Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
How did you meet?
Sammie: Through her boyfriend.
It was at a bar, and he’d just punched me in the face because, apparently, I’d touched her funnily. The only problem was I hadn’t even noticed her there until I found myself with a fist in my nose. I’d never been hit before, and I don’t now know how to fight.
When I finally saw the reason why I was punched, I recognised her from class. We were in the same department and had a couple of maths classes together. I just said sorry and went home. My nose was bleeding.
Sharon: I didn’t see him clearly that night. But later on in the week, he came to meet me in class, said hi and introduced himself. The funny thing is I didn’t even realise my ex punched him.
I apologised, and he asked why I was dating that type of person. I didn’t know how to answer. I’d been with my ex for over a year, and he was much older than me — almost ten years older — so I was used to being secretive about him.
Sammie: The guy was all wrong, and he knew it. That’s why he was overtly possessive with her. I didn’t like that. After I spoke with her, I told myself I’d do everything I could to separate her from that mess.
What exactly did you do?
Sammie: I got closer to her and some of her friends too. Then I found out that only one of them knew about the guy. It was this babe who wasn’t in our department. They went to the same secondary school and are family friends. I didn’t get to meet her until weeks after I’d gotten close to Sharon.
I found it off that her friends didn’t know about her boyfriend, so one day, while we were quietly finishing some work in class, I asked her about it. She smiled and said everybody didn’t have to know her business, but her eyes were shifty.
Then, she started avoiding me.
Sharon: I wasn’t avoiding you. I just got busy because it was close to exams.
Sammie: It was close to exams, but then, I noticed that the man would come to campus sometimes. He couldn’t enter school buildings, but he’d be on the grounds waiting for her. I think she didn’t want him to see her with any guy.
So I started calling her at night because I was worried. I had a bad feeling about that man, and I became obsessed with finding out how they got together in the first place.
Sharon: Sammie started calling every other night, and till today, we never go to bed without talking.
Before we got together though, he’d call and ask 1001 questions. He wanted to know how I met my ex, if I really liked him, if he was pressuring me or something. And after every reply, he’d tell me I might be in a toxic relationship.
After one of his calls, I just started crying.
Sammie: From what she told me, he was a family friend who’d been in her life since she was a child, and I found that sus.
Did you like her, or were you just concerned for her wellbeing?
Sammie: Both. I liked her, but maybe that like came from how deeply I cared about her being all right.
Sharon: I liked him. I’d noticed him in class long before we met at the bar. But at the time, I thought I’d be with my ex forever. I never consciously made that decision; I just accepted it. But when we started talking, and Sammie questioned things I never thought to question, I knew I wanted to be with him and not my ex.
Sammie: So I encouraged her to ghost the guy. She blocked him and all the people who knew about their relationship, then came to me in class one day to tell me she’d done it. I was so happy for her and for us.
Our only opp was that one friend who knew about her ex and actually supported that mess.
Sharon: We ended up spending the first several weeks of our relationship dodging my ex on and off campus and dodging the girl in school buildings. It felt like I was dealing with stalkers and that affected my mental health to the extent that I started having anxiety attacks.
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How did you deal with the attacks?
Sharon: It was a huge struggle during exams. I felt like I was running mad with paranoia. Once exams were over, I didn’t go home. I begged my parents to let me go visit my grandparents in another state. That helped me calm down a bit.
Sammie: Throughout that holiday, we didn’t get to see or speak because she went completely off the radar. But then, I knew she needed the break.
Sharon: Then my parents called about my results. We checked and found out I didn’t do well at all. I had about three Fs. When they asked what happened, I told them I was struggling to cope with the harsh environment at school. They pulled me out of the federal university and put me in a private one.
I had to start over in a new programme, but that move helped me stay sane. The only other downside was separating from Sammie — which is where the nightly calls came in. He also visits at least once a semester, and we meet up during the holiday.
Sammie: Meanwhile, her ex started harassing me in school, thanks to her fake friend. One time, he sent boys to beat me. Maybe I’d have died if people weren’t there to protect me.
Was it a good idea to get right into a new relationship?
Sharon: I don’t know. We just did it because we liked each other.
