Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
*Yinka, 31, and *Kayode, 32, have known each other for 13 years and have been married for months. For today’s Love Life, they talk about moving on from an ex, setting boundaries and living in different timezones.
What’s your earliest memory of your partner?
Yinka: It was in 2005, and we were both in university. A choir was formed for a school event, and we both joined. I remember he was skinny and a little light-skinned.
Kayode: Light-skinned and skinny? Na wa oh. Tough crowd. We went to the same university, shared a couple of mutual friends. In fact, my first-ever girlfriend, Kemi*, was friends with Yinka.
Yinka: We are still friends. Before I married Kayode, I had to ask her for permission. Can you believe she even forgot she dated him? She’s married now though.
Kayode: I honestly don’t get why you had to ask for her permission. We dated a long time ago.
Yinka: Believe it or not, she was my go-to person for all things you when we started dating.
So, how did you guys move from university friends to husband and wife?
Yinka: After graduating, we followed each other on Twitter and Instagram. In November 2016, we met again after school at his ex’s wedding. He dropped me off at my destination.
Kayode: I remember us taking a picture together that day. Little did we know we’d end up together.
Yinka: Life. That day, when I got home, I realised that I couldn’t find my power bank and I buzzed him on IG to help me check his car. We never found the power bank, but it seemed to open the communication window for both of us.
Kayode: We were both in relationships back then, so it was nothing serious. Mostly me asking about job openings at the company she worked in.
Yinka: That was in 2016 and by then, I was flying solo. Meanwhile, he was still in a relationship. In fact, in 2017, Kayode proposed to his girlfriend and we all congratulated them.
The plot thickens. What were you doing during that period?
Yinka: In 2018, I left the country for a job. One day, he replied my IG story with “Looks like you’re not in the country anymore.” I told him that I had japa-ed and he started talking about how he was trying the express entry programme but having problems with IELTS. I encouraged him.
Kayode: All this while, we never saw each other.
Yinka: Yes. He was still buzzing me about IELTS and blah, blah, blah. In May 2019, he asked for my number. Before giving him, I explicitly told him not to call me and he did. I was perplexed.
Do men listen?
Kayode: LMAO. Sometimes we do.
Yinka: He called me on my birthday and sang for me. I think it was from there his “Hellos” became regular. In July, we had a long conversation. Apparently, he thought I was married, not even sure why.
Then he spoke about his relationship and how it ended some months ago. I was trying to resolve things, telling him that if he’s been with someone for eight years, surely they can sort out whatever differences they have. It was a long-ass call.
Wait. Kayode was with his ex-girlfriend for 8 years? Why did things end?
Kayode: Things didn’t work out as we planned. So we had to go our separate ways.
Yinka: They didn’t go their separate ways oh.
Girl, lay this gist down, your hubby is being a hard guy.
Yinka: I’ll get to it. In August 2019, I moved to a new apartment, and he wanted me to carry him along on how that was going. We ended up talking and I finally opened up about my last relationship, which was in 2016. We got closer. I had to ask him one day if he fancied me.
Kayode: I told her I did but didn’t want to get burned, so I was taking things one step at a time.
Yinka: I reached out to Kemi and she was like, “He broke up with his fiance,” and I had to reiterate that I had absolutely nothing to do with that. Kemi said Kayode was a good guy and I was like, “We’ll see.”
Were you scared that you were a rebound?
Yinka: I’ll admit that I was sceptical that he was ready to move on. Emotions can be fickle, and I didn’t want to get caught in that mess. One evening, I asked him if he had moved on from his ex, and he said he wasn’t going back there so why stay stuck? I laid down my conditions because I wasn’t about to become the rebound girl.
Kayode: To be fair, I already had my rebound with a 3-night stand. I knew you deserved better, so you were never a rebound to me.
Aww. I am curious about the conditions you laid, Yinka.
Yinka: It was long-distance and he had talked about some issues in his previous relationship that I hoped would not be repeated. I wanted to know if he could do long-distance without copping some on the side.
All our past experiences forced us to be more intentional in our relationship.
So, for how long did you guys date before getting married?
Yinka: A year but marriage was already in the works by December 2019. It didn’t come without its issues though. We started dating in September 2019, but he said he couldn’t let his ex-fiance know he was in a relationship. Excuse me, sir, what?
Ah. Kayode, an explanation would make my life better right now.
Kayode: I didn’t handle the situation well. I didn’t know how my ex would take it since we shared mutuals with Yinka.
