About 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.
Mark Jason Williams and his mom often butted heads on two issues: She was uncomfortable when he brought up anything about being gay, and he was tired of her incessantly talking about how he survived childhood cancer. By the age of 40, Mark had reached his wit’s end. He stopped pleading for her to change and instead proposed a $100 bet. But the real change in their relationship came when Mark broke his end of the bargain. Today, Mark and his mother, Betty Williams, tell their story. Modern Love listeners, we want to hear from you! We’re conducting a brief survey of the podcast, and we would love your feedback. Visit nytimes.com/modernlovesurvey to access the survey.
“The only three men I had ever imagined a future with all told me that something was missing,” Oz Johnson wrote in her Modern Love essay. When Oz was 23, her boyfriend said she met 99 percent of his criteria, but she was missing 1 percent. Over a decade later, another man broke up with her via email. Their love was almost perfect, he said, but not enough to last. What is this missing, unquantifiable feeling? Oz used to be haunted by these rejections, but now she has come to embrace the search for imperfect love. After: Nancy Cardwell wasn’t looking for love — but then, at 58 years old, she fell passionately in love with tango. Her newfound zeal for the dance took her to Buenos Aires, where she fell in love again — this time, with a man named Luis.
Felice Neal was in the checkout line at Whole Foods when she dropped her sweet potato. A handsome customer behind her said, “I think this is yours.” Felice was smitten. Felice believes this meet-cute was fate — and it opened her up to new ways of looking for love in a city full of millions of strangers. Then, Jessica Strange shares her story about losing her husband, and selling the house they had lived in with their children. These days, she looks at photos of their old home on Zillow. Even though the rooms look different now, she finds solace in them. “I picture us in these spaces loving, living, fighting, making up, making out, raising our babies,” she wrote in her Tiny Love Story.
When it came to dating, Aly Tadros was used to hiding the messy parts of her life. “Why even bother? As soon as a guy finds out about my baggage, he bolts,” she wrote in her Modern Love essay. That is, until Dan from OkCupid came along. His dating profile read: “I’m a feminist. I respect women while simultaneously enjoy dominating them.” That was the start of Aly’s journey into B.D.S.M. Today, Aly shares her story about exploring domination and kink, and what it has taught her about setting boundaries and demanding honesty. She calls this mind-set “kink courage” — and it’s changed the way she lives her life.
In her early 20s, Annabelle Allen longed to know what her dad had been like when he was her age. How did he spend his Saturdays? What was his first impression of her mom? When did he feel lonely? But Annabelle’s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 62, and ever since, memories of his past had started slipping away. Recently, Annabelle was cleaning up her parents’ storage bin when she made an incredible discovery: more than a dozen of her dad’s old journals. They were a gift that gave her a window into her father’s past — and strengthened their connection in the present. After Annabelle’s essay, she shares an update on her father and reflects on the ways they have both been caring for one another.
For years, Evan Sterrett’s relationship with his boyfriend had become “reruns of the same drama.” Evan wanted space; his boyfriend wanted commitment. But one summer, their relationship received a guest star — a third partner who resuscitated their joie de vivre. Today, we hear Evan’s story about navigating the complex geometry of throuplehood. Then, we meet Samatra and April Doyle. They don’t live together and don’t co-parent, but they are married and intend to be together forever.
Growing up in an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, Sara Glass was used to following strict rules — including what to wear, when to get married and whom to love. “I had strong feelings that I really should be with a woman and not with a man,” she told our host, Anna Martin. “But I wanted to do what God said was right.” Sara married her first husband at age 19. After two marriages to men, and years of working as a psychologist who strove to create a safe space for her clients, Sara was done hiding that she was gay. Today, Sara shares her experience of leaving the Hasidic community and finally embracing her true self. Click here for Sara's Modern Love essay and more info about this episode. Modern Love is back for the new year! Look out for new episodes on Wednesday afternoons.
What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever been on a date? We asked Modern Love listeners and the responses did not disappoint. Rummaging through landfills, listening to cases in night court … the stories get weird. Plus, there’s one that our host, Anna Martin, considers the most bizarre of all (hint: dead bodies). For our last episode of 2022, we start with Dev Aujla’s essay about how he wound up traveling on a cargo ship across the Atlantic ocean with a woman who, weeks earlier, had broken up with him at the advice of her astrologer. Then, we hear from all of you. This is our last episode before the holidays. We’ll see you in 2023!
Brandon Kyle Goodman never knew his father, but he did know his Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Ronnie was Brandon’s godfather, originally his mom’s college bestie — and essentially, her sibling. Uncle Ronnie owned a hair salon, used words like “fabulous” and “honey” and was “the only person who never questioned my effeminate nature,” Brandon said. But when Brandon became an adult, their relationship changed. Today, Brandon reads his essay about the enduring bond with Uncle Ronnie. Then: Franki Kidd tells us about a stranger she met outside a bodega in Queens who changed her life.
An A-student, a striving employee and a loyal friend, Terri Cheney is the sort of person who seems to have it all together. But, beneath her glowing facade, she faced the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. She kept her mental illness separated from her personal and professional lives, but she could not conceal this part of herself when it came to dating. After Terri’s essay, we peek into another story: the romance of Dave and Janelle Funchess. When they met, he knew he wanted to date her. For a while it didn’t happen, because she was with someone else. He was patient and persistent, until she said yes. Today’s stories: “Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am,” Terri Cheney “He Had a ‘Hunch’ They’d Get Hitched,” Judy Mandell
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 evolved in the years since.
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 generational lessons and raising a son who is comfortable asking his dad questions. Today’s story: “Seeking a Father for My Child (Relationship Optional),” Katharine Dion
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 with Ari’s younger sister, Alix, about their 3,000-mile bike trip across the country and on learning to protect someone who once protected us. Today’s Story: “She Was My World, but We Couldn’t Marry,” Ari Diaconis This website memorializing Ari Diaconis was made by his sister, Alix Diaconis
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 formula company didn’t know — and thought she was a new mom. She laughed — what else could she do — and loved the idea that her chocolate chip was out there, trolling the internet. After her miscarriage, Amy had a son, Simon. We check in with Amy about life with a preschooler, the lasting impact of grief and the strangeness of an internet that won’t let you let go.
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 feared she would never close the distance between them. Today, Put shares an update on her relationship with her Ma — and reveals what’s given her the strength to hold on all these years. Putsata tells a longer version of this story in her memoir, “Ma and Me.”
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 just before the rest of the world locked down. On today’s episode, Bette shares the secret to what kept her and her husband together for decades — and how their long love has helped her cope.
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 parent and child longing for a deeper connection – and how music sparked their understanding of one another.
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 shatter the pattern of false promises that had haunted Ross’s dating life. Today, we invite you to carefully listen to Ross’s story, read by the Deaf actor Joshua Castille. Then, stick around to hear host Anna Martin catch up with Ross. Ross explains why it’s so powerful for him to communicate in his own language — American Sign Language — and he shares an update on him and Will. To access a transcript of this episode, click here.
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 his wife and daughters. Then our host, Anna Martin, talks to William about what life is like many years later.
“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 help at a sleek sex shop in downtown Manhattan. Why should a legally blind 83-year-old woman have to struggle so much just to get a sex toy? Modern Love is back for a new season! New episodes drop on Wednesdays. Follow the show on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.
Society & Culture
The podcast Modern Love is embedded on this page from an open RSS feed. All files, descriptions, artwork and other metadata from the RSS-feed is the property of the podcast owner and not affiliated with or validated by Podplay.