Gather around, everyone. I have a story to tell––a modern-day love story.
It was the year 2018 and I was a wreck. I was emotionally drained from a toxic relationship, so I bought myself a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles for a week-long getaway. I was able to shut off my phone, ignore work emails, and simply relax.
While I was there, I met this eccentric woman who could read people's energies with the touch of their hand. When she read mine, she told me that in August I will meet someone who will come into my life and give me the support I needed. Fast forward to a year later, I didn't know that this certain someone would actually appear and we would connect the way that we did. Especially at an inconvenient time.
I met him in August 2019 and we can call him "A".
I could be my complete self around him…
People have told me that I am charismatic and multidimensional. It really depends on the person I'm around at the time. But with "A", it didn't matter. He was able to see all the different sides of me and I didn't shy away from them either.
Not once did he judge me for knowing all the lyrics to College Dropout and can sing every classic Disney song under the sun (off-key, by the way). I like to hear corny jokes and I like to critique movies from start to finish––so did he. I remember when I would have solo dance performances in the middle of any room and he would join me with moves of his own. It was a level of comfort that just came naturally for "A" and me.
He was the friend I wasn't looking for…
Ironically, having mutual friends is how we met in the first place. So, it wasn't difficult for us to be open with each other. We were able to talk about our childhood, secret creative passions, and what we wanted for the future. We also showed up for each other, which was huge for me.
"A" genuinely supported me with my career and my writing. I didn't even ask for him to do that. It was nice to know that whenever one of us felt anxious or doubtful, we would be right there telling the other person, you got this. "A" was the hype man I never knew I needed.
He reintroduced me to intimacy…
I used to associate intimacy with sex. In the past, I was involved with emotionally detached men. So, I was used to dealing with men who, outside of sex, were unaffectionate and always had their guards up. "A" was the opposite. With "A", I was able to be vulnerable with him. I was given the space to enjoy being present with someone no matter what we did.
Whether it was cuddling on the couch, cooking our favorite meal, working out together, etc. There are so many ways to show intimacy that I didn't even realize. I suddenly figured out that true quality time is my perfect ending after a long day of work. Like a calm peaceful landing, "A" felt like home.
He didn't complete me…
When I met "A", I didn't look for ways for him to complete me. I didn't convince myself that he was the answer to all of my problems. People sometimes make the mistake of seeing a friend or partner filling empty voids or bandaging heartbreak. I didn't see "A" that way.
When I looked at "A", I saw a man. A man who was strong, but a man with his own flaws nonetheless. I was aware to not project any of my issues on him and he would do the same. Neither of us was in search of perfection. We accepted each other for who we were as individuals with no pressure or expectations.
But, it was time to focus on me…
Even though I met this great man in August, this specific August was not a time to meet someone new. I was in a season of transition and selfishness. When "A" came along, I had just started a new job, I was going to therapy, newly single, and going back to school. I was in a good mental space.
I told myself that I was going to prioritize this time in my life for unapologetic self-love. I didn't want to jump into another relationship. I just wanted to focus on being committed to me. I made sure "A" didn't take up all of my free time. He wasn't a distraction, but someone I could enjoy life with. I needed to intentionally pour into myself instead of pouring into someone else.
He knew I deserved more…
"A" couldn't give his all to me and I respected that. He was honest about where he was in life and refused to string me along. He spared me from the usual cycle of men being "one foot in and one foot out" in relationships. He knew what my values were and encouraged me not to bend them, not even for him.
Despite how our feelings grew since day one, it wouldn't be fair to either of us to be in a situation we weren't completely ready for. I know for me, I never want to be in a position where I compromise my needs again. "A" knew this and was clear that I deserved to have all my needs met. No one should ever settle for good enough.
It's funny how they say when you find your person it's going to be magical. Where the person sweeps you off your feet. A woman walked into a bar and locked eyes with a man from two tables away. But in this instance, no feet were swept, it was just being at the right place at the wrong time.
I still believe that "A" and I were meant to be, just like that eccentric woman told me. But we all can agree that life is unpredictable. Who knows when "A" and I will cross paths again? Perhaps it's not about if we are ready for love, but if love is ready for us. I'm still learning as we speak. Whether you believe in people telling you the future or that things just happen by chance; people come into our lives on accident and stay on purpose.
So, to the man who inspired this article, if you're reading this, I'm glad you stayed as long as you did. I love you for that.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Shutterstock.
