Love Life: Our Relationship Was For Character Development

September 30, 2021

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


Audio: Our Relationship Was For Character Development

*Osas (20) and *Seyi (21) started out very in love with each other. But things went downhill when someone cheated, and they opened their relationship. Today on Love Life, they discuss their break-up and its effect on their friendship. 

What’s your earliest memory of each other?

Seyi: We met on Twitter. We’d been mutuals for a while and then she made a tweet asking how to slide into someone’s DMs. I responded and then she slid into my DM with a cheesy line: “My name is Osas, but you can call me the love of your life.”

Osas: God, I was so sappy. But that line was smooth. Literally my best work. And you can tell that it worked because a month later, she came to Benin to see me. I was so anxious that day. Even though we spoke frequently, I kept wondering how she could decide to leave Ibadan and come to Benin just to meet me.

How did it feel to meet each other for the first time?

Seyi: I was a bit nervous. And then I saw her coming towards me and the tension eased.

Osas: I realised I had fallen in love. If I was smitten during our chats, when I saw her, I was completely gone. She looked absolutely perfect. Her smile was to die for, and her locs too. She is shorter than me, so when we hugged, she was completely enveloped in my arms. I looked at her and felt safe. I couldn’t wait to show her to everyone. She followed me to school, and I introduced her as my girlfriend to all my friends. In my head, I had found home.

Seyi: We booked a hotel room. Immediately we got into the room, she kissed me. Before then, I had never kissed a woman. It was my first queer relationship. When the kiss happened, my first thought was, “Wow. So this is what it’s supposed to feel like?” Afterwards, we went to her aunt’s place to pick up some things. She kissed me again in the dark stairway, and that kiss might be one of my favourite memories of her. We got dinner, and of course, the sex happened.

Osas: Lots of it. That was my first time having sex with a woman, and when I tell you I was wrecked. Listen, women will wreck you. We were just there, existing in each other’s space. I took a lot of pictures with her camera and laughter came easily. I was enamoured by her. 

Would I be right to call this your honeymoon phase?

Osas: I think every phase was our honeymoon phase. She was so good to me. She was never not good to me. At every minute of our relationship, I was deeply in love with her and unable to take my hands off of her.

Seyi: I think our honeymoon phase started before we started dating. We used to spend hours on the phone talking every night about the most random things. Before her, I didn’t like calls and I didn’t think I could spend hours on a call with one person and not run out of things to say. But she came into my life and everything changed.

How many days did the Benin trip last?

Osas: It was just for the weekend. She left on Sunday and I cried so much. It felt like I’d known what life is like with her, and I didn’t want to go back to a life that didn’t have her physical presence in it. Did I mention that nobody asked anybody out in this relationship? 

Ah, so the relationship happened naturally?

Seyi: More or less. At first, we were waiting to meet physically so we could define our relationship. But one night, she said she referred to me as her girlfriend while talking to her friends, and I was like, “So are we dating now?” She said yes and that was it.

Osas: Before Seyi came to Benin, I went to the movies with my friends and when we were talking, I told them about the girl I liked, and I kept calling her my girlfriend. When I got home that night, I told her.

Aww, see love.

Osas: LMAO. The first time I told her I loved her, she froze. She didn’t say anything on the phone. This was before we met physically, and were simply speaking over the phone. To save myself from embarrassment, I quickly added that I meant it as a friend, because I considered her to be my G. Of course, she knew what I was doing, and she told me I didn’t have to add the “like a friend” clause because it wasn’t about me; she was just not ready to say “I love you” to me yet. She eventually said it when she came to see me in Benin. She wrote a whole poem. 

Seyi: I’d never really been the kind of person to talk about feelings and say things like “I love you.” Love has always been a big thing for me. I don’t want to say it without really meaning it, especially for people I’m in or planning to be in romantic relationships with. 2019 was a defining year for me though. I was opening up more. I wasn’t the kind of person to say I love you to a friend at the end of a call, but I could text it to friends under the right circumstances. I prefer to show my friends I love them rather than tell them. 

Osas: I have always been a lover. I am still one. I tell my friends I love them all the time.

So, how did your relationship progress after you met for the first time?

Seyi: It was still largely a long-distance relationship, but it went well. I’m not sure we saw up to 10 times during our entire 11-month relationship.

Osas: Long distance was hard, but we tried to make up for it by speaking constantly and giving each other gifts. Seyi gave the best gifts. Random stuff, tailored stuff. I could randomly mention something and then she’d be like, “Hi, I got this for you.” Gift-giving is my love language and she aced it. 

