Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Frank*, 27, and Gabriel*, 30, have been together for five years. For today’s Love Life, they talk about navigating an open relationship, dealing with homophobia and their future plans.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
Frank: LMAO. I remember he introduced me to the pop band, London Grammar. We first met on the yellow dating app — if you know, you know. We were chatting there for a while, then we moved to BBM.
Wait. How long have you two been together?
Frank: September will make it five years.
Wow. Gabriel, what was your earliest memory of Frank?
Gabriel: We had been chatting for a while, and we decided to meet up at the mall where I worked. That day, I saw this guy walking around the mall. He was backing me so I couldn’t see his face. I remember he was wearing a shirt and really short shorts.
I noticed him and thought, “Hmmm, this person looks good.”
Frank: Just say you wanted to grab my butt…
Gabriel: LMAO. Well, I was thinking, “This is a hot person.” Then I realised he was the one. I had no expectation of what he would look like. I didn’t know he would be as tall as I am, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Awww. Do you remember how you two started dating?
Frank: It’s a bit complicated. One day, during the talking stage, he came to my office and stumbled on my WhatsApp chat with someone I slept with. It didn’t occur to me then that it was someone he also knew and had slept with.
I noticed his mood change, but I didn’t know what happened until he got home and asked me if I slept with the person. I said yes, and I remember him being bothered. He asked, “Okay so, are we going too fast with this or…”
LOL. Gabriel, why are you being shy all of a sudden?
Gabriel: LOL. Nothing, I am just remembering what happened.
Frank: So that was it. It affected us a bit but eventually, we were able to move past that.
Gabriel, how did you feel during that time?
Gabriel: We were trying to set up our relationship and that happened, so I was confused. It bothered me. I was asking myself what is happening here.
Do you remember what you saw?
Gabriel: I can’t remember. The thing is we have access to each other’s phones, so it wasn’t like I was snooping around. It just happened. We had conversations about it and we decided to have an open relationship.
How does that work?
Gabriel: Basically, we are free to see other people and have sex with them. The rule is to always be honest with each other. I didn’t mind it at all, as long as both of us are happy. Things have been great since then.
NICE! Do you remember your biggest fight?
Gabriel: Hmm, there was a threat to our relationship.
Gabriel: So, he slept with a very close friend of ours. I wasn’t expecting it at that time. LMAO.
Gabriel: Just shut up. LOL. I felt betrayed because I expected him to know better. I mean, you could have anybody else. Why did you have to go for someone so close to home? That bothered me a lot. We moved past it as well.
The great thing about our relationship is that we talk a lot. There is nothing we can’t tell each other. We are always expressing our feelings every step of the way, even when it involves experiencing something new.
We always communicate our needs so the other party doesn’t feel blindsided. That is our greatest strength. Like, there is nothing we haven’t talked about, including people we want to sleep with.
Frank: Like when you told me that there was someone at that Christmas party you wanted to make out with?
How do you feel when your partner tells you he wants to hook up with someone else?
Frank: Honestly, at this point in our relationship, we have made peace with the fact that we have each other, whether there are other people or not. When he pointed that guy out to me at the party, I thought, “Oh fun!”
As a matter of fact, I think we made out with the same person that night.
Gabriel: LOL. It happens. I don’t feel jealous when he is making out or having sex with someone else. The basis of our relationship is that we understand each other and we are very secure in each other.
We are also willing to compromise and meet the other person in the middle.
Aww, do you two live together?
Frank: No, we don’t.
How often do you spend time with each other?
Frank: At the earliest part of the relationship, we were seeing each other almost every day. I would go to his workplace from my office, hang around until he was done. We would head to our respective homes from there.
Eventually, it changed to every weekend, but since corona happened, the visits have kinda dropped. We make up for that with WhatsApp messages and calls. Also, he occasionally tries to drag me to the beach.
Gabriel: We make time for each other. I try to see him at least once a week. I have changed jobs and houses since we first met, so the distance is more than it used to be. During the weekends, we go out or hang out with our friends.
What’s your favourite thing about the relationship?
Frank: For me, it is the freedom… not freedom to cheat oh…
Frank: Not that kind of freedom. Before we started dating, I was always wondering if I was good enough for anyone. With him, it was different. He would encourage me to open up to him and be my freest self. Before him, I don’t remember the last time I went to the beach.
Aww. Gabriel, what about you?
Gabriel: My favourite thing is that I get to be myself. I can get goofy and very handsy. LOL. I love PDA, and he likes me like that.
Frank: I remember when we were still in the talking stage, and he just randomly asked me how I feel about PDA. I was like “Uhm, I don’t mind”. It was weird to me because, normally, when I put my arm around someone I am seeing, they go, “Ew, no”.
So when I told Gabriel I don’t mind, he started holding my hand in public.
Gabriel: I love PDA. If we were not in this country, I would kiss him on the streets.
Frank: I mean you kissed me at the beach.
Have you ever experienced negativity because you were being intimate in public?
Gabriel: *Sigh* Yes.
Frank: One day, we were both free from work, so we went to Tarkwa Bay. We had the beach to ourselves because it was a weekday. We were having fun playing in the water. I was struggling not to drown and he was holding me when I noticed two army men watching us.
When we came out of the water, one of them called me to come. I went over and he started asking personal questions like “Where do you stay?” and “Who is that guy to you?”
I said he’s my friend, and the man said, “Are you sure you don’t mean boyfriend?”. Then some kids there started making silly comments like, “Make una dey careful o, that one go burst your yansh o”.
Frank: It’s not like it’s something we are not used to. We are fine.
I’m sorry that happened to you. Is this something that happens often?
Gabriel: Not really or maybe I don’t notice sha. I am not really concerned about them. It’s not like I overdo it. I just feel like if you can hug a straight man in public, then what’s different from hugging a gay man in public?
These are regular gestures, yet, queer people find them hard to do in public. I don’t care though.
Frank: I am usually the one that points these things to him.
I am glad that you both are able to stay soft regardless. Do you have any future plans for your relationship?
Frank: Ah, there is a long list.
LMAO. Tell me about some things on the list.
Frank: Moving in together is the first step. I wouldn’t mind a different country either.
Gabriel: In a different country, I would marry him.
Frank: That one is already a given, like from the beginning.
Gabriel: We are going to get cats and dogs.
Frank: I don’t mind kids either but Gabriel would rather be an uncle so, yes, pets.
Gabriel: Maybe relocate to abroad.
Frank: Maybe ke?
LMAO. Rate your relationship on a scale of 1 – 10?
Frank: Go first. You know me, I will be extreme.
Gabriel: LOL. Realistically, 9.5 over 10.
Gabriel: I don’t have any issues with the relationship. I just removed that 0.5 because of human error.
LMAO. Frank, you?
Frank: That’s actually why I asked him to go first because I would easily say 10. Human error aside, being with him is the happiest I have ever been with anybody.
Frank: LOL. It’s true. I enjoy his company. I love that we can always talk about anything anytime. Sharing those little moments is basically all I live for. The other things are bonus especially if we were living in a different country.
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