Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
How did you meet?
Kuro: We met by chance at a cyber café in 2009. I went there to put together my master’s application documents.
She was there to get her younger brother who was busy playing PlayStation 2 with his friends. We were both delayed for so long that we struck up a conversation. I don’t think anyone said “hi” first; we just started talking about something we noticed, and that was it.
Dupe: It turned out that we both lived off the same street. We later found out our parents even knew themselves from living in the same area for so long.
Kuro: Anyway, we exchanged numbers before parting ways. But I didn’t ask her out because I was sure I’d relocate soon for school. I even got a part-scholarship.
Kuro: The uncle who promised to sponsor me suddenly started posting me until I missed my resumption window. I’d even spent money on a UK visa application by then. It was painful, but I deferred from the September intake to January. That one too came, and this uncle suddenly became scarce. He even started avoiding the whole family because of a promise no one forced him to make.
Dupe: Now that I know him well, I can’t believe he pretends like none of this ever happened.
Kuro: I’m not even shocked anymore.
Dupe and I got close during this trying period. She was one of the reasons I got over the disappointment and picked my life back up. We didn’t even see each other again until almost a year after we met, but we were always texting on 2go and BBM.
Dupe: Three months after we met, I agreed to date this other guy. I liked him so much that I let him get away with too much. We lasted about ten months before we broke up in 2010.
When did you start liking each other?
Kuro: I think once my eyes cleared from the whole UK relocation dream, it was easy to see that Dupe was the only person, apart from my guys and family, who was there for me and supportive. I wanted to hang out with her because it felt like we hadn’t really gotten to know each other yet.
Once I got a decent job and received a few months’ salary, I asked for us to meet up at a popular eatery then. This was in April 2010.
Dupe: We met up and gisted, and that was it. We were still friends. But then, we started doing midnight calls, talking about nothing. My boyfriend started feeling threatened by him. In July, we broke up because he said his pastor told him to, and I immediately told Kuro, “Let’s be in a relationship”.
Kuro: I was shocked, but if I didn’t like her before, the way she called to tell me that initiated the feelings. I even played “hard to get” because I was like, “Wait for me to ask you first na. Why are you jumping the script?”
Dupe: Me, I was like, “Stay there. You’ll know when I find another person to fill your spot.” LOL.
What was it like going from friendship to dating?
Dupe: It was different. I wanted him to be there for me ALL THE TIME, and a part of me could tell it was overwhelming for him, but I couldn’t help myself.
Kuro: The first few months when she called to tell me every single thing happening to her was a lot to handle, I must admit. But I also liked being her first go-to person. Before her, I’d only ever dated one person, and it wasn’t a serious relationship.
Dupe: In my previous relationship, I second-guessed myself a lot. My partner made me question my worth, so I found myself falling back on Kuro for the validation my ex always held back . Kuro gave me all the validation I sought, and I wanted to bask in it. Unfortunately, that too wasn’t healthy.
How were you able to get past this need?
Dupe: Well, things went worse before they became better.
Kuro: We went through life like that for a year. We talked several hours every day and hung out on our street every night. But one day, I was drained and just withdrew for a few days.
Dupe: He took a break from the relationship. The only problem is I wasn’t aware of this at the time.
Kuro: She doesn’t want to expose me, but I’ll expose myself. I slept with someone else, one of my friends. I immediately regretted it, so I told Dupe the next week when we started talking again.
Dupe: I was angry. But I still loved him, so I forgave him.
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So you guys already loved each other at this point?
Kuro: Yes. That’s the only way to explain how we tolerated each other’s madness that year.
It didn’t take long with the other girl before I became remorseful and wanted to make peace with Dupe. I was scared, but I figured it was better to tell the truth than keep such a thing a secret, or worse, have it come to light when I didn’t expect. It was good I did because the babe wanted to create drama around it later, not knowing I’d already told Dupe everything.
Dupe: I was happy he told me, but I made it clear to him that would be the last time I’d forgive him for cheating.
