The subjects of this week’s Zikoko’s Love Life Lade(22) and Leah(23) tell us about leaving their partners to be with each other. They also share with us what led to their one-hour breakup and moving to be closer to each other.
Tell me about how you met
Lade: We met at an event in January 2020. We’d been mutuals on Twitter before then, but hadn’t interacted much. I saw a tweet of hers one day and realised she lived in Ibadan. I was part of a queer group at the time and was looking for more women to join so I dm’ed her and invited her to come to the event we were attending.
At the time, I didn’t have any real plans to make a move because I’d seen a tweet she made where she said she was 16. When we met, I thought she was gorgeous so I decided to confirm her age again which is when she explained that she was 21 and the tweet was a joke. That’s when I dropped some of my smoothest lines and we had a lot of fun at the event, but then she left me to talk to another woman
Leah: I thought it was clear that I was kidding about my age. The only reason I tweeted I was 16 years old was because I was sick of cishet men following and dm’ing me.
Also, it was one smooth-ish line and you forgot to follow up on it. About the other woman, the babe and had been talking for a bit. It would’ve been rude if I didn’t say hi.
What was the line?
Leah: I told her she was beautiful then she said she wasn’t going to compliment me because she didn’t want me to think that it was a back-at-ya kinda thing. She said she was going to tell me when I least expected it or had forgotten about it. I assumed she meant before the day/event ended but noooooo. She never did. Who does that?
Lade: I was much smoother than that, please. I said at some point during the event, you’d find me staring at you and that’s when I’d tell you how beautiful I thought you were.
Leah: Okay, but did you?
Lade: To be fair, there was that moment where you were walking barefoot and your gown was doing this thing and I did tell you that you looked like an angel then.
Leah: Doesn’t count.
Was that when you knew you both caught feelings?
Lade: It wasn’t until a couple of days later when she invited me over to sleep at her place. I made some weed milk to take along and we got trippy when we drank some of it. I remember everything feeling like a movie and me promising to make a film based on us. Then we were staring at each other and I suddenly realised “Shit, I’m in trouble”. I think I said that to her even. She asked what I meant and I just told her I really liked her. I didn’t tell her I was in love with her because I was in a relationship and I didn’t want to face what that meant at the time.
Leah: That night was perfect. It felt like we were the only ones on the planet. I knew I had caught feelings that night as well. The combination of painting her nails blue, the lighting, her smile and our conversations about nothing and everything felt so right. I didn’t want her to leave the next day.
Cute. So tell me about this relationship you were in.
Lade: I was in an open relationship but we’d been having some issues. My long-distance girlfriend at the time came to Ibadan for Valentine’s and we’d hoped to sort out those issues then. Unfortunately, things felt stilted throughout the stay and a couple of hours after she left Ibadan, I called and broke up with her.
Leah: I had ended my relationship before she did. Things were kinda rocky for her because she was still trying to figure out how to go forward with her relationship. She didn’t want to hurt her partner and I didn’t want to ruin anything. I tried to balance staying away and also being there for her but the staying away part was difficult.
After she broke up with her partner, I knew the right thing to do would be to take things slow and give everyone time to heal but I was hooked on this woman. The next thing I knew, two weeks later, I found myself in her house asking her how long I was going to have to wait for her to ask me to be her girlfriend. She said she was working on a special proposal but I didn’t want to wait any longer.
Lade: Women are so impatient. I didn’t want to ask her to be my girlfriend immediately because I didn’t want her to think she was a rebound. I was also trying to plan some special gesture to ask her out, but she came over one day and looked at me and said “So when do you plan on asking me to be your girlfriend?”
Did the special proposal still happen?
Lade: No. The moment she asked me that, I asked her to be my girlfriend and that was it. We’ve been together for almost 3 years now.
Leah: I can’t believe it’s been that long and I also can’t believe it’s been that short.
Lade: There’s so much about her to love. I love how smart she is — I love bouncing ideas off her or having her edit my work. She’s also so king and caring and not just to me. I remember a pride picnic we had in 2022 and everyone was drinking, smoking, or playing games and my wife was just randomly making a charcuterie board and organising food and drinks to make sure everyone got some of each item. I admire how she’s able to keep friendships and be there for people, especially because it’s something I struggle with.
Leah: It’s funny she thinks I’m a good people-person because I think she’s better at it than me. She has a way of lighting up any room and she’s so sweet and thoughtful.
So it’s been all roses and butterflies?
Lade: Not completely. There’s having to navigate family. We’re both out to our parents, but only her parents know what we are to each other. She has spent two New Year’s with me at my mum’s place in Lagos and I introduced her as my friend each time.
So there was all that navigation and being worried that the smallest looks, words, or touches, would make my mum suspicious.
I spent Christmas in 2022 at her parents’ place though and they were very welcoming and kind even though they knew about us.
