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

What’s your earliest memory of each other?

Sola: We met in a small supermarket on my street. I passed him on the aisle to the counter, and he noticed one of my tattoos. He told me it was nice. I actually thought he was talking about my jewellery and tried to explain that my grandma gave them to me when I was a child. 

When I realised he was talking about the tattoo, I just smiled and faced my front.

Charles: I wasn’t used to seeing girls with tattoos in my neighbourhood, so I found her intriguing. I asked her for her number, but she said she didn’t know it off-head and also didn’t bring her phone with her. I assumed she didn’t want to give me, but then she scrambled through her wallet for paper and asked the cashier for a pen.

Sola: I took down his number and, later that night, dutifully texted him on WhatsApp so he could have my number. Only for him to say he couldn’t remember who I was.


Charles: So the thing is, I was high when we met at the supermarket.

Hm. Sola, how did you take that?

Sola: I had to send him a video I’d taken earlier, in the same outfit, to jug his memory. I was irritated, so I figured I wouldn’t speak to him again. And true true, he didn’t text me for a while. It was also December, and he was giving IJGB vibes with a slight accent and all.

Charles: I hadn’t just got back. I got back a long time ago.

When did you realise you liked each other?

Sola: Later that month was events and concert season in Lagos. 

I was on my way to my office end-of-year party when he messaged me for the first time since the day we met. He was attending a show in our area and was wondering if I wanted to come. I told him I was on my way somewhere else, so he switched to video to see how I looked. He hailed me and made me feel so cute.

Charles: She looked good, and I couldn’t hide it.

Sola: He told me to have a good time and not be a stranger. I smiled and felt good about myself just hearing him say that. I don’t even know why. He just looked and sounded like a sweet guy. 

I was talking to this other guy at the time, and even though I liked him, I always felt like he was giving me this subtle attitude. But Charles already made me feel fully appreciated.

Charles: For me, it was when we finally met up at a festival on Boxing Day. Neither of us came with friends, so we got to bond and get to know each other, surrounded by music and strangers having fun.

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What happened after?

Charles: We chatted until mid-January, when we met again for her birthday. That’s when I saw another side of her — the party girl side. 

Sola: My friends organised a little dinner for me and then a club thing after.

Charles: She and her friends are crazy. I couldn’t keep up at all. I had to leave early.

Sola: The next day, I called to thank him for the gift he gave me at the dinner, and he started asking how I got home and if I was safe the whole time. I was a little irritated. I’m 30+, please. 

We texted for weeks after, but I made sure I was cold in my responses. Until one day, he told me he really liked me but he felt I didn’t like him back. My heart melted, and I told him I liked him.

Charles: That’s how we got together officially.

No wasting time?

Charles: I was done waiting. I just wanted to know if we’d work out in a proper relationship once and for all.

Sola: So you weren’t even sure at that point?

Charles: Is it possible to be sure until you try it out?

And how has it been so far?

Sola: There’s been ups and downs. We’ve taken a few breaks because we keep having the same issues around our very different social lives.

Charles: I never considered myself religious until we started dating. But I never miss a service. I know you’ll ask how come I was high the first time we met. I guess I’m religious now because I was born religious. My mother really drummed church culture into our heads, and now, it’s just ingrained.

Sola is more casual about it, and she’s a popular jingo. Meaning that she has over 50 close friends and attends at least two big parties a month. I’m talking proper club or house parties. I wasn’t prepared for how bothered by that I would be.

Sola: I also never thought it would be an issue, at least, until I started having kids.

Sounds like a dealbreaker?

Sola: I wish it were that simple. The thing is, everything else works between us. 

I love how he makes me feel, his character and his financial trajectory. But I don’t think I can or should have to change for him. I also don’t think he needs to be more social for him; we don’t have to have all the same interests.

Charles: I agree. We’ve been able to establish a middle ground over time, but it still causes friction sometimes. We don’t really connect with each other’s friends because hers are Lagos cool kids, and my friends are more workaholic and church-obsessed. I feel like she’s too cool for me sometimes.

Sola: Cool as how? We’re just used to a lifestyle that’s different from what you’re used to. 

We’ve talked about the future a number of times. We’re both ready to settle down, so in November 2023, we made the huge decision to move in together. And the first two months really tested our love and bond. I could tell he tried to be understanding but clearly didn’t like me coming home late on some nights. It made me feel guilty and uncomfortable.

Doesn’t cohabiting clash with Charles’ Christian values, though?

Sola: As you must’ve guessed, he’s half and half about it. That’s probably why we can still have a conversation and make compromises. A true Christian boy would’ve chased my clubbing ass out a long time ago. I wouldn’t even let it get to that. 

But yeah, cohabiting has always been a must for me before marriage. I gotta know firsthand what I’m getting into.

Charles:  I agree. There’s a place for faith and a place for using your sense.

Sola: We’ve grown to manage our differences better. 

He comes out with me to the club on some nights. On others, I cancel on my friends, and we hang out together instead. I no longer feel I need to accept every invitation. That’s a compromise I’m willing to make for the future of our relationship.

Charles: I also don’t feel I have to attend every church service. I’ve limited those to Sundays, and we’ve started going together every week. It’s been cool mixing both worlds at our own pace.

You mentioned being ready to settle down?

Charles: Yeah, that will happen any moment now. I don’t want to spoil anything.

Sola: Ahhh. Don’t let Zikoko be the first to know of your plans. Is it soon? Should I go and fix acrylics? I’ll kill you if you’ve spoilt the surprise, I swear.

Charles: We still have a few things to discuss, but despite our imperfections, we’re right for each other because of how open we are to making things work instead of just walking away for good.

Do your religious parents know about the clubbing and cohabiting?

Charles: Haba. Do they care? My mum isn’t excited about our cohabiting, but she’s not really vocal about it. And they’ve never had to know that we or she clubs.

Sola: Oh, his parents love me. I’m absolutely lovable!

Between us, though, we’ve had major disagreements in the past about my late nights and his prioritising mid-week services over our bonding time. We’d take a break for a week or two, and before you know it, we’re back because we love spending time together.

I don’t think our social lives should be enough to keep us apart. I mean, at this age, we should know.

Right. How would you rate your Love Life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Sola: 8. We’re a work in progress, but sometimes the journey matters just as much as the destination. Or whatever these motivational speakers say.

Charles: LOL. Same.

Check back every Thursday by 9 AM for new Love Life stories here. The stories will also be a part of the Ships newsletter, so sign up here.

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