Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Adeola, 29, and Temilayo, 24, became exclusive after a kiss. Today on Love Life, they talk about moving from office romance to getting engaged, and why there will be no “breakfast” in this relationship.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Adeola: I had just joined the company she worked in and was being introduced to everyone. I saw her and thought, “Who is this one?” It was the same thing I thought about everyone, maybe I was just a certified bad belle. But then Temilayo started coming to my office to “ask questions” when she actually just came to look at my fine face.
Temilayo: Wahala for who dey ask questions oh. See, my colleagues and I usually attend this midweek service at a church close to work. During one service, I saw one of my colleagues talking to a guy, and I wondered where she knew him from and why she was talking to a stranger. It didn’t even click that he was the new guy who just joined the company. She mentioned that he had been introduced to us, and I said, “Oh,” which was code for, “Does he look finer or are my eyes deceiving me?”
The following day, I was trying to remember a song that was played in church the day before. None of my colleagues remembered the title either. I called Adeola on the office intercom and he said, “If you come upstairs, I’ll tell you the song.” It was a little flirty, but I wanted the song, so I went upstairs to him. That was the beginning of everything.
Looks like “physical appearance” plays an important role in your meeting. Am I correct?
Adeola: I think you are on to something. The first time I took a really good look at Temilayo, I thought she was a baddie. She was wearing this sexy two-piece: a cream-coloured top and a short skirt. Temilayo loves really short skirts. When she came in, I did a double take. I’m sure she must have caught me staring, but I maintained my composure.
Temilayo: Adeola used to wear a lot of white shirts with bishop collars. He was very polite, pleasant and quiet. He wasn’t doing a lot, he just kept his head down and did his work. I was magneted.
Was there a specific moment you knew you were attracted to each other?
Adeola: Not long after I joined, she went on leave. When I asked in the office, I was told she had relocated to Canada. I was surprised. We had only just started talking as colleagues, but I thought she would tell me about something as big as relocation. In my head, I cancelled her. A week later, I came downstairs and there she was, at her desk. It felt as though I had seen a ghost. “Didn’t you relocate?” I asked. She told me she was just on leave, and I felt relieved she was back. If there was ever a moment, I think that was it. I know they say absence makes the heart grow fonder; in this case, absence helped me realise I had better seize the day.
Once I knew I was attracted to her, I started to think she would put me in trouble. We worked in the same building, and everyone knows you shouldn’t date someone in your office building.
Temilayo: He didn’t do too much, and that was one of the first reasons I liked him. Our friendship too. It was so natural; it felt like we’d known each other for a long time. We would talk for hours in his office, and he wouldn’t make any funny moves. I grew to trust him. Whenever he was leaving the office, he would stop to check on me and say goodbye. Whenever he left without saying goodnight, he’d apologise and say he was trying to beat traffic. Whenever he was going out to see someone, he would tell me who he was going to see and how they were related. I thought it was kind of him to explain himself and keep no secrets from me even though we were not in a relationship.
Once, he was out for a shoot in Ajah, and I told him I was sick. An hour later, he was back in the office at Opebi to check on me. He said he was there to get something, but he was really there for me. It was a big thing, that I could mean this much to a person and have them put in all that effort.
So you both went from a phone call on the office intercom to subtle flirting, absence, and intense attraction. Taking notes.
Temilayo: I should mention the Instagram DMs too.
Instagram DMs? I thought it was just office chats…
Adeola: LMAO. We did it all oh.
Temilayo: Before I met Adeola, I used to be in love with being single. I’d go out with a lot of guys and have fun, eat free dinner and that was it. One day, I posted something on my Instagram stories. It was a tweet screenshot saying something like, “I’m tired of going on dates. The next guy I go out with is the one I will marry.” It was banter, of course, but Adeola responded and said, “Okay, let’s do this.” It never crossed my mind, but I am just realising how every piece fits together now.
An intentional Yoruba man. God when?
Adeola: When God says it’s your time.