- Why You Should Be Grateful 'He' Didn't Choose You - xoNecole ... ›
- A Look Inside Cassie And Alex Fine's Relationship - xoNecole ... ›
- How To Become A True Master At Timing - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife ... ›
- 6 Reasons Why Rebound Relationships Should Be Avoided At All ... ›
- I Broke Up With My Boyfriend After Four Years And A Year Later He ... ›
- 8 Valid Reasons To Break Off An Engagement - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- Bad timing? : datingoverthirty ›
- How Much Does Timing Matter In A Relationship? A Dating Expert ... ›
- "It's Just Bad Timing" Is Always a Lie When It Comes to Dating ›
- Timing Matters When It Comes to Relationship Success ... ›
- Why Timing Really Is Everything When It Comes To The Pursuit Of ... ›
- The Truth About Meeting Someone At The Wrong Time | Thought ... ›
- The Truth About Timing In Relationships ›
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.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy
In January, it was announced that feminine-care brand The Honey Pot was acquired by Compass Diversified for $380 million. Black women expressed outrage with commentary on why Black founders “sell out” and stressed their concerns about The Honey Pot changing their ingredients, similar to their outrage when their products went from being listed as "Black-owned" to "Black-founded" in 2022.
As a founder myself, I understand the importance of scaling your business. Scaling leads to opportunity and expansion for your brand, something that The Honey Pot is doing to change the landscape of vaginal wellness for all women.
Years before the acquisition, I was a supporter of the brand. When I first learned of their products in 2017, I was eager to try them as a Black woman searching for Black-owned feminine products. At the time, I just embarked on a wellness journey, and that meant not just physical and emotional wellness, but vaginal wellness also. The dangers of the toxic chemicals often found in feminine care products weren’t discussed when I was growing up.
Now, we live in a world with organic pads, tampons, feminine wash, and even plant-based feminine care. Women are now realizing how sacred our menstruation time is and that the products that we use can either help or hurt us during that time of the month.
My vaginal wellness journey was rooted in a quest for healing. After a relationship where I experienced infidelity, I had issues with my pH levels for over a year. I’d never felt so disconnected from my body and ashamed that I didn’t know why; I was determined to figure out a way to heal from the inside out. After learning that the founder started The Honey Pot after suffering from bacterial vaginosis for eight months, I was intrigued. On the back of the feminine wash, she shared how her ancestors came to her in a dream and gifted her with a vision to heal herself and now others, including me.
My first two purchases from the brand were their organic pantyliners (a product many women who already supported the brand recommended) with mint and sensitive feminine wash. If I’m being honest, I didn’t like the liners; with already having a sensitive vagina, the mint didn’t feel as soothing as I thought it would, but I was sold on the sensitive feminine wash. Almost immediately, I saw a change in my pH balance and sensitivity, and from there, I was hooked.
From there, I started discussing the importance of plant-based care with my mother and my family members. My approach to the idea of vaginal wellness started gentle, and then I started asking and not telling, removing the products that we’d all used previously out of the homes of my mother, godsister, and close friends, and when they’d call and ask me, “What happened to my other products?” I’d remind them of the importance of giving our vaginas the care they deserve. Eventually, they caught on and became supporters themselves, and now when I visit my mother, she has The Honey Pot products in her bathroom that I’ve never even tried myself.
Recently, I was running low on my feminine products, and as I placed an order to have what I needed to be delivered, to my surprise, I discovered The Honey Pot had expanded their product line quite a bit and now had not only intimacy products but also additional feminine washes and supplements that I now use daily.
Check out some of the newest additions to their product line below:
Does your pH feel off? Reduce odor and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH range with this 7-Day Boric Acid & Herbs Suppositories from The Honey Pot.
If you feel an itch, consider The Honey Pot Relief Ritual, which includes Anti-Itch Soothing Wipes that provide immediate, soothing relief using plant-derived ingredients and medicinal compounds without compromising your vaginal ecosystem, while their Soothing Wash and Soothing Lavender Vulva creams are ultra-mild solutions for vulvar itching and discomfort.
Swap out your daily probiotic with this probiotic with urinary support formulated with 4-Lacto strains and 10 billion CFUs per capsule that support good bacteria, along with cranberry and pomegranate for optimal urinary tract support.
Goodbye cranberry juice, hello supplements. With its science-backed, clinically-tested ingredients, bad bacteria will be kept at bay. And the fact that you can pair this daily staple with The Honey Pot wipes and washes? Your urinary tract will thank you later.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Daniel de la Hoz/Getty Images