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

Tell us how you first met

Ife: It was an even more chaotic than normal day at Computer Village in January. 

I was there to get my laptop fixed on a Saturday when I heard the news that the deadline for the use of old naira notes had come. The market was in utter chaos that day, and I couldn’t pay for the laptop they’d finished fixing. I was basically stranded, looking for a free banking hall or ATM so I could take the laptop and go home — I also needed to raise my cab fare as all my bank apps were also down. 

As I passed by a crowded electronics stall, pitying myself and making calls, I saw this guy looking frantic, trying to catch a thief who had just grabbed his phone.

Bash: It was a crazy moment. 

I was browsing through some accessories, and out of nowhere, this pickpocket tried to grab my phone. Luckily, Ife saw what happened and shouted, which caught the attention of everyone around. The thief panicked and dropped my phone, and Ife helped me pick it up.

Ife: I was impressed by Bash’s gratitude and the way he handled the situation. He couldn’t stop thanking me, and I couldn’t stop teasing him about how he almost lost his phone at the worst time possible. We exchanged numbers, and he insisted on taking me for a drink to thank me for helping him. 

Ordinarily, I would’ve said no because why am I talking to a stranger in Computer Village, but I’d not yet figured out a plan to get home, and he didn’t seem at all panicked by the lack of access to funds. 

Turns out, he was a banker and had lots of new notes.

Bash: She looked concerned, and I couldn’t just let her walk away without showing my appreciation. So I asked what was wrong. She hesitantly explained the situation with her laptop. 

We went to a nearby restaurant and planned out what to do. It was funny because she kept assuring me she wasn’t a scammer, but that had the opposite effect on me. I knew she wasn’t a fraudster, but the fact that she kept saying it only made me start second-guessing my intuition. 

Anyway, we sorted out the laptop, talked a bit more, and I helped her get home. It was in our shared cab that we realised we had a lot in common — tech, music, and even our favourite local foods.

So, your shared interests brought you closer?

Ife: Yes, definitely. But it wasn’t just the interests. Our conversation flowed naturally.

Bash: Whenever she smiled, I was just smiling back. She was witty and had a great sense of humour all the way home. That’s hard to find in women these days. It was hard not to be drawn to her.

Ife: We were out for dinner some weeks after, and he reached out to hold my hand. It was such a simple gesture, but it felt right. I remember feeling a rush of emotions.

Bash: I’d been trying to find the right moment to tell her how I felt, and when she didn’t pull her hand away, it gave me the courage to express my feelings.

Ife: I was a bit surprised when he told me he liked me but in a good way. I’d been feeling the same way, but I was nervous about admitting it. When he confessed, it felt like a weight had been lifted, and I told him that I felt the same.

Bash: It was a relief, and we both had these big smiles on our faces. From that moment on, we knew we were more than just friends.

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What challenges have you faced in your relationship so far?

Ife: One of the biggest at the time we started dating in February was our cultural differences. I’m Yoruba, and Bash is from the northern part of Nigeria, which strangely led to some misunderstandings within our families in this year 2023.

Bash: It was all subtle. We both have very traditional parents, and the events surrounding the last national elections didn’t help. But we worked through it together and made an effort to understand and respect each other’s backgrounds. 

Ife: Then, we had to do long-distance. Bashir got a job in Abuja towards the end of April, and I stayed in Lagos. So far, we’ve had to navigate the distance, trust issues, and the occasional jealousy.

Bash: We’ve made it a point to visit each other every other month, but when we’re apart, we plan fun activities together, like watching the same movies or reading the same books to stay connected.

What was your first major fight about?

Ife: Our first major fight happened because we originally planned to move to Abuja together. I work remotely, so it was convenient, but I’d never been to Abuja nor did I know anyone there.

Bash: It was a particularly stressful time. We had to find a new place to live, I was starting a new job, Ife was trying to adjust to a different city, and our relationship was still fresh. The pressure got to us.

Ife: Well, one evening, we were discussing our finances, and it got heated. We had different ideas about how to budget for the move, and we couldn’t agree on how to prioritise our spending.

Bash: I wanted to save more aggressively to ensure we had a financial cushion, which meant finding a cheaper apartment in a less central part of FCT. Ife was more focused on enjoying the process and spending on things that would make our new home comfortable right away. 

I also didn’t have the luxury of time because I had to report to the new workplace within a month.

How did the fight play out?

Ife: It started with a disagreement, but then it escalated into a full-blown argument. We both said things we didn’t mean, and it felt like we were drifting apart.

Bash: It was frustrating because we’d never fought like that before. We were just two months in, but we were usually so good at resolving issues together. This time, we couldn’t find common ground. 

I eventually walked out. Then later, we texted each other, apologising for the harsh words.

Ife: When I got home and thought about everything that happened, I realised I didn’t want to move with him any longer. 

I mean, he got the job. He was the one who needed to move. Why was I forcing myself to join him when I’d made no such prior plans to do so for myself? Why was I so eager to tag along when we’re two separate individuals? 

It took a while to convince him that I wasn’t changing my mind because I was angry.

Bash: We had to compromise, and I ended up relocating alone. We’ve become better at listening to each other and finding compromises that work for both of us.

How long do you plan to keep the long-distance relationship up then?

Ife: For as long as is reasonably natural and until we’re ready to make that investment. It’s a big move. And it’s crazy how I was just ready to do it at the drop of a hat when the news of his new job came. I must love him a lot.

Bash: Long-distance isn’t fun. Travelling a lot also isn’t fun with all the price hikes and money scarcity. But we’re making it work for now until we’re ready to move to that stage where either of us can relocate, and we can live together.

Ife: We don’t want to pressure ourselves into jumping milestones, but we’ve also said to each other that if we haven’t moved to the same city by our first anniversary in February, we’d let each other go.

Bash: It’s just to keep each other on our toes. We don’t want to take the great effort we both put into sustaining our relationship for granted. We have a goal: find a way to literally get back together. We’re both looking for jobs in opposite cities right now.

Ife: The running inside joke is, “What if we both get really good jobs, and all we achieve is switching places?”

I forbid it for you. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your Love Life?

Bash: 5, for obvious reasons.

Ife: That’s not fair to our love life, though. I’d say 7, at least. 

I never thought I’d even give long-distance a try. Love did that.

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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