I was on my third glass of wine when I sent the text message disclosing everything that I'd just found out.
My heart was beating through my chest, while the source of my anguish sat in front of me in a solemn state. His confession just turned my world upside down.
I paced the floor with my mind in a million different places. Contemplating on what I'd say and how I'd say it, I threw back the last of my wine and sat down and across from the bearer of some quite shocking news.
We sat in silence. I was staring at the floor when my phone rang. I watched as it went to voicemail and then started over again. After about three times of this cycle, I received a very long text message. It said something along the lines of, "I don't know what you're talking about. Who told you that?...."
I chuckled to myself to keep from becoming unnecessarily violent with the things that I owned.
"I'm sorry, but I thought you should know," was all the other man that sat in front of me could say as we hugged goodbye.
I didn't blame him. I was grateful that he told me.
Having my fill of excitement for the day, I switched my phone to "silent" and called it a night. I tossed and turned in bed feeling uneasy.
As an avid reader of magazine articles and blog sites, nothing is was available for my aid. Elle didn't have the answers and Cosmopolitan only provided ways to keep a man satisfied. Not one shred of information turned up for me to reference and even after reading this article, there still won't be. I couldn't be the first woman to find out that her sexual partner was also interested in men.
Without realizing it, I had become Molly from Insecure. But worse. At least she got disclosure about her man's past with other men beforehand. I was robbed of that.
It wasn't like we didn't have intimate conversations.
We'd been dating for six months without a title of anything serious, but it was clear we weren't seeing other people. Or so I thought.
We confided in each other. We'd had plenty of talks about our sexual past. We had the cliché body count q&a and even went as far as discussing fantasies. My snow white Vera Wang sheets were home to moments where we both tucked our vulnerabilities into bed and dismissed thoughts of the outside world. We lived in a place where judgment didn't exist. He had multiple opportunities to be honest. I mean for heaven sakes, it was my right to know. I couldn't wrap my head around how a person could be so selfish.
The feeling of thinking you know someone only to find out that you don't know them at all is something that I don't wish on anyone.
I woke up the next morning and answered his incoming call. As expected, we did a song and dance of lies and denial. He came clean when I provided him the same details that were given to me. I asked him why he chose not to tell me.
He responded with, "I didn't want you to look at me differently and I wasn't ready to let you go."
We both sat in silence for a while. The dead air must have become too heavy for him because before long, he stated:
"I don't think another man giving me head makes me gay."
I said nothing, paralyzed with shock that it all was happening.
He said it over and over again, almost as if he thought him saying it enough would align me with his train of thought. It didn't, it only caused me to become confused.
I became irritated by him repeating this statement because, to me, it wasn't true.
"You were in a relationship with him. You kissed him, and shared those same intimate moments that you shared with me with him. It doesn't make you gay, it makes you bisexual."
He agreed that they had a relationship, which was right before he and I started ours, but begged to differ that it made him attracted tomen. I didn't want to argue with him any longer. I couldn't decide if I was more angry at the fact that he lied or that he was in complete denial about his sexuality. Either way, I ended it. I don't tolerate liars and he needed to figure out or embrace his sexuality, which was something I couldn't do for him. To this day, he's still living in denial and I wonder how heavy that must be for him.
I'm not sure if he is involved with men currently, nor is it my business, but if he is, I sincerely hope that he has learned to embrace it.
Oddly enough, I understood him not wanting that to be his truth out of fear that he'd never be able to find a woman who is fine with his additional preference. There is an ever-present stigma tied to women not wanting to date a bissexual man. However, men will date a woman who likes women and is often applauded amongst his friends for it. I personally believe that the stigma birthed guys who have to sneak to indulge in a pleasure that is desirable to them all while still wanting the love of a woman.
We all know these men as "brothers on the DL".
So, there I was feeling bamboozled by a man so lost, he decided to play for both teams and only claim one. If we live in a society where everyone claims to be open and receiving to all, then why do we have so many ashamed to be who they are?
When entering into a relationship or sexual arrangement with someone, should the question of if you've dabbled on both sides be asked? Excuse my naive nature, but I thought it was standard procedure to disclose your current preferences. I understand that past experiences should be private, but if that past spills over into the future, it should no longer be private. The conversation needs to be had and if one can't have the conversation, then, by all means, don't involve yourself with other people.
By no means should the conversation emerge from a place of being invasive, but as a woman who knows what she wants, I have a right to desire a partner who is exclusive to women.