Yinka: I tried to be empathetic because it must have been hard to date someone for eight years, get engaged and even do an introduction only for things to end. I was like, I understand, but I really didn’t understand. I was plagued with guilt every now and then, and Kayode didn’t make it easy.
Yinka, Why did you feel guilty? It wasn’t your fault they broke up, right?
Yinka: Yes, but they could have worked things out if pride didn’t get in the way. Plus, he was with me but holding on to her.
Kayode: I didn’t want to put our relationship out there so it didn’t come off as me rubbing it in her face. In doing that, I didn’t consider Yinka’s feelings. I wasn’t holding on to my ex, I just couldn’t deal with things face-on because of the situation.
Yinka: It’s the little things. When I see your exes name saved as “*Ife luv”, it made me wonder if you were sure of who you wanted. It didn’t help that she was always putting cryptic messages on how she was jilted. I had to confront him. Are you sure you didn’t do more than you said you did?
Kayode: I didn’t intend to hurt you when I sent you that message with her name saved as “Ife luv”. It was carelessness on my part. I was also not trying to hide anything and it was an error on my part for not putting your feelings first.
Yinka: In my opinion, you should have created boundaries. You should have let her know you had moved on and allowed her to heal instead of checking in and sending her cash at will. It created the impression that you were readily available to her which was unnecessary.
Okay, guys. We need to back up. What happened with Kayode and his ex-fiance?
Yinka: So, his family had issues with some things she put up online, and it created a rift that dragged from 2017 till 2019. She said she couldn’t deal with them anymore, and he said his family was important to him. It was a mutual separation, but she always made it seem worse online.
OMO. How did she react to you guys’ engagement and marriage?
Kayode: There was no communication between us, so there was no need to know her position. We have moved on to a brighter future.
Yinka: Oga, what are you saying? Kayode that went to the UK and came back with gifts for the second wife [the ex] because the home must be kept balanced. He will come and now say she knew he was travelling.
Kayode: This was before the whole boundary issues came up.
Yinka: Babe, you’ve had boundary issues since September 2019.
Kayode: By March 2020, we settled all the boundary stuff na.
Yinka: Really? Must be nice.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Yinka: Kayode is skipping pages. He didn’t let her know he was in a relationship. He must have told her when he handed her the things he bought for her.
Kayode: I thought we had passed to when everything was settled.
Yinka: When I came to Nigeria in December 2019, I found out that oga had been playing doctor and saviour for his ex. Giving her cash and tending to her needs. I was divided. I know he is a great guy, but he didn’t know when to draw the line. And it was worse because he saw nothing wrong with it. He kept saying, “I will handle it my way,” and that hurt my feelings.
So, he never told you when he did stuff for his ex while you guys were dating?
Kayode: Ah babe. Yes. I even asked if it was okay to assist her.
Yinka: What about the days that you would have loved to visit?
Kayode: At least I made you know. It was naive of me because I thought you understood.
Yinka: If I understood, we wouldn’t have the back and forth of doing things your way.
Let me cut in and ask, Yinka, how did you find out he was doing these things for his ex?
Yinka: I can be the FBI.
Kayode: But I wasn’t hiding anything.
Yinka: Na so. That same December, one guy followed me on Instagram. I started probing the guy because I didn’t believe he just followed me randomly. Turns out he and Kayode had some issues when Kayode was still with his ex.
It was after I showed the guy a blog post with Kayode’s picture that the guy realised that we were together. The guy told Kayode’s ex, and she went on a rampage, cursing him. I felt guilty because I had unknowingly set the ball rolling.
I didn’t say anything malicious, I just wanted to know why the guy followed me. Anyway, Kayode ended up sending his ex money after that. He’s such a nice guy.
LMAO. This is so messy.
Yinka: It gets worse. After accusing Kayode of digging into her life using that guy, she went online to say a bunch of things. She spoke about an ex who claims to have moved on yet is still trying to probe into her life.
I was so confused because she did all these things and still collected money and gifts when Kayode gave her. I get she was hurting but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she made reference to my person.
Oh no, she didn’t!
Yinka: She insinuated that he was only with me to leave the country and called him a demon. This happened in March 2020. By then, Kayode and I were taking marriage counselling classes. I wanted him to block her on all platforms and create boundaries because she was saying a lot of things online.
Kayode: This is why I didn’t want our relationship out there. It’s because of all this unnecessary drama.
