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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Home or Away! Let the Love Blossom



I had an incredibly busy Saturday because I spent the day cooking. Cleaning shrimps and periwinkles is the most stressful part of making seafood okro, and even if it’s absolutely tasty, the stress that goes into it is a bit of a downer. So, I determined that I was going to spend Sunday doing nothing but reading my Ted Dekker book. That plan was going right and dandy till I got a phone call from my friend:
Come and hold your dogs, I’m at your gate
I’m not at home!
Stop lying. I can see your car
I was about to lie that I’d gone out with someone but Funmi is a persistent rat (and she reads this column) so I knew I’d lost the battle.
Immediately she got into the house her phone rang and I noticed she kept flicking it to silent mode.
Madam, who are you dodging? And don’t you know how to phone before you go visiting people on Sunday morning?
She hadn’t answered me when her other phone went off! Her tone was short and clipped:  “I already said all I needed to say to you last night and calling me 300 times between 7am and 11am will not make any difference. ”
Ah! I knew who that was so I said to her “Aunty fighter! What has bros done to you again? You’re always looking for a reason to fight that man” She responded that she was really tired and she felt that since he relocated to Houston for work, they were always fighting. According to her, they had been dating for 3 years and the last 7 months of his being in America was the most tedious and difficult part of the relationship. She said she thought what they had was strong and since they’d been through so much together, something as flimsy as distance wasn’t going to break them up; especially as technology aids communication a lot.

The age old issue of long distance relationships was rearing its ugly head. I’d been in a long distance relationship where I was happier when the guy was away than when he was with me. I found that in my case, we fought more when we were together than when we were apart so the distance worked perfectly for me; it was one of the 700 million things that were wrong with that ‘dalliance!’
The truth is, relationships need the oil of communication – EFFECTIVE communication to work. My friend, Mo’, argues that on the contrary, communication isn’t really the main culprit of broken down LDRs, according to him, it is the absence of intimacy and eventually the parties start gravitating towards other things. I asked if that was true even in marriages and his response was YES! Especially in marriages. “If a couple isn’t having sex, it puts a strain on their marriage.”
We find a lot of couples who share this situation: work takes wife to Abu Dhabi and husband remains in Nigeria. There’s time difference and difference in schedule which makes it extra difficult to maintain the intimacy that was pre-existent.

What do you guys think about long distance relationships? Do you think they make the relationship stronger? Do you think that they help to further exacerbate existing cracks in the union?  If you’ve been in one, or you’re currently in one, please share your experiences on how you’re making it work and blossom. Are there any particularly challenging moments which you solely attribute to “distance”?

Anyway,  have a fab week ahead, remember to put a smile on someone’s face this week. Keep your head up and be happy.

Love, peace and cupcakes!


You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Neo

    February 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Hmmmmn. My first relationship was basically long distance for the first 4 years, when i was in school, he was in school in another state, when i was home for the holidays in PH, he was in Lagos, when i was in Lagos he was in jand. Those years were blissful, I loved the long phone calls and the anticipation of seeing one another. The moments we spent together were almost always perfect. Fastforward to graduating and work life being in the same space, having a sense of obligation to see one another it became almost dutiful, then the fights! Call me weird but i love my space and i love the feeling of missing someone and anticipating when i’ll see them. But i also think in that space, communication is important, as is trust. Having someone you can talk to about anything far beats physical intimacy for me. But like i said, im weird.

    • Dist!

      February 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      So so true Neo.
      i live away from my husband…and i have realized we actually fight less when we r away from each other. Plus we bond more sef!
      The thing is at the moment, the distance is almost unavoidable. But kai, i actually love my space when am on my own.
      No kids yet. So i’m savoring the space well…

    • Partyrider

      February 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      no you are not weird..i am sure i love my space more than you do. 🙂

  2. Retrochic

    February 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    am currently in a long distance relationship, it feel it will only hide the cracks wen u are apart, what now happens if you guyz come back 2geda, will the cracks now disappear, for me i dnt think being in a long distance rlship has any adavantages, instead it has disadvantages, being a way from each other, giving room for infidelity, lack of trust, buh it only takes determined couples to pull through

  3. leviathan

    February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Neo Neo, we know each other gan!!! I am in total agreement.

  4. Nkan be

    February 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    There are advantages and disadvantages in keeping a long distance relationship.Not everyone can keep a it o.My advise is that in it and things get so serious,know what you are getting at,keep it short as possible cos when it keeps dragging for a long time,then a you start hearing stories.Before you know it the guy keeps you waiting pass ur menopause and he has another family and Most time his own family will be aware but will never say a word to you.Communication is the key to both long and short distance relationship.May God help us jare cos with this our generation,it just takes the grace of God for things to last

  5. Nkan be

    February 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry for the mistakes o..

