And I was that man.
And I was that man.
Yo era ese hombre. Y mi perro lo sabía.
With my husband checked out of our marriage, I found flirtation at the office. It didn’t go well.
Mi marido se volvió indiferente y yo vivía en una soledad profunda, así que acudí a mis colegas para sentir una pizca de romance. No salió nada bien.
As the heartbroken mother of two young girls, I found myself routinely — compulsively — checking up on my ex.
It took my mother’s short-term amnesia to make me realize what long-term love is all about.
With “fertility preservation,” I thought I could have children on my own timeline. I was wrong.
It had been a glorious first date, but for her there was a big problem: They were both of Asian descent.
Finally, I could be openly gay anywhere — except while visiting a certain relative.
Love is an emotional — but also financial — investment, which means the rules of economics may apply.
A tarot card reader said my ex would come back to me in three years. Until then, I was supposed to have relationships that fail.
A devoted daughter discovers that an eccentric parent’s odd habits — like collecting mannequins — can be inherited.
After eight heart attacks, a young wife and mother with an uncommon condition curates her legacy while decorating a new home.
And for me, it was a revelation.
After two long-term girlfriends broke up with me by coming out, I realized that the straight and narrow life — as I was living it — wasn’t much fun.
Fearing judgment of her interracial relationship and mixed-race child, a woman keeps both from her family. Until she doesn’t.
Feeling grateful and able, I donated a kidney to a stranger. The only problem: I made the decision on my own.
Purging my possessions — and some anatomy — revealed what I treasured most.
This year’s Modern Love college essay contest expands by going small. We’re seeking all the (tiny) love that’s fit to print.
When it comes to dating, I’d rather not think about race. But that’s been hard to avoid.
After a breakup, a woman wonders if traditional romance is a trap, and finds that the ordinary is the most romantic gesture of all.
They have a love story, but love is not the problem.
A woman discovers that understanding infidelity from within can be the key to forgiveness.
When manifesting a boyfriend, maybe don't start with the physical — or date the competition.
They loved each other, but she harbored a shameful secret: She had stopped reading books.
Open your heart and laptop and tell us a story.
They never would have matched online. Luckily, he had three hours to kill at the airport.
Read the winner and finalists.
A confession of attraction from a man 30 years younger causes an octogenarian to reflect on desire, sensuality and aging.
After her marriage unravels, a woman seeks answers in personality testing and the science of compatibility.
A biking accident alters the dynamic of a couple’s marriage, for worse (and for better).
As a queer, closeted teenager, I had to learn about romance from the sidelines. A decade later, I’m still struggling to get in the game.
She liked her love life as it was. So why did this new man make her feel so vulnerable?
Pictures taken from a car-mounted camera can’t reveal what goes on behind closed doors.
Meandering through grief, a man tries to replace his sofa. It doesn’t go well.
My father resembled a fruitcake. He also sent fruitcakes. Mine never arrived.
I love Fido, but does he have to be on the bed while we have sex?
They agreed she could have sex on the side as long as he didn’t have to know about it. Then she fell in love.
When a medical crisis asks a young woman to confront the messier aspects of love, she plunges into a reality TV version of romance.
Sometimes you’re not meant to be with the guy who is always on time and has already bought the tickets.
Caring for a mother who suffers from dementia was really hard. I wish I could do it again.
A veterinarian told them that rabbits, under stress, tend to die quickly and easily. They hoped their rabbit — and their new love — would prove more resilient.
My eyes were too swollen for me to walk down the aisle. It wasn’t from crying.
Stung by divorce, a high-earning professional tries to recast herself in the dating world as a woman in need of male protection.
There is the often facile social media narrative of overcoming adversity in marriage. And then there is the reality.
For the first Modern Love in miniature, we’re sharing your stories about life-changing burritos, unconventional arrangements, and other romantic gains and losses.
After enjoying an open relationship, a couple decides to tie the knot. Just one question: Why must marriage require sexual fidelity for life?
She hoped her new apartment would lead to a relationship within its walls, not a parade of hookups outside of them.
A former sperm donor, searching online, finds both offspring and love.
They were headed for a painful breakup. Then a stray dog wandered in.
Charcuterie, wine and all kinds of nourishment from a second family in Paris.
A culture of consent, one woman argues, should be less about self-protection and more about genuine care for the other person.
Why do so many husbands feel the need to boast about completing simple household chores? With mine, it’s all about branding.
“You need money,” he said to her. “And I need you.”
Can a relationship built on lies ultimately be good for you?
Two years earlier, she rejected the ambitious, Manhattan version of herself. After an ugly breakup, it was time to get her back.
“Where is your husband?” people kept asking. “Why isn’t he here?”
While imprisoned for 14 years, a young Yemeni man learns about love from a fellow detainee — and an iguana.
A life cut short is revealed through reward cards, drink coupons and arcade passes.
After being assaulted in a park, a young woman sought refuge in marriage. When that didn’t work, she stepped into the ring.
She hoped their platonic bond would always outshine romantic attraction. Then her friend got a crush on someone else.
On his deathbed, my husband shared some surprising burial instructions.
One’s a “bad co-sleeper,” the other has bad sponge etiquette. So they moved in together, sort of.
On this week’s Modern Love podcast, the actor tells a story of love and skillful parking.
