Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Chelle, 24, and Layide, 23 have been dating for seven months. Today on Love Life, they talk about striking a connection the moment they started talking, how their decision to stay friends changed and how long-distance affects their relationship.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Layide: She was in a car, and I was with a mutual friend of ours. We were looking at each other; we didn’t say hi.
Chelle: Mine would be touching her hair.
Wait, how did you people go from not talking to touching her hair?
Chelle: We were at a games night organised by our mutual friend. When I came, she was on the phone outside. She was on that call for a long time. Eventually, she finished and I went to say hi to her. I told her I liked her hair and asked if I could touch it. She was quite shy — she blushed at everything I said or did. We flirted and later we exchanged numbers.
Layide: She was so excited to put her number on my phone. I loved her energy and knew I wanted to spend more time with her. She came with someone else, and I didn’t know the dynamics of their relationship so I didn’t intend to be pushy. When we started texting, she made it clear that she didn’t want to be in a relationship yet. I respected that and we remained friends. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I waited for about six months.
Chelle: I had just gotten out of a relationship where I felt like I was taking care of a dead plant, so I wasn’t looking to date anyone. I wanted to learn how to be alone, and I also needed to figure things out for myself.
Things like what?
Chelle: I was supposed to graduate in 2020 but the pandemic delayed that. I also planned to start a food business while I was in school. Being at home for months destabilised my plans. I needed time to think about what I wanted to do next.
I felt depressed. I was always crying. I don’t like talking to people about my problems because I feel like no one cares, but Layide was always interested in anything I had to say. She would always video call me to ask what’s wrong and how she could help. She would also ask later on if everything was fine.
Aww, that’s sweet. How were you feeling about this, Layide?
Layide: I didn’t mind making those calls or checking on her. I liked her but I also wasn’t in a hurry to date. I was fine spending time with her. More than anything, I wanted her to know I genuinely cared for her .
As much as I wanted her to date her, it was also important to me that she was happy and in a good place by herself.
What happened next?
Chelle: One day in November, we went out together and she took pictures of me. She used to be terrible at it, but that day, she said she had gone to learn how to do it better on YouTube. That was the most thoughtful thing anyone had done for me. I cried for like five seconds when she said it. I spent the rest of the month thinking about whether or not I wanted to be in a relationship with her. I had decided to start my business while I was at home and after procrastinating for months, I did. That’s when I knew I was ready to date again.
In December, one of the days we went out together, I asked her to ask me out again. She blushed and asked me if I would be her girlfriend. When I said yes, she asked me if I was sure I wanted to be in a relationship. I told her I had figured things out and was ready to be with her.
How has the relationship been so far?
Chelle: We are in a long-distance relationship and I have never been in one before. Sometimes I get angry and ask her why she let me fall in love with her, knowing we’d end up here.
Layide: We always knew we were going to be a long-distance couple because when we met, she was schooling in Benin but was in Lagos because of the pandemic. One of the reasons she didn’t want to date me was because of the distance. I had never been in a long-distance relationship either.
We try to see each other often though. I think the longest time we’ve spent apart is about eight weeks.
Layide: Asides from distance, our relationship has been great. I love our dynamic and how much we understand each other. She’s a talker and I’m a listener. We don’t argue unnecessarily, and we never go to bed mad at each other. We talk about everything and anything whenever we spend time together.
Chelle: Our heads work better together. We help each other solve personal problems.
Layide: Yup, plus the sex is great! I’m a sexual person and she matches my energy if not, surpasses it. Even though we are long distance, we still have a healthy sex life. Thanks to video calls.
Mad o. Oya, tell me about your fights.
Chelle: I tend to pick fights with her when I feel lonely. There was one time she was supposed to come and see me in school. We had talked about it and made plans, but when the day came, I didn’t hear from her. She didn’t talk about it, so I didn’t say anything. She eventually made the trip to Benin a few weeks later. That’s when I told her I was mad at her. She apologised and we settled it.
Layide: Like I said, we don’t argue a lot. Most times, when she’s angry, I am able to talk to her and we work through it. Even when she is angry with other people. She is the kind of person that would change it for you when you try her. Sometimes, though, I have to step in when I think she is overreacting. I try to point out that whatever happened might not be the person’s fault.
Chelle: LMAO. She has saved a lot of people with those speeches.
What’s the best part of the relationship?
Chelle: I love spending time with her. It’s the best part of the relationship for me.
Layide: We are not always together, so those few moments we spend with each other are precious.
What have you learned from each other?
Chelle: But I’m not a patient person.
Layide: I learned patience from having to be patient with you.
Chelle: LOL. She helps me not procrastinate. Whenever I decide to do something, she makes sure I commit to finishing it. She would ask me about it from time to time, and it keeps me in check. Adulting is hard, but I can deal with life better when she’s with me. She also taught me to smile more.
Rate the relationship on a scale of 1 – 10.
Chelle: 8.5. We haven’t gotten to where I want us to be in our relationship. I’d like to move out of Lagos and she has plans to leave Nigeria. We’re trying to see how things will work out in the long run.
Layide: 9. Our relationship is going to get better, and I don’t think I’d ever rate it a 10 because I want to leave room for more.
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