Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.

What’s your earliest memory of each other?

Nnamdi: We met after we got matched on a night-time radio show last year. I was single and searching, so possibly as a prank, one of my mates called in with my profile and then reached out to me when they found a match. 

I was just laughing, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose. I reached out to her through the contact the radio station shared, and because she seemed open, we met at a restaurant close to her place. It was nice, she looked so good, and I thought I got lucky. I had this preconceived notion that there was no way I’d meet a good-looking person through a radio show, yet there I was.

Favour: I wasn’t necessarily searching at the time. I sent in my profile just for fun. I had this friend who was married but used to send her profile all the time. I’d done it once some months before that, but I chickened out of meeting with the guy they matched me with. 

This time around, I thought, “What the heck?” But the same way he assumed any woman who’d be on such a show wouldn’t be attractive is the same way I thought any guy on it would be over-desperate. I didn’t get any desperate vibes from him. If anything, he seemed noncommittal.

What did you talk about during this first meeting?

Favour: Our work, careers, interests, why we were single at over 40. 

After we’d spoken for a while, and I’d decided he was a cool guy, I told him I had an 11-year-old son from a failed marriage. He didn’t flinch. He just asked if he could see his picture and if I was comfortable talking about the marriage and why it failed. I enjoyed his maturity — not all 40+ men are mature — and I thought, “I’d love for us to be friends.” He didn’t really seem interested in a serious relationship, and I wasn’t even sure I was ready to take risks with love again.

Nnamdi: I told her I’d never been married at all, and she said that was a major red flag. But we laughed about it. In the end, it all came down to neither of us believing anything real could come out of being matchmade on radio.

Why did you never marry?

Nnamdi: Japa happened. 

I had a steady girlfriend then I moved to the US in 2005, when you could still get chosen for a visa through draws. I got there and decided to stay longer, with the hopes of getting a green card. She decided she couldn’t wait any longer after the first two years. I ended up staying for 11 more years. The whole time, I found it extremely hard to date there.

Favour: I’m sure he gave off this playboy energy. If you don’t get to know him well enough, you’d think he was an unserious person. He’s not, though, just laidback.

Nnamdi: Tell them.

I returned to Nigeria in 2018 to set up my business and ended up having my head buried in work for the next couple of years. The girls I dated thought I was too busy or didn’t prioritise them enough. That’s why when Twitter boys say women only want money or “just buy her everything she wants and she’ll stay,” I wonder what they mean. That’s never been my experience. They definitely want your love and attention too.

So that’s how I found myself single and on a radio dating show at 45 years of age.

Wild. Favour, wanna talk about why your marriage failed?

Favour: Oh, he was abusive. He’d beat me then beg and gaslight. I completely bought into it until my eyes opened, and I got myself out of there fast.

What do you mean “bought into it”?

Favour: Abuse is scary. You never know when you go from completely sensible to irrational.

I started believing the beating was normal. He couldn’t help it because of all the pressures of life. Me sef why did I do this or that. He beats me because he’s so in love and passionate about us. Maybe it’s even advanced BDSM. I remember it being so normal after a while. I started liking and craving for how he’d beg and make me feel special after he’d given me a dirty slap. 

Nnamdi: I wish I could set up some soldiers on the guy.

Favour: One day, our son was in the picture. When he was around two, I looked at him and thought, “I must be crazy to want to raise this boy here.” 

It took me two more years to leave. I stayed with this man for eight years of my life. I found it almost impossible to even think about dating after that.

At what point did you reveal these things to each other?

Favour: I told him my ex was abusive on that first meeting. But I’ve only recently shared most of the details with him.

Nnamdi: I told her about my relationship history the first two or three times we talked. It was a prerequisite to even continue with whatever would happen between us because I think she wanted to make sure I wasn’t a major red flag.

During our first meetings, we carried on like new friends trying to keep the connection going because we’re at that age when we have a little more free time after a decade or more of grinding and losing friends to capitalism.

Favour: My life revolved around my mum and my son, so making a new friend in such an interesting way was exciting. I think also cancelling out the possibility of us dating from the beginning helped me let my guard down and open up a bit, in a way I’d never thought I would to a stranger.

So when did you realise you liked each other?

Favour: I think it snuck up on us. I can’t pinpoint a time. 

Maybe it started with me wanting to make time during the weekends to see him, or when about a month after we met, I wanted him to meet my son.

Nnamdi: I knew I liked her on the second meeting. We were both surprised when I reached out to her about seeing again the very next week after the first meet. We were still playing it friendly, but I knew I wouldn’t get that interested in seeing a new friend so soon.

When she asked if I wanted to meet her son, I knew she liked me two but maybe hadn’t realised it yet. I played it cool for all of two months before I finally asked if we could become romantic.

Is that how you asked? “Can we become romantic?”

Nnamdi: I think so.

Favour: He said, “Please, let’s date romantically.” He was a little nervous, and I found it cute. I said yes even though I was also scared as hell. I kept checking his approach and attitude next to how my ex-husband did his own, to make sure I wasn’t falling for the same tricks.

I wanted to ghost him the week after I agreed to date him because I didn’t trust my judgement. It was tough.

Nnamdi: Thank you for opening your heart to me.

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What was meeting the son like?

Favour: It was normal, quiet. But he was happy to see Nnamdi. He had this soft smile on his face throughout. My son is quite shy. We met at my house, so it was his comfort zone, and Nnamdi didn’t stay too long. I watched them talk quietly for about 30 minutes then he brought out his Legos to show Nnamdi what he could build. I knew we’d won his approval.

Nnamdi: We weren’t under much pressure because we were still just friends. I just cared about her enough that I also cared to know that she wasn’t struggling to take care of her son. I wanted to be there to help. When I met this well-behaved young boy, I knew his mum had to be a good person.

