Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Let’s start from the top. What was day one like for you two?
Boma: We were university mates in the same level, but he was studying computer science, while I was in architecture. We knew each other because our school was rather close-knit. But we became friends in 300 level, when we joined the technical (TC) unit of our school’s chapel.
When we came back for our final year in 2015, he asked me out.
John: I was surprised she said yes because our fellow unit member had asked her out in 300 level, and she said no. He told me not to bother since she wasn’t looking to enter a relationship until after graduation. Turns out, she just used scope to tell him off.
I thought she was really cool. Quiet but not too much because she also had lots of friends. The first thing we connected on was cartoons. Not even all these cool new animations; we’d talk about old cartoons we loved when we were kids. She had episodes of Kids Next Door and Ed, Edd n Eddy on her laptop. I remember giving her my hard drive and begging her to share them with me.
Boma: Yeah. That was fun. The good times, before adulthood came calling.
Hot tears. So what happened after the relationship kicked off?
John: We started hanging out more, outside of TC activities. My department was in the same building as hers, just a floor beneath.
Boma: As you know, final year is hectic, so it was good to have someone to share the burden with me, to run thesis research and attend the many general lectures our school forced on us. We always made plans to eat, study, attend and stab classes together.
But when we got home, we barely saw, even though we lived in the same PH. We spoke over the phone when we could, sent each other plenty memes and skits, and that was it.
I’m now curious how y’all have lasted seven years together
John: When we resumed school for the final semester, we got much closer. Especially during final exams. We’d stay in class till like 9:30 p.m. — so we could make it to our dorms by 10 (we weren’t trying to get expelled at the 11th hour) — studying together and making out in between. We weren’t really talking about our commitments post-uni, so there was the bittersweet feeling that this could be the end.
But when we met each other’s parents during our convocation ceremony, I knew I wanted our relationship to last beyond that day. She had such a positive, loveable vibe, and her family is so nice. Our families bonded really well. It was beautiful to see.
Boma: So we kept in touch. We texted and DMed for months after convocation. I was talking to other people too, but nothing was clicking.
Then, in November 2016, we decided to meet up before NYSC, for what felt a lot like a first date. We went to a nice bistro, had sandwiches and fries and talked forever. After that, we started going to events and parties together, and sometimes, I’d stay over at his when he was at his brother’s flat.
When did love enter the equation?
John: Right after our “first date”.
I got posted to Enugu for NYSC, but she got Rivers and stayed in PH. So I had someone cover for me in exchange for all my government allowance, while I moved back to town after the orientation camp.
Boma: I loved the idea that he moved back because of me. I also liked the way I felt when I knew I was about to hang out with him. He’s good vibes all through. We can chat for days and make out for days too. Plus, he’s really kind and respectful.
John: Wow. My head dey swell.
What do you talk about? Simulate your average day-long conversation right here, right now
John: Our gist always starts with whatever is happening at that moment. Like, we could be talking about the food at a restaurant, but somehow, music or cartoon must enter the gist. We still watch a lot of animations, and she’s passionate about music, so she must bring up one of her faves. Someone from Hillsong, Beyonce, Mercy Chinwo, you name it.
Boma: Then he’ll somehow bring in football or more food or clothes. He loves fashion die. He’ll find a way to stroke Queen Bey’s latest performance outfit and still compare her to some random footballer. DFKM.
Interesting. So how has your relationship evolved since the beginning?
Boma: We’re definitely more grown now, so a lot of our deeper set personalities have come to light. I mean, we’ve moved in with each other three times now, but each time, the co-habiting thing fails.
The first time was when we both moved to Lagos for work. It made sense to move in together as a way to save rent money, and of course, be closer. But NGL, the “always seeing ourselves” thing came on too strong for us. There was constant friction; we tried to laugh it off until we couldn’t.
That’s when he found out I was a grumpy morning person and prone to mood swings.
John: And the sleeping in the same bed thing. It was good for easy sex. But then, I snore, and you’re a light sleeper. LOL.
Remember that first time I got a cold and fever? She couldn’t sleep the whole night because of my constant sniffing, coughing and sneezing. Meanwhile, me, I somehow managed to sleep. We decided we’d sleep separately if one of us was sick. But there was only one room, so someone had to sleep on the couch for like a week.
We lived together for a total of two months before I went and found a room in my cousin’s house to avoid destroying our small romance.
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You didn’t take that as a sign to break up?
