Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories

Candice + Luke | Love, Intimacy, and Radical Transparency

September 20, 2019 Choose Love Season 1
Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories
Candice + Luke | Love, Intimacy, and Radical Transparency
Show Notes Transcript

Candice Smith and her partner Luke had two first dates because the first one came too soon after Candice's very bad breakup with an ex. But this series of experiences made her ready to practice radically transparent honesty with Luke. They learned that intimacy is like a garden that needs to be nurtured and watered. The sum of the little things that we do has a big impact on the relationship over time. Our actions can make love flourish - or not.

In this episode, we uncover how one couple's intimate communication led to the creation of an exciting business that helps other couples nurture their relationships over time. The KinkKit is a box that encourages intimate communication done right, in action.

You can learn more about the KinkKit on IG and Facebook @thekinkkit or check out their website at

This episode was curated by Ekanem.

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Make sure to check out our friends over at Books and Booze for an amazing bookish conversation:

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the choose love podcast, a show that chronicles the extraordinary love of ordinary people. Our hope is that the show will inspire us all to Hashtag choose love. Today we're going to dive into the story of Tandis and moon who developed a sexy conversation kit together after Candace's . Very bad breakup. But before we do that, we want to introduce you to one of our sister podcasts , books and booze with Beth Ben. Take a listen.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 3:

Welcome to book some booze , bookish and whining gs podcast. Well , books and booze is predominantly about, well , look, some days we do alternating episodes featuring true crime cases. So whether you're a fan of books, drinking or true crime, this is the place for you. We're available on iTunes, Spotify, stitcher, podcast republic, wherever you get your book , pour yourself a glass of whatever you enjoy and enjoy the show.

Speaker 1:

