Readers sometimes share their Charlotte dating stories with us. Here’s one of them, as told to the editor:
Drake said it best, “I guess you lose some and win some.” And Sade, 27, knows this firsthand.
Sade met Derek, 32, at an event in Charlotte in March 2021. Sade recalled Derek being “one of the finest men” she’d ever seen. And she noted his charisma.
“He was was too confident. And now that I look back, I should have known it was arrogance,” Sade said.
After meeting and exchanging numbers, the two communicated over text for a few weeks and then went on their first date to a museum in Uptown. Sade recalled having a good time on the date and wanted to spend more time with Derek.
So they went on a few more dates.
And before Sade realized it, she and Derek had become “basically a couple.” They spoke each morning on her drive to work and before she went to bed each night.
They even said “I love you” to one another and spent the night together every week.
Making up for the holiday
About a year after meeting, Sade told Derek she was considering getting a ticket to Dreamville Festival, an annual music festival by rapper J. Cole in Raleigh, N.C.
A few weeks later, Derek surprised her with a ticket to the festival for Christmas.
Though they didn’t spend Christmas day together, he sent her a screenshot of the two tickets he purchased to the festival with a message: “Sorry I can’t be with you today, baby, but I’ll make it up to you. At DREAMVILLE.”
According to Sade, Derek said he wanted to take her and experience the festival together.
Sade was ecstatic.
A few weeks before the festival, Derek suggested Sade go to Raleigh with a friend and meet up with him there. He planned to drive up with a friend and stay with a cousin who lives in the area.
Sade, on the other hand, decided to go with her best friend, Cammie and share a hotel room with her.
Derek, where are you?
Once Sade and Cammie arrived in Raleigh for the two-day festival, they met up with some of Cammie’s friends from college and went into the park for the first show.
Sade reached out to Derek to find out when he would be arriving. He didn’t respond right away.
“Cell service was a mess because it was like 80,000 people in the park, so I thought maybe he didn’t get it, or maybe he didn’t feel his phone in his pocket or something,” she recalled.
Sade shared that during the first half of day one, she was having a lot of fun with Cammie and the other girls and wasn’t too concerned with Derek’s whereabouts.
But then, the sun went down. Derek finally responded later that evening. He asked which of the two festival stages Sade was at.
“Which stage you at,” Derek’s text read. She was at the main stage, preparing for Usher — the evening’s headliner — to perform. She told him she and her friends had gotten a spot near the front.
“Damn, I’m leaving the other stage. I’ll be at the back, but I’ll catch you after.”
Once Usher’s set ended, Sade called Derek. He didn’t answer, so she sent him a text inviting him to an after-party at a club downtown. He didn’t respond.
The next morning, Derek called Sade and told her that he had gotten drunk during the festival and his phone died, so he missed her invite. He apologized for not meeting up with her on day one and said he would see her later.
Sade got dressed and headed inside the park for the day’s lineup. She and her friends decided to stick with the main stage for the entire day to get a good view of J. Cole and Drake, who were headlining that evening.
Instagram vs. Derek
As the day went on with no sign of Derek and several texts from Derek not being able to “find” her inside the festival, Sade became upset.
She told Cammie and the other girls about the situation. One of Cammie’s friends asked, “Hold on. Is he from Charlotte? I think I know him.”
Sade showed her a picture of Derek on her phone.
“He most definitely has a girlfriend, and they been together for a couple years, I think.” The friend told Sade that Derek and the girlfriend had become long-distance in 2021 — around the time Sade and Derek met — because she was completing a master’s program in another state.
Sade said she was “mortified” by the information but wanted to make sure it was true. She asked if the friend had any proof.
“Yeah. I follow [Derek’s girlfriend] on Instagram. I’m pretty sure she posted that she’s [at Dreamville] too,” Sade recalled the friend saying as she opened Instagram.
Sure enough, there was a woman with pictures of her and Derek as far back as four years. And she was at the festival too. Her most recent post was a photo of her at one of the festival’s photo-ops, with the caption “Shoutout to my boo for the Dreamville experience.”
“I realized he was just a pathological liar. At first, I thought he was [avoiding] me during the festival so he could be a hoe, but I realized he was lying. He wasn’t even at the damn festival,” Sade said.
Sade realized Derek had purchased both women a ticket and sent them to the same festival, each having no knowledge of the other, while he streamed the concert lineup from home in Charlotte.
Should’ve tried to meet Drake
It settled in that she had unknowingly been the “other woman” for more than a year. She had slept in his bed, cooked for him, had him in her home, and even considered making their “relationship” official.
“And I am not that girl. I don’t do the second-place thing. I was staying over at this man’s house for days at a time; meanwhile, he got a whole girlfriend,” Sade said.
She texted Derek: “You really played yourself because these tickets were like $300. I should go find your girlfriend and introduce myself.”
According to Sade, Derek began calling her back to back until her phone died.
Around the same time, J. Cole announced the beginning of Drake’s set, which Sade was most excited for.
Sade said, “This whole time I was trying to meet up with this liar, I should’ve been trying to figure out how to get backstage and meet Drake.”
Sade says she has no plans of speaking to Derek again but has yet to decide whether she’ll tell his girlfriend about his lies.
“Maybe I will; maybe I won’t.”
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