Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Ella, 23, and Adaora, 21 have been dating for eleven months. Today on Love Life, they talk about navigating a relationship after Adaora ran away from home, learning how to set boundaries and their future plans for each other.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
Adaora: My first memory was when we first met at her friend’s place. I came out of the car and saw her forming bad guy.
Ella: Mine was when I saw her on Instagram. I was just like, “This is my wife.” Her pictures were so pretty. That evening when my friend posted her picture, I followed her but was too shy to text her. This was July 2020.
She posted a funny meme, and I responded with an emoji. She did the same but I didn’t reply. I kept on checking her stories for something new until the next day when she posted something about zodiac signs. I sent her a message saying, “Try dating a Sagittarius,” and that’s how we started talking.
Adaora: We were talking a lot. She lived in Abuja and had a job in Lagos so she came around often. The plan was that the next time she was in Lagos, we would meet at her friend’s party.
What happened at the party?
Ella: I got her chocolates and wine. It was our first time seeing each other physically. The party was at my friend’s house, so we had a room to ourselves. We were so shy, we kept talking throughout the night.
Adaora: We saw each other again before she left for Abuja. Three times actually.
Ella: Yeah, at that point, it was nothing serious. She had just left a relationship and wasn’t looking to rush into anything new. Plus this was her first same-sex relationship. She needed some time to get into it.
Oh wow. What does that feel for you, Adaora?
Adaora: I have been with girls, but I have never let myself get emotionally attached to any girl before Ella. It’s a big step for me, but it wasn’t scary. I wanted to try it out and see what it felt like. I remember being heartbroken, and I told myself I was done being with men. I asked myself why I had never fallen in love with a girl even though I like girls. I think I must have unknowingly manifested this relationship.
Being with her is so different — it’s like connecting with a soul rather than a body. She understands me in a way I don’t think any man ever has. We can relate to each other. We bounce ideas off each other all the time. It’s a sweet relationship, to be honest.
Nice! So what happened between when you both met and when you started dating?
Adaora: I used to stay with my parents, and I had always planned to run away. Home was toxic for me and we talked about it. She had just gotten her own house in Abuja. She asked me to come to her house. This was in July 2020.
You ran away from home?
Adaora: Yes. My dad was physically abusive. It wasn’t healthy for me. I lied to him that I was graduating with a first class, but I had already dropped to a second class upper because I was scared of disappointing him. When I was about to graduate, I decided I wasn’t going to take any more abuse. I knew I had to leave. My mum wanted to leave him but that seemed like a long cruise, so I did what I had to do — I went to Ella’s house. At this point, we knew we liked each other and were on our way to a relationship.
Ella: I was surprised for a while when she came, though I already knew she was running away from home. I think her moving in with me is when we started dating.
Adaora: If we are being honest, we started dating from that first day we met. LOL. But during the first few weeks of living with her, it was awkward. She was a bit withdrawn. It felt like there were layers of her I hadn’t met.
As time passed, we got closer and I got to know her better. I don’t remember how long it was after I moved in when she asked me out on a date. She said, “Will you be my wife?”
Ella: At the beginning, we were trying to understand each other. There were a lot of things she wanted when she first got to my house. For example, she had issues with me for not being able to set boundaries.
Adaora: Oh yes. I felt like the people around her were taking advantage of her — her cousins, ex, and people she worked closely with. They were controlling and always wanted to take them without giving anything to her in return. She was oblivious to all of it. They would hurt her and she would say it’s cool. I had to sit her down and tell her, “Babe, you need to start setting boundaries. You need to stand up for yourself.” Because when she doesn’t set boundaries, the consequences end up hurting me as well. I am the kind of person that will tell you when I don’t like something. So far, things have been good.
What is the best part of the relationship?
Ella: I can’t choose, to be honest. I love everything and I know the best is yet to come.
Adaora: I love that we are both spiritual and can talk about anything. We are big on astrology. We talk often about how our thoughts are powerful and how we use our minds to manifest the kind of life we want.
What kind of life do you want?
Ella: We want to have businesses together. We want a queer country where queer people can be themselves. We want to have a family together too.
Adaora: Yeah. So we keep each other in check. When one person is down, the other person helps them out of it. We motivate each other to reach our goals.
I also like that we give each other space. We can be in the same room and still give each other space.
What was your biggest fight about and how did you navigate?
Ella: There was a time we actually fought and used our hands on each other.
Adaora: Babe, why are you saying it like this? We pushed each other. That’s about as physical as it got.
Ella: That’s what I mean. No matter what, we should never use our hands on each other. A lot was going on at that time. We were both broke and it was affecting us. I think we were supposed to go out together but couldn’t make it.
Adaora: You went out without me and came back late. I was angry.
Ella: Oh yes, and you had not eaten.
How did you resolve it?
Adaora: We talked about everything. Ella is big on resolving conflict.
Ella: I know I apologised a lot.
Adaora: Apart from apologising, you are also consistent. You are like, whether I like it or not, we will settle. I can’t remember how that particular fight ended…
Ella: Because fights that get physical are never happening again.
What is your favourite part of each other?
Adaora: Ella is so thoughtful — she is always getting me things I want. She’s so sweet even when I am being mean.
Ella: She knows how to take care of me. I don’t feel like she wants to use me. She really loves and cares about me.
Rate the relationship on a scale of 1-10.
Ella: Yes. We are still working on the relationship. We are not where we want to be yet. I feel like when I say she’s my wife, people think I’m joking. Until we get to that secure point where it’s official, we are not at my ideal yet.
Adaora: 11 for me because even though we are still working on it, just knowing that she’s my person is already a 10.
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