Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
*Kola, 28, and *Cynthia, 27, have been dating for almost six years now. For today’s Love Life, they talk about finding each other on Twitter, navigating an already-existing relationship, and why they are still yet to have their first major fight.
What’s your first memory of your partner?
Cynthia: It was 2014; the day before my birthday. Since it was going to fall on a Wednesday, I jokingly tweeted that people use me as their #WomanCrushWednesday. He replied with “Sure” and immediately DMed to ask for my picture.
Kola: The first thing I noticed was her beauty, let me not lie. Then as we got to know each other, her personality drew me in. We didn’t always have the same views, but that didn’t stop us from talking non-stop.
Do you remember meeting each other in person for the first time?
Cynthia: I remember him walking over to me at a social event and introducing himself with his Twitter handle. He was clearly shy, but I found that cute.
Kola: I remember being wowed by her confidence. Whenever she walks into a room, people stare, but it never fazes her. She’s very comfortable in her own skin.
When did you know you were into each other?
Kola: I was interested in her from the first day I DMed her. I just never did anything.
Cynthia: For me, it was about two months after we met. We became good friends, and I got to know him better. I was actually in a relationship at the time, but he challenged me in ways that my then-boyfriend didn’t.
I knew he liked me, but he never said anything. He was very respectful of my relationship. I loved that he never came on too strong. That restraint was just one of the reasons I fell for him.
Kola, were you waiting for the relationship to end?
I honestly wasn’t. I’m not a very perceptive person, so I didn’t even clock that she liked me. At that time, I was just happy to have someone I could talk to about anything and everything. I was actually expecting the whole situation to end in tears for me.
Cynthia, how did you go from that relationship to this one?
That relationship was falling apart, but I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I wanted to try and make it work. I even went as far as getting relationship advice from Kola. Still, nothing seemed to be working. We had serious communication issues.
I eventually ended things, but it wasn’t because of Kola. It just wasn’t working anymore. So, sometime after the break-up, I finally asked him what he wanted from me. He opened up, and we’ve been together ever since.
Kola, would you have made a move if she didn’t?
This is a question I ask myself all the time. As she said, I’m a very shy person, but I think I would have eventually made a move. I would have probably just waited a little longer for the coast to be clear.
I never wanted her to get the impression that I was waiting around for things to end with him.
Do you remember what your first major fight was about?
Cynthia: I know you won’t believe me, but it’s been almost six years, and I’m still waiting for our first major fight. We have a couple of rules set in place that have helped prevent that from happening.
Kola: Yeah. More than anything, we are both committed to making this relationship work. So, we never let anything fester. If she complains about something, I know it’s not coming from a bad place. I simply listen and adjust.
Cynthia, what are the rules?
Firstly, we never raise our voices when we disagree. Secondly, we never hang up on each other. Lastly, we never go to bed mad. These rules have allowed us to respectfully voice our opinions.
When did you know you had fallen in love?
Kola: It was two months after we started dating. I worked close to her house, and I used to visit her three times a week at the start of our relationship. By the second month, my day felt incomplete if I hadn’t seen her. That was when it hit me.
Cynthia: It was within the first month for me. We were texting, and I randomly brought up the fact that I was craving Big Treat’s coconut bread — the bakery was right across the road from the office I was in.
We continued texting for a bit, and I eventually decided to go get the bread. I got to Big Treat and there he was. The first thing he said was, “They’re out of coconut bread.” At that moment, I couldn’t care less about the bread. I was just wowed by the gesture.
The second one happened two weeks later, and it’s also food-related — don’t judge, it’s the way to my heart. I was staying with a friend and I told him I was craving Nutella. That’s how he showed up with two huge jars.
How has this relationship been different from your past ones?
Kola: First of all, it’s been the longest. My longest relationship before this was about six months. It’s also the first time I’m receiving the love I’m putting out. In my other relationships, I was seen as too intense, but with her, my kind of love is appreciated.
Cynthia: It’s also been my longest. Before this, my longest relationship was two years. It’s definitely been my most challenging so far because I put in the work every day. We both do. And most importantly, he appreciates me in ways that none of my exes ever did.
What’s the most unconventional thing about your relationship?
Kola: I think the most unconventional thing about us is that we have reviews. From time to time, we sit down and break down where we are in our relationship. It’s our way of ensuring that our interests still align.
It can feel both technical and romantic at the same time. It’s not entirely planned out, but we have it often. We discuss things we’ve noticed about each other since the last review.
It allows us to bring up the areas we think we can both improve. At the end of the day, we are both human, and we drop the ball sometimes. So, we have these meetings to address those instances.
How has the relationship changed you?
Cynthia: I’m a social butterfly, and he’s the exact opposite. So, I’ve had to ensure that he never feels uncomfortable or overwhelmed when we go out. This has taught me to be a lot more considerate.
Kola: I’ve learnt to relax and be more outgoing. I’m also a lot bolder. I never used to be the most confident person, but that’s not the case anymore. I’m a little braver and it’s all because of her.
What has been the biggest step you’ve made in your relationship?
Cynthia: Moving in together.
What has that been like?
Kola: It’s been a few months, and the experience has been better than I could have imagined. We haven’t discovered any strange habits yet, but to be fair, we used to spend a lot of time together before the move.
Where do you see your relationship in five years?
Cynthia: Happier and closer. Definitely married with a kid or two.
Kola: As she said, married with a kid or two — we haven’t decided yet. Also, we should be living in a country that’s actually fit to raise children. If that’s Nigeria in five years, then so be it.
Cynthia: Nigeria? You and who?
LMAO. How have you guys kept the passion alive for this long?
Kola and Cynthia: Love, respect and commitment.
What’s the best thing about dating each other?
Kola: The consistency and energy. I’m never in doubt of how she feels about me. I never have to beg for attention or consideration. Honestly, nothing compares to having your energy reciprocated.
Cynthia: There are so many things to pick from. I love that he shows up every fucking day with the same energy. I can’t believe I landed the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful man I’ve ever met. He makes me feel appreciated every damn day.
If you had to give the relationship a grade?
Kola: A+. Once we get married, it will move to A++.
Cynthia: A+ too. I’m really grateful for the broken roads that led me to him.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.
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