  6. tenneywealth

    February 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Actually a man like me is destined for distance relationship because all my dating life it has always been distance dating and my view is that distance relationship makes both parties vulnerable to break up cos most time your views will be different from each other, vulnerable to negative thought about your partner and suspicious over nothing meaningful, overtime argument always but f the both have mature mind to deal with issue I think I have always enjoy distance relationship

  7. Tolani

    February 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I was in a relationship for 2 years. The first year was fun and enjoyable as we saw nearly everyday. The most we were apart was 3 days. I got a job in another and everything went downhill fast ( I think).

    Every guy I mentioned; home, work, friend of friends was a (potential) boyfriend I was hiding away. I hardly ever went out but I was accused of lying about staying at home! It got ugly…I was being monitored from every angle, each tweet, status update was overanalysed.

    It was hard work maintaining the relationship even though my work took me home every month. I later found out that he had been complaining to his friends that I never spent time with him. How could I have? I was far away.

    Anyway, I have vowed not to do LDR again, it’s bad for my heart.

  8. Tolani

    February 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I was in a relationship for 2 years. The first year was fun and enjoyable as we saw nearly everyday. The most we were apart was 3 days. I got a job in another city and everything went downhill fast ( I think).

    Every guy I mentioned; home, work, friend of friends was a (potential) boyfriend I was hiding away. I hardly ever went out but I was accused of lying about staying at home! It got ugly…I was being monitored from every angle, each tweet, status update was overanalysed.

    It was hard work maintaining the relationship even though my work took me home every month. I later found out that he had been complaining to his friends that I never spent time with him. How could I have? I was far away.

    Anyway, I have vowed not to do LDR again, it’s bad for my heart.

    • Truth be told

      February 5, 2013 at 4:46 am

      Ha, I think the guy just showed his true colors during the long distance relationship. he sounds very possessive and jealous. The way things turned out may have been best for you. My thoughts sha

  9. Zayt

    February 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    SKYPE!!!!!….works perfectly well for me:)

  10. esther esuga

    February 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Well, I think everything is all about understanding, determination, comitment n trust. Presntly I’m nt in a distance relationship but I will soon be as one of us is planning to be away for a while. I’m already keying myself n I ve just concluded, no matter what , I will make it work frm my end. In a long distance relationship one needs to forget about petty issues, over look a lot of tins, maximize the moment connecting n bonding rather than picking a fight or fault.

  11. miskimbis

    February 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    It was fun in the first year, well thanks to skype but yes the intimacy part was a problem thou i kept an open mind not to think of him and another lady . Well today we ain’t together its bad for the heart in deed

  12. nnenne

    February 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    i’ve been in a LDR once and i told myself that i’m never going to try it again! Never!!! LDRs always have more disadvantages than advantages, there’s no trust, always suspicions and assumptions! no matter how perfect or excellent the communication is, issues will always surface. personally i like to be around my partner most of the time. i prefer face to face convos than the phone thingy and i like cuddlingly and getting all can’t deal with having to see my partner once or twice in a year which might not even be up to a month if you add up. for those LDRs worked for or is working for, i duff my hat for you guys. its a no-go area pour moi!

  13. Nickie

    February 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Well, long distance can be frustrating…….it needs a whole lotta work! Was in long distance relationship for 6years……and today, we are happily married! I think it’s not for the faint hearted…

    • Ready

      February 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      6 years?! Laawwwd! I’m in one now and it seems things will go on like this for another 3 years. My God, the distance gets to me. It didn’t for the first 2 years we were ‘talking’ but now that feelings are involved, it’s frustrating not to be able to get a hug or a back rub at the end of an annoyingly long day. Ending it isn’t an option though, because he’s the best thing I never knew I needed. No jealousy, and possessiveness issues are handled within a 2-day period. We choose to trust the other person to hold up their end of the bargain based on our belief in each other’s strength of character and values….and hopefully, the end goal will be what we both desire.
      All that story aside, the distance is annoying mehn.

  14. negel

    February 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Well I’ll say it has two face, there are some people it works for and there are people it does not just work for. i was a victim of one of such, today that relationship went down the drain. can you also believe that one can be in the same state with someone that he or she is having an affair with, and it will still seem like a long distance relationship, all in the name of busy schedule. Truly effective communication, and true commitment, i mean true commitment, be course with that at heart there wont be any mistrust of any kind, matters most in relationships.