She encouraged her husband to find new love after she was gone. A year later, he reflects on what her generosity has meant to him.
Stung by romantic rejection, a woman finds acceptance and catharsis in a man who leaves her with bite marks and bruises.
On this week’s Modern Love podcast, Sarah Shahi reads the story of an immigrant parent who never shakes her anxieties from back home.
What happens when a transgender person, who fantasizes about having an androgynous body, falls for a straight man who loves female curves?
Last year, we asked readers to share miniature versions of their romantic histories. Here are some of our favorites, read by their authors.
A relationship between a young man and woman with similar illnesses presents unusual challenges. For starters, he can’t speak.
The actress tells the story of a woman whose romantic limits are defined by her vocabulary.
This week on Modern Love: The Podcast, the star of “Fear the Walking Dead” reads the story of a couple recovering from the repercussions of rehab.
Abandoned by her parents as a child, a woman finds an unlikely candidate to help fill the “mother-shaped hole” in her heart.
On this week’s Modern Love podcast, the “Disobedience” star tells the story of two women who must reconcile their love of God with their love for each other.
Marriage is long. Sometimes spouses stop listening to each other. Enter the virtual assistant.
A woman opens her heart to a relationship with a young immigrant from Colombia, despite the likelihood that it can’t last.
The “Broad City” star tells the story of woman who is wooed by a bread maker.
A newly married woman fears that her impulse to drink and keep it a secret will become a wall of deceit between her and her wife.
A young woman thought true love would have all the anxiety and insecurity of a romantic comedy. When it didn’t, that was even more worrisome.
A divorced woman seeking no-strings-attached liaisons learns a sobering lesson about men and marriage.
A young woman facing a health crisis decides to have sex for the first time, while fearing it may be her last time.
After three decades of monogamy, a woman starts seeing a man who embraces open relationships.
A young lawyer sidelined by a mystery ailment wishes he could plan a full and lasting life with the woman he loves.
Parents of children with potentially fatal allergies exist in a state of constant high alert, one that can unify them as a couple.
A young woman seeks answers to her sexual orientation online, where the endless quizzes she takes deliver whatever label she wants.
A month into widowhood, a young mother finds herself to be the sole protector of her children — and a trapped bird.
A teenager in distress turned to a famous novel with the hope of normalizing her situation. Instead, it provided a road map for escape.
For a Valentine’s date, they wanted to go to a bar and act as if they were strangers. Then she sat next to someone else.
A woman who had collected stories of others’ marriages and infidelities for years learns a powerful lesson that research alone could never teach.
She believed that loving a person would be a safer bet than investing in a cryptocurrency she could neither touch nor understand.
Saddled with a run-down house, a faltering marriage and a vanishing bank account, a woman takes to her two-wheeler.
How physical desire, fake flattery and a vanishing act can make casual sex anything but casual.
A teenager in a wheelchair forges an unlikely but enduring relationship with the young woman hired to care for his infant half brother.
On a subway platform, she shared a New Year’s Eve kiss with a man planning to be a priest. Could it go any further?
As Christmas nears, a young woman hospitalized with pediatric leukemia basks in a new romance even as her health fails.
She was gravely ill. He had a job with health insurance. Nothing like tying the knot on the way to the hospital to make someone believe in love.
Nine years of therapy and one board game help a woman understand that love can’t be mastered through hard work and perfectionism.
An American stepmother feels like an outsider in the British family she joined. Driving the car pool in her bathrobe doesn’t help.
Sometimes we fall for a person, sometimes a place. For Jacqueline Woodson, it was disco-drenched New York, where anything, and everything, could happen.
She fell in love with a married man. He told his wife he wanted to split up. How did they all end up as close friends?
A woman trying to get pregnant on her own finds connection and hope during a total solar eclipse.
A family flees Iraq and eventually resettles in Indiana — all except for one, who remained halfway around the world.
We asked readers to share succinct summaries of their personal lives. Here are some of our favorites.
A woman is plunged into her tumultuous past when she gets a ride to the airport from a man intimately connected to her divorce.
A University of Chicago neuroscientist is studying how we may reap key rewards from being in love. And her most persuasive evidence may be herself.
Amelia, 5, lives with her Mama and Mimi in Switzerland, Skypes with her birth mother in Seattle and was a flower girl at her birth father’s wedding.
What happens when your wife wants to be “unmarried” but still together? Essential oils and trying to butter up a dog, for starters.
They met at a wedding. She had a husband. It was brief, fiery, and the memory lingers even if the specifics are a little hazy.
A playwright’s mother, modern and progressive in much of her life, still has a few old-school tics.
A closeted gay woman didn’t know how to have platonic love with a man. Decades later, she wishes she had been brave enough to try.
In a society that rewards marriage, a woman asks why the single life should have to be condemned, even by the Supreme Court, as one of loneliness.
After hooking up with a much younger man, a woman realizes she has been looking for love all wrong.
A man’s request for a prenuptial agreement roils an engagement, forcing his fiancée to confront her financial choices.
Rather than making a single, ceremonial commitment, unwedded couples must choose each other every day.
They loved each other and had a child together, but couldn’t make it work. Twenty years later, could their bond save his life?
He thought he had left his father’s machismo behind. But when it came time to propose, he didn’t think he was man enough to be anyone’s husband.
A patient with mania was told that nobody forms lasting friendships in a psychiatric hospital, but she adored her roommate too much to listen.
