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

Please, take it from the top. How did you meet Daniel?

We met at work in 2018. We used to work in different departments of a bank’s head office. I was in marketing, he was in IT, and if you’re familiar with how banks work, you know these two departments liaise often. 

I met him when I had an issue to resolve for a client. I went to his department, and the task was assigned to him. It took us two months to sort out the issue, and that’s how we started talking every other day. I was drawn to his reserved personality from the beginning. When we finally resolved the problem, he sent me a bottle of wine to celebrate, and I thought it was really nice of him.

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read this first: Love Life: We Married a Year After He Almost Married My Twin

Nice. How did things progress?

I admired that he didn’t try to flirt or act inappropriately when we worked together, which guys did a lot. They may not necessarily harass you, but they always want to get familiar too quickly once they know you’re a girl they’ll be working closely with for some time. I liked that he was respectful and understood boundaries. 

Some weeks after the whole thing, my mum was marking her 50th birthday with a big party, and my siblings and I were encouraged to invite all our friends. When I was scrolling through my contact list, I saw his name and remembered how cordial he was, so I invited him on a whim.

When did you start dating?

It was a gradual process, TBH. At the party, he was really cool. He came right on time while others came late, and he stayed till the end. He was respectful to my family and was the only friend who brought my mum a gift — a china plate set. My parents still use it in their house today. It was so lovely. 

After that, we started talking. I’d just come out of a one-year relationship, so I wasn’t really in a hurry. But things became official in March 2019, when we went on our first proper date.

Had he met Somi by this time?

Yes, they met briefly at my mum’s birthday. But they didn’t really meet till my birthday hangout in July. We all went to the beach with a couple of our friends. They got along well. Daniel is naturally a kind, caring person. His parents raised him well, and I don’t say that lightly. He’s one of the most respectful people I know. 

After our beach hangout, we started having double dates once in a while; us, Somi and her boyfriend. The hangouts happened naturally when we found someplace cool to hang and we wanted to share the moment with other people without making it too complicated by inviting our friends.

Got it. How did your relationship with Daniel go in general? 

It went well. Special days like my birthday, Valentine, Christmas, were even more special with him because he’s an intentional and thoughtful person. Sometimes, he’d do grand gestures like when he sent gift and food baskets with trumpeters to my office on our first Valentine’s together in 2020. Other times, he’d just send meaningful gifts. Our first Christmas together in 2019, he got me knee and wrist supports because I started going to the gym some weeks earlier. 

Did you know he’d propose when he did?

Yes and no. Things were going well for about two years before he popped the question, so it was definitely at the back of my mind that we might get married. But we didn’t really discuss it beforehand.

Our lives had become intertwined such that we were always either together or chatting randomly over the phone. I switched banks a year into our relationship, but we were both still in the banking sector and worked on the island, so it was easy to navigate our relationship with work. And he got along well with everyone in my family. I found it so easy to introduce him to everyone.

Why then didn’t it work out in the end?

See, Daniel is a good guy to have as a boyfriend in general. But was he a good guy for me in particular? I don’t think so. We didn’t really have much in common. I love to go out and be outside. It’s pretty important to me to attend events, both social and work-related, to meet people, explore places; I even love just driving around. I visit people a lot and love celebrating with them. 

Daniel doesn’t mind these things, but he also loves solitude a lot. He loves to read; I can never get past five pages of a book. I’m also an active person, and if you’re a regular gym person, you know the lifestyle is pretty exciting. The gym is a great place to network too. Well, Daniel is a real couch potato. You can’t get him to run for his salvation. 

These things weren’t really a big deal at first, but as soon as we got engaged, it became more obvious that we couldn’t really gist about things. He always wanted to talk about movies or books or something he found out online to do with tech, science, celebrities. I only ever wanted to talk about the things happening around us, like what happened at work or at that restaurant I went to, or on the road to his house. A lot of times, we had nothing to offer each other when one person is talking about what interests them.

But why did that become obvious only after the engagement?

It was always obvious, but it didn’t choke me until the thought of a lifetime together started hanging in the air. We spent even more time together, and I started seeing him come to life more with certain other people. Yes, including Somi. He had a lot in common with her, and they could always engage in conversation on a deeper level than we could. 

But she wasn’t the reason I broke off the engagement. It was the deeper realisation that our connection was on a surface level. We liked each other a lot, and I wanted someone that caring and loyal in my corner, but did I really love him? I started questioning myself a lot as the d-day got closer.

