Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Love Life: We Went From Open Relationship to Polyamory

By Vaseline May30,2024

Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.

What’s your earliest memory of each other?

Dumebi: Let me go first. I met Oyin during her convocation ceremony in June 2022. She was my brother’s set mate, but they didn’t know each other at the time. I’m not sure how she caught my eye, but she was taking pictures with her friends. I watched her do this for a while until she walked in my direction. I had to walk up to her and say hi.

Oyin: I didn’t know he’d been watching me. I just went to get something from my dad’s car that was parked a bit far away when he approached me and said, “Congratulations.” He introduced himself and asked for my name. That’s how he followed me to the car, we got there and just started talking. Then he asked for my number. 

My dad was so angry wondering what took me so long just to check if they left a cooler in the booth. They didn’t. 

Peju: I met Dumebi some months after that at a work thing. The company he worked for was helping my client with some PR projects, and we got to liaise a lot. We started meeting up outside our offices to get stuff done around February 2023 and that’s when we really started to get attracted to each other.

Dumebi: Yeah. We’d meet at restaurants and cafes to check stuff out on her laptop and align on how we wanted to make the project run faster without our bosses being on our necks. It really simplified the work.

I’m sure. Starting with Dumebi and Oyin, did you decide you liked each other from day one?

Oyin: Yes, I thought he was cute, and I’d never been approached so directly, so he definitely left a good impression. I didn’t think he’d call me, but then, he did the next day and told me he liked me on that first call. We didn’t talk relationship until maybe a week later.

Dumebi: I liked her, that’s why I walked up to her. But of course, we didn’t know each other yet, so I wasn’t in a hurry to define whatever feelings I had at the start. During our phone conversations, we got along well. She spoke in a way that made me know she was smart and interesting. 

I also liked that she wasn’t sheltered because I get so frustrated with sheltered girls.

How so?

Dumebi: No offence to anyone like that, but they can be socially awkward and find it hard to speak their mind. I don’t want to have to school someone I want to share my life with on how to communicate. But that’s just me. 

I liked that Oyin was brought up with a bit of freedom. I could sense this when she talked about her hobbies and activities. I knew I wanted a relationship from that first week.

Oyin: I get that because one of the things I liked about him early on was how well he knew himself and what he wanted. He was always so decisive and sure of himself. 

For our first date, he knew where he wanted to take me and when. There was no awkward back-and-forth about where I liked going or do I feel like going out or when do you think you’ll be free? I was surprised by how good that made me feel.

How did this first date go?

Dumebi: Because I knew she was a creative person who loved art, I took her to the Nike Art Gallery, and we just walked around and talked. We got an art piece that cost around 60k. We both pitched in but now it lives in her house where I can only go and visit it.

Oyin: It’s this lovely painting. We treat it like our shared pet. 

After the gallery, we went to a random restaurant to eat and talk more. We stayed there so late, I think the staff were getting passive-aggressive for us to leave. We kissed for the first time that evening in the car, and I liked it very much. That’s how the relationship started. 

And where did Peju come in?

Dumebi: We knew we liked each other, but somewhere along the line, we realised we weren’t aligned sexually. 

First, she wanted to wait. When she was finally ready, she didn’t enjoy it despite all my efforts. It was a bit stressful for me because I’m a fairly sexually active person, but like I said, I really liked her.

Oyin: So I suggested that we open the relationship. 

I didn’t want us to break up because I liked him way more than I’d ever liked anyone, and for the first time, I was with someone who liked me the same amount and I could tell. He wasn’t afraid to show it. I’d dated two guys before him, and it was either I liked them too much or they liked me a lot more than I did.

Did you talk about how you’d open the relationship?

Oyin: Yes, we discussed it at my place one Sunday evening in October 2022. We’d only been together three months, so I was a little scared I was just ruining things further.

Dumebi: I thought she was crazy, that it was just her way of breaking up with me because I’d never considered an open relationship before. 