Seyi: I think gift-giving is my greatest asset.

Osas: Not just that. You’re great with your mouth too.

Seyi: [Clears throat]

Osas: I mean words. But sex with you was great. It’s one of the things I miss.

Seyi: To be honest, I feel like I wasn’t really good at sex at the start of our relationship. But as I slept with more people, I learned new tricks and started getting better.

Osas: And boy, did you get better.

Wait, you slept with more peop—?

Osas: At some point, the relationship became an open one. This was a month and a few weeks after we started dating. I didn’t want it to be open at first o, but she pointed out that I was polyamorous and it would be better for me to see more people, rather than being exclusive to her alone. 

Seyi: Before we even started dating, we already discussed the potential of an open relationship. She was polyamorous, but I loved the idea of monogamy. It seemed like a deal-breaker at the time, but she eventually agreed to a closed relationship.

What prompted you to eventually open the relationship? 

Osas: I kissed my friend. 

Ma’am?

Osas: It meant nothing. It was just vibes.

Ma’am? 

Seyi: One day, she called me crying that she’d kissed a friend of hers. I was really pissed at first, and I asked her to give me some space. I thought about it and realised I didn’t want to break up with her. And I also realised that I wasn’t as hurt about her kissing someone else. It was more like the shock of it and the hurt that she broke the defined rules of our relationship at the time. So I called her and told her okay, let’s open the relationship.

Osas: The kiss meant nothing to me. It was just kissing. But then I knew it’d make her unhappy so it made me unhappy. I cried because I knew she wouldn’t see it as that, and it would hurt her. I could have kept quiet but I couldn’t. I loved her too much, but I loved being able to be with other people. And being monogamous was driving me insane.

How was it like navigating an open relationship, especially seeing how you moved from being exclusive to being open?

Osas: It was calm from my end. It was Ms Monogamy here that was fucking half of Ibadan.

Ehn? 

Seyi: It was okay. The key was honesty and communication. I told her about all the people I had things with and she did the same. Considering that it was my first queer relationship, it was nice to have the opportunity to explore a bit more. It was almost like how it was with Kat and Adena in The Bold Type

I don’t think the transition from being exclusive to being open was actually that hard. At first, I didn’t really do anything with anyone. Then during a Truth or Dare game in a queer group I’m in, I kissed a few people and one of them asked me if I wanted to fuck. Her exact words were, “Wanna fuck?” I thought about it and was like, “What the hell, why not?” But the sex wasn’t great at all, and she was the one who opened my eyes to see that I wasn’t as good at sex as I thought. That was the start of my learning curve.

Osas: Basically, she was fucking everyone.

And how did this make you feel?

Osas: As long as she’s happy, I’m happy. That’s how it was.

Okay then, let’s talk about you. While Seyi was hooking up with new people, what were you doing?

Osas: Battling depression LMAO. Not because of her or the circumstances though. I was making friends and trying to pass classes. She was doing her own thing, and I was doing my own thing. I loved when she told me about it.

Where did the relationship go from there?

Osas: Please ask her. What me I know is that she became off. This was in the tenth month of our relationship. She said it was the distance, but it was weird. We were talking less and it seemed like she was avoiding me. 

After the Christmas holidays in December, we went back to our schools. We started having some problems around January of 2020 when it felt like we stopped being each other’s first point of contact. A clear instance of this was when I was having a panic attack and she wasn’t the first person I wanted to talk to. In fact, it felt like I didn’t want to tell her anything. And then in February, about eleven months after we started dating, we broke up because I didn’t feel in love with her anymore.

She was busy all the time and hardly had time for me. I was crushed. I felt like I did something, like I was the problem.

Seyi, what would you say these problems were?

Seyi: We both met people. I met someone whom I had sex with a couple of times. She started becoming the first person I’d text about things sometimes. And we texted consistently. I’m not very great with texts — I tend to reply ridiculously late or abandon texts randomly — so when I started talking to someone without the communication breaking, it was a sign.

Osas also met someone she was speaking with a lot. My memory is shit, but I have vague memories of her always speaking with that person and telling him random things about the day before telling me.

Interestingly, we’re both dating those people now.

Oh. 

Seyi: I think it was just a case of growing apart. We realised something was off at some point, and I remember us agreeing to work on it. She was going to come to Ibadan for Valentine’s and I thought seeing her would change things.

