Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Chuba, 32, and Mohini, 27, have been together for over five years. For today’s Love Life, they talk about realising they were perfect for each other, coming back from multiple breakups and navigating long distance.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Mohini: It was in 2014. Chuba had written this brilliant, demystifying series about Economics. In my IGCSE, that was the only subject I got a C in, so it was mind-blowing that someone could write about the subject, and I’d enjoy reading it.
I tweeted at him, praising his work, and he responded. We didn’t really talk properly until a year later.
Chuba: I remember getting that notification and thinking she had such a beautiful smile.
Then why did it take a year for you guys to start talking?
Mohini: I wasn’t thinking about anything romantic at that time. I followed him on Twitter and read more of his work. For me, that was it. He was also dating someone at the time.
Chuba: LMAO. Yeah, I was kind of in a relationship, so there was no romantic inclination. I was just glad to see someone openly grateful for something I had written.
So, what made you guys start talking properly?
Chuba: My mum was speaking at an event in 2015, so I showed up to see her. At the entrance, I spotted Mohini — I immediately recognised her smile. I went over to say hi and complimented her beautiful smile.
Mohini: I wasn’t even meant to be at that event. My housemate, who’s a photographer, had gone to shoot it, but he forgot his flash at home. He called me to bring it for him, and while I was annoyed about having to go from Yaba to VI, I did it.
I ended up shooting with him as well. I was doing that when Chuba walked up to me. I remember him complimenting my smile because it made me smile even more. After that, we all went into the hall for the event.
Chuba: The entire time, I knew I wanted to talk to her some more. At this point, I was single, so after the event, I walked right up to her and asked, “Are you single or in a relationship?” I’d never done anything like that before, but it was a gut instinct.
Ah. That’s bold. How did she react?
Chuba: LMAO. She just smiled, but she was clearly surprised by the question. So, I took out my business card, handed it to her and said, “You don’t have to tell me now. Just call or text whenever you have an answer.” I didn’t even ask for her number.
Mohini: I was in this circle of guys when Chuba came up to me, and I even had a crush on one of the guys. Imagine the irony. Anyway, the question left me speechless — it was so bold and direct. That was the moment the seed was planted.
Chuba: Well, she didn’t actually call or text. She swears she was going to, but to be fair, we ran into each other at another event two days later. She walked over to talk to me, and we had such a great conversation. That was when she told me she was single.
By the end of the night, I had introduced her to all my friends as my “bae-in-faith”. My mum was also speaking at that event, and when she was done, I introduced her to my mum as well. I had never done that before; I just knew she was the one.
Wow. That’s so cute. Mohini, how did you feel about all of this?
Mohini: I don’t remember what we talked about that night, but I remember laughing like an idiot. I didn’t take the whole “bae-in-faith” thing seriously until he introduced me to his mum. I was wowed.
His mum even corroborated his statement that he had never introduced anyone to her like that. Then she gave me such a warm hug in her motherly bosom, and the rest is history.
I’m totally stealing “bae-in-faith”. So, when were feelings caught?
Chuba: For me, it was from the beginning. Then the conversation we had the second time we met was so smooth — it felt like we’d known each other for the longest time. That evening, she sent me a WhatsApp message, and we texted until 3 a.m.
Mohini: On my end, I think feelings were beginning to be caught the second time we met. What’s funny is that we became official seven days after that. As they say, when you know, you know.
LMAO. What? How did it become official?
Mohini: We attended the EatDrinkLagos festival together, and one of Chuba’s friends, who was a vendor there, asked if I was his girlfriend. He turned to me and asked, “Are you my girlfriend?” I said, “Yes now.” That was it. We wasted no time.
Chuba: Before the festival, she had asked me to go for a walk with her on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge. I love walks, so I was excited that she had suggested it before even knowing that about me. That was when it dawned on me that there was something here.
Mo, you didn’t mention that you broke up with me a week after it became official.
Chuba: LMAO. We’ve had multiple breakups oh. That was just the first.
Mohini, speak oh.
Mohini: Oh dear. Chuba, help me. LOL. Why did I even break up with him the first time? I think it just felt like a lot. For context, this is my first real relationship. He was very upfront with his intentions, and I think that scared me a little.
Our breakups never lasted though. Chuba, do you remember the longest one?
Chuba: Less than a week.
Wait. How many breakups have there been and what were the reasons?
Mohini: Somewhere between 5 and 10. Probably closer to 5 though.
Chuba: I think the breakups revolved around one particular reason: my faith. Around that time, I was still on my self-discovery path, trying to figure out what I believed in, or if I even believed in anything at all.
You know, when you’re dealing with Nigerian women who have been socialised to want a God-fearing man, finding out their guy is still figuring that stuff out is the last thing they want to hear.
I think her main worry was that we wouldn’t be spiritually aligned. Over the years, that has changed. We’re now more spiritually aligned than ever.
Wait. Does this mean you’re now more God-fearing or Mohini is less?
Chuba: LMAO. I’m more God-loving. I don’t subscribe to fear.
I need that on a shirt. Mohini, do you think you’d have stayed if Chuba’s relationship with God didn’t change?
Mohini. Hmm. I’ve never thought about that. I feel like the thing that kept me coming back, aside from Chuba being an amazing, brilliant, loving and kind individual, is the fact that he just always challenges himself to grow.
Still, I think I had already committed before I even knew he would evolve. Maybe I subconsciously knew it was in his DNA to change, but I was committed before the change happened. I don’t think I would have uncommitted.
