The topic of how young Nigerians navigate romantic relationships with their earnings is a minefield of hot takes. In Love Currency, we get into what relationships across income brackets look like in different Nigerian cities.

From a student’s first Valentine with his girlfriend to the long-distance married couple and the writer receiving gifts from three different partners, this special #LoveCurrency edition explores the cost of Valentine’s Day for Nigerians in different types of relationships. 

Product designer living in Lagos on a ₦400k salary

How did you meet your boyfriend? 

We were in our third year working on a group project, and he asked to get a recording I’d made during the class. I was in a relationship at the time, and he was breaking off his relationship. By our final year, we’d become close friends who talked and hung out. Since we were both single, we started dating in 2018. 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? 

Between our busy schedules and Lagos traffic, we spend most Valentine’s Days at home. I don’t even remember it’s a special day, but sometimes, he buys me gifts. 

Do you have a memorable one? 

In 2021, we had a car movie date. We usually do this once a month, so for February, we used Valentine’s Day. We went to Ikeja City Mall to buy snacks, chose the two to three movies we’d see in sequence and set up his laptop in the car outside his house, while we snuggled up in the backseat. 

He also got me a ring light and make-up — foundation, lip gloss, powder and eyeshadow pallet, all Maybelline products — because he knew I’d been saving their posts on IG.

Did you get him anything? 

I sent a small chops tray to his office with a note asking him to be my Valentine. I also got him these Chelsea boots I saw he’d bookmarked on his Twitter. Everything cost about ₦35 – 40k. 

How much were you making at the time? 

I worked as an account manager, and my monthly income was between ₦150 – 250k, commissions included. 

University student schooling in Kaduna on a ₦25k+ income

How did you meet your girlfriend? 

Our parents knew each other, and we attended the same church. I always thought she was pretty, but I didn’t know how to approach her. Towards the end of 2018, I sent her a friend request on Facebook. We didn’t start chatting until April 2019. 

In the three months that followed, we texted and talked over the phone a lot. I could tell she liked me as much as I liked her, so I asked her out in August, and she said yes. 

Tell me about your most memorable Valentine’s Day with her 

We’ve never really celebrated Valentine. I get her gifts, but because we were in different boarding houses when we were in secondary school, we didn’t see each other till the holidays. 

What gifts have you gotten her over the years? 

In 2021, I got her a bracelet, rings, perfume and necklace set for about ₦5k. In 2022, I got her four teddy bears — one big one and three small ones. They cost about ₦10k in total. This will be our first Valentine together physically. We’ve both graduated from secondary school, so I’m hoping this year is really special. I got her a Valentine package with flowers, cake, wine, card, bracelet and a customised mug. It cost ₦25k. I’m also planning to take her on a date. 

How can you afford gifts? 

I work at my mum’s farm, and she pays me ₦1- 2k per day, but it’s not consistent. I also trade forex and give my friend money to place bets for me. He enjoys betting, and he’s good at it. Last week, I gave him ₦20k; he won ₦46k, which is what I’m spending on this Valentine. 

Writer living in Osun State on a ₦200k salary

How did you meet your partner?

I met my main partner on Twitter in January 2020. We were both in relationships then, but we spent a lot of time talking to each other. So we got together in July 2020, when our relationships ended. 

I met my second partner in November 2021, at a university party, and we hit it off. We weren’t in a defined relationship, but we were together. I met someone else on social media, sometime around December. I had a work event, and I had to reach out to her about it. After the event, we stayed in contact. We didn’t date but we liked each other. 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with them? 

In 2022, I told them I didn’t want to celebrate it, but I got a charger for my third partner because she’d been saying she needed one. That cost about ₦8500. My first partner got me a really cute dress, the second one got me lunch of about ₦7 – 9k, and my third partner gave me a foot and back massage and we also got ice cream for about ₦5k. 

God, when? What are your plans for this Valentine? 

I’m actually single for the first time in a while. So, I’ll just spend the day working and watching movies with my ex.


The first partner. We broke up some months ago but we’re still pretty close, so why not? 

Content creator living in Lagos on a ₦250k salary

How did you meet your partner? 

We met at a friend’s beach party in October 2021 and exchanged IG handles and followed each other. But we didn’t really talk till January 2022 when he replied to a story I posted about taking 17 shots. By January 22nd, he asked me out on a date. We went to Rufus and Bees some days after, and from there, we started going out. 

