How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
What happens when you put 22 gorgeous single men and women on a beautiful island with no phones and lots of smoking hot sex appeal? For fitness influencer Clinton Moxam and Wilhelmina model Uche Nwosu, it resulted in a nearly three-year relationship and a fur baby named Rue. The post-MTV's Are You the One?season six power couple still flourished in their love and addiction for one another despite their confirmed "no match" midway through the season. Now, we can all watch their YouTube videos together in jubilee and root for them as they post cute #RelationshipGoals photos that bless our Explore pages.
Though Uche is originally from East Grand Rapids, Michigan and Clinton is originally from Palm Bay, Florida, the two lovebirds have made Hollywood their home. Unfortunately, this wasn't always the case and the two had to adjust to living apart for nearly half a year. "We had to do long-distance for about five months last year and we definitely had to work on our communication––but we made it through and came out on the other side stronger," said the certified personal fitness trainer. With growth comes growing pains, but even with their fights and disagreements, Clinton and Uche still managed to come out swinging. Three years to the date they met, Clinton popped the question and made his three-year girlfriend his fiancee and life partner.
"We have different communication styles which was something that we have had to work on throughout our relationship," says the lifestyle influencer. "Also - what to watch on TV. Clinton always caves though, we're finishing up Real Housewives of New Jersey: Season 10." Clinton chimes in that their disagreements are typically caused by miscommunication regarding things that are happening in their individual lives and not communicating it to one another effectively. "This can lead to one of us being offended about how the other is seeming to act, not realizing that the issue isn't even really between the two of us," adds Clinton.
In this installment of How We Met, we caught up with the reality television alumni and newly engaged couple about meeting on MTV, the importance of effective communication to avoid arguments, and their appreciation for each other's sense of humor.
*This interview was conducted prior to Clinton's proposal or knowledge of the proposal.
How They Met:
Uche: I got a scouting call right after New Years' 2017 for an MTV show. I had just moved from Chicago to Los Angeles at the time where I was interning for a stylist and I didn't think much of it. I went through the first round of interviews and before I knew it, it was the middle of May and I was being flown into Los Angeles for final casting. Long story short, I ended up going on a reality show in New Orleans purely for the experience. We were both going through different situations at the time and neither of us were looking for love on the show whatsoever. I always laughed when the whole premise of the show was centered around "winning love and money" when that's exactly what ended up happening for me.
Clinton: I moved to NY right after graduating college in August 2016. From there, I was doing a bit of modeling and trying to grow my social media platforms. I was contacted by MTV about a show they were casting called Are You the One?. I went through the whole casting process and was picked to be on the show. I met Uche on a big green stage with 20 other people as we started filming for the show.
Uche: The day we met was also the day we met the rest of the cast (22 of us). That day is still a huge blur to me! The cameras, the mics, the house, everything was so new. I remember I didn't even end up talking to Clinton until the very end of the night. We ended up sitting by the pool and talking for a few hours. Like I said, my intention coming on this show was just to have an experience and possibly win money––I had gone through a lot of not great situations prior, and at the moment I wasn't looking to get into a relationship. I remember on day four (mind you, these TV days are unlike real days! Whereas when you meet someone in the "real world" you spend maybe a few hours a day with them––we were spending 24 hours, all day, every day with each other––with no phones or contact with the outside world. Every three days marks a "TV week"), talking to my friend Nicole and telling her that I really think I was starting to like Clinton, but I wasn't sure what to do about it. I was definitely being cautious, I didn't know what was going to come from it and didn't want to start getting attached! All I know is we just gravitate towards each other, always.
Clinton: Similar to Uche, I was in a prior situation before going on to the show. It was a situation where myself and the person involved were not 100% sure what direction we were going. When the show started, I wasn't actually interested in getting to know anyone. I was hoping it would possibly create other opportunities for me and I would win the money in the end. The entire first day was hectic. I didn't have a conversation with Uche until later that night as we were both trying to have different conversations with different people, not exactly thinking that any of the conversations would lead anywhere, but that's just what we were there to do. From my initial conversation with her, I knew she would be the only person I could even hold a conversation with. She was so effortlessly funny and charismatic, but I don't think either of us thought much of it. It wasn't until day three or four that I was just watching her as she walked through the house and I got this feeling inside of me like a little light bulb turned on and I said to myself, '"Hold up! you really like her." From that moment on, she hasn't gotten rid of me!