We talked about sleeping with other people as long as we always let each other know and we also stayed safe. That’s how I got to find out she was bisexual. She explained that she liked guys emotionally but only enjoyed sex with girls. I think I died for a second.

Oyin: It was something I actually realised when we had sex. I thought with how much I liked him, liked kissing him, I’d actually enjoy it. But not so much.

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So the conversation went smoothly?

Dumebi: In a way, yes. But I went through a lot of emotions in my head. Shock, fear, jealousy, anger, everything. The most important thing for us to establish was whether we trusted each other or was it too early in our relationship to know?

Oyin: I don’t think he took my suggestion seriously until we spoke about it some more times. We’d still make out and he was as warm and intimate as ever. That made me feel good. Our daily activities had intertwined a lot by that time, and that didn’t change. We still talked and chatted several times during the day and made plans for meals and outings together. 

But I really wanted us to be sexually satisfied as well. I realised I had to actively talk him through finding casual partners, as controversial as that sounds.

Did you already have casual partners at this point, Oyin?

Oyin: Oh no. Sex is much more important to him than to me. I don’t mean gender-wise. Just him as a person. I wanted to make him happy, and I’m glad that I did because now we have Peju in our lives.

Dumebi: I tried with one other person before her. This girl I met in church was always talking about only wanting to sleep with me. But that didn’t work out because I wasn’t attracted to her. 

When I met Peju, and she insisted she only wanted something casual, I thought it was perfect because I was definitely attracted.

How did that go?

Dumebi: I told Oyin about her, and she screamed that I wasn’t supposed to tell her Peju’s name. She started laughing at me then found her pictures online. It was a bit jarring to have that conversation. 

Oyin: I thought she was hot and was happy for him. 

Peju: The first night we had sex, he told me he had a girlfriend and she thought I was hot. I was like, “Children of nowadays don craze.” I think it made the sex hotter, I don’t know.

You were fine with him having a girlfriend?

Peju: It helped that he said he’d told her about me. But whether I completely believed him at the time, I’m not sure. I wanted something casual, and I didn’t think it would last more than once or twice. Maybe if he’d said he had a wife, I’d have acted differently though.

Dumebi: But it ended up happening more than once or twice. As of July 2023, we were meeting up once a week. I could feel the relationship turning, and I didn’t even want to have any other casual partner.

Oyin: Our own relationship didn’t change at all. We still talked and hung out as often as before. He was also much happier, so I started wanting to meet Peju, but I was scared that I was about to complicate things.

How did you get to meet her?

Oyin: It all happened in a very interesting way.

Dumebi: I wanted them to meet too, even though we never even talked about it. I just asked Peju one night if she wanted to meet my girlfriend. She was like, “Are you alright?”

Peju: I said no immediately. What part of “casual” didn’t he understand? Also, was he trying to get me acid-burnt?

Dumebi: Anyway, our companies collaborated on another client, and she had to be in my office at least once a week. One of those days, Oyin came to eat lunch with me at our cafeteria. 

I didn’t tell either of them because maybe I lowkey like drama.

No way. In your office?

Dumebi: It was awkward AF.

Peju: I had to go down with him for lunch because his boss invited me since I was delayed in their office for almost four hours. I was so angry when he introduced us, but then, this babe just came to hug me and kiss my cheek. I was confused.

Oyin: Yeah, the meal was awkwardly silent after. I wish I could tell her how chill I was about everything, but Mr Dumebi had to make us meet in his office building.

Peju: After I left his office, I just started laughing to myself. I texted Dumebi to send me Oyin’s number. He didn’t send it until the next day, saying that he trusts me not to harass her. That’s how I called her and asked if she was okay. As in, “Are you mad?” but in a respectful way. We ended up talking and laughing. It was the strangest thing, but I got good vibes in general.

What was the next move for the relationship(s)?