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What was the defining moment for you that made it clear you had to end it?

I woke up the morning of my bridal shower, and my heart was heavy. I just knew I couldn’t go through with it anymore. I was no longer excited about marrying Daniel. There’s no other way to explain it. And I didn’t want to allow what people might say to make me enter something so permanent. So I went to his house, and I explained this to him. We had a long conversation about it, and his emotional reaction almost made me change my mind, but I had to be strong. Changing my mind out of pity would’ve been the worst thing to do anyway. 

True. But how did you feel when your sister told you she was now seeing him? 

I won’t lie, I was upset. I couldn’t believe it when she told me, but my sister and I mean a lot to each other. We’ve been through so much together, and I know her more than anyone in this world. I know she didn’t have a drop of bad will against me when she started getting close to Daniel. She said nothing had happened between them and nothing would if I told her I wouldn’t accept it. And I believed her. 

Can I ask why?

Daniel and Somi have so much in common. They’re both too nice for their own good and very bookish. They used to chat about movies for hours on end when I was the one dating him, and it was so cool to watch how excited they’d get. I knew it was hurting Somi to even ask me about it, knowing fully well that their relationship would be unconventional given my recent history with him. I didn’t want to be the one to put her through further misery. 

Would I have preferred her to connect so deeply with someone besides my ex? Yes, of course. But do I think they had a natural connection that had nothing to do with me? Absolutely. Why would I keep them apart just out of spite?

Fair enough. What’s it like being in their lives now that they’re married?

It was weird at first, not just watching them be in love, but also seeing them hold back their affection because they didn’t want me to be uncomfortable. But I didn’t linger on the weirdness. My extended family also gives them a lot of heat, especially Somi. So I’d say they’ve paid for their “sins”. Just kidding. We’re all good. We’ve started to hang out more this year since I got engaged again.

About that. What was it like recovering from one engagement and getting into another?

It was rough, but I pulled through. I actually dated someone for about four months before I got together with my fiance. That relationship didn’t last because it was just me trying to find someone as fun-loving to attend all the events I’d missed while I was with Daniel. It wasn’t very deep, so it fizzled out just as easily as it started. 

I wasn’t really looking when I met my fiance. I was a bit down when Somi started dating Daniel because I suddenly missed him always being there for me. You can say I was in a vulnerable state, so a new relationship was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I threw myself into work. And again, that’s where I found a man.

Tell us about it, please

In 2022, I got a new job at a fintech company. About two months in, I had to meet with their brand and marketing agency which was supposed to present some go-to-market strategies for one of our new products. 

Obinna was the senior rep they sent to demonstrate the strategies in our office. He also became the point person as soon as we approved the agency’s plans, so almost like Daniel, we started communicating a lot and having to accompany each other to external work events. We got along so well it was almost too good to be true. At first, I told myself he’s probably this charming to all women. But when he started reaching out for us to hang out outside of work tasks, I didn’t hate it. Then we started going out together every evening after work and then again on weekends.

Sounds like the perfect match you were looking for

You can say that.

We never even had the “Be my girlfriend” or “What are we?” conversation. We just spent so much time together that asking would’ve been denying the obvious. And it was exciting to have something so clear it didn’t need words. I’m not saying it couldn’t have gone badly o, but sometimes, when you know, you know.

Is that why you got engaged so quickly though?

We got engaged just last month, on the one-year anniversary of the day we met. How long is long enough to date before getting engaged, please? But yeah, this time, I’m sure I love him, and we understand each other so well. 

Right. And does Obinna feel anyhow about your ex being part of the family now?

Oh. That’s a big question o. We haven’t really had that conversation. He was definitely taken aback when he heard the story, but he’s really cordial with Daniel. 

Again, Daniel is very good-natured. He’s not the type of person to give anyone cause to suspect or be wary just by seeing him and being around him, except you’re a particularly overbearing person. And Obinna isn’t, so my guess is he hasn’t thought about it that deeply at this time. He hasn’t even brought it up. 

Maybe I should go and ask him after this interview.

Fingers crossed for you. How would you rate your love life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Umm. 8. Obinna and I have a good thing going.

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NEXT BEST THING: Love Life: We’re Soulmates Who’ve Been Together Since JSS 1



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