After her divorce, a mother and son who had been living by the rules of Orthodox Judaism decide to test (and taste) a new world of possibilities.
A Jamaican woman chafes at the reality that expressing affection for her wife can lead to confrontations with her fellow immigrants in New York.
After a 10-year-old girl tries to contact her recently deceased father by email, an unusual correspondence begins.
A woman comes to the conclusion that it’s not a lack of love that ends long-term relationships; it’s a lack of curiosity.
In adopting three foster children, a woman with a fraught past of her own makes “a decision to love.”
To entertain her hospital-bound friend, a divorced woman opens an online dating account so they can scroll through profiles of available men.
On one of the most consequential evenings of his life, a young man still finding himself wishes he had picked up the phone.
A spurned woman confronts the question: When you lose love, should you even try to get over it?
A writer and artist valued their creative independence too much to stay together. But they couldn’t stay away.
A woman discovers that in-person love is much more taxing than just holding up a phone.
After leaving a man she had feared, a woman finds solace in anonymity and separation.
They launched their relationship by answering 36 questions. To keep it going, they drew up a contract.
A young woman who finds herself being catcalled, followed and grabbed at wonders why some men seem to think a female body is public property.
When a couple routinely seek different pleasures, sometimes you need one spouse for travel and another for the everyday.
At her husband’s suggestion (and with the wisdom of Marie Kondo), a recovering slob discovers the sexiness of cleanliness.
They met on Bumble and fell into a fun, one-night-a-week, nonexclusive routine — until she realized she liked him.
A woman who feels no sexual attraction without first establishing a deep emotional connection wonders if there is something wrong with her.
After spending years abroad trying to convert strangers, two Mormon missionaries realize how little they really knew each other.
When the person you’re trying to be on social media takes over the person you are in real life, it can be hard to break character.
The winning essay from our Modern Love college essay contest explores an unlikely romance between a transgender man and an immigrant Indian woman.
It’s unrealistic to expect your spouse to forever remain the same person you fell in love with.
A woman with a debilitating motor neuron disease finds hope in a man from a war-ravaged country.
A woman discovers surprising complications in navigating her male friendships after transitioning in midlife.
When a family tries to sweep tragedy under the rug, the damage is deep and lasting.
A hard-charging executive has trouble balancing the power of work with the intimacy of marriage.
After contracting a rare case of the mumps as an adult, a man receives bad news about his fertility.
A good mother does bad things on behalf of her bullied son. Should she feel triumphant or ashamed?
After learning she doesn’t have long to live, a woman composes a dating profile for the man she will leave behind.
A writer seeking solitude in a small town finds himself developing a deep and unlikely bond with his elderly neighbor.
An animal shelter volunteer has a dim view of her fellow man, until she starts playing matchmaker for dogs and people.
He acknowledged he was gay and left his wife, but he kept returning home for their monthly ritual.
Two brothers and a sister credit a surprising source for their lifelong closeness: their parents’ ugly divorce.
After a painful breakup, a young woman finds healing in honesty — with both her former boyfriend and herself.
After a woman swipes right on a man with his own bakery, she falls for both him and his bread.
After a young woman’s troubled boyfriend disappears, she scrambles to preserve scraps of his existence.
An aging woman’s dementia causes her to learn about her family all over again.
A single woman in need of physical connection pledged to attend a cuddle party.
For a sleep-disordered woman who works all night and sleeps all day, dating presents challenges.
They had been together for 12 months. She realized that she loved him. Should she say so?
An Atlanta mother who volunteers to help a refugee family discovers that the need, and the benefit, goes both ways.
Jilted by her longtime boyfriend, a woman considers trusting intuition over rationale. If only she could figure out what intuition is.
A young boy in Finland pretends he’s a woman on an online gaming website to get the attention of other players. Then the game changes.
A Christian woman’s identity is challenged by her love for church and another woman.
For an American woman falling in love with an Iraqi doctor in Syria, Arabic provides both a bridge and a source of frustration.
When her only child outgrows cuddling, a single mother realizes that her daily life is almost entirely without physical affection, or even touch, from anyone.
A woman with no maternal desire wrestles with the expectation that married couples should try to have children.
A young woman relies on carefully prepared images to present her relationship in the best light, until the picture no longer includes her.
A onetime advice columnist realizes that the more she learns about love, the less she seems to know.
In midlife, a man quickly forges a tight bond with a sister he never knew he had, until the presidential campaign threatens to pull them apart.
A brother and sister decide to come out to their 95-year-old Mennonite father in a pair of carefully written letters.
For a young mother with terminal cancer, questions about her own mortality merge with decisions about upholstery and cushion width.
When a 6-year-old boy wants to wear skirts and dresses to elementary school, his parents grapple with the reality that it’s about more than clothes.
The stresses of a man’s double lung transplant push his marriage to the brink.
When a box of formula arrives on the doorstep months after a miscarriage, it becomes clear that the virtual world didn’t get the pregnancy update.
An overnight bag becomes a token of hope, signifying someone waiting on the other end.
With parenthood dampening her romantic options, a woman changes her strategy.
A wife in India finds that feeding birds nourishes her relationship.
Four open-heart surgeries by age 15 had left a young man’s chest riddled with disfiguring scars. It’s kind of hard to explain that during a hookup.