I remember one of our early hangouts at Freedom Park. We were having a conversation, and I told him, “I think I may have met my husband.” This was after he had told me where he stood, so, yeah, I doubt I’d have gone anywhere.
That being said, I’m glad we now share a common spiritual language.
Was there a moment that made you realise you had fully fallen in love?
Mohini: I can’t point to a specific moment. It was all the different little pieces clicking into place.
Chuba: Man, I feel like I was already gone since our second meeting, but if there’s any moment that truly stands out to me, it would be when she tried to propose to me. I was like, “This person is 100% different.”
Sorry. What? Mohini, please, you have the floor.
Mohini. LOL. I definitely tried to propose. I bought bracelets, one was a compass and the other was an anchor, and they were meant to symbolise the roles we play in each other’s lives.
At the time, I thought I was ready, and I knew it would be a “Yes” from him. Duh. Anyway, I ended up losing my nerve and didn’t go through with it. I’ll let Chuba tell the rest of that story.
Chuba: LMAO. I remember coming out of the shower and seeing Mo standing in the middle of my room, crying. Then she told me she was planning to propose because she thought she was ready, and I just burst out laughing.
I thought it was sweet and funny. I didn’t see it coming at all. She is usually the one that alternates between certainty and uncertainty, and I’m the one that has been sure since day one. So, that she even considered it was a big deal to me.
I actually didn’t think she was ready at the time, so I was fine with her deciding not to.
So, who ended up proposing?
Chuba: I did in 2019.
Mohini: He did it on our anniversary.
Chuba: Yeah. This was about two years after her attempt. I know that sounds like a long time, but I wanted to make sure we were ready. We were both transitioning in our careers, and I wanted us to be more focused when it happened.
A lot of men propose to women without considering whether they are at the right place in their lives to take on something as serious as marriage, especially when you consider that it changes a whole lot more for women than men.
So, I just wanted to make sure Mohini was stable before proposing.
That’s thoughtful. How has this relationship been so far?
Mohini: Life-changing is the word, and that’s not an understatement. Chuba is my partner in all things. He has a twin, so he knows what it feels like to have someone in your corner at all times. That’s who he is for me — my number one cheerleader.
We’ve both had to grow, in terms of emotional intelligence, temperament, consideration, empathy and love. We’ve basically been catalysts for change for each other. I’m a shy person, but he challenges me to go for what I want. I call him my partner in progress.
As great as it’s been, there have also been downs as well. There are times we’ve let our tempers get the best of us, especially in the early days. Thankfully, Chuba and his twin brother came up with a framework that helps us get through arguments a lot faster.
Chuba, what’s this magical framework? Let’s save some relationships.
Chuba: We call it the framework of intention. My brother and I designed it during the lockdown. We were gardening a lot, and we learned some lessons from nature. Those lessons became the framework, and it has just three steps.
The first step is “slow down”. You have to slow down when communicating so your reaction isn’t a knee jerk one. The second step is to “give gratitude”. For me, I ask myself, “What am I grateful for about this person?” It helps with balance.
Then the last step is “take responsibility”. Before pointing out what your partner hasn’t done right, take responsibility for the part you played in that disagreement, be vocal about it, and do better. We’ve found that these three steps have been instrumental in reducing the level of conflicts we have.
I love that. So, when you think about your future, what do you see?
Chuba: I see so much fun in our future. Mo and I know how to have fun anywhere. We enjoy each other’s company even if we’re just watching Netflix. I remember one of our Valentine’s Days was spent in the car, listening to music and vibing.
I’m really excited for us to go on trips together. I imagine that will be even more fun.
Mohini: For me, I see Afrocentric jungle vibes. LOL. Let me explain. Chuba and I are creatives, and we are both in love with nature. So, in terms of the actual visuals, I see both of us half-naked in the forest — I would probably be wearing some leafy bikini.
Chuba: That leafy bikini though…
Mohini: LOL! Jokes aside, I imagine us doing most of what we currently do a lot more comfortably. So, instead of all the long-distance, we actually live together — have dinner together, do date nights and work at the dining table together.
I’m just looking forward to a lot more togetherness.
Oh? How much of this relationship has been long distance?
Chuba: Like half of it. I alternate between Abuja and Lagos.
Mohini: Our first year was together. Then he did about a year at Yale. Then he came back and moved to Abuja with his family, but he currently flies back and forth. So, for instance, since March last year, we’ve only seen each other for about 2 weeks.
That should change once we get married. We’re already looking for our own place.
Nice. What do you love the most about each other?
Chuba: Her energy. It’s the first thing I noticed about her. Mohini just has the most brilliant energy — it’s so bright and giving. A message from her always makes me happy. Hearing her talk makes me happy. Her energy is just great.
Mohini: I love his growth mindset and how responsive he is to me. He is so attentive and caring. He is also intentional about showing how much he cares. I love how he strives to grow and be better, which also inspires me.
I don’t think I could be with someone who doesn’t want more for themselves and the people around them — not in a greedy way, but in a “greater good” way. I also love how soft he is.
How would you rate your relationship on a scale of 1 to 10?
Chuba: A 9 because we are not yet married. Once we are married, it’s a 10. Maybe 11 even.
Mohini: I really want to give it a 10, and it’s not even to say that it’s perfect. I just like where we are, and I wouldn’t change anything about our journey. The only thing I would change is the long-distance, and even at that, it’s still solid.
So, maybe a 9. No, a 10. I don’t know. LOL.
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