How do your families feel about your relationship?

Favour: It’s been just my mum and I for like a decade now. She’s accepted him wholeheartedly. In fact, she was my litmus test in the first month of whether I made the right decision to let him in, and they got along right from his visit to our house to meet my son. They have such a good rapport.

Nnamdi: I’ll admit my parents are less accepting. They would’ve preferred someone younger, someone who wasn’t married before and didn’t have a child already. 

They said as much when I told them about her earlier on. But they’d also given up on me finding a wife deep in my 40s, and I have four happily married siblings, so they’re less willing to push my preference on her.

Favour: Yeah, my relationship with his parents is mixed because I can clearly see I’m not their preferred choice, but they’re also quite well-behaved about it. I’m never disrespected. 

Although I don’t know what might happen if Di now decides to marry me.

Is marriage already in the conversation?

Nnamdi: Well. That’s the natural direction right now. We celebrate a year of dating in July. At our age, you don’t date for that long without thinking about marriage.

Favour: But he hasn’t proposed yet. 

We talk about the future a lot, hypothetically. We talk about our career trajectories. We’re also currently figuring out children. I think that’s the one thing maybe holding us back.

How so?

Favour: Well, I’m on the tail end of my fertility journey, and I know he wants his kids. Some years back, I froze some of my eggs. We’re in that interesting period of checking out all our options.

Nnamdi: That’s not holding me back, Fave.

Favour: Ok. I’m just saying what I feel. I know it’s important to you.

What would happen if you find out you can’t have any more kids?

Nnamdi: Thank God for technology. We’ll invest in surrogacy. I don’t mind that at all. I’m just glad she had the foresight to freeze her eggs.

Favour: I’d be sad for sure, but I’m already bracing for the worst. I know that sounds pessimistic.

Nnamdi: I think we’ll be fine. It’s more important to me that I’ve found someone I can connect and feel like an equal with. We’re so well matched in terms of work, finances and the kind of conversations we can have. 

And I love the way she’s raising her son, how involved she is even though she has her hectic work schedule.

Do you get pushback from society?

Favour: Some of his friends. Actually, I can tell his friends don’t like me.

Nnamdi: That’s not entirely true. 

There are two particular friends who don’t like that I’d have to take care of another man’s son, and I’ve told them off. 

Favour: I think a lot of them expected that you’d end up with someone younger. Especially that friend who set you up on the radio show in the first place.

One time, I saw him text Nnamdi that since he held out for so long, he thought he’d use the opportunity to get someone in her 20s.

Nnamdi: I’m so embarrassed of my friends right now. But it was also a very stupid “man” joke.

Do you find it funny, Favour?

Favour: Certainly not. I replied him “fuck off” as if I was Nnamdi, LOL. Ok, maybe I found it funny a little.

Nnamdi: But the same guy also asked me when I’m putting a ring on it just last week. I swear it’s all chill.

Favour: Well, my ex also gets in our way, showing up unannounced at times to get our son. I think the side with him and even his parents will always be complicated, so I get why Nnamdi’s friends are worried. Being a single mum is not pretty.

Can you tell us just how complicated it gets?

Favour: The major thing is not being able to plan out your kid’s life with the person you love. Instead, you’re doing it with someone you most likely hate. 

I don’t know which is worse, having an active baby daddy you now hate or having a totally absent one. From where I’m sitting, I’d choose the latter any day.

Nnamdi: I’m not sure if I have the right to talk about this, but there’s also the worry that someone you know is abusive still gets to take care of your young child, and you’re not there to make sure they aren’t abusive to them as well.

Favour: Oh yes, thank you. That scares me all the time. 

There’s nothing you can do about this?

Nnamdi: Like, Nigerian law is so vague and heavily patriarchal-leaning on child custody after divorce that I don’t know if there’s any way she can appeal for full custody. 

Favour: My feminist ally! 

But so far, my ex has proven to be a good father, and I keep praying that he will continue. I pray for my son ceaselessly. I just wish I never had to see my ex again.

Understandable. Have you two had a major fight yet?

Favour: Have we? No. 

Nnamdi: Ahh. You don’t remember the day you almost screamed my head off for talking over you and telling your aunty that you’d allow her side of the family to take over accommodation arrangements during your father’s remembrance in February.

Favour: I was hoping you wouldn’t bring that up. 

Tell us your side!

Favour: All of a sudden, he was telling my relatives he’d sorted this and handled that and set up this other thing. I was upset that he was going over my head; he didn’t discuss any of it with me. I didn’t even know what he was talking about in some cases.

Nnamdi: I thought I was helping by taking things off her plate in her time of grief. I had no idea she hated it until after the conversation with her aunt. That night in our room, she started screaming and crying. 

I was angry too because I didn’t expect that reaction after all my sacrifice. But I also understood she was overwhelmed. I just walked out. 

Favour: The next day was the event, and we were both carrying face.

Nnamdi: Later on, we talked about it and apologised to each other. 

What she recently shared about the abuse she endured from her ex has also made me understand her reaction that day.

Have you both considered seeing a therapist about it?

Favour: We’ve talked about it. We probably will. I know I’ve healed from it in many ways thanks to my relationship with God, but the trauma is still there psychologically.

Nnamdi: I’d highly support that. I’d love to know how not to trigger her but also make sure I’m not compromising my own emotions as well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your Love Life?

Nnamdi: 10. Don’t look down on matchmaking, guys.

Favour: Yes, 10. Also, don’t look down on finding love at any age.

Check back every Thursday by 9 AM for new Love Life stories here. The stories will also be a part of the Ships newsletter, so sign up here.

COMPULSORY READ: Love Life: We Found Out He Was Impotent After the Wedding

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