  15. Motun

    February 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Gosh! just what i’m about to face, my bf of 4 years is going to serve soon and i don’t even know how to handle the distance thingy….i don’t think it’s going to be easy though!

  16. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I once knew a guy who was in an LDR but had a side-chick in the city he was living in… or maybe it may have been more of an “out of sight, out of mind” situation rather than a “side-chick” diversion. But call it what you will, fast forward to present day, dude married the chick he was seeing on the side and they’re now living happily ever after with a gorgeous kid.

    I always wondered about that other girl, the one who thought she had the full confidence of actually being IN a relationship. Cut a long story short, I’m not really a fan of LDRs: done it once myself and it wasn’t even an LDR across oceans (dude was just in another city down south) but found out late in the game that he wasn’t fully committed to me. There’s nothing like being THERE and spending quality time together with your other half, especially when the relationship still hasn’t formed a proper bedrock of commitment. It saves a lot of heartache.

  17. Me

    February 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    (*Having a boring day at work so I thought to share my piece)….. Long distance can be good and can be stressful, but it surely takes a lot to get relationships going! Marriage can be a lot easier because you know u guys are hooked for at least some quality years so just yet, no breakup & so on. I am currently engaged with a guy I met 7 yrs ago(2006) started to date in 2007 . We started with the first year together in the same city( knowing each first stage) and in the second year, he had to go abroad. Am not saying we didn’t have misunderstanding in the first year but I think the long distance brought more expectations from each other – time, money, trust, honesty & so on. It takes a lot of energy to get two people with diff attitudes/background to get on the same page and distance relationship is’t a solver. I used to travel max 4 times a year mostly to fill in the space( my work allowed me to travel more than his) and those days used to be short. Anyways, due to expectations and our different goals in the relationship at that time, we broke up after 30 months. We were still crazy about each other but like I said; our goals were different! My woman wants/ needs and his manly wants/ needs were not coming together to form one goal at that time. So after some months, I found my rebound man in 2009 , a 32 years banker; who wasn’t anywhere close to my 60% type of guy( his wants at that time was how to upgrade his blackberry, buy iPad or his love for his new Hyundai car) so after a month, I called it quit( time waster). So to cut long story, I had plenty toasters and hook up from friends which I easily compared them with my ex but none had my then manly potentials. So I found God, understood more what I wanted in a man and what I had to give back as a God fearing woman( putting God first, cutting off sexual & earthly desires). In 2011, I moved coincidentally to the same city my ex was, he started to look for me when he heard I was around. He would call to want to see me but I wasnt interested OOOO because I no want wahala. Finally sha…. He found his way into my life with regular visits… Hear my convo/ analysis to my friends about my supposed prospective toasters that wanted sex as a number criteria and I guess he couldn’t take it anymore. And then, he declared but I declined and after 5 months…. I said okay! We are back, engaged, more careful on how we build us and the rest is…… at least,am assured am trending on a good track. So IN OTHER WORDS – long would only work if you both know what you wanted! because you might not just be so lucky oooo, if the guy/girl finds a looklike locally and just calls you both quit ! (Power of desires). I hope I made some sense on this matter! All the best!

  18. Kemi

    February 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    This guy I just wanted to have a fling with cos of the distance. Decided we should continue it, i wish it was a’s frustrating because we communicate differently.

  19. Nice Anon

    February 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Long distance relationships work when there’s a set plan and an end game. If you live outside Nigeria then it’s best to keep an open mind about it because the amount of Nigerian men in your city might be very limited. One simply can’t just date long distance for dating sake. There has to be a plan to marry or someone moving closer.

    • Lolo

      February 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      You said everything I needed to say. nice!

  20. dont mention

    February 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    story of my life…ok, here is my bit……i had been in a long distance relationship before which didnt work out not because of trust issues but bc the moron actually cheated on me. i wasnt one for hearsay but after my own little investigations, dude was actually cheating on me wit not one but 2 girls one of whom was my friend. i swore off LDRs. that was in 2008