Yinka: Then why didn’t you block her? After three days of waiting for him to do something, I took matters into my own hands and messaged her.
What did she say in response?
Yinka: She asked me not to interfere with matters I know nothing about. I wasn’t about to start exchanging words with her, so I deleted her message and kept things moving. I’m too classy for all that mess. She called Kayode, and he messaged me, asking why I contacted her.
Is there any point where Kayode actually supported you?
Kayode: To be fair, I asked if you contacted her.
Yinka: Before proceeding to ask why I contacted her.
While all of this was happening, were you having second thoughts about the relationship?
Yinka: Yes. He was trying so hard to not offend her. If the separation was mutual, why was he overcompensating? She would say she couldn’t sleep and it will become a problem. I expected him to be more firm. At some point, she called me a schemer.
Yinka: His parents had to get involved because I blocked Kayode when he was saying nonsense about not doing things my way.
When was this?
Yinka: In April 2020, after he called to confront me about contacting his ex. The relationship was not by force. I wasn’t desperate to be with anyone. I was doing fine by myself before he came into the picture. I didn’t need the stress. The annoying part was that she ended up being the one to block him.
Kayode: No. I blocked her. I am not a social media person so, I didn’t care what was going on there.
How did this affect the wedding plans?
Yinka: His parents had gone to see mine in February. He still sent his ex-fiance cash after the introduction. I was still confused that when he dated his ex, he had no problem putting their pictures up but with us, he had issues doing that.
Yinka: In April, I told him to take a stance. He can’t be here and be trying to be there as well. I was afraid of being with a person who was only with me because they couldn’t be with another.
Kayode: This is my fault because I didn’t see things from her perspective back then, and it caused a lot of friction in our relationship.
Yinka: It all comes down to boundaries. She always managed to be in the picture. Interestingly, after they broke up, she’d ask about who he was dating and he’d gladly tell her and reassure her that he still loved her. He just couldn’t when we were together.
Is it because of the conditions you laid out?
Yinka: I don’t know. He was probably not serious with the others, so it was easy to say oh, I’m just fooling around because I cannot stop thinking about you. And I don’t think he understood the extent to which it hurt my feelings. I tried to understand at first. I would have ended it the moment he said I cannot let her know I’m in a relationship.
Kayode: I think I need to address this. It wasn’t my intention to hurt you. I was doing what I felt was best at the time. I wasn’t hiding Yinka; I just wasn’t as open with our relationship. I was waiting for the ideal time to break it to my ex because I knew how tough it was for her.
About sending her money, there were a few projects we were doing together, and I was just fulfilling my own end of the bargain. This does not excuse what happened, and I’m truly sorry.
Yinka: I forgive you and I always want you to know when to draw the line. You cannot please everybody.
Oh wow. Tell me about being married.
Yinka: We got married in October. I came to Nigeria and stayed for a few weeks. We are learning to cope with the distance. I find it normal, but he finds it tiring.
Kayode: The distance is crazy, but it is worth it.
Yinka: I feel closer to him. We talk all the time and have dates over the phone. It’s strange, but we’ve only seen each other a few times since we started dating. Two weeks in December and when I came home for the wedding in October.
What does a typical day in this relationship look like?
Kayode: We are always on video call. We go to the office together. We practically do everything together via video calls.
Yinka: When I wake up, I call him cause it’s afternoon at his, and we talk till I get to work. I call during my lunch break to say hello. He stays up till I leave the office and then we talk for a bit before he sleeps. The plan is to have him here with me as soon as possible.
Interesting. How do you manage the sexual parts of this relationship?
Yinka: There was no sex when I came in December 2019. Although we made out.
Oh wow. A celibate relationship.
Yinka: As a person, I’m still trying to figure sex out. We still haven’t had sex. I’ve never had penetrative sex so, after the wedding, I wasn’t ready, and he wanted me to take my time. I think my mind thinks of the pain, and my muscles just clench.
Okay, guys. On a scale of 1-10, rate your love life.
Yinka: I’d say 8/10. We are in a good place, willing to grow and learn from each other and in life. I worry sometimes that something would happen to him, and I would not get to love him like I want to.
There is so much I’d love to do with him and the distance doesn’t help. He is an amazing man who admits his imperfections and is willing to be better. I just hope we have a lot of time together to explore what life has for us. He definitely has made me a better person in his own way.
Kayode: I would say 7/10. We still have a lot to explore. It’s a 7 because I feel we are doing well with the distance.
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