But it didn’t. A few hours after she left Ibadan, I realised I didn’t want to work on the relationship anymore. It was partly because I realised I didn’t feel in love with her anymore and partly me realising I had deep feelings for the person I’m currently dating. So, I called her and told her I didn’t think I was in love with her anymore and that we needed to break up. I cried as I broke the news to her.

Osas, how did you take this news?

Osas: I kept telling her it would be fine. But when the gravity hit me, my heart broke into a million pieces. I thought my life had shattered, and I was going to die. I didn’t want to lose her completely. I wanted to be her friend at least, but what I really wanted was to stay in her life. I never got the concept of falling out of love with someone. I thought it could be fixed.

Seyi: That’s probably because you’re polyamorous. I don’t think I have the capacity to love more than one person at a time, so if I have deep feelings for one person while in a relationship with another person, it’s because I’ve lost romantic feelings for the other person.

Osas: I would wake up at 7 a.m. and start crying. All my friends were so worried. Now, I tell people I’m still in love with her, and though it’s not enough to risk what I have with my current partner, it’s enough to still care about her. 

Seyi, what did you say to her offer of remaining friends?

Seyi: I didn’t think it was possible. I felt like she would still feel angry or hurt about the breakup and that if we were going to be friends, we’d need some time apart to first heal and get used to the idea of being friends, especially since I planned on pursuing a relationship with another person, but she didn’t feel the same way.

Osas: I didn’t at all. It wasn’t the breakup that hurt; it was how you acted after. You’re a shitty friend.

“Are” or “Were”?

Seyi: I don’t think I am. I think we behave differently in friendships. Like we already established, you’re the kind of person who tells your friends you love them and speaks to them all the time. I’m the kind of person who prioritises the person I’m with romantically. I don’t tell my friends I love them and don’t even text them constantly. If I text you regularly, I’m probably in love with you. My relationship with my friends is the type where we’re there when we need each other and can go without texting at all for weeks and still pick right back up where we left.

Osas: Okay then, you were a shitty friend to me. And can I be honest? Deep down, I hoped my prayers caught up with you and you’d feel a fraction of how I felt.

Seyi: See, my main problem was the fact that you didn’t understand the new boundaries that came for me when we redefined our relationship. I remember on my birthday when you blocked me because I prioritised my girlfriend over you. You called me the night before my birthday and when it was getting close to 12 a.m., I told you I had to hang up because my girlfriend would definitely want to be the first person I cross over into the new (birthday) year with, and you got pissed and blocked me. That made no sense to me. 

There was also the time you called me when you were having an anxiety attack and after you calmed down and we were just talking, my girlfriend called and I said I had to go, and you got pissed about that too.

I was wary about things like these in the first place. It’s hard to go from girlfriends to best friends when the new person I am dating is part of the reason we broke up in the first place. It didn’t make sense for me to be best friends with someone I couldn’t talk to about the person I was in love with. I still wanted to be friends with you, but I felt like we first needed some time apart.

It got worse when you told me thinking about me made you want to kill yourself sometimes, and then you were still saying you wanted to be friends with me. How could I be best friends with someone who wanted to hurt herself because of me? I couldn’t see any way being best friends would work out for me or you.

Hmmm. 

Osas: I got the fact that we needed time apart. But I think you went about it the wrong way. If you had acknowledged the friendship, things would have been a lot different. Because you dismissed the friendship, it felt to me like our relationship itself meant nothing to you. 

I used to think you were my friend before you were my girlfriend, then when we broke up you said we were never friends. That hurt a lot. I guess everything hurt in general but I never considered you the bad guy because you were good to me. 

Seyi: I’m sorry I hurt you. I don’t think we were friends before becoming girlfriends. We were in the talking stage, and I always considered you as someone I was going to get into a relationship with and treated you as such. That’s why I’d speak on the phone with you every night for hours and talk with you constantly. I don’t do that with my friends. I do that with love interests.

So, what do you think about your relationship with each other now?

Osas: Like I said, it was good. It just became weird. My energy with her will never change. I want her to be happy. I don’t consider us friends in the sense of the word. She’s just someone I fell in love with and no longer talk to. Do I still miss Seyi? Sometimes. Like when I see something I’d want to share with her or remember something about us. 

I don’t regret the relationship. I’m glad it happened, and I’m glad it ended. I guess it was for character development. 

Seyi: It’s the same for me. I don’t regret the relationship at all.

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