Guess who ended up cheating later on.
Not him again?
Dupe: No. Me.
So, after the whole thing came and went, I forgave him, and we talked about where our relationship was going. I spoke to my mum, and she counselled me that I shouldn’t be too needy, relying on him for everything all the time. We were able to fix the way we ran our relationship, and we were happy with the way things went for several months.
Eventually, we decided we wanted to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. But first, we had to deal with his family, particularly his mum and some uncles.
Kuro: I’m Ijaw, and Mum didn’t like that she’s Yoruba.
Dupe: Even before we decided to get married, I noticed she was cold towards me, but I never guessed it was a tribe thing.
Kuro: When I told her my intentions, she was adamant that I only marry a south-south or south-east person. She’d never mentioned her stance before, so I was shocked. My dad also wanted to back her up, but I stubbornly insisted on marrying Dupe.
How did they take it?
Kuro: After months of back and forth, they relented. I’d never had that close-knit relationship with my parents, so nothing much changed between us.
I proposed in January 2012, the day after New Year’s, we moved in together, went to court in March and did our traditional and church wedding in July 2012 — my runaway uncle somehow found money to sponsor half of the expenses.
Everything was great until we had our second son in 2016. It was a tough pregnancy, but let me not speak about what I didn’t experience physically.
Dupe: It was hard. It took a toll on my body. I almost doubled in size during the course of the pregnancy and then had preeclampsia. By the final trimester, I felt like something was tied up in my brain that needed to be loosened. It was a nagging feeling like I’d run mad if someone didn’t loosen it.
They did a CS to get our son out, and I was in the hospital for some days. I got back home, and I was just depressed. I’d never felt such a strong emptiness; I wouldn’t wish it on my enemies. When I think back on that time, sometimes, I get anxious.
How did this lead to cheating?
Kuro: Afterwards, it was like she couldn’t stand me or anything to do with me. She just became difficult to deal with.
Dupe: I was just angry with him.
I started leaning on a man I’d met through work just about a month after I found out I was pregnant. I felt like a different person and Kuro no longer found me attractive. I was secretly ashamed to be my new not-so-sexy self with him. But this guy was older and not-so-sexy himself. He gave me the validation I needed at that time.
How did you get past that in your relationship?
Kuro: She told me she’d slept with this man, and even though I was angry, I understood. I had no choice but to forgive her because of how vulnerable she was then and what she’d gone through to bring my child into the world. However, I couldn’t really forget for a while.
Dupe: Our marriage was strained for about a year after. But it wasn’t just about the cheating. Having children takes a lot out of the marriage bond, in my opinion. It becomes less about marriage and more about family. There’s simply not as much time to relate, for romance or even sex.
Kuro: Between the children and the cheating, the sex has changed a lot between us. Sometimes, it feels like there’s one elephant in the room.
But like my case from before we got married, I knew it was much better that way than if we kept secrets and tried to deceive each other. I’m glad she immediately came clean to me, and she’s been just as transparent with her activities as she was when we first started dating.
Dupe: One of the things we got used to doing early on was always telling each other what’s going on. If it meant the other person would go their separate way, so be it. We are always kind to each other no matter what because beyond being life partners and lovers, we are friends.
If you didn’t fight over infidelity, what then have you fought over?
Dupe: We didn’t fight much until we had those two boys.
Kuro: Our sons?
Dupe: Our parenting styles are very different.
I believe in discipline, and I work in investment banking, so I don’t have the luxury of time to pamper anyone. Meanwhile, Dr Kuro believes in interacting with them like he’s their friend. Sometimes, I just want to scream at them so they know not to do certain things, but he’ll say, “Don’t shout at my sons.”
Kuro: They are not goats. How do you want them to grow up cultured if you keep screaming at them?
Dupe: Sorry o. Oyibo.
How would you rate your Love Life on a scale of 1 to 10?
Dupe: 6. Our love is safe and has withstood a lot, so I have high hopes for it.
Kuro: 6 too.
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