Courtesy of Uche & Clinton
"From my initial conversation with her, I knew she would be the only person I could even hold a conversation with. She was so effortlessly funny and charismatic, but I don't think either of us thought much of it. It wasn't until day three or four that I was just watching her as she walked through the house and I got this feeling inside of me like a little light bulb turned on and I said to myself, 'Hold up! you really like her.' From that moment on, she hasn't gotten rid of me!"
Clinton: Our technical first date was on the show. The whole house wanted us to win a date so we could go into the "truth booth" to see if we were a match (spoiler alert: we were not). We finally won a date on week five. We went on a ferry in New Orleans, had a caricature artist draw us, and it was really fun. Later that night, we had to go into the truth booth and find out we weren't a match so the day… didn't end quite well. Our first date outside of 'the house' was mini-golfing and a movie! It's like we were waiting to see if the spark we had on the show would still be there in the outside world and it without a doubt was.
Making It Official:
Uche: Well, before the show I was kind of in flux as to where I wanted to be and what exactly I wanted to do. It just so happened that earlier that year, my mom took a job at a hospital in Florida where she would work two weeks out of the month in Urgent Care. The show stopped filming at the end of July and I decided to go see my mom before making my next steps. It just so happened that out of all the places in Florida she could have relocated to, it was exactly 49 minutes away from where Clinton's mom lived.
Clinton: Before the show started, I decided it was time for me to move back home to Florida, so I packed my car and planned to drive down to Florida after the show finished. It just so happened that we ended up being there at the same time which allowed us to spend a lot of time together. I would go to her mom's place Thursday through Sunday every week and we would just hang out and spend time together. We went on dates and we went out, but the majority of our time was just spent getting to know one another and laughing. We did this for about 5-6 months and in November of 2017 while filming the "Reunion" episode of the show that we were on, I officially asked Uche to be my girlfriend.
Uche: I honestly wasn't trying to get humiliated on national TV so I was leaving it all up to him to take the next step. I don't know, it was like I was looking for some big red flag. Everything just seemed too good to be true––I've never met anyone like him.
Clinton: Uche never pushed me to make it official. Even though we were very exclusive and open with one another, we were taking our time trying to really get an understanding of one another. We learned so much about each other and developed such a strong foundation of love in this time that the night I asked her to be my girlfriend. I also told her I loved her because I knew what we had was going to last.
Courtesy of Uche & Clinton
"Uche never pushed me to make it official. Even though we were very exclusive and open with one another, we were taking our time trying to really get an understanding of one another. We learned so much about each other and developed such a strong foundation of love in this time that the night I asked her to be my girlfriend. I also told her I loved her because I knew what we had was going to last."
The Sweetest Thing:
Uche: His sense of humor and his heart! No one loves me better or makes me laugh harder. We will literally spend the whole day making each other laugh. I don't know if anyone else thinks we're funny? But, I don't know… Saturday Night Live should probably give us a call.
Clinton: Definitely her sense of humor and her smile. From the moment we met, we've naturally bounced off of one another and our relationship is filled with jokes and laughter. I say her smile because I think it's the cutest thing in the world. I love seeing her smile because it's the physical representation of how she is actually feeling. Seeing my woman happy makes me happy, and that's why I love that smile.
Uche: It definitely happened over time. When he first told me, the night of the show reunion––I was surprised he said it, but I felt the exact same. I had thought I had been in love before, but I realize now that's not what that was. I kept saying I felt "different", that I had a "different feeling". I still don't even know how to describe it but he really is my other half. It just feels right and I feel the most me when I'm with him. I HATE to be cheesy, I'm so sorry, but honestly––every single day I am reminded that it really is love.