While searching online for a local woman to date, a man finds himself falling instead for a Scrabble-playing stranger on the other side of the world.
Lost in the Amazon jungle, a newly married couple finds hope in fantasizing about the future (while clad in underwear and headlamps).
A woman who escaped the Cambodian genocide as a child hopes her mother can accept her for who she is now.
A shocking discovery following the loss of a sister becomes an unlikely source of solace.
After a twice-married woman realizes she doesn’t need a man to provide, protect or procreate, she finds herself seriously questioning their purpose.
Passionate conversation brought them together, but after seven years of marriage, they had nothing to say. What to do?
Their dreams of foreign adventure shelved by a dire diagnosis, a man and his wife decide, instead, to become parents.
After his marriage unravels, a man is left with a sleeping bag, two 150-pound pets and a lot to figure out about life and love.
When a neuroscience student gets dumped, she finds comfort (and an over-the-counter remedy) in her knowledge of the physiology of romantic rejection.
When two self-described tech geeks slide into a relationship that seems too easy, they design a monthlong trial to expose its flaws.
After her peaceful marriage quietly dissolves, a woman comes to appreciate the vitality of conflict and confrontation.
Dating, like insanity, is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome.
A gay father who chooses to be a stay-at-home parent has some issues with being celebrated on Mother’s Day.
When a shared account is all that’s left of a relationship, the connection can both comfort and annoy.
A surprising realization about her ex’s new girlfriend makes a writer question what it means to be a woman.
When a gay son brings his boyfriend home to meet his parents, it leads to a misunderstanding that lasts for decades.
After a casual encounter goes terribly wrong, a young woman retreats from love.
A widow contemplates letting go and holding on from behind the wheel of her husband’s vintage convertible.
The son of a gay father struggles with stereotypically masculine conversations and rituals.
As her own marriage crumbles, a sister plays matchmaker for her divorced younger brother.
An ex-soldier, rocked by infidelity, finds hope in a chance meeting with a mother and her young son.
For a young woman on the road, motorcycles meant autonomy and then togetherness.
A young woman learns about love and bravery from snakes, gorillas and cockroaches.
During a health crisis, a woman gains a new appreciation for the terms “husband” and “wife.”
On a trip to Singapore with his girlfriend, a man waffles over romantic commitment.
A daughter struggles to dispense with meaningful possessions after her mother’s death.
The promise of a romance was disrupted by a guy who seemed content to let his fingers do the talking.
How I reached another level of love and respect by allowing myself to be comfortable in a relationship.
Why can’t we replace trivial conversations with meaningful ones, and ask each other profound questions right from the start?
During a taxi ride home a co-worker makes a surprising request.
At 37, a lawyer half-heartedly attends yet another singles mixer and awaits the dreaded mingling. It was all so deliciously awful, she thought.
A visit from St. Nick nearly turns tragic.
An Italian-American man, 75, leaps across generational and technological chasms to find common ground with a Saudi Muslim woman nearly a half-century younger.
Was my fate truly predetermined? The astrologers in India seemed to know pretty well.
I wanted to support my husband as he pursued his dream career, but I couldn’t help feeling that his work and I were in competition.
An interviewer encourages a subject not to make the mistake she did and to run to his lost love before it’s too late.
A woman dives into the confusing vacuum created by an unanswered text.
A former florist shares lessons learned from work and a loss of her own.
A divorced mother fantasizes about a world in which her daughter has the love of two parents.
What a TED talk about Prego (and consumer choice) taught me about love.
For a single woman in New York and the guy who stands watch in her building, their special bond proves lasting.
Living a life where secondary abstinence isn’t exactly a first choice.
A writer senses a change in her divorced parents’ relationship. Her husband points to their wedding day.
A widowed novelist learns that when dating, it pays not to hold a grudge.
A recently divorced couple manages to have a happy family vacation.
Singlehood is now being celebrated as a legitimate lifestyle choice, but what if you just can’t find a way to be in a serious relationship?
Expressing disappointment at not having found love worth dying for.
Older adults have their own rules about marriage and cohabitation.
Though my ex-boyfriend tried, the only person who could save me from alcoholism was myself.
He said he didn’t like martinis, but she said to trust her. They went down like candy. They danced to the Bee Gees on the jukebox, and he kissed her.
With a partner battling depression and her own mental state teetering toward perpetual grumpiness, a woman takes it upon herself to introduce a new member into the family.
After a stranger on an international flight delivers the perfect kiss, a college student weighs the possibilities of romance.
They met at age 12. One was Serbian, the other Croatian. Separated by a civil war, they ultimately found their way back to each other.
When the writer receives the gift by mistake, her attempts to return it take on added significance because of a 25th wedding anniversary and a death.
A few of the things my newly married friends can look forward to: blame, rage and a desire to be home alone. And yet.
I aspired to always be my wife’s rescuer until, in our darkest moment, she rescued me.
When wanting to be with someone romantically has nothing to do with sex.
If living “freely” was necessary to prove my love for my boyfriend, I was happy to comply. But it wasn’t that simple.
Waiting for a big secret to be revealed provides ample time for insights into a relationship with a guarded parent.
I always felt ashamed of my quantitative deficiencies, just as I felt a need to apologize for my creative side.
Awakening to the truth that was always there after coming close to losing it all.