Oyin: Nothing much happened for some months. We all just became friends. We were hanging out in each other’s houses a lot, but they weren’t having half as much sex anymore. I could sense that their dynamic was shifting, so I asked him about it.

Dumebi: I wanted to give her enough space to process the whole thing. We actually didn’t sleep together again for another month. It was all a little confusing for me, so I avoided thinking too much about it.

Peju: I was raised monogamous. Meeting and being friends with his girlfriend made me feel like I was doing something wrong by being with him. It’s harder to want sex with that mindset. 

One day, Oyin and I were together in her house, and she asked if I was finally ready for a committed relationship instead of casual hookups. Long story short, she wanted me in their relationship. My first question was, had she ever been in a non-monogamous relationship before? She seemed so comfortable with it.

Oyin: I’d never been, but I’d always been open to it. And at that point, I really liked both Dumebi and Peju.

So you became a throuple?

Oyin: Peju said she’d think about it, and I told Dumebi about it as well. That weekend, we met up at a restaurant and talked it out. Peju just kept laughing.

Peju: I was actually nervous.

Dumebi: I think we all were, but we were all also down.

Peju: Of course, we weren’t ready for how complicated it is to be polyamorous in Nigeria. Everyone just thinks I’m Oyin’s best friend, and people constantly warn her not to let me get too close to “her man”.

How do you navigate stuff like that?

Peju: Well, I’m not ready to tell the world I’m in a relationship with two other people, so it’s quite complicated. We just try not to overthink it.

Oyin: The last couple of months, we’ve taken turns going out on dates. Sometimes, it’s me and him; other times, me and her; other times, they go out without me. That gives us some freedom because it’s not like we’re celebrities with a large group of people looking closely into our relationship. 

And when people warn me about her getting too close to him in ignorance, I just say, “I don’t mind.”

Dumebi: We keep joking that I’ll just marry Oyin and then Peju a year apart and call it polygamy. But I also don’t find that funny. I hate how patriarchal that makes me sound.

Does anyone else know?

Dumebi: Our closest friends know. So between us, we have up to ten friends who know and are completely chill about it.

Oyin: None of our family knows, though. Not even siblings. I personally don’t have close enough siblings, but we all decided we won’t tell for now.

Peju: Actually, guys, my sister knows. Sorry.

Scrim. Are there relationship things you do, all three of you?

Peju: Besides sex?

You have threesomes?

Oyin: Yes, all the time now.

Dumebi: We also still go on dates, all three of us. We’re heading towards moving in together before the end of the year.

Any downsides so far? Besides the scrutiny from acquaintances

Oyin: Jealousy here and there. But nothing really. 

What I like most is that there’s more money to go around.

Dumebi: Drawing the line is another thing. 

I’ve pretty much closed shop when it comes to doing the open relationship thing, but Oyin still gets casual once in a while. There’s someone we might get committed to, and while I like him, I’ve also gotten very comfortable with our throuple. I’m not sure I want more.

Peju: It’s something we’ve been discussing, whether we want to put a number peg on our relationship. He’ll ruin our future talks about polygamy, but we all agree that this new guy is hot.

Oyin: We’ve all met him, so he knows he won’t be getting into a relationship with just me. But we’ll see how it goes.

What was your first major fight about as a couple and throuple?

Oyin: Where do we start?

Dumebi and I fought over me moving things around his house the first month we got together. But I now respect his boundaries better because of that episode. It actually wasn’t a huge fight. 

Dumebi: I spoke harshly to her and she spoke harshly back, and there was this brief shouting match. 

Oyin: He later came to apologise but repeated that he doesn’t like people touching his things.

Peju: Not sure I’ve fought with either of them, but as a throuple, we fight almost all the time. Well, more like we play fight. It’s never too serious. Mostly over food.

How would you rate your Love Life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Dumebi: 10.

Peju: 9. I’m still battling my inner monogamy.

Oyin: 20.

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