Clinton: I knew it was love because of how Uche and I were with one another. I had experienced love, commitment, and the challenges that come along with it. I saw it in both of us that we had the capacity and the willingness to be selfless, understanding, genuine and truthful with one another because Uche showed me all of those characteristics from the time we met. Love is a feeling but it also takes a lot of work and we were both ready for that.
Courtesy of Uche & Clinton
"I had experienced love, commitment, and the challenges that come along with it. I saw it in both of us that we had the capacity and the willingness to be selfless, understanding, genuine and truthful with one another because Uche showed me all of those characteristics from the time we met. Love is a feeling but it also takes a lot of work and we were both ready for that."
Uche: I had to learn that every argument doesn't mean it's the end all be all. It sounds so silly now, but I was so used to being in tumultuous relationships where I always had to have my guard up and be ready for the next curveball. This relationship has matured me so much and I am so happy we met in the time we did, Lord knows I had to go through the things that I did to fully appreciate and recognize a blessing when it's presented to me. We've also had to work on our communication. I've always thought that being outgoing meant that I was a good communicator––so wrong. I've had to be honest with myself and realize that I actually kind of suck at communicating when it comes to talking about the not fun and uncomfortable elements of life. We've really grown!
Clinton: We had to learn how to talk to one another about our past and the things we struggle with as individuals. We navigated those conversations by proving to one another over time that we can be trusted with knowing the hard things that neither of us wants to tell people we cannot 100% trust. As time passed and we continued to prove ourselves to one another, we opened up more and became even closer. I also had to unlearn the kind of "tit for tat" mindset. We're one, we're in this relationship together and we both bring different things to the table that are valuable in different ways.
Talk To Me Nice
Uche: I would say that my love languages on the giving end are: gift-giving and words of affirmation. On the receiving end, it would be acts of service and gift-giving, but by gift I mean ANYTHING. If someone ever gives me anything that lets me know they're thinking of me, honestly anything, it means a lot to me I don't know why. Oh, especially cards! I keep all of my cards. If you've ever written me a card, literally ever, I guarantee you I still have it!
Clinton: My love language is words of affirmation. I'm pretty simple––I don't need much but I do need my woman to tell me that she's proud of me and that she sees me. I'll do anything for her and I just want to know that she appreciates me.
Courtesy of Uche & Clinton
"I had to learn that every argument doesn't mean it's the end all be all. It sounds so silly now, but I was so used to being in tumultuous relationships where I always had to have my guard up and be ready for the next curveball. This relationship has matured me so much and I am so happy we met in the time we did, Lord knows I had to go through the things that I did to fully appreciate and recognize a blessing when it's presented to me."
Uche: I've been through my fair share of frogs. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I've definitely had to grow up a lot and learn from past relationships. But never have I ever been fully appreciated and encouraged to be who I am, SO authentically. I've always been a confident person but going on such a widely publicized show opens you up to so much scrutiny. There was so much positivity and love coming my way but you are always going to have your online trolls and negative people that want to bring you down.
It's so easy to focus on the negative and I did fall into that trap many times, especially right after the show when things were still fresh. Clinton has never left my side and has always lifted me up, had my back, and encourages me ALWAYS to be exactly the person I am. Never too much!
Loving Your Partner:
Clinton: I've learned that love requires a lot of patience. We met at 21 and 23 years old, I don't think people understand how much there is to figure out individually and together at this point in life. I definitely didn't realize that, now that we've known each other for three years and we've gone through different things together, I'm seeing how important patience is.
I'm becoming my own person, she's becoming her own person and we are also coming together as one. Growing up, we are conditioned to think that you are supposed to find this perfect person and then they complete you, which isn't true at all. What really happens is you find an amazing person and you guys love and commit to one another and then there's a lot of work to be done. It's all worth it because the love and relationship you build is unbreakable!
For more Uche & Clinton, follow them on Instagram!
Featured image courtesy of Uche and Clinton.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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Featured image by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images