My own clock doesn’t seem to be working. How did you both get into the relationship proper?
Adeola: Before we started dating, we went to see KOB together and had so much fun. I watch movies a lot on my own; it’s hard to watch with someone and enjoy it, but with her, I did. After that, we went for a Mainland Block Party and had even more fun. We were drunk on palm wine, dancing and then we kissed. At that moment, we knew we had to make things exclusive because there was no denying that we were into each other. This was on the 15th of December, 2018.
Temilayo: Prior to my relationship with Adeola, I ate one bitter breakfast. I was in a relationship with somebody. At least I thought I was, until the person told me we didn’t agree to that kind of thing. With Adeola, things were sailing smoothly, but once bitten twice shy, so I asked him, “Can we be exclusive?” And he said, “Sure.” That put a stamp on it and gave me complete immunity from eating breakfast forever.
Temilayo: Yes. We are engaged now.
Temilayo: Let me let you in on a small secret: ever since the 15th of December 2018 when we became exclusive, we celebrate our monthly anniversary, every 15th of each month. We just celebrated our 35th month. Next month will be the 36th. Every month is always something different and special. When we are in different cities, we do FaceTime anniversaries and it’s very cute.
Adeola: It’s one of the perks of being in a relationship with a sweet boy.
Preach! Before we go into the engagement, tell me about dating each other.
Temilayo: Omo, hiding from work colleagues was the worst. I became James Bond, abi Janet Bond sef. We’d calculate how to go on dates together without people knowing we were going on a date together. We did sleepovers too, and coming to work together in the morning required serious plotting. It was thrilling, but only when you look back at it now. Back then, it was a lot.
Adeola: I told people I was in a relationship, but nobody knew it was with Temilayo. And so, whenever Temilayo and I shared a joke or were seen around each other, people thought she was doing too much and minding another woman’s business. One time, we had a mini quarrel, and she sent me an apology cake in the office. I told everyone my girlfriend sent it to me, and they were all hailing the supposed girlfriend right in front of Temilayo. I think it was at that moment she decided to start telling the people that mattered.
I would have collected my cake back sha.
Temilayo: I almost did oh! People thought I was forcing myself on him, and I was like, “What? I’m a catch oh. This man is always in my arms every evening. I am not doing too much!” I couldn’t stand my rep being destroyed, so I told some people close to us.
So what brought about that quarrel? If she had to send a cake, I figured it must be serious…
Adeola: I don’t even think it was a fight. I think she said something funny and I changed my expression. And I thought she assumed she’d said the wrong thing. Me I wasn’t even vexed, but if there’s a cake, who am I to say no?
Temilayo: Omo, na love dey shark me oh. We had just started dating then, and I was doing the most as per love of my life. Now, even if he vexes, sorry to all the parties involved. Everybody will be fine. But to be fair sha, we hardly fight. And the instances when we do, it’s probably my doing. I don’t want peace; I want war. Fight is sweet.
If you have to take a look at all the fights you’ve had in the three years of your relationship, what would you pinpoint as the cause?
Adeola: Miscommunication. We are still growing in this relationship, and sometimes, if some things are not boldly spelt out, it is easy to lose sight. Temilayo has a PhD in silent treatment, so when we fight, I wait for her to cool down and then tell me what I did wrong. They are usually based on issues about not calling for the whole day, etc. I am nonchalant about certain things, making the mistake of thinking that Temilayo doesn’t need to know, while Temilayo wants to know every detail of my life from sleeping to waking up. This is also not to discount the fact that Temilayo sometimes starts fights so we can have something to argue about.
Temilayo: I’m great. I communicate perfectly, and Adeola is great, but he’s not on the same level I am and this is where the wahala comes from. I like to be met with the energy I give out, and so if I’m communicating 100% and you are giving 80%, I just tune off.
How are you bridging this gap?
