Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Maureen*, 22, and Chuka*, 27 have been dating for two years. Today on Love Life, they talk about meeting in the church, breaking up with other people to be together and planning a future together.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
Maureen: He was a popular choir member at my church in school. In 2018, I decided to stay back at school for the Christmas holidays. The Sunday before Christmas, I walked up to him to ask him what time the Christmas service would be. He said it was at 9 a.m. and asked if I was coming. I said yes.
Chuka: I remember waiting on Christmas day to see if she was going to come to church, but she didn’t. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I had looked forward to seeing her at the service. I wanted to see her again — her voice sounded nice the day she spoke to me.
Sis, why didn’t you go for the service?
Maureen: When I woke up that Christmas, I didn’t feel like going anywhere. My sister was around, so we decided to stay indoors and watch movies. I didn’t see Chuka until the next year. The first Sunday at school, I went to church and he was on stage. I didn’t pay much attention to him. In fact, I had even forgotten I met him.
After service, he stopped me as I was leaving and said he looked for me that day. We were about to get into a conversation, but he had a church meeting. He asked me to wait for him.
Maureen: I waited for like three hours.
Chuka: It wasn’t that long sha.
Maureen: That’s a lie. He was there for so long. At intervals, he would come and say he was sorry and would soon be done. I was hungry, tired and angry, but I waited out of courtesy.
It was worth it in the end sha because when he was done, we hit it off and just started talking. He told me what the meeting was about and I thought that was sweet. We walked to the bus stop, sat down and continued gisting.
Nice. What happened after?
Chuka: I still don’t think it was that long sha, but her waiting for me struck a chord in my heart. Who waits for somebody they don’t really know for that long? The people I was having the meeting with kept reminding me that a fine sister was still waiting for me. She also made me do something I would have never done — sit down with my suit at the bus stop. LOL. Church members were passing by, and I thought of how they were probably wondering what I was doing there.
Anyways, I ended up giving her a wrong number when it was time for her to go.
Maureen: OMG. Yes, he did.
Chuka: It was in error. I wasn’t with my phone, so I gave her mine. In the course of doing that, she added another zero to the number.
Maureen: When I texted him later, I didn’t get any response.
Chuka: I couldn’t reach her either. LOL. I told my friends what happened and one of them knew someone that had her number. On Thursday that week, we went to chill at a restaurant and the person that had the number came around.
When I called, it was a struggle to hear each other because we were talking at the same time. After that call, she kept calling.
Maureen: He was bad at texting, so the middle ground was late-night texting or phone calls. He liked to stay up late and I did too. That’s how we talked for three nights straight. He sent me one of his favourite love songs and I think that helped us get along even more.
Everything happened fast. In less than a week, we were talking like we’d known each other for years.
The next Sunday, one of his friends told me it was Chuka’s birthday and he was having a get-together at his place after service. I didn’t plan to come, but I said I’d try. When I got to my hostel, he messaged me to say that the event would start at 2 p.m., but he wanted me to come by 5 p.m.
Chuka: I wanted to be able to spend time with her when she came. Another thing is my friend, the one who told her about my birthday, wanted both of us to be in the same space so we could connect some more. By 4:30, he helped me clear everyone out of the house.
Maureen: I didn’t get there by 5 though. I got there by 6. Before I left my hostel, I gave his number and address to all my friends and my roommates. They were all wondering why he asked me to come by 5 p.m when the event was at 2 p.m. When I got to the bus stop, I had to wait for him to come because his house was far from the junction. He kept me waiting again. I stood there for a while before he finally showed up. It was so annoying. He has a bad habit of saying “Just give me five minutes” when he actually means 30 minutes.
Chuka: I had gone to see some of my friends off when she called me that she was at the bus stop. It took a while for me to get to where she was.
What happened in the house?
Maureen: Nothing. The house was a self-con room with a bed on the floor, but it was a very comfortable space. He and his roommates were eating. I didn’t eat though. We were talking, and I noticed I was leaning on him.
