Modern Love

Modern Love

For 18 years, the Modern Love column has given New York Times readers a glimpse into the complicated love lives of real people. Since its start, the column has evolved into a TV show, three books and a podcast. Each week, host Anna Martin brings you stories and conversations about love in all its glorious permutations, dumb pitfalls and life-changing moments. New episodes every Wednesday.

Episodes

November 23, 2022 20 min

What are the boundaries of an open marriage? What happens to them when your wife’s boyfriend has an accident that puts him in a coma? And what do you tell the kids?

Today, we’re revisiting Wayne Scott’s story about his open marriage — and a motorcycle accident that tested its boundaries. Then, we hear from Wayne and his wife, Elizabeth Thielman, about the dynamics of their “creative arrangement” and how their relationship has evolve...

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Rex and Katharine met on a trip in South Dakota. She wanted a baby; he did not. Could he be a sperm donor? No problem. The agreement was simple. They would both get what they wanted: Katharine would raise her baby in California, and Rex would continue his life as a builder and tinker in Michigan.

Then, they fell in love.

After hearing Katharine’s story, Anna Martin, our host, talks with Rex about changing his mind, unlearning generat...

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November 9, 2022 18 min

Ari Diaconis knew a bright future lay ahead of him. He was a gifted athlete with a well-paying job at a Wall Street law firm, and a partner, Dunia, with whom he shared a deep connection. But a neurological illness shifted his vision for the path ahead and shined a spotlight on the present — snuggles in bed and time spent in their apartment — a life raft from the city downstairs.

In 2018, Ari died. After we hear his story, we chat wi...

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November 2, 2022 15 min

Amy Pittman was thrilled about her first pregnancy. She immediately downloaded a pregnancy app, and she was charmed when it showed her baby had grown from the size of a lavender bud to the size of a chocolate chip. When she miscarried, she deleted the app and the chocolate chip avatar, but the internet never caught on. Seven months later, Amy received a sample of baby formula. Although she had deleted the pregnancy app, the baby fo...

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October 26, 2022 19 min

Her whole life, Putsata Reang (Put, for short) was accustomed to exceeding her parents expectations. She excelled in her career, paid for her parents to go on trips together and maintained a tight connection to her siblings and community.

Yet a fundamental part of Put – her identity as bisexual – was enough to crack the foundations of their relationship. When Put’s mother did not attend her wedding to the woman of her dreams, she fe...

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October 19, 2022 22 min

Today, we’re revisiting the story of Bette Ann Moskowitz, who lost her husband of 56 years on the eve of the coronavirus pandemic. When Bette first met her husband, she was taken by his “smoldering looks and banked fires.” He was from Brooklyn; she was from the Bronx. They had little in common and their “prospects were not good,” as Bette put it, but they got married anyway.

Bette’s husband died in February 2020, which isolated her ...

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October 12, 2022 17 min

Growing up in Brooklyn, Sonia Pérez recalled how her father would drink beer, sit on the sofa and lose himself in records from Puerto Rico, where he grew up. One day, he stopped listening. Sonia and her siblings wondered why.  

On the other side of the world, in Ireland, Grainne Armstrong recalls the moment she experienced her daughter’s love for the first time, set to a soundtrack of opera and birdsong. 

Today, two stories about a p...

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October 5, 2022 17 min

When Ross Showalter turned 18 and began dating hearing men, he found himself communicating with them on their terms: using spoken language. Years of speech lessons and lip-reading practice forced Ross, who is Deaf, to conform to a society that favors sound. All of these men made the same promise: to learn sign language, only to never follow through.

Then, on a spring day in the midst of the pandemic, Ross met Will. Will vowed to sha...

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September 28, 2022 17 min

They were standing in a Walmart parking lot when William’s wife turned to him and asked, “Are you gay?” Those three words catalyzed the end of their marriage, and the end of a 22-year partnership filled with many joys and rituals, including the haircuts William’s wife gave him. But those words were also an opportunity for growth — and a chance for William to heal.

In this episode, William Dameron shares his story of coming out to hi...

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September 21, 2022 18 min

“Everyone deserves an orgasm” is a fair way to express Diana de Vegh’s attitude toward life. Diana is a firm believer in the pursuit of pleasure — of all sorts — for all people.