A young woman rejects her religious upbringing’s prohibition against premarital sex and discovers the aftermath isn’t exactly what she anticipated.
In an era when there is Tinder to find an attractive girl and Grindr to find an attractive boy, love and affection are more accessible than ever.
No more Twitter games. No more Instagram dissections. No more Facebook predation. I wanted someone mature.
The promise of Tinder meets the realities of hope and fear.
The winner of this year’s Modern Love college essay contest, a sophomore at Columbia University, writes about her generation’s reluctance to define relationships.
After decades of marriage, a wife and husband learn that their short separations allow them to be their better selves.
This offer was different, and not just because a house is obviously a big gift.
Consumed by Alzheimer’s disease, a grandmother invents a life and a family plays along.
I was free to make as many mistakes as I wanted. She lived within the confines of countless restrictions.
After an early romance, a series of chance encounters and an onslaught of mail, a suitor makes an unusual but clear-cut offer.
There is no good way to tell a new guy in your life that you’re going blind.
How a nighttime vision shaped lives and love one summer in Richmond, Va.
A medication leads to a hypersexualized wife, and a husband puffing to keep up. In time, the mismatch subsides, leaving them partners in a bigger way.
A mother’s project helps remind her daughter that life is worth living.
They have their own ways of showing their devotion.
Grab a partner — friend, love or stranger — and get intimate with this free mobile app.
When a simple gift becomes flowergate.
Coming out of hiding in Manila to risk falling in love.
When you collect an inheritance of table and chairs, you realize it’s to help you stay connected to friends.
Before social media made it easy to find out about someone, I fell for a mysterious stranger I met via Craiglist.
He called me “mother” because I was his former priest. At 71, Ned was in love with a 28-year-old man. And the church was going nuts.
In a decade of columns, these are the ones that readers shared with the widest audiences.
Comparing your life with an old college roommate’s.
Crawling out from under the covers in time for Christmas.
I wanted to fulfill Houseboy’s fantasy, but he saw straight through me.
His sons want him to play, but housekeeping duties always seem to get in his way.
Released after two years in an Iranian cell, Joshua Fattal struggled to shed his prison-bound self.
Some first names are warning signs that say, “Watch out, here comes heartbreak.”
Love is not a product of waiting, of being patient, but is instead a rest stop, perhaps one of many, where we decide, for however long, to stay.
Two couples, friends, were trying to have a baby. One had the solution for both.
An unpredictable romance of two people separated by 14 years is interrupted by a growth — maybe cancer, maybe not.
A divorce court can yield a man who is well dressed and good-looking, and available, but then time passes and the carefree days slip away.
In matters of the heart, having a boyfriend who takes care of you is as important as the mending itself.
For six hours in the hospital, of all places, I was my true self and could enjoy the company of a woman.
A divorced mother finds an excuse to visit her sons’ father regularly, but she never stays.
An accident at 16 made him a paraplegic, and 24 years later, we were engaged, and I was terrified of losing him.
With him I wanted to be the fun girl. Then that all changed.
Her priority is taking care of their baby; the work that her husband does happens to involve sex with other women.
If we didn’t marry, even after decades together, we could still keep everything light.
Sometimes staying together is just about pragmatism.
He told me I was the one. What was it in me that couldn’t fully accept that?
The loss of our friends was a silent stowaway, riding atop our shoulders for a year; but then in writing a book about them, it opened up love, buoyant and uplifting.
Releasing expectations and assumptions as a mother and daughter move on.
Unlike my boyfriend, Derek promised he would treat me, and my stuff, with respect.
I’m not sure the doctor recognizes me, and he doesn’t know my name. I feel he’s fishing around in his imperfect memory, trying to place me.
At 21, a writer made a discovery that she feared would betray her beloved grandmother.
I had never doubted my fiancé or my love for him, or our three-year relationship. And yet here I was, preparing to say “I do” and terrified that I was about to make a big mistake.
Travails pull a family together for home improvements, on the surface and beneath.
I had loved and lost plenty of times, but I had never let myself feel it. I numbed up.
Becoming a father took me on an unpredictable and sometimes embarrassing journey.
Love doesn’t afford us the luxury of caring, or not caring, only about ourselves.
Anxiety and an odd imitation derail a couple’s experiment with role-playing and fantasy.
How one shortish, balding Jewish therapist led to another shortish, bald Jewish guy.
What happens when a husband is suddenly drawn to new, inhospitable terrain.
A couple, married for 28 years, considers an uncertain future because of the ravages of dementia.
Recovering from childhood sexual abuse, I followed a roundabout path to romance.
Her curiosity was piqued; she became a voyeur, wanting to know where the scar would be.
A boyfriend’s makeshift altar on the radiator cover prompts a search for answers.
I wanted most to spare my daughter the realization that there would always be a black hole in the center of our lives.
I spent an entire gestation not looking at Tom, hoping that he wouldn’t see me.
I was profoundly changed by what was to be my “adventure’ in the Tanzanian countryside.
His small act of kindness could not be forgotten, though the daily dust of the relationship had settled.
Having a disease that tried to kill me did away with our assumptions that the future looks just like the past.
When another person takes the place of a looking glass to reveal who you really are.
Tyler and I both changed since college. How could he be sure he didn’t love me if he didn’t know who I’d become?
When life was so unbelievably tenuous, we paid attention to what mattered.
