Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
*Dorcas, 22, and *Lara, 18, have been dating for 9 months now. For today’s Love Life, they talk about hiding their long-distance relationship from their religious families, all while trying to plan a future together.
What’s your earliest memory of your partner?
Dorcas: Swiping right on Tinder. She didn’t even have a profile picture, but I thought her name was interesting. We matched. . She wasn’t very active on Tinder, so we took things to WhatsApp. Then she asked me out.
Lara: Funny thing is, I remember her asking me out with a song. I think the song is “Suited” by Shekinah.
Dorcas: I told her that I was done dating for the year and just wanted to have fun, but she kept shooting her shot. After a month of chatting, I realised that I actually loved her.
What do you love the most about her?
Dorcas: Her smile. I had no idea that people with gap-tooth could be so beautiful when they smiled. Every single time she smiles, I’m like, ‘Oh my God. She is so beautiful’.
Lara: Dorcas gives the best advice. I cannot make a decision without letting her know. She knows what to say at any given situation and she is so supportive.
Speaking of support, how is your family handling your relationship?
Lara: They are not aware. My parents are conservative and religious. They do not accept our kind of relationship, so, right now, only my close friends know.
Dorcas: Right now, only my brother is aware. He found out because he kept probing, but he is super cool about it. I can’t tell my mum because I don’t think she’s ready. I have been dropping hints about not bringing home a husband. I’m always like, “Don’t be too disappointed if I don’t get married”.
So, marriage is not in the plan?
Dorcas: It is, but marriage isn’t an endpoint. Tags are not my thing, but I want us to always be together in a committed relationship. If that ends up being a marriage, then sure.
Lara: Dorcas and I have spoken about it and yes, it’s something we’d like to do. My biggest worry about marriage is disappointing my family, but I can’t help it. I am not going to live an unhappy life to make them feel better. If things get to a point where they cut me off, then I’ll learn to accept it.
Dorcas: I grew up in a very religious family. I think my mum might die if she finds out. She’s slowly accepting the fact that I don’t have or want a boyfriend, but she made me promise not to join the ‘LGBT+ clique’. She said it like it was a cult or something. I have sha been preparing her for the worst.
Speaking of which, do you plan to have kids?
Lara: YES. I want children, so we are definitely having kids.
Dorcas: I am not really a baby person. They are cute and I love my nieces and nephews, but I am not freaked out by the baby thing Lara wants them though, so, yes, we are having them.
Nice. Do you feel heterosexual relationships are different in any way from what you share?
Lara: I haven’t been in a heterosexual relationship so I’m not sure how it works, but I’ll say that in a lesbian relationship, both parties are getting more pleasure from the sex because they understand their bodies.
Dorcas: Yes. The sex is definitely longer and more thrilling. There are no defined roles, no head-neck thing here, just two women loving each other. Although, she tends to take the lead during sex, showing me what she wants me to do and I just follow through. She’s actually my first.
Awww, so cute. Asides homophobes and the Nigerian government, what has been the biggest threat to your relationship?
Dorcas: Like most relationships, we have misunderstandings. For me, it’s that Lara doesn’t like to step out of her comfort zone. I find myself making most of the moves to see her and I want her to do more. Another thing is having to hide.
My love language is spending quality time, and I hate the fact that I can’t love her openly and freely. The other day, she came to see me and everyone kept calling her my friend. I introduced her as my baby and they said they know, but I don’t think they do.
Lara: It’s the distance for me — we hardly get to see each other. We once had this fight about this online couple contest. We were supposed to send our pictures in for the contest.
I agreed at first but after asking a few questions, I wasn’t comfortable with it anymore. It caused a disagreement because Dorcas had already sent in the pictures and wasn’t sure how to tell them we weren’t participating anymore. Plus, Dorcas can get really mean, haha.
One thing you both have in common is coming from a religious family. How do you reconcile your faith with your sexuality?
Dorcas: At first, I used to be very churchy. My relationship with God involved a lot of praying for answers about who I am, but I soon realised that God doesn’t make mistakes. I am a masterpiece.
I know that God loves me and that’s enough for me. For people who like to threaten gay people with bible quotes, I’ll say this: there was a time when the bible was used to endorse slavery. Now, times have changed and a lot of things have to be revised.
Lara: It’s really difficult, but I still have to hold on to God. My parents are super religious and they carry all of us along so I’d say my faith is pretty strong. Although, I have found myself wondering what would happen if I wasn’t a lesbian. I didn’t choose to be like this. I like this life. I like loving my woman.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.
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