In January 2014, I moved to Atlanta to start the journey to becoming a Chiropractor. I literally packed up my life in two months and hopped my happy light-skinned self on 85 South. This was of course, after prayer and discernment to confirm that this is what God had for me, because I’m Southern and you know we KNOW Jesus.

I was blessed in my transition to move to an area where I had familiar faces from good ole NC so I didn’t feel alone. After taking the first 3 months to get through my prerequisite quarter, I officially started The Program. You’ll come to find that this was to be the perfect description for not only my scholastic endeavors, but my dating life as well. In the spring, I met a guy through a mutual friend at a birthday gathering. He was cool, laid back, funny, and we had mutual friends from back home. He even knew a couple of my cousins! So, I felt good when we exchanged numbers in a cute way. We began dating shortly thereafter.

He was a true gentleman. He planned our dates, took into account my school schedule, and overall made an effort! It was by far the best dating experience I’d had. This man knew what it meant to DATE. He helped me experience Atlanta as a new transplant to the city. Outside of merely going out to eat, we engaged in activities and just had fun. I was well beyond smitten. I thought, “Wow! I may actually be done! No more dating! This is it!” (You’ll come to learn that I absolutely hate dating and secretly wish after every great first date that this is the last first date I’ll ever have to participate in. It’s not an act of desperation, I’m just tired y’all!)

After about 3 months of dating, he calls me one day. After chatting with him about nothing for a few minutes he turned serious. He says, “We have been dating for roughly 3 months now. And I feel like we are at the point where we need to discuss the next stage.” I was so outdone. Most of the time you have to pull teeth to have “The Talk” with a man and here this guy was volunteering emotions. I hit the jackpot, right?! I acknowledged the statement and he proceeds.

“Naturally the next step for us would be to move forward into a relationship.” I smiled so hard on the end of the phone, my heart started to speed up, and my cheeks became flushed. I know, real light-skinned of me. “The last couple of weeks I’ve really been thinking about us and having a relationship in my life.” The last couple weeks! Oh yes, I’m about to have a boyfriend! No more dating! “I want you to know that I really care about you and you’re an amazing woman. And in thinking about where I am in life right now, I’m just not ready for a relationship and I don’t want to lead you on to think this is going to become more than what it is.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

This was the long pause I took to 1) Make sure I heard him correctly, 2) Get the shock to wear off, and 3) Pick up the pieces of my face off the floor. This is where the birds stopped singing, the clouds came in, and the rose drooped over and the petals fell off and died like in Beauty and the Beast. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And it came out of nowhere (at least for me).

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And it came out of nowhere (at least for me).

I won’t waste time on what happened next but I will say after taking time to process and figure out my emotions we did meet for a face to face conversation over dinner (which he paid for), and I walked out disappointed naturally. But then I had to remember something. He respected me enough to not lead me on, to be honest with me, and to still be a gentleman throughout the entire dating experience. And even though it stung, he did me a huge favor. He made room for the person who was supposed to be in that space. And because he handled the situation like a grown ass man, we’re able to maintain a friendship to this day. So, I may have received a failing grade for not having a boyfriend, but I got an A from the experience. I’ll take it. Besides, The Program is far from over. It’s only just the beginning…

- Kandace

Kandace Howey is a native of Charlotte, NC who currently lives in Atlanta, GA where she is studying to become a Chiropractor. She's southern belle certified, and her current mantra is simply: "I'm just trying to become a doctor......and drink water."

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