The rules of romance (or romanz) do not have to agree with the rules of grammar.
She always vehemently insisted that I didn’t need to get married, didn’t need a man.
How couples deal with long-term relationships that inevitably grow short on excitement.
It was easy to forget that actresses were professional charmers with a vested interest in making journalists like them.
Having rejected God and a confining faith, I was alone and making up for lost time.
A ring can carry a promise, or sometimes something deeper.
Relationships are work, I realize, but so is being single, and I became pretty good at it.
Missed opportunities are not the events that define us.
Only in the absence of my love was I truly able to appreciate the depth of my feelings.
I wept for an awakening I had given up on, that around the corner I might love again.
Life partners need not be narrowly defined; they can be exes, children, best friends or lovers.
When crisis struck, my only friend in this foreign land did not even speak my language.
Left by his fiancée, a doctor rebuilds himself in the company of his patients.
A writer goes from being lesbian and not wanting children, to dating men and trying to conceive.
A dangerous flood reveals a couple’s strong connection.
It is so perilous to love people because eventually you will hurt them.
I had found a man who liked taking care of me yet I couldn’t accept his support, opting to lie awake nights crunching numbers in my head.
Becoming a widow and then a mother, in that order, isn’t how I pictured my 30-something life unfolding.
A child’s expression of admiration for her mother is food for thought.
We still played to win, but now we could feel joy for the other.
Not wanting to be like my mother, I let my college-age daughter and her boyfriend live with me without any rules. That was a mistake.
What astonished us was that the electricity we generated was as strong and compelling as love had been 50 years before, that it scrambled the brain every bit as much.
My husband, Chris, and I had made a clear agreement regarding child rearing. But reality played out very differently.
As I became involved with one young woman, I learned how profoundly the child welfare system could fail its teenagers.
Life lessons that only a four-footed friend can teach.
Two 20-somethings try an experiment to refrain from sex for almost a year, and find out more about themselves than they had expected.
Impatience had brought me to Jim; now it was time for me to practice the art of letting go.
She could rescue him from a dead-end life. But was that a good reason to marry him?
A screenwriter tries and fails to make an actual human girlfriend fit into a tempting cinematic trope.
A whirlwind courtship and marriage comes to an abrupt halt.
Working in the oil fields two weeks at a time isn’t conducive to a long-term relationship, but still men try, talking on their cellphones in their pickup trucks, and avoiding long goodbyes.
When I fell in love with Armando, whom I had hired to fix my deck, I was not the one who shared his history of escape.
My ex beat me so badly I could not eat, sleep or talk. But my recuperation had unexpected bright spots.
It started out as nothing serious, nothing permanent. We were there for the fun.
Forgiveness is a heavy-duty word.
A writer reflects on a relationship in which her boyfriend’s instant adulation eclipsed her doubts about how little they knew about each other.
Hypothetically, donating sperm so friends can have a baby is a simple decision.
So in addition to rings, our wedding was about sugar. And one less name by which we can refer to one another.
If I had to change — and it was clear that something had to give — I wanted to become someone who could love and be loved, for the long haul.
My mother fed me so well, there was no room for my wife’s cooking.
When a mantra no longer helps to put the pieces back together, time and patience do.
I wasn’t looking to chronicle my romantic escapades. I was clarifying my identity.
My parents agreed that I tied them together for the rest of their lives. Divorce and all, sex change and all, this would be a loving family of three.
Our relationship was not an obvious one, but neither of us liked the obvious.
What began as a crush evolved into that peculiar sort of adolescent friendship.
Single and 40, I met a man with a child I learned to love as my own. Breaking up was not what we had planned.
In 30 years of serial monogamy, dodging in and out of serious relationships, I have always planned for the end from the beginning.
Picking up on the signs of a relationship after being oblivious for so long.
After our divorce, we didn’t want to lose the friendship. We still helped each other through the hard times.
In a gratifying reversal of the conventional script, sex had turned into love.
A teenager who is drawn to adventure, except in matters of the heart, finds the silver lining in a terrifying accident.
The parameters for a Valentine’s Day gift seem to have narrowed, making choosing one for someone you love even more challenging.
Learning that whoever treated the tortoise with love and care was a keeper.
We’d been friends a long time, but it was entirely possible that we’d just guessed what the other person wanted to hear.
With few outside pressures, we had nothing to do but love each other and be happy.
Marriage-role terminology carried too much baggage of a history I didn’t want. Until my gay friends began using the words.
Years later, he would confess to having loved me all along. But while I stood waiting for him to happen to me, he was always looking for the next best thing.
I started starving myself in my teens. But when I met Hugh, I stopped thinking about what food would “do” to me.
She said she had picked us, in part, because she had read that lesbians have the longest wait for adoptions of all, and she wanted to right that wrong. How could we not love her?
I loved Christmas so much I had destroyed it; I had choked my precious Yule puppy to death.
Slowly, I adjusted my thinking. I asked myself, “What are the things in my power I can do to make him happy?”
My fantasy of being with the one I loved during a disaster came true during Hurricane Sandy — for a while.
When a marriage starts off without love and only good intentions.
After I got over my shock, my husband’s affair with a younger woman made a perverted sort of sense.
Overnight, I had become that most doting and caricatured of family figures: the gay uncle.
For as long as I remember, I’ve been fairly obsessed with spanking, an obsession that felt impossible to share.