Were Leah’s parents always so welcoming?
Leah: In late 2020, when I finally told them that Lade was my girlfriend, things were difficult. My mum had said that I shouldn’t invite her over because my dad wouldn’t be comfortable with that so for about a year and a half, I could only visit her at her place and go on dates.
Lade didn’t like that she couldn’t come over to be with me whenever I was feeling down or sick. She was worried that it was one-sided, me being the one who had to show up. I understood where she was coming from but I was just glad that I got to see her and that I wasn’t “banned” from hanging out with her. It’s even one of the reasons we “broke up”.
Tell me about this breakup
Lade: Well, it lasted for about an hour and it was because I was being very self-centered.
At some point in our relationship, we created a group chat that we called “Let it out” where you could rant in vns about things the other person did that upset us. The other person wasn’t supposed to listen to the vn unless they were permitted to. Part of the reason we created the group chat was because we didn’t have people we could vent to about each other and sometimes all you needed to do was vent.
One midnight, I sent this 20-minute-long vn to the group and then gave her permission to listen. The main issue I was venting about at the time was that I didn’t feel like I was a priority to her.
Leah is really close to her family and she was still trying to navigate her new relationship with them now that she was out to them. I was a student with no care at the time so I could drop everything and show up whenever she needed me, but she stayed with her family, etc so I didn’t feel like she felt the same with me. It felt like we’d never get to a point where she would, for example, move out of her parents’ and move in with me because she was constantly worried about who’d take care of them if she left.
Anyway, she dropped everything and came over that morning to talk it out, but as I said, I was being very inconsiderate and selfish. We didn’t quarrel or anything, I think there was just this soft implication that since it didn’t seem like she could leave her parents for me, maybe we should break up.
I had never cried that hard in my life. We just sat in the room crying. After like 15-30 minutes, she packed her stuff and left. I was still standing by the door crying when she came back and said something like “were you really going to let me leave?”
And then there was more crying and talking and then we made up. She called her parents and told them she’d be staying over at mine that day.
Leah: You weren’t being inconsiderate, babe. I understood where you were coming from. I could’ve communicated better and actually tried to see you more. Yes, I was worried about my parents and stuff but I was also just scared to bring you/us up a lot of times. If I’m being honest, avoiding that conversation with my parents seemed easier. I’m glad that talk/mini break-up happened because it was the kick I needed to just adult up and focus more on you, me, and us.
Okay, so back to the conversation with your mum. Why aren’t you having it yet Lade?
Leah: To be honest, I don’t want her to rush it. Things in my house were awkward when I came clean about my relationship. I don’t regret it but it definitely was tough. I think she should still enjoy how things are with her mum right now.
Lade: I keep coming up with reasons why it’s just not the right time yet. I’ve also been trying to figure out the best medium for it.
The bulk of the conversations we’ve had about my sexuality have been face-to-face but I don’t know if that’s the best medium. One of the times someone outed me to her, she waited for like a week to digest it and calm down and then sent me a long message. In the message, she mentioned that she intentionally waited to digest it so she wouldn’t say something she didn’t mean or something she’d regret. And in one of the face-to-face conversations we had, she did end up saying something that hurt me a bit.
So I’ve been trying to decide if I should tell her over the phone or via text so she has time to digest it first or if I should tell her face-to-face because it’s a serious conversation.
I think subconsciously, it’s also because of what Leah said. I don’t stay with my mum so things wouldn’t be awkward in the house, but my mum and I have a good relationship at the moment so I’m dreading upsetting it again.
I wish you luck with that. And as for your relationship with each other now, what’s it like?
Leah: In May 2022, she moved close to my area and now lives about 8-10 minutes away from me. The night she moved here, my dad scolded me for not inviting her over. He said she shouldn’t be alone, especially with no light and water, in a new house. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I texted her immediately and asked if she’d like to come over.
Since then, she’s been coming over at least once a week. My dad said I didn’t have to be informing him every time she’s coming over but I still get nervous telling my mum.
Lade: Honestly, I moved because the place I was staying in before was in horrible condition, but the location was specifically chosen so I could be close to her. I intentionally only looked for places around her side.
When my agent told me about my current place and I saw how close it was to hers, I dropped work and jumped bike to meet him before it would get snapped up and I made a down payment the same day.
That’s cute. On a scale of 1-10, how’ll you rate your love life?
Lade: A 10. It’s interesting because our relationship progresses as we go. We had a few minor fights in the first year, but we’ve worked through so much and have a good understanding of each other now. Somehow it feels like I’m more in love with her now than I ever was.
Leah: A 10. We’ve grown so much together. Our communication skills have improved a LOT and we know how to read each other. I’m grateful for the minor fights we’ve had because we always became stronger and more connected after settling. Like my wife said, I fall more and more in love with her each day. It’s crazy.