    fastforward to 2012, i met an amazing man n we happen to b in diff continents, it was a little hard in the begining trusting each other knowing dat de body might come calling soon n we fall into de arms of others. but we both had an agreement to always ask each other to narrate their whole day, dat way it will b kinda hard to start hiding stuff or we wud tell wen de narrative doesnt go smoothly. me n him are continents apart but this is my best relationship i hav ever been in , in terms of communication. we talk at lest 5 times a day, on de phone, on fb or on skype and we do at least 2 hrs on skype every night.
    weird how doh we r apart, we do almost everything together,like pray, play,dance,cook, study,sleep n everthing in between together.
    both parties hav to make sure they hav defined goals, bc if u two know that ur end goal is marriage, u will both do ur damnedest to make it work n keep de communication in check, but if u two r still bf n gf trying to see were it leads u, it will b hard bc one person may give up n say , after all, we were not talking abt dat.
    u hav to communicate with each other constantly n ask each other ur analysis of the relationship from time to time , so you both know were u r heading, praying together too works wonders i tell ya people and you hav to make a conscious decision to trust each other no matter what. n also make a conscious decision to pay no heed to hearsays bc they will always b dere n most importantly make sure u genuinely love each other.
    i am living my best life of happiness yet n he doh far away has been a huge contributor to dat. u have to choose to be happy with yourself n with whom u r with n everything else will flow. that is not to say dat i dont get scared once in a while but the diff is that, when i do or when he does, we talk about it and we reassure each other.being there for each other n supporting each other too helps alot.

  21. Miss Anon

    February 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    My sister was in a long distance relationship for 8 years, married the guy and now she is living hell on earth in that man’s house. I just don’t know!!!

  22. Chic

    February 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    LDRs never again! I was in one with this guy who had a “neighborhood in state chic” “an overseas chic” and an “out of state about five states away chic”. And we were all committed to him he was “committed” to all of us his family knew about all of us and talked to each of us like we were the only ones for their brother. We only found out about each other when certain tags, comments, photos started appearing on facebook the fool and his siblings added us all as friends and expected us never to find out? Just glad to be out of that situation may God punish those people how do you encourage such foolishness from your son and brother? The whole thing is just too messy and complicated to start explaining on here and to make matters worse he is a brother in the church like seriously in the church everyone knows him he gets appointed to lead any projects involving the youth he is his pastors right hand man on young adult affairs! Anyway two of us ladies ended up being friends at least that’s one positive outcome lol.

  23. Sparkle

    February 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I was in a LDR for 5yrs and today we are happily married. We talked almost everyday on the phone, sometimes even for a few minute. It takes LOVE, TRUST and COMMITMENT on both sides to make it work.

  24. dapsy

    February 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Long distance does work but requires a LOT of investment from both parties. I dated my “now husband” long distance for most of our relationship BUT we would talk on the phone for at least 3hrs daily which obviously put a dent our pockets as per phone bills. Not to mention the 8hrs time difference!!! We both also did a lot of travelling visiting each other, making it a point of duty to see each other every 3-4 months, with me going or him coming. Like I said it requires a lot of investment on both sides and you guys have to be truly committed to each other (includes financial commitment; ladies, NO the guy doesn’t have to pay for all your trips, et al. Commitment from both sides right?).

    We have been married 3years and still counting 😉

  25. esther

    February 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    hmm,i have had my share of long distance relationship …infact we dated for 6yrs…but now we are no longer together …i don’t think long distance is a problem….for the relationship to last … communication is the most important thing…and another important thing is how much you both want to be together …it really has to come from the heart got to a point that he cant tell me he loves me,its always like government work for him….i had to let it go…i didn’t let it get to me because i believe that someone that loves you for you would always want to make you happy …he wont be doing out of consciousness ,,he would do it because that’s who he wants to be to u..n it would be coming from the depth of his heart ….distance cant buy true love…TRUE LOVE IS TOO EXPENSIVE TO BE BOUGHT !!! Esther *

  26. Oma

    February 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve had 2 failed LDRs. When my last boyfriend travelled, i knew i couldnt face it all over again so we broke up.
    Its stressful and could be emotionally draining but i know successes; guess is not for me.

  27. Wurarh

    February 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I have been in an LDR before,the best times we had was when we were apart! Broke that off after a while. Now,I’m in another and my parents won’t hear of it,they feel we won’t have a proper courtship. But the truth is bobo and I feel it can’t be better than we already do with all the communication options we have.

  28. whumey

    February 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

    interesting pieces…im presently in an LDR too tho i promised not to get in one after the last one failed. tho its within naija …different states. i love my sweets and we trust each other alot. we have known each other for a year and we are very comfortable with our level of character and integrity, so that helps in the trust department. tho we’re still bf and gf, we promised to be honest with each other and if we are having feelings for someone else we would come clean about it. LDRs are stressful and demand extra commitment. we communicate alot and dis obviously costs bills and all. sometimes MTN and their network wahala can be frustrating. sometimes we have to forgo sleep so we can chat @ nite when network is better…its all worth it cos im happy.

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