Boma: Yeah. I mean, we’re so compatible in a lot of other things. It’s just the little things that haven’t gelled yet. I think that’s normal.
John: Yeah, because the second time we moved in together, we were reckless about it. I got this nice fully-furnished Lekki apartment at a stupid price by pure luck. This place was fine fine. When she visited one day, she literally came back with some boxes and refused to leave again.
Boma: But we tried to set some ground rules, so I wouldn’t say we were reckless.
First and foremost, we took separate rooms. Another thing he didn’t mention earlier was that I like sleeping in the cold, and he loves to be all warm and toasty under all the duvet in the world. O wrong nau. We only got into the same bed when we wanted sex or cuddles.
John: She moved out weeks before the one year even elapsed. I don’t even know when she moved out exactly. I just realised she was sleeping more and more at her own place.
But you guys still tried again?
John: It was the love o. All our other friends were slowly moving in with their partners, so I guess it was also peer pressure. A side of us wanted that extra physical closeness because it’s seen as the natural next step when you really love someone.
Boma: So when we both moved to Abuja in September 2021, we tried what we’d tried with our move to Lagos again. We got a place together. This one was a spacier three-bedroom apartment that cost us most of our salary at the time. But it was such a nice space, and I loved it.
John: In that place, we learnt a lot of lessons that have benefited our relationship. We learnt to form our own rules and expectations separate from what we’d grown up to believe had to happen in relationships.
John: We don’t share things just because we’re “supposed” to. It’s important for us to keep everything separate to avoid any of that confusion and resentment that comes with one person’s likes and needs getting lost in the other person’s.
Boma: For example, we made sure to use products we liked and buy our groceries separately. We like different types of food and different brands of basic things like pasta, toothpaste, air freshener, even milk. We don’t make it a big deal; we just buy what we want.
John: Neither of us has to eat a meal that one of us cooked. She can cook what she feels like eating and eat, while I might want something else, so I’ll go and fix it for myself too.
Boma: Another thing that works for us is letting go of that constant need to check up on each other when we’re separate.
John: Oh, I still have PTSD from the people I entered the talking stage with before I became more committed to Boma. I know it’s supposed to show love and care, but why am I out for an event or whatever, and you’re constantly texting me to make sure I’m alright?
I think it’s also PTSD from our strict parents. Once it’s like 11 p.m. those days, they’d start hitting up my phone. Why are we trying to get to know each other and you’re cosplaying as my father?
Boma: We don’t see how the constant check-ins make either of us safer. We trust each other to take all necessary safety precautions and also stay faithful. We’re both adults.
I too had my strict parents insisting on calls every hour on the hour.
It seems you had a good understanding. Why the co-habiting break this time?
Boma: We stopped “dating”.
In the ten months we stayed together, we went out on a proper date once. Between work and online school when I started my MBA programme, we always saw each other. So at first, it was about saving money or energy. Then, we just weren’t taking out time for small small romance.
We’d enjoy each other‘s company doing mundane things like going to the supermarket or laundromat. He’s my best friend, so we have a good time no matter what. But then, it got boring. Life was happening too much for my liking. I felt old all of a sudden and was getting more irritable about it.
John, what do you have to say to this?
John: I was constantly stressed out by my demanding job, so I couldn’t really be as attentive to the mood of our relationship as I would’ve liked. So when she told me she wanted to move out barely a year in, I was honestly shocked. I thought we were settling into a nice rhythm together.
Boma: I felt guilty for days prior, that I was about to ruin a good thing. But I didn’t want to settle. I wasn’t satisfied, so I needed a break to step away and process why. He understood that and let me go.
John: I emphasised that I didn’t want the relationship to break off because of her move, and she agreed. Of course, she still comes over to visit, and I go to hers too. But since she packed out in July 2022, we’ve talked more about definitive future plans. And how we’d navigate a home together considering our peculiarities.
Boma: That’s how he’s basically proposed to me without coming direct. All these corners. Sigh.
For now, though, we’re embracing this casual commitment to each other.
John: Yeah, it’s important to be able to give each other breathing space when we need it.
How would y’all rate your Love Life on a scale of 1 to 10?
John: I’d say 6-7. We have a lot to sort out, but what I do know is we love each other very much. Everything we do is from a place of love.
Boma: 7 because I’m so sure we’ll make everything work in the end. It’ll just take a lot of intentionality from both of us. But yes, I love you, John.