Chuka: I liked that she was comfortable. My friends are quite warm. Now when we are together, you wouldn’t be able to tell whose girlfriend she is because of how cool she is with them. I was lying down and she was lying next to me. It was quite intimate. One of my friends, Tilda, called me out of the room to tell me that she thinks Maureen likes me. Tilda is one of my closest friends. She told me she had seen Maureen in her faculty and she seemed excited that Maureen liked me. It was funny because Tilda never likes anyone. When I was looking for a relationship, Tilda told me she didn’t like any of my prospects. So that was a sign for me.
Maureen: I ended up not being able to go back to school that night because it was too late, so I slept over at his place. That was my first time staying over at a man’s house without my parents’ approval. I slept with a belt on my jeans trousers and buttoned my shirt to the neck. I stayed in one position till the next morning. I didn’t even sleep. It was so bad that he kept waking up to ask if I was comfortable. I went home very early the next morning. I was so pressed, but I couldn’t use his toilet because I didn’t want him to hear me pee.
LMAO, so when did romance enter the story?
Chuka: After that day, we continued talking. She told me she loved talking to me and called all the time. It was really sweet. On Valentine’s Day, I got her a gift, which was Tilda’s idea.
Maureen: I actually liked someone else and we kinda had a thing. As Chuka and I got closer, I and the other guy started to have tiny issues. On Valentine’s day, Chuka gave me a card with the words, “You make it easy to love you.” Meanwhile, the person I was with didn’t get me anything. This is when I became sure that we could become something, but we didn’t date until July 2019.
What happened between Valentine’s day and July?
Chuka: I also liked someone else whom I thought was perfect for my career. I was a musician and she could sing. But I kept hearing in my spirit that Maureen was the one.
I noticed I stopped liking the other girl. She also started behaving weird. She said she didn’t want to be around me. She later came to apologise for saying that, but I was with Maureen by then. But Maureen wasn’t fully mine. She still liked that guy. I knew that sometimes when she left my house, she would see him before going to her hostel, but I didn’t want her to feel guilty. I wanted her to be free with me so she could tell me things. It took about six months for her to realise it was me or nothing.
Maureen: It was when the person I liked started fucking up, I realized I could be in a relationship with Chuka. Even then, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t because he got me a gift and the other guy didn’t. That took a while, and it was hard on Chuka. There were so many times I had to make it clear that we were not dating.
One time, I was just leaving his house and we saw someone on the road. The person asked where I was coming and I said a friend’s place. Chuka was angry that I said “friend”. His mood just changed. I felt bad when I told him off, but I had to. I was still seeing the other guy but enjoying spending time with Chuka. I was also scared of the title “boyfriend”.
Maureen: Calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend bestows them with responsibilities like regular calls and texts at a fixed time, and I wasn’t ready for that. The other guy I was with wasn’t my boyfriend but we knew we liked each other. Initially, that was what I wanted with Chuka but as we grew closer, that changed. In July 2019, seven months after we started talking, Chuka asked what we were. That’s when I said, okay, we are dating.
Aww. How has the relationship been so far?
Chuka: The truth is it’s not been easy.
Chuka: We are quite different people. There’s a certain way she feels like life should be and that is different from my own idea of what life should be like.
Can you give me examples?
Chuka: It’s about values. For example, I don’t want her to have so many boys as her friends. Boys tend to take advantage of women and I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. On the other hand, she doesn’t think it’s a big deal. She doesn’t see the negative side of people, especially guys. Something has to happen before she becomes sceptical, but even then, she believes whatever they have done may not be intentional.
Otherwise, everything else has been good. You know I said I wanted someone that could sing. Maureen didn’t know she could sing. We were coming from rehearsals in January this year and me, her, and my friends were singing. We were all just fooling around but when we heard her voice, we were all surprised. She was doing riffs and runs plus she sounded like me. She sang me a song that day and I recorded it. I am going to work on it one of these days.
