Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Cynthia*, 26, and Tomiwa*, 30, finally started dating after nine months of being in the talking stage. Today on Love Life, they talk about meeting at work, considering getting in a relationship for the amount of time it takes some women to produce babies (nine months) and learning to understand each other better.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
Tomiwa: She used to reply to my WhatsApp stories with her contribution to whatever I was talking about. Most times, she was agreeing with the things I posted.
Wait first, how did you get her number?
Tomiwa: It was through work. I work for an advertising agency. She is popular on Twitter, and my agency hired her to handle a couple of accounts.
Cynthia: I don’t remember how we exchanged numbers, but we started texting when I commented on one of his posts on WhatsApp. On Twitter, a conversation was trending and he made a comment about it on his story. That led to a conversation, and we just continued texting on and off about random things. It was nice to talk to him because we shared the same values. It wasn’t easy to come across a man who didn’t believe in gender roles.
Tomiwa: I was in a relationship at the time, so the conversations were nothing serious. She too was in a relationship and a situationship at the time.
Cynthia: Lol, yes. The person I was dating in 2020 was not in Nigeria, so I started seeing other people.
Was your partner aware that you were seeing other people?
Cynthia: Of course not. It was complicated.
I kept reaching for the person but he wasn’t there. It felt like I was forcing him to be in a relationship with me. On most days, he wouldn’t call or text until I did. I’d send him paragraphs expressing my feelings, and he’d respond with a one-liner. If I complained, he didn’t even try to reassure me of his love. I just started seeing other people. It wasn’t serious until I met Tomiwa.
What happened when you met him?
Cynthia: From our chats, I knew he was someone I would like to sleep with. I found his Instagram, went through his pictures and thought he was quite hot. I started flirting with him. One day, he told me he was in a relationship. I told him I knew and was not interested in dating him.
Tomiwa, how did you feel about her flirting with you?
Tomiwa: I could sense that she liked me and made it clear that I was in a committed relationship. My ex snooped on my conversations Cynthia and complained about it, but I assured her it was nothing. One time, Cynthia sent me a gift and my ex saw it. It caused a fight, and I had to send Cynthia the angry messages my ex sent to me. After that incident, Cynthia and I stopped talking as much as we used to, but my ex still didn’t believe me. In the months that followed, our relationship started to die. Eventually, I broke up with her in March 2021.
Asking for a friend: what gift did she buy?
Cynthia: It was a T-shirt with cat prints.
Cute. What happened after the breakup?
Cynthia: We resumed talking three months after his breakup. Our conversations became deeper. We moved from sharing opinions about social issues to personal stuff. I’d tell him my problems; he’d advise me. When I moved from Lagos to Owerri for a job, he was my support system. He kept checking on me to make sure I was okay.
Tomiwa: I liked talking to her. After work, we’d get on a call and talk about each other’s day. It was nice plus we also started exchanging pictures. I started thinking of what it would be like to spend time with her in person.
When did that happen?
Cynthia: In July, I visited Lagos for a bit. I asked if he wanted to hang out, and he agreed. We planned to meet at a restaurant. I got there late because I wasn’t sure of the exact time I was supposed to meet him. The moment I saw him, my heart jumped. I was like, “Jesus, this boy is so fine.” I walked up to him and asked him if he wanted to kiss me…
Cynthia: He blushed.
Tomiwa: I did eventually, at the end of a lovely evening of wine, food and laughter.
Cynthia: I enjoyed myself so much that night. Of course, we ended up having sex.
What was that like?
Tomiwa: It felt different. We have great sexual chemistry. I didn’t have as much anxiety as I usually do when I’m having sex. With her, I didn’t have to worry about whether or not she was enjoying it. Maybe because I knew she didn’t have much experience with sex.
How do you mean?
Cynthia: I had sex for the first time in 2020 because I wanted to wait till I was done with school. After my graduation in February, I was ready. My first time was good, but it wasn’t spectacular. It didn’t go how I imagined, and it hurt for the most part. I was disappointed at sex in general until Tomiwa and I had sex. Maybe getting close was the reason for this, but the sex was amazing.
Love that for you. When did dating enter the conversation?
Tomiwa: Much later. After we had sex the first time, I realised I really liked her. I was excited but I was also worried.
Love that for you. When did dating enter the conversation?
Tomiwa: Much later. After we had sex the first time, I realised I really liked her. I was excited but I was also worried. She was a topic before I broke up with my ex, and I knew how it would look — my ex and I had just been separated for a few months. I know Cynthia was waiting for me to ask her to date me but I was still working through my feelings.
Cynthia: Did you know that I cried a lot during that period?