Two teachers of conflict resolution navigate a marriage straddling the political left and right.
I couldn’t settle for a yes man, especially a yes man who didn’t appear to read. Could he change?
Wanting to change the world, a soldier leaves love behind.
The man I loved asked me to marry him. But first my house needed some work.
Dating for middle-aged singles may take more than the click of a mouse; it may take in-person matchmaking.
The competent voice of the GPS unit in our rental car was a delight for my husband, but I just wanted to throw her out.
He told me there was someone loving me all those years. Him.
My husband doesn’t object to my wandering eye, allowing me to explore the boundaries of our marriage.
Strangers often seem to carry important information about what is valuable in life, and this makes them incredibly alluring.
In a strange way, seeing-eye-to-eye with my husband about religion was making me feel very alone.
Some people have wondered if my dog is a wolf, but he is just a quivering, clumsy pet whose response to human troubles is always the same.
After a husband stopped drinking, a writer missed his playing Nick to her Nora Charles.
Everything around and within me is partly because of his fatherly advice, his example and even the fact that he could get impatient and stubborn.
We decided to open our daughter’s adoption by hiring a searcher to find the birth mother; we did it because we were told that she loved our daughter very much.
How my husband navigated his own dark lake of loss.
When a mother is a professional profiler and can’t help profiling her daughter’s boyfriends, and ends up being right.
Our shared surname seemed a valid reason to overthrow any and all objections, including our 13-year age difference.
In the world I had left behind, it was a sin to have heart. After years of tenure in that world, I was finally through.
I waited for my husband with his newly sober eyes to want me with the same abandon he once had.
Over the years, he explained, I had convinced him that he didn’t believe in marriage, either. And so we carried on.
A father watches his son take up the battle to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples in California.
After the demise of my friend’s long-term relationship, she enlisted a psychic in her search for answers.
My soon-to-be ex turned out to be one of the few people who shared my vision of a better, more connected future — with different partners.
After 25 years, some things become clearer in love.
Reorienting after ending an interracial relationship, a writer grapples with her singleness and her whiteness.
With my son, Joe, I wasn’t fearless. Quite the opposite, I was petrified by how much I loved him.
Feeling shame and needing to be alone, a rape victim walks — and walks — searching for peace.
Ours was a love affair that knew its finest hours on a screen.
Few men are thrilled by the idea of dating a woman with a child with a disability, particularly one as demanding as autism.
Like many people, the author tends to write a story in her head about the future of any relationship before it has even begun.
An Army wife, after years of objections, agrees to her husband’s wish to be deployed to Afghanistan.
What had I learned? Everything: what I wanted in a husband, a marriage, a life.
I had a crush on Mac. But I feared losing my big, ridiculously inexpensive New York apartment with a view.
The house where my wife had had a great time decorating — that house belonged to a life that was no longer mine.
The psychic’s predictions were three-for-three. But what about the most important one?
Leaving behind her hometown of Medicine Hat in Alberta, the writer took a job in Bangkok, where her wish for love was unexpectedly answered.
A child is born — against the odds — to Americans in a Muslim land.
My troubled mother gave me up. My adoptive parents fought hard to get me. I was an adult before I learned how lucky I had been.
When a philandering father gives him his wedding ring, a writer revels in its power and what it means for his own life.
When an ex-husband stays in the family, this time as a stepbrother, a writer tries to navigate shifting dynamics.
I’d spent the past couple of years applying myself to my marriage — thinking about marriage, reading about marriage, and trying forms of couples’ therapy.
The death of a spouse rewrites the rules of a family in ways I never could have imagined.
My boyfriend and I spent a happy Christmas together, and then he disappeared, without a word.
Travel offered freedom and meant never having to commit to just one thing, or to one person.
Inviting a child to enter our lives: would he accept? That is the question asked over and over at a fertility temple in Bhutan.
“You never know how quickly life can change,” the young mother told me.
During marital difficulties, a couple turns to dancing — and rhythm — to get back in sync.
After her father’s disinheritance, a daughter finds what her father didn’t mean to leave behind: the gift of clarity.
In my dating life, most of the men I’ve loved have weighed less than me.
I don’t miss my wife’s illness, but I miss how we talked. About love. About life.
Love today might not even follow the same format as real-life relationships of the past.
A woman learns how to embrace fears of her sexuality, much like her fear of snakes.
In the middle of a divorce after her husband’s affair with a woman who answered his ad on Craigslist, the author decides to post an ad of her own.
Sometimes the love stories worthy of poetry don’t make the romances of a lifetime.
A judge makes an exception and conducts a rush wedding for a couple of 38 years.
Among animals, a remarkable gesture of interest wins a mate. In humans, our most useful allure is resistance.
The Eeyore slippers, looking innocent enough, held the secret of happiness.
Detaching myself from my son’s marital problems let me find joy in the time I spend with my granddaughter.
He didn’t care that I was 39 and hadn’t had a serious boyfriend in eight years.
Putting a family back together when a stolen brother returns.
Being part of a whole does not mean giving up what you are.
In Shanghai, my boyfriend, a white American, looked like just another foreigner taking home an Asian woman — me — like a souvenir.
An essay on being a single mother.
He took the first step in becoming a woman: surgery to help his face look more feminine.
What blogging made possible, real-life concerns ended.