When did it become official? 

February 27th. The plan was to spend the weekend at a hotel in Ikeja, so we stopped to buy food — he got me my favourite cheesecake. And when we got to the hotel, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

So this is your first Valentine together?

Sort of. Even though we weren’t dating till a week after Valentine, we still exchanged gifts. He got me a romper — I love rompers. I got him a wallet, two-piece co-ord and a man purse, all for about ₦30k. This time, we agreed not to do too much because our anniversary is in two week’s time. My budget for that is about ₦50k. I want to get him one of those gift boxes with shoes in them. But for Valentine’s Day, I got him brownies and a pair of sneakers, which cost about ₦23k. I don’t know what his plans are, but I already got my first gift from him on Sunday — a pair of sneakers. 

Executive and HR assistant on a ₦150k salary

How did you meet your partner? 

On my birthday in November 2015, a friend of mine posted my picture on BBM. He saw it and fell in love. 


LOL, just kidding. He asked for my BBM pin and we started talking. I wasn’t looking for anything serious because I’d just gotten out of a relationship while he was dealing with an ex. But during one of our midnight calls in March 2016, I asked the “What are we?” question and we agreed it made sense to make it official since everyone already thought we were dating. 

And what were you?

A long-distance couple. We were schooling in different universities and even when we were both back to Lagos, he lives in Surulere, while I live in Ibeju-Lekki. But it was still better than him abandoning me in the trenches. In 2018, he went to Canada for his master’s degree. 

That’s a heck of a distance

It was. We were barely speaking. Between school, work and the time difference, there was no time When we did speak, it couldn’t be for long. We started to have arguments and eventually, I told him he had to make me a priority too. Communication started to improve after that.

When he finished his master’s, he had more time. 


Our relationship took a new turn once he got back. He returned in October 2019 for his sister’s wedding, and visited my dad to introduce himself. I realised he was serious about me. 

But when he asked me to marry him in March 2021, I was both scared, nervous and excited. I knew I wanted to marry him, but I just didn’t think I’d get married at 24. 

Valid concern 

My plan had been to go to Canada for masters, but then it kept taking time because the money wasn’t forthcoming. His plan was for us to get married so he could start processing my spousal visa. So he came back to Nigeria in December 2021 for the wedding.

How do you celebrate special occasions?

He usually sends money, anything between ₦100 – 200k. But for Valentine in 2022, he sent money to my friend and they got food from my favourite restaurant, chocolates, and drinks.

Do you gift him?

I buy him things I think he likes — clothes and jewellery, and either wait till he comes or send it through someone travelling to Canada. Last time I sent a gift was in September 2022. Everything I got was about ₦50k. 

Do you have plans for this Valentine? 

We honestly don’t go crazy for Valentine. I’m going to work, then coming back home to sleep. I’ve gotten him some t-shirts that cost about ₦20k, but I’ll add some things to them as time goes on.

Media executive living in the UK 

How did you meet your partner? 

We met on Twitter in November 2018. I asked people what they wanted before the end of the year and he said a date with me. He slid into my DM and we fixed a date but then I didn’t hear from him till weeks later. He apologised and said he was busy with work and wanted us to reschedule. 

Did you? 

The next time we met was at a mutual friend’s dinner, a few months later. After the dinner, we started talking more on Twitter and hanging out after work. We bonded over Game of Thrones and pedicures. We also had a lot of common beliefs and by lockdown, we were already dating and spent a lot of time together. 

When did you start talking about money? 

During lockdown, when we were staying together, we used to pull our finances together to buy things. 

How do you celebrate special occasions?

We buy gifts for each other regularly, and the more we grow, the more money we have and the higher the quality of gifts. For Valentine in 2021, he got me wine, chocolate and flowers. While in 2022, he got me a camera.

What are your plans for this year? 

I got him some gifts. Nike gear, sneakers, loungewear, a backpack, body massager and some other things. They cost about £500. I don’t know what he got me, but he said he spent £1k. We’re going to see a movie on Friday night and a mani-pedi date on Saturday, but for Valentine’s Day itself, we’d probably just sit home and drink wine.

If you’re interested in talking about how money moves in your relationship, this is a good place to start.

Read next: Dating on a ₦40k Monthly Teacher Salary in Port Harcourt



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