Sammie: I really like and care about her, so I want to be there for her. Also, I don’t think I’ll meet another person who cares so passionately about pure maths.
Sharon: When we first started talking in class, we’d have this back-and-forth about the point of maths. He thought the only useful thing about it was basic arithmetic operations. You know, addition, subtraction, multiplication? So you can deal with making and spending money. I’d try to convince him how myopic he was.
Sammie: She introduced me to something called “mathematical logic”, and since then, I’ve been convinced this babe is a closet genius. I still think it’s made up shit, but the way she talks about how you can use maths to prove things like common sense and legal fact, made me feel like she was about to start controlling my mind.
Sharon: It’s how artificial intelligence will control our minds eventually, TBH. AI was built on algorithms and computation. Mathematical logic was the framework for AI algorithms. Maths is everything. Money-making only scratches the surface of it.
Sammie: This is it. This is why I couldn’t have her wasting away with that predator man. This woman is going to change the world. And I’ll be right behind her as her assistant oga.
Sharon: Screaming. I just want to get through today.
Sammie: Anytime she talks like that, at first, I think, “This girl is mad”. Then it’s, “I’m in love with you”. No one’s ever challenged me to be smarter before.
She’s studying computer science now, instead of industrial maths, so I really believe she’ll develop something mind-blowing soon. You guys should just watch out.
What’s your relationship dynamic like now, given the long distance?
Sammie: Sometimes, I look back, and I can’t believe it’s been two years already.
Sharon: I think we’re going strong. We’re still young and basking in that.
But I love how seriously we take ourselves. We made a pact that if we don’t end up together like something happens and we drift apart or hate each other and decide we can’t be married, we’d just kill ourselves and die together.
Sammie: We did a whole-ass written document and signed it even. We each have a copy.
Sharon: We absolutely have to end up together. I don’t want to move on from him. We can’t wait to be done with school so we can move in together. No kids for a while, of course, but we definitely want to navigate adulthood together from the get-go.
Does anyone know about this death pact, please?
Sharon: The only people who do are scared to shit. Mostly my friends. They think our relationship is toxic because they haven’t really met and gotten to know him yet.
They just don’t have a sense of humour. We’re being dramatic obviously. When we said the words, “I love you” to each other for the first time, I asked how can we make this absolutely true? How can we be certain we’re serious?
It was either this or a blood covenant.
Sammie: I chose the death pact for obvious reasons. I’m still very much a child of my very religious Igbo mother — who must never hear of the death pact either.
Sharon: Maybe we should call off the death pact? It was too crazy, wasn’t it? I’m sorry.
Sammie: I suggested it, so it’s not like I’m not in on the craze.
What was your first major fight about?
Sammie: Weed. She took an edible for the first time and had a bad high.
She was angry with me for no identifiable reason. On top of that, we were outside, and she was freaking out that her boyfriend at the time would see us together. The way she was so scared, shaking and sweating, made me know the relationship couldn’t be healthy.
Sharon: I don’t even remember that night.
Sammie: We don’t really fight. There’s no time or space to, between school and the distance.
Does it ever get tiring, having to call every night to keep the relationship alive?
Sharon: No! It’s something I look forward to my whole day. It makes everything I do worth it because I know I’ll get to my room and talk to Sammie about it all. He’s my best friend, and our calls are everything to me.
Sammie: Oh, same.
No matter how tired I am. No matter how late it gets. I can’t wait to be done with everything so I can hear her voice. When I’m in a bad mood, our calls make me feel better. When I’m in a great mood, I want to share the joy with her.
It’s like delayed gratification at this point because half the time, I want to call or text her mundane things every second of every day.
Sharon: At first, I was scared we’d run out of things to say. You know how when you stop being in the same space and experiencing the same things as someone, you realise you have nothing else in common? Yeah, that never happened. And I’m so excited because we’re always interested in everything happening in each other’s worlds. And when there’s no gist, we can talk about movies and celebrities.
Sammie: And maths.
Sharon: And maths. Haha.
How would you rate your Love Life on a scale of 1 to 10?
Sammie: 9. Let graduation come first.
But on the other hand, I’m scared that “real” life will find a way to destroy us.
Sharon: 10. That’s what the death pact is for.
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