I am Candace Smith . I am a couples' intimacy coach. I'm originally from New York, New York, although I have moved all around right now I'm living with my partner in Raleigh, North Carolina. My partner , his name is Luke. Luke is in finance. He helps. He's a lender. He helps small businesses and medium sized businesses get the funding that they need to pursue their projects. I had been living in Arizona and Phoenix, Arizona as classroom educator for teach for America. And I met my acts that way online at Okcupid, actually. He was living in New York and he was going to come down to Phoenix for med school. And I was planning on going back to New York to take care of my great grandmother, so our paths cross . And he ended up not going to medical school in Phoenix and I ended up coming back to New York and he and I ended up dating and we decided to move in together , um, two years later to a Storia . And so we got an apartment together. We didn't know the area, we didn't know anybody there. We just wanted to live there because we enjoyed the neighborhood. Um, and we'd gone out there several times and loved the restaurants and when we found a place together , um, the, the relationship was already falling apart. You know, we really weren't that good of a fit. And , um, about a week and a half after we had signed the lease and moved in , um, he called it quits. It was so traumatic. Um, we, yeah, we'd moved in together. We had a puppy and , um, moved in together and literally 10 days after we'd moved in it , that it was over. And , uh, and so we had to figure out, you know, who's going to live where. And , uh, we ended up staying together for a couple of months in the apartment , uh , which was a small, because it's New York and , uh, yeah, it was, it was difficult. It was really difficult. And finally, he , he ended up moving out a couple of months after the breakup. And so I had to heal. I had to take some time to heal from not just the breakup that we had, but from the experience of living with an ex after breaking up. And so I had a lot, a lot of trust issues, I would say going into , um , a new relationship. Like I honestly didn't think that I was going to meet somebody like Luke. I didn't expect to get into , um, a serious relationship for a long time after that. Um, and honestly, even that situation had echoing implications for me because , uh , Luke and I live together now. And so when we decided to move in together, I faced that same fear of like, oh my gosh, is this going to happen again? Is the move going to bring up , um, unresolved baggage that we haven't solved and, and, and our relationship. And of course that didn't happen. You know, we have , um, completely different style of communication and, and we've worked very hard to make sure that we talk openly and honestly about things. Um, but I think all of that came from that past relationship and the way that it ended. It's, it's funny, whenever we tell our story, we actually met twice. We had two first dates. We were on Okcupid the first time we met. Um, and there was a little bit of time in between. I was actually, let's see, it was back in 2015, winter 2015. I was living alone in a story. I'd actually just gotten over or gotten through rather, I hadn't fully gotten over yet. Um, pretty bad breakup with an ex of mine. We had been living together and he just moved out. So I was still healing, still very raw. And I thought, you know, why not go on online and just see if there's anybody in my neighborhood. I don't really know anybody here. And Luke was online and he had a really funny, I forget now what he had on his bio, but he had , um, a number of jokes on his bio and they were making me laugh and I realized that he was actually only a mile away from me or within, within my radius. And I thought, oh, that's perfect. Maybe we could meet up and go for some drinks or something like that. So I reached out to him, he was online and I asked him what he was up to and he said he had just ordered a pizza and he was going to watch home alone because that's something that he's done since he was a kid. And he always loves watching those movies when it's Christmas time. And so I said, well, I, I'd love to just go do something. I'm, I'm bored. I want to go out. And he's like, well, I just sorted this pizza. And I said, oh, come on. You know, I'm home alone. Can wait . And he said, you know what, fine, let's, let's go. And so we went out to a bar that was nearby us. We turns out we both lived in a Storia , um, coincidentally, and we just lived on opposite ends. And so we went out for a couple of drinks. And , uh, what started as maybe a casual invitation for a couple of drinks turned into all night. We were just talking and laughing and we ended up going and playing pool and shut that place down. And the next morning I called my mom. I said, mom, I think I met the guy version of me. We just had such a great connection that first time we met up. I was like, this is someone I could see really being a best friend of mine. He's, he's tall, he's handsome, he's got thick eyebrows. I don't know . I've always had a thing for guys with thick eyebrows. I didn't realize that until a friend of mine pointed it out. She's like, you know , we see the guys with like good eyebrow and I don't have very thick eyebrows. So maybe that's just like genetically, I'm subconsciously like reaching out for guys , thicker eyebrows. He's got a great smile. Um, but that was the big thing that I noticed about him. That was like the , the main thing. A lot of like dating profiles as show, like very serious faces and look like someone that I could laugh with. And that was something I was looking for at that time cause I was feeling a little low myself. So when we, when we met up, of course we were, we were very different, but we had so many similarities in the way that we had been raised with our parents. Our parents were in the picture, but we were also raised by our grandmothers. And so that was a really interesting detail. I hadn't met too many people that were like that and we had very similar outlooks on the world and on life. We both had said we weren't initially looking for for marriage. I'm actually, now that I think about it, I'm amazed that that came up on the first date . But you know, we were just sharing about ourselves very casually and very openly and because it, it didn't have this big buildup of a first date where I was worried about looking or acting in a certain way. Um, cause I think there's a lot of pressure for that, that kind of like first date, oh, I have to, I have to impress. And I didn't feel that at all. I just felt very comfortable being myself and expressing who I was around him. We laughed at all of the same things. I think one of the, one of the things that I love so much about Luke is he serious, but he has this ability to be goofy and lighthearted. And because I'm always suicide because I feel like being around him gives me permission to express that silly side of myself. And I think that was the side that I really felt was so similar with us that we both can get very goofy and we have, we have that, that similarity there. So that was, that was what I picked up in the first time that we met. So I was really busy. And so as he, after we met that first time had an incredible time, honestly, and you know, there was, there was no kiss at the door. And I was like, oh, I wonder, I don't know, maybe, maybe we're just friends. And so I didn't, I didn't say anything else beyond that. And then he texted me and we texted a little bit back and forth, but he was actually at a position in his old job where he was getting shipped around the country. He would go into work in the morning, like on Monday morning and they would say, okay, you're going to Miami for two weeks. And then he'd come back and they'd say, okay, now you're going to California for two weeks. So he had like over a hundred flights in one year , um, with his, with his job. So he, he was unable to really commit to anything at that time. And uh, and I was busy growing my business so we, we fell out of contact and later the next year I was on plenty of fish because I was just so tired. I was like, okay , keep, it isn't working. I'm not meeting anybody, nothing. Nothing is clicking for me. And it's funny because I was using Luke and my instant connection is kind of like a litmus test for meeting other people. And I was like, nothing. Nothing fits, nothing's working. It's , it doesn't feel right. I don't have that instant connection. I don't have that, that easy feeling. I'm not able to laugh the same way with other people. And so one day in the summer, late of 2016, I was online on plenty of fish and I just signed up maybe like a couple hours before and who should reach out? But Lou , I was shocked. I didn't think that he was interested and I didn't really feel that badly about it. It wasn't like I'd gotten my hopes up at the beginning when we first met each other and I was like, oh, there's something there. There's a romantic spark and