I don't judge anyone who is bisexual. But, at this point in time in my life, it's not my cup of tea to date a bisexual man. However, to be honest, I can't say that I never would date a man who informs me ahead of our sexual encounter that he has had an experience with another man. Of course, there would be more questions involved from there, but I'll cross that bridge if it ever emerges.
If a person is ashamed of who they are, which assists in being honest in all areas of their lives, then they are a liability in the dating world.
Being comfortable with who you are is vital when dating.
Happier relationships are birthed and able to be nurtured to its full potential when people are comfortable with who they are and what they like. Sexuality has been explored since the beginning of time, as it should be. You don't know what you like until you experience it, but don't live in denial about your experience. It only makes it that much harder to decide what you want. This often leads to dragging people along for the ride of your confusion or denial.
It's not fair.
In my case, I was along for the ride with a man who was so ashamed of his sexuality that he told himself lies to dodge his reality. Being bisexual isn't something that anyone should be ashamed of. I take no issue with bisexual men who are open and upfront about it. My issue is with the men who pretend their tendencies for the same sex doesn't exist.
You, sir, are what makes women catch cases and appear on episodes of Snapped.
Those out there who find themselves in a similar situation, I can't guide you. I can't give you a step-by-step as to what you should do. It's completely up to you.
I did what I thought was best because I can't tolerate a liar. If he would lie about this, then he'd lie about anything. Honesty is something I hold in high regard in all areas of my life, especially in my intimate life. Maybe one day in life, I'll have a different experience and I'll be writing a completely different article. Who knows? All I know is that moving forward, I'll take the first step and lead by example to share my experiences in hopes that my future potential partner will follow.
All I can do is continue to be honest and hope for the same in return.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com
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- Over 80 percent of bisexuals end up in “straight” relationships—why? ›
- Why I'm Open to Dating Bisexual Men ›
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- Why coming out as a bisexual man is still really hard to do ›
- Straight people don't exist – so why do half of bisexual men fear ... ›
- What it's like for women to date bisexual men | The Independent ›
- Do Bisexual Men Really Exist? - CBS News ›
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.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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Y’all, I ain’t got no lies to tell you. Personally, I am counting down the days until the obsession with resembling Mr. Snuffleupagus (the real ones know) goes away. Not that I don’t think there is something uber-feminine and sometimes even super glamorous about a long, lusty pair of eyelashes — but as one of my favorite quotes goes, “The excess of a virtue can be a vice,” and lashes are no exception. Lawd.
How To Grow Eyelashes Naturally
Besides, I wonder how many people who go overly long and thick on the extensions tip get that over time, that can do significant damage to their natural eyelashes — sometimes irreparably so. That’s why I think it’s important that, if you’re going to add lashes, you take the “less is more” approach. Oh, and if it’s because you wish that your own lashes were longer or fuller, you learn how to make that happen by taking a more holistic approach (while also being patient; it takes between 4-11 months for lashes to reach their fullest potential).
Starting with the following 10 tips on how to grow eyelashes naturally, you will be batting your natural lashes in no time, chile.
1. Take a Biotin and Collagen Supplement
It probably comes as no surprise to you that a supplement that’s associated with hair growth and thickness is the water-soluble form of vitamin B known as biotin. Skin rashes, brittle nails, and hair loss are all signs of having a biotin deficiency. If your lashes seem to be sparse or thinner than you would like, taking a biotin supplement certainly couldn’t hurt.
Speaking of supplements, you might want to add some collagen to your health regimen, too. Since collagen contains amino acids that help to build hair and can help to strengthen weak hair follicles — those are already solid enough reasons to take them for your lashes.
For the record, foods that are high in biotin include mushrooms, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and broccoli. As far as collagen goes, foods that are high in it include bone broth, chicken, liver, berries, and aloe vera (bookmark that aloe vera point).
2. Keep Your Lashes Clean
So, here’s the thing about this particular point: Although you probably wash your face at least once a day (hopefully twice — once in the morning and again at night), if you’re not being intentional about cleaning your lashes, there could be some leftover mascara and other gunk on them that could end up weighing them down and/or drying them out. So, definitely wash them all on their own. Your best bet would be to use a super mild cleanser like baby shampoo so that your eyes don’t end up getting irritated in the process.
3. Condition Them with Aloe Vera
Since aloe vera is high in vitamins A, B12, C, E, and folic acid, that’s already a good reason to want to use it on your hair — and your lashes qualify. Plus, pure aloe vera gel is made up of almost 100 percent water, which makes it the ultimate conditioner for your lashes if you’re looking for something all-natural that will both soften and strengthen your lashes at the same time. To get the best results, a lot of women like to apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to their lashes before turning in at night and then wash the solution off in the morning.