Cynthia: After the July visit, I came back again in August and spent two weeks. By this time, I had broken up with my boyfriend. He was complaining a lot because I was active on social media. I couldn’t pretend anymore so I ended things. During the two weeks, I spent in Lagos, I was in Tomiwa’s apartment. It was one of the best times of my life because we had such a good time in each other’s company. We cooked together, ate out sometimes and had sex as often as we could.
I knew I wanted to date him, but I didn’t want to ask him out. In my previous relationship, I asked the guy out and ended up doing most of the work in the relationship. I didn’t want that to happen again so I waited for him to make the move.
Tomiwa: I liked her but I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I had just gotten out of one that stressed me for a while. I wanted some time to work through my feelings. I told her this on the day she was to return to Owerri.
Cynthia, how did you feel?
Cynthia: On my flight back, I cried. I wanted to be with him and didn’t understand why he didn’t want that too. I had to start detaching myself so I could heal. I stopped calling or texting as often as I used to. I even picked up journaling to help with the pain.
One night in September, he sent me a bunch of messages. He had gotten high and was asking me why I wasn’t patient with him. He said he liked me a lot and wanted to be with me, but he wasn’t ready. I told him I understood and would be patient with him.
I moved back to Lagos that September, and we became close again. I kept wondering when he would be ready. My friends told me to wait for him until the end of the year and if he didn’t commit, I should move on.
Tomiwa: Meanwhile, I was low key waiting for her birthday — in November — to ask her out properly. Her birthday is in November and I wanted it to be special. That day, after we played some games, we went to dinner at a nice restaurant. I asked her to be my girlfriend after we ate.
Cynthia: That’s not how he said it. He said, “Are you ready?” and I was like ready for what? He said, “Ready to be Tomiwa’s girlfriend.” LOL. Is that how they used to ask somebody out?
LOL. How has the relationship been so far?
Tomiwa: It’s been good. I know I made the right decision to be with her. She’s someone I can talk to about anything. Although there are days when I want to throw her inside the Atlantic Ocean but on other days, we are great.
Cynthia: I have had to learn and unlearn certain things in trying to know him better. Our personalities are very different. I am an outspoken person and cannot keep quiet about things bothering me while he likes to let things breathe and takes his time to respond to issues. Once in a while, we clash and someone has to compromise for the other. At the end of the day, when we think about how much we care about each other, it just makes decisions easier.
Hmmm, tell me about your biggest fight.
Cynthia: He came back home from work, and he was on his phone. We are both phone pressers, but I needed to babied that day. I had a long day at the office and was expecting questions like what are we eating or how are you. I tried to talk to him and ask about his day at the office, but I wasn’t getting any responses. I felt like he was ignoring me and wanted to focus on his phone. I was angry about it.
The next morning, I told him before he left for work that I was annoyed by what he did. He apologized but similar thing happened when I got back from work the next day. He got angry and said I was being selfish.
Tomiwa: The thing is, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it was a big deal to her. I wasn’t ignoring her. I was just in a mood and needed time to get out of it. She didn’t understand that, and it became a back and forth.
Cynthia: The next day when I was trying to talk about it, he shouted at me. I had never seen him like that before. Eventually, we talked about it. He wanted me to be more patient with him when it came to emotions. These days, when we both come back from work, I let him stay on his own so he can relax before connecting with me. It works better for him. After that, we eat and call it a day.
Interesting. What’s the best part of the relationship?
Cynthia: The food. He is either cooking for me or buying me food — he’s an amazing cook and I’m an amazing eater Aside from that, he is my friend and I trust him. He knows everything about me. I know I can always talk to him when something is bothering me.
Tomiwa: It’s the friendship for me. Compare to my previous relationships, I feel like I unlocked a completely new level of connection. With Cynthia, our bond is different.
Aww, what is your favourite part of each other?
Tomiwa: I love her smile. There’s a way she smiles unconsciously, and it’s the best smile I’ve ever seen in my life. I also love her work ethic. She’s so intentional about learning new things and being better at her job. Even though her workaholism can be annoying sometimes.
Cynthia: It’s his penis for me. It does wonders. Before him, I had never had an orgasm nor ever squirted. I am in awe of how he fucks me. I now know the difference between “I had sex with someone” and “I made love with someone”.
I also love his fingers. They, too, do wonders.
Wonders shall never end IJN. How would you rate the relationship on a scale of one to ten?
Tomiwa: 8.5. It’s almost perfect, and we are working on it. I also don’t think anyone should reach a ten. There’s always room to do something better.
Cynthia: 7 for me because I know we would get better at understanding each other with more time. I just have to learn to be more patient.
If you want to share your own Love Life story, fill this form.