oh he hasn't liked me, I'm rejected. Like, and I didn't have that feeling again because it was so natural and he felt like we could be friends. And so I don't know, I was just excited. I was just excited at the prospect of, of meeting him again. And I think also I didn't have, I was well past my breakup. I had healed from that and I think I was also able to see the situation with clearer eyes because I didn't have that emotional baggage. And it was actually something that Luke and I discuss later on because I asked him, I was like, why didn't you pursue me a little more strongly if you want it too . Cause I told him like I was interested but had my own things going on and he was like, I could tell, I could tell that that you were still healing. So it ended up being a perfect timing for both of us because a month before he reached out to me, he had gotten promoted and was able to have a desktop back in New York and he wasn't traveling anymore. So it ended up being perfect timing for both of us because I had really fully healed and , and taking the time to be by myself since my breakup. And , and he was, and he was able to be present. He was able to be around. He asked me how I was doing and wanted to see if we could grab dinner sometime and, and I said, yeah, and that was, that was it. Yeah, that was it. We, we've been dating ever since, but when we did get together , uh , the second time, you know, we , we said that we wanted to just be friends. Um, and I think very quickly we both realized that we had a spark of attraction for each other that wasn't going to allow us to just be platonic friends . And , um , I think from the get go we just had a great , um, it , it just felt different. It felt different from every other relationship that I had where I , I truly felt like I was able to be myself. And so I didn't feel afraid to tell him how I felt about things. And so I came to him , um, very openly with this, with this concept of, of just radical, transparent honesty. And, and I don't, I mean, honestly, I don't remember who came up with it first, but we just committed to that we committed because it felt so good. The bond that we had with each other that we didn't want to do anything to mess it up. We committed to each other to always be honest about things that bothered us in the moment, to not hide those things and let them become the elephant in the room or let them become a big issue later on. And , um , I think it affected the way that we, the way that we communicate. I W I mean, honestly, I don't think we really argue. We have disagreements. We definitely have disagreements. But I remember I kept waiting for us to have our first argument like I was waiting for that is like a , a milestone of the relationship and we really never had one. It's , it's only been, you know, if we have a disagreement about something, we both share our opinion and we respect each other and we expressed that we respect each other and then figure out if one person hurt the other's feelings, then we , we talk about how not to do that anymore and uh , and make a commitment to always be growing and always be supporting each other. And that's worked so well for us that I think we just, we stayed with it. I think a big one that, that pops up for me is I have trouble tearing my attention away from my phone. And I mean, I think that's always been an issue that I've had where I didn't realize how disconnected I was. And from the moment Luke told me he, he pointed it out. He called me out for it and he was like, listen, I, I'm feeling a little neglected. I feel like I'm not as important to you when you are checking your phone or reading something when I'm talking to you. You know, he didn't, he didn't say it with anger or anything like that, but he let me know how he felt and how that made him feel insignificant. And that stuck with me. That really hit home because I would never want to do anything to make him feel insignificant and he's so important to me. He's, he's the most important person in my life. And that made me really sad. And I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe that. Like I didn't realize that me, you know, scrolling through my emails , um, or you're working on something while I'm listening to you is making me feel less important or less than. And so I made a commitment right then and there. I said, okay, I don't want you to feel like this. I may not be perfect. Please call me out if I do it again. But I really am going to try, when you speak to me, I am going to consciously put my phone down and turn the screen away from myself so that I can make sure that I'm paying attention to you and making you feel loved. I think that intimacy is like a garden. Intimacy is like , um, it's like a garden. It needs to be nurtured and watered. And I think, you know, the sum of all the little things that you do, are there things that have a big impact on the relationship and, and uh, you know, if you water your plants as over time they'll flourish. And that's one of the things that I think we , we do really well in our relationship is , um, we check in with each other and we make sure that even if we're not perfect one day , um , it's not going to ruin our relationship, but it's something that we work continuously on. Um, and so I think that, you know, I've, I've checked in with him again like have I, have I been better about this? Have I done better? And he says, you know, he's, he's noticed. There are times when I'm not, there are some times I'm stressed about work and I am glued to my phone. Um, but I think also because I make that commitment and I make that effort to try and be better. Um, I think that that effort and that intention is what matters the most. Another boundary that we set for each other. We ended up creating a co-creating a company called the kinkeade . It's an experiential box for couples to have better intimacy and better that there are games inside the box that help you practice presence and communication skills and you get items along with the kit that help you through each of these experiences. They're all different themes, boxes. It's just about connecting with your partner, using intimate experiences. And I think one of the most difficult things about intimate communication is just getting started. It can be so awkward to tell your partner what you, what you really want. Um, especially when it comes to sexual intimacy. And , um, especially if you don't want to hurt your partner's feelings. I think I, I get that reaction a lot from my clients as well. I just don't want to hurt his or her feelings , um, by telling them what I want. And so the games that we create inside of the kits are , um, communication based. And so they, they make it easy to tell your partner what you want, what your needs and limits and desires are. Um, and they make it more approachable. And we created this box together because we had seen the power of intimate communication done right in action. And we knew. So my background is, is as a educator and as a sex educator, I went to Harvard for women, gender and Sexuality Studies. And so I had this interest already, but because I hadn't personally experienced the power of intimate communication in my own life until I had it with Luke, I said, let's do this together. Let's create this together. And uh , and so we did. And , and he was always very supportive and, and we realized as a team, you know, we have these different , um, we have different skill sets and different interests. And so he still, even though he doesn't work on it full time with me, he still supports me and he still looks over things and still helps with some of the other parts of the business that I struggle with. But we initially created this together because we saw the impact that it had on our life and we wanted to help teach other couples to rekindle that spark in the same way. And as far as running a business and living together and being romantic partners, we realized that we both have different interests. Ultimately, you know, he had his own business on the side and he wanted to put more time into that and that was fine. And so we wanted to have that little boundary in terms of work so that we weren't constantly doing the same thing all the time. I think there's , there's something to be said about having that individuality and having that personal space to work on your own passion projects because it can't get, is very much a passion project of mine. It's an academic interest . Tech side is something that I've studied. I'm an intimacy coach and I'll always appreciate that Luke helped me found and continues to support as I grow this business. That I don't know , there's no, but to that, it's just yes, it simply is a , and it works well that way. On social media, we are at the Kinkaid on Instagram and our website is www dot the kink kit, like the podcast. Make sure to share it with your friends. It's available on all major podcast providers. Just search for the choose love podcast. I'm McCann of Bina and thanks for listening.