Temilayo: I am learning to respect his person and understand that he isn’t me. This means he won’t always do what I expect. This year, especially, I have learnt that we’re two different people with two different lives. In the first two years of our relationship, I wanted him to be me, almost like my twin. But now, I have come to understand boundaries, to give him room to be himself and let myself understand that this does not hinder our intimacy in any way. There’s been a lot of growth from my end.
In terms of communication, he is growing and trying his best. Now, I understand and repeat it to myself that he had a life before he met me and was his own person, so I can’t just expect for him to change as swiftly as I want because he is with me. I understand that it is a process and that he’s trying to be better at this. I respect that. Later in life, he’ll come around. And if he doesn’t, it’s fine. We are different, and this difference is what makes us perfect.
Adeola: Understanding helps us bridge the gap. We know certain things are born out of work stress, life stress, and we don’t want to add to it. Also, when we have a misunderstanding, we try to purge it out immediately. Sometimes, Temilayo intentionally creates drama and I see through it, so I smile and when it’s all over, I tell her that I knew what she was trying to do, and we end it with banter.
Choosing to be with someone is asking yourself if you can live with all their flaws. Since we have made the decision to be together, the flaws come as part of the package.
Now let’s talk about being engaged…
Adeola: We got engaged on the 15th of August, in the spirit of celebrating every 15th. I wanted it intimate: close family and friends, so I knew it would happen at my house. My sister prepared things, got candles and stuff. I wanted to make it memorable for both of us, so I created a video compiling all the memorable moments we had together. At the end of the slide show was the question, “Will you marry me?”
When she entered, I played it on the screen and sat down. She thought it was one of our anniversary things. When it got to the question, I brought out the ring, and the first thing she said was, “Ahan, are you sure you want to marry me?” She didn’t even cry.
Temilayo: This man is actually engaged to me, which is very weird to say. After our first year together, we started talking about our future. We had iPhone notes for the names of our kids, the kind of wedding we wanted to have. And even though we had these conversations, it didn’t occur to me that marriage was the first step to all these other things. It just seemed to me like it was a thing that was bound to happen. I used to tease him, “Ahan, when are you going to marry me? You have not married me oh.” I guess he decided to take it seriously.
On that day, he told me not to go to his house. I should have known something was up. I should even have gone there. He had changed jobs by then, so I went to his workplace where I met his boss. We went home together and I saw a lot of lights and flowers and balloons. I thought, “This is so nice.”
Adeola is a natural romantic, so I thought it was one of those things. Until the question came up and I was surprised. I wouldn’t say I was not expecting him to marry me, but I guess his surprise worked. I didn’t cry, sha. Adeola is my guy.
But here I am, crying.
Adeola: Before I met Temilayo, I was not so big on marriage. I knew I wanted to settle down but not in the nearest future. You don’t know you are ready until you meet the person you want to settle down with. Temilayo is my own person. It would have been out of place if I didn’t pop the question. I wasn’t pressured, it was the right person at the right time.
Temilayo: Engagement is a formality, to be honest. We are together and have been together for a long time. We are in sync. Even if he didn’t propose, we would still be the way we are. Loving him and being loved by him was enough for me.
Adeola: I’m not scared of the future, we are best friends, and always together to the point where our friends call us woman wrapper and man boxer. We complement each other, have fun with each other. This vibe is what we want to maintain forever. Before I met her, I was reserved. But since we met, I have become even more exposed than she is. I feel like marriage will open us up and make our bond stronger. I am excited and ready, and I don’t see any hurdle we can’t scale together. Because we are together, the future looks good. And I am eager to step into this married future holding hands and being side by side with each other.
How would you rate the relationship on a scale of 1-10?
Adeola: 9/10. When you get the best thing that gives you joy in life, that’s a 9. Jesus is 10. Our relationship is the oxygen I breathe. She makes me love my life and enjoy living. Since we started dating, our lives have gotten better, as well as our relationship with God. Things can get better and will get better, but this, right here, is heaven.
Temilayo: Everything he said.
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