4. Brush Your Lashes (No, Seriously)
Have you ever thought about what brushing your hair does for it? It removes tangles. It gets out debris. It evenly distributes natural oils. It reduces stress. It increases blood circulation. And for all of these reasons, it’s important that you brush your eyelashes on a daily basis. All you need to do is designate a clean wand for nothing but brushing your lashes. Then, whether it’s right when you wake up in the morning or right after washing your face, use the wand to GENTLY brush your lashes. First, do the top of them and then use the wand to lift them up. After a few weeks, you should notice your lashes appearing fuller. (You can check out a brief tutorial video here.)
5. Pay Attention to Shedding
Just like hair sheds on your head (50-100 hairs a day is considered normal), losing 1-5 eyelashes is the average amount to not worry too much about. However, if it happens to be more than that, lash extensions, leaving makeup longer than you should, or even relying on eyelash curlers too much can play a direct role in lash shedding. So, if you notice that your eyelashes are appearing thinner or parse, do a process of elimination first. If nothing changes, make an appointment with your doctor in order to rule out the possibility of other underlying health issues.
6. Apply a Castor Oil and Vitamin E Oil Blend at Your Lash Lines
I’m gonna be real: even though I know that medical experts have a resume to back up their claims, sometimes I will read articles on certain topics and still think they’re being haters. For instance, after reading that a dermatologist (via a Byrdie article) said that applying castor oil to your lash lines can hydrate your lashes, yet it won’t help them to grow, I have to admit that I rolled my eyes. I mean, if castor oil contains protein, antioxidants, nutrients, and fatty acids along with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and hair can benefit from all of these things, how could your lashes not, too?
And while you’re at it, break open one or two vitamin E capsules and add it to the castor oil. Vitamin E helps to reduce hair loss, increases shine, and helps to lock in hydration — all good stuff to know if you happen to use mascaras that contain some type of alcohol in the ingredients (and many of them do).
7. Put Tea Bags on Your Eyes
The herbs and tannins that are in herbal tea can do wonders for your eyes when it comes to doing everything from lightening the appearance of dark circles and reducing puffiness to speeding up the healing process of styes and even pink eye. So, what about when it comes to your eyelashes? Well, I’ve actually read a few places (like here and here) that green tea especially can do wonders for lash growth, in part due the caffeine that’s in it. Listen, some warm bags on tired eyes are the ultimate kind of low-maintenance pampering hack. Try it a couple of times a week. You’ll feel more relaxed, and your lashes could end up growing longer, too.
8. Have “Off Days”
No matter what you put on your lashes, it’s going to add a bit of “weight” to them — and anything that has weight will start to get worn out over time. That’s why it’s also a good idea to give your lashes “off days” from any kind of mascara, serum, or keratin-infused products. Sometimes, simply brushing your lashes and adding a bit of coconut oil (which adds protein) or lemon peel oil (which could accelerate lash growth) is all you need in order to pamper your lashes without the added stress and pressure of makeup. 1-2 days a week of this should be all that you need.
9. Use a Bit of Shea Butter at Night
Something that I’ve been getting into the habit of doing more and more at night is applying a thin coat of shea butter on my lips as well as on my eyelids. The fatty acids alone that are in the butter do wonders for my skin (especially when I use it consistently). Since shea butter has properties in it like linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, your lashes can only benefit from the moisture that shea butter offers as well as its ability to increase collagen production (which, again, is great for hair growth and elasticity) and promote stronger hair.
10. Keep Your Mascara Current
It’s kind of crazy that it was five years ago when I wrote, “When Should You Replace Underwear, Make-Up, Bedding, Washcloths & Towels?” for the platform. Anyway, as far as mascara goes, if you’ve got a tube that has been in one of your bathroom drawers for over six months, it really is time to toss it. Why? Because you really aren’t supposed to use mascara for longer than three months before getting a new tube. That’s how you keep bacteria and germs down to a minimum and the solution from getting so thick that it ends up being heavier on your eyelashes than it should be.
Oh, and if you’re looking for the kind of mascara that will help your eyelashes to grow longer, make sure that keratin is listed in the ingredients, along with peptides, vitamin B, and water (water should actually lead the pack). That way, you can be confident that while your lashes are appearing thick and full, they are receiving just what they need to gain some length over time too. Now wink one time if you feel me. LOL. #wink
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