As we kick off a new season of Modern Love, our host, Anna Martin, gets Diana’s advice on how people can infuse sensuality into their day-to-day lives. (Hint: a chilled beverage, a warm bath and a juicy mango.)

We also listen to Diana’s story about seeking he...

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August 3, 2022 19 min

When Victoria Rosner was seven months pregnant, her husband filed for divorce. He “decided that he couldn’t be married anymore, not to me, he said, and probably not to anyone,” Victoria wrote in her Modern Love essay.

A couple of years later, while they were living many miles apart, he reached out to her with a request. He had been diagnosed with a cancer that had metastasized to his bones, and he wanted to spend the time he had lef...

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July 27, 2022 17 min

When Meher Ahmad first saw the movie “Bend It Like Beckham” as a young girl, she was transfixed. Watching the main character, an Indian woman who looked like her, kiss her white soccer coach, she saw a vision of her own romantic future. While she felt pressure from her family and her culture to be with a Pakistani boy, the movie opened up her lanes of attraction — from white boys to, eventually, “anything but brown men.”

As Meher gr...

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July 20, 2022 20 min

The year was 2006, and Damon Young had just met a woman on MySpace. Their back-and-forth was witty, flirty and easy. They went on a first date at Barnes & Noble, where they browsed books and continued to vibe.

Things were going great, Damon thought. That is, until she called off their second date. Damon was confused, but he had a hunch about what fueled her sudden disinterest: his teeth.

Damon’s teeth had always been a source of ...

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July 13, 2022 17 min

Ayad Akhtar’s parents met in Pakistan in the early ’60s, when they were both medical students and “ridiculously attractive” — or so their friends say. Despite having a love marriage (against the wishes of their parents), theirs was rocky from the start.

“By the time I was 4, I already knew my father had ‘other women,’ as my mother used to call them,” Ayad wrote in his Modern Love essay. But it wasn’t until years later, when Ayad was...

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July 6, 2022 16 min

In his early 20s, Kevin Renn moved to New York City with dreams of making it as a playwright. When money got tight, he decided to fall back on a familiar option: babysitting.

“The question, though, wasn’t whether I would be a good nanny, but if anyone would let me — as a Black man who is over six feet tall,” Kevin said in his Modern Love essay.

Kevin soon became a nanny to Lucas, a 4-year-old boy with a wide smile and stylish parents...

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June 29, 2022 17 min

Yvonne Liu knew from a young age that she was adopted, but she didn’t know the details. All she knew was that she had been left by her birth mother in a busy stairwell in Hong Kong. It wasn’t until she was 30, on the night before a critical surgery, that she was given a handwritten note in Chinese that transformed her understanding of where she had come from.

Meanwhile, Lynn Domina had never envisioned herself as a mother — until sh...

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June 22, 2022 19 min

Nora Johnson had been making weekly visits to older man after he suffered a mild stroke. But he wasn’t just any older man. “We had the worst marriage in the history of human relations,” Nora wrote in her 2014 Modern Love essay. “Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

During her visits, the memories would coming pouring back: the fights, the vacations, the plunging bank account. But Nora’s ex-husband had forgotten all that...

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June 15, 2022 19 min

Heather von Rohr had moved to Los Angeles with aspirations: to make it as a screenwriter and to fall in love, marry and have a child. In need of a day job, she took an entry-level position at the research library of a prestigious film academy.

At the library, she met Nick — who was 13 years younger than she was and in no position to support a family.

Today, we also meet Edgar and Beatriz, a couple featured in our Vows column, who tel...

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June 8, 2022 17 min

Mansoor Adayfi was only 19 when he arrived at the prison camp at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Growing up in a tiny village in the mountains of Yemen, “I didn’t know much about the world,” he said. “Now my world was Guantánamo.”

For a period during his 14 years there, he and his fellow detainees organized informal classes for one another. There was a cooking class, taught by a former chef. In a marriage class, they learne...

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June 1, 2022 21 min

When Mike Rucker and his partner, John, moved in together, they purchased a sofa they affectionately named Miss Bee. “I didn’t just feel grown up buying this sofa, I felt sophisticated,” Mike wrote in his Modern Love essay. Miss Bee had low arms, wooden legs with brass wheels and a white denim slipcover. Miss Bee was not only a provider of comfort, but also the anchor of Mike and John’s home life. For our season premiere, we listen...

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