was a nice suit sha.
Michael: It was.
Becca: The first time I saw him was the day I resumed at the office. He was in the conference room, and I thought he looked cute and quiet — I am fascinated by quiet people.
By the third day, I’d noticed he was always working on his own in one corner of the office. Aside from the fact that he was cute and quiet, I joined the company as a chief operating officer, so it was part of my job to get to know everybody in the office and how they worked. That’s how we started talking. I would sit with him now and then just to chat.
Michael: She says she sits with me like she wanted to spend time with me, but she was just trying to get away from the office noise. We had young people at the office, and you know how noisy that can get sometimes.
Becca: I also sat with him to ward off people asking him for favours. In my first month, I noticed everyone always came to him for help. They’d ask him to drive them somewhere or do some of their work, and he wouldn’t have time to do his own work. He was too nice.
Most times, he ended up leaving work late. He didn’t know how to say no.
That’s cute. When did your relationship start to change?
One day, we were working on something and I said, “It’s a hard fit”. He responded with, “That’s what she said.”
In my mind, I was like, ah, so this boy is not innocent. I was shocked he could make a dirty joke.
LOL! What happened next?
Becca: I knew he liked me because he had hinted at it a few times, but he was in a relationship and I was in my hoe phase having the time of my life. Sometime in November, we attended a wedding together. After the wedding, he dropped me off at my house. I asked if he could stay because he was drunk. We spent the rest of the night talking and that day we transitioned from work besties to friends with benefits.
How did friends with benefits enter abeg?
Becca: We were talking about my collection of men when he asked if he could kiss me. I was a bit shocked because I had ruled him off as a shy guy. We kissed and the rest is history.
Michael: Our dynamic was interesting though. She would tell me about her escapades, and I was living vicariously through her. On my own, I’m an introvert and I wouldn’t go out if it wasn’t necessary. I broke up with my ex sometime in October, which got me into a depressive phase that she helped me through. I was drinking so much at the time. My routine was drinking and spending time at her house.
Becca: That was also the period we both started feeling unsatisfied with our careers. He has a master’s degree in gaming engineering. I didn’t understand why he was working at that company with shitty pay. I am great at leaving places where I feel unsatisfied and underpaid. I wouldn’t even waste time. Within two months of working at that firm, I knew I was going to leave and asked him to leave too.
Michael: I was trying to see if she would resolve her issue with the company.
Becca: Resolve what? I analyse things quickly — if I am not earning or learning, I am out. I took a pay cut to be there and it wasn’t worth it. I had to leave. Luckily for him, he took my advice. It was a big risk for him to quit, but look at him now, thriving. In fact, we are navigating our sexually transmitted japa at the moment.
Becca: We are on our way to London.
Mad o. How did that happen?
Michael: In February this year, we left our jobs and I started freelancing.
Becca: I figured I had feelings for him when he told me one of the jobs he was pursuing was most likely going to pull through. I was so excited for him, then he said he would be relocated to London. I freaked out. The thought of him leaving was scary. I was excited he got the job, but I realised that I was going to miss him so much. I couldn’t picture life without him.
Michael: I could see the mix of fear and joy on her face. I watched her realise she was in love with me, and it gave me the confidence to ask her out. Within a week, she said yes.
Becca: He asked me out when he got the job, and I was like, you seem to be more excited about chasing me than you getting a job. That’s when he asked me to come with him because the company was offering to move his partner as well.
WOW! God when?
Michael: To be honest, there was no way I would’ve taken the job if she couldn’t come with me. I had my own plans around it. I knew it was possible for her to come along as a visitor, and we could figure out the other parts later. Fortunately, I told my office people I wanted to come with my partner, and they offered to move her. But when I told her, she said no.
Becca: I am a considerate person, and I don’t like to impose on people. He had not even earned the first month’s salary. I didn’t want him to be thinking of me when he was spending that money. Imagine going from a basic salary to a 1000% salary increase. Plus I had my family and friends to think of. It took my friends and Buhari moving mad to convince me to agree to travel with him. My friends convinced me to take the chance.
I researched my career opportunities in London for me. I didn’t want a situation where I wouldn’t be able to get employed. When I saw that I could get jobs, I agreed to travel with him. He got the approval he needed for his visa one month after he asked me to join him, but he told his office people he wasn’t leaving until mine was ready. They sent mine shortly after. Currently, we are in Accra, and we would be leaving for London in a week.
Sounds like a plan. Do you two fight? What was your biggest fight about and how did you resolve it?
Michael: I promised someone I would buy them an expensive gift with my first salary.
Becca: A very expensive gift — An iPhone 12 pro max. Meanwhile, he was using a broken, hand-me-down Samsung phone.
Michael: I didn’t tell her when I made the promise. I knew she was going to be upset but I knew my friend needed a new phone. When I told her about it, the next one hour was the toughest of our relationship. I had never seen her that angry; I was a bit excited to see her like that. I was meeting a part of her I had never seen before.
After that one hour, it was mostly sarcastic comments from her like: “Wonderful! You are a rich man now.” I felt at peace though, knowing I could tell her anything, and we would be okay.
Becca: My issue is that a lot of people around him sometimes are entitled to his goodwill. If Michael is left alone, he would give away his soul. I thought it was selfish for his friend to accept this gift. They didn’t even give him space to breathe before all the requests, overt and subliminal, started.
Michael: Money doesn’t mean so much to me. Having it is great, but my philosophy is as long as I am comfortable, I am okay.
Becca: Okay, go and put everything in your account in a swimming pool right now. See, I am a giver as well, but the difference between me and him is I have boundaries. That’s mostly what we fight about — when he goes too far with his selflessness. Now, we make our monthly budget together.
How has the relationship been so far?
Becca: Everything has been good. This has been the best relationship of my life. I have no reasons to complain.
Michael: Same here.
Becca: Everything they told me growing up about love was to get ready to make compromises, but our relationship is an all in one package. He is cute, kind and thoughtful. For the first few months, I was waiting for the second shoe to drop, but we’ve been good so far.
Aww, that’s sweet. What’s your favourite thing about each other?
Michael: Her energy. She does this thing where she sounds like a Disney princess. It’s so cute. I love that she can switch from being a boss ass bitch to that. She has so much energy, and I love it.
Becca: My favourite thing about him is that he can cook, and he is so fancy. Since we got to Accra, we have been hotel hopping because he wants the fanciest space.
Michael: I am not looking for the fanciest space.
Becca: You are oh. Because I told you I was comfortable at the one hotel but it wasn’t good enough for you. We are in the third hotel since we got here. I won’t be surprised if he wakes up tomorrow and we move to a penthouse.
Also, I love how smart, persistent and kind he is. It translates in his work — he is very driven and won’t stop hacking at a problem until he solves it.
Rate the relationship on a scale of 1 – 10
Becca: 10. See, if this relationship gets better than this, it has to be God’s love. Sometimes I get scared that he will stop loving me because it’s unbelievable how good the relationship is right now.
Michael: 10 for me as well. I love how she drives me to be better.
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