Asides from this, there is no one I would rather do life with than her. This is still a learning curve for both of us but I am happy to be here with her. She is beautiful in every sense of the word. She makes life easy for me. She keeps me on my toes and doesn’t let me rest until I achieve my goals. She lights up any room she’s in. I think about being with her and I know that my life would turn out good just because she is with me. I could be with her and no one would know where I am. I wouldn’t even touch my phone. These days, she acts more like she’s my wife and it’s funny because she didn’t want to be called my girlfriend initially.
Maureen: It’s one question they asked you oh. For me, the relationship has been different things at different points. In the beginning, it wasn’t my picture-perfect relationship. I had my idea of what a relationship should look like before we started dating. I wanted a rich, tall Yoruba man. If he wasn’t rich himself, I wanted him to be from a rich family that would always answer to his needs. I wanted an Instagrammable boyfriend. I also wanted a spiritual boyfriend that could either sing or play an instrument. Chuka is spiritual — in fact over spiritual sef. He also sings but he is short, not tall like I wanted. Plus, he is Igbo and he is not wealthy — he is still trying to get his life together.
Initially, it was a problem because I realised everything wasn’t perfect but I have learned a lot on this journey with him. I’m not the kind of person to settle for anything. When I’m in the room, I feel like everything should move forward. So we come up with plans to help him get better. Chuka is quite optimistic, so he always thinks everything will go well. I am a realist and I always make sure we have a plan B.
One thing that kept me going was that the relationship felt real. In every relationship or situationship I have been in, I had never been myself 100%. WIth him, it was different. He knew things I couldn’t even tell anyone at an early stage in the relationship. Also, it’s not every day you meet a guy that doesn’t want to be intimate from day 1.
I remember the day we kissed. I was at his place and we were talking. He was sitting opposite me on the bed. He looked really nice so I asked if I could kiss him. He said it was okay so we kissed. He was my first kiss in probably a year. I felt weird later. I even threw up. He was so worried but I think it was just because a foreign body was intimate with me for the first time in a long time.
What was your biggest fight about and how did you resolve it?
Maureen: He always keeps me waiting and it’s one of my pet peeves. The thing is, I like to plan my time. I don’t mind waiting for an hour, but Chuka will tell me five minutes and keep me waiting for an hour. There was one evening I was at his house and we were supposed to go out, but he was recording at the studio. There was no light and he kept me waiting for so long. When he came back, I told him I was going to my hostel.
How did you resolve the issue?
Maureen: I ended up not going home so we talked about it. Our strength is communication — we talk about everything. So when we fight, we take space from each other but later, we discuss what happened and why.
Chuka: That particular day, I was recording my first song and I knew it was going to be huge because people had been begging me to record it. I was already on my way home when she got there but I stopped to say hi to a couple of my friends on my street before heading home. I thought I would be quick, but I didn’t know when time flew. I had never seen her as angry as I saw her that night. She was shouting at me. I was scared. In my head, I was like, omo I don fuck up. I had to apologise. One thing God has blessed me with her is the communication aspect. There is no issue that is so big that cannot be handled. Sometimes, she might be wrong but I wouldn’t come for her. I may even apologise and days later, she would realise she was wrong and apologise.
Aww, what are your favourite parts of each other?
Chuka: My favourite body part is her bumbum. It’s a killer. Otherwise, I love how she’s so compassionate and kind.
Maureen: My favourite body part of his is his hair. He is also very understanding to a fault. He always makes excuses for me. He understands when I’m just being edgy. Sometimes, I flare up but he is always so calm. In my head, I’ll be like, “fight me”, but he never does. He always reminds me to calm down.
I like how we compliment each other. He is just a sweet person.
Do you have future plans for each other?
Chuka: I am definitely wifing her.
Maureen: I am definitely wifing him too. LMAO.
Rate the relationship on a scale of 1 -10 and why.
Maureen: 8.9 because we are not perfect. There are still some things in the relationship I would like to add.
Chuka: 9 for me, because like she said, we are not perfect. We both have some maturing to do. I want us to get to a point where we both know what is right in every situation on our own.