I felt kind of sick to my stomach, as if I had climbed through his bedroom window and stolen his journal from his dresser drawer.
On the third anniversary of my abortion, I found out via MySpace that my ex-boyfriend was having a baby with another woman. I felt a sense of ownership, of responsibility for the child’s well-being.
I hated that the absence of a wedding band might cause others to discount the level of our commitment.
A woman reflects on the life lived by her mother and the road ahead.
What happens when you’re forced to really look at a spouse.
A young woman’s first love opens the door to uncertainty about the future.
Giving up dress shoes, bookstores and a steady paycheck for unexpected connections to unexpected people.
He’s 77 and he keeps a binder — though he denies it — of his salvaged details and opinions.
He was a relentless tide of optimism. I knew better, yet I let myself hope, too.
Seeking familial acceptance in an interracial relationship, and finding boundaries to be prevalent.
A season among the petroglyphs makes a young man reconsider all those love-related text messages.
The ideal of love got lost in the mess of analyzing gender and identity.
Making sense of a courtship set amid 19th-century log cabins and pioneers — in 2008.
To my Indonesian immigrant parents, sex education involved instilling in me a deep fear of rape, jail, pregnancy, God and my mother.
College students’ entries in this year’s Modern Love essay contest reveal a shift to technology-enabled emotional intimacy. Here is the winning essay.
A surprising romantic connection laid out over the years and across the miles that linked one couple.
Where was the “nice boy” who would help me cross over into adulthood, into the world of rings and babies?
When she needs solace during a trying time, a woman heads for her mother’s couch.
A grand wedding dress can stir up latent longings, even in a modest bride.
When a good friend’s ex brings his lover to your spin class.
The 1,200 miles dividing two people takes its toll.
Because of the noticeable absence of men in my family, for years the men in my aunt’s VHS collection were the only men I knew.
We sought a certain romantic formality in what has become an informal and wholly nonromantic world.
He considered himself different from the rest of her fans; he felt he understood her better and wanted her more.
After having her own child, a woman looks for a wife to bear another, with the same donor sperm.
A sampling of intriguing tactics for locating love: familiar oldies that have been dusted off, and modernized, technology-driven alternatives.
Reaching an understanding was the challenge.
Two men, one name, and a vision of a romantic future together that changed in the process.
Ending the marriage freed us from our anger and disappointment.
A youthful mark turns out to be a good inoculation against atrophy.
A single 35-year-old virgin makes a visit to Planned Parenthood.
A mugging exposes the universality of trauma and the glorious imperfections of marriage.
A road trip to show off a new baby to the family at Christmas takes a detour as darkness falls.
A woman found herself going to a kabbalist rabbi for a blessing to marry.
Whether you’re in an affair or the victim of one, both experiences take a toll.
There are some benefits to splitting up, but just not enough to actually end your marriage.
In our wedding vows, we didn’t actually say for better or for worse, or discuss what we’d do when better became worse.
The worst thing about bedbugs isn’t the bugs themselves, or even the painful bites. It’s the isolating way others react when you give them the news.
A military wife keeps her fears to herself and lets her husband keep secret his stories of combat.
Falling in love with someone in the meditation room happens so often that some Buddhists have a name for it: the Vipassana Romance (V.R., for short).
While waiting for the doctor, we kept his body company with stories of the life-cycle events of a long marriage.
Sending my 11-year-old daughter off to school with her “newborn.”
He was 13 years my junior, and I worried that maybe I shouldn’t be playing this game with a heart that would never quite heal.
Knowing where to park is of paramount importance.
Being footloose in life can be costly in love.
A mother of a gravely ill toddler learns that parental love is layered on, with each layer a shield of denial.
At stake in the relationship were innocent creatures who knew nothing of people and people troubles.
A partner transitions genders and a relationship changes and breaks.
When everything went really wrong, a woman going through divorce reached for the sugary treats that made coping a bit easier.
A young woman learns that it’s a risk to love anyone.
A mother’s death changes the lives of two independent adults.
After years of sacrifice in pursuit of two tenured positions, an academic couple faces a “Romeo and Juliet”-like plot twist.
A tense mother and daughter-in-law relationship takes a surprising turn when they suddenly need each other.
She, a poet in vintage clothing, was everything I’d dreamed of but never knew existed.
She had just turned 40; he was 20. This was harder than learning to ride a motorcycle.
From one generation to the next, bonds that endure.
A television writer develops a show starring his girlfriend. But the network had a different idea.
A father’s message about family, responsibility and his own decisions seems clear, but his daughter’s understanding of it changes over time.
An ex-heroin addict and escort finds the perfect man. But should she marry him?
Nick Flynn always imagined that one day he would be a father, but mostly it was off his radar.
I was falling in love with him while matchmakers for a reality TV show were trying to find him a wife.
A daughter seeks her father’s true voice to replace the memory of the sound of his death.
An unconventional relationship, spanning oceans, continents and cultures.
The end of a relationship puts the future of a spirited, angry child at risk.
A wine writer’s relationship is over, but the medical insurance lingers on.
A choreography of nurturing that is both awkward and rewarding.
Jobless we were free — and blind to each other’s faults. Time would change that.
I wasn’t special. Surely marriage would change that.
My son was getting the brush-off from an alluring female he hoped to impress, and I wanted to share some hard-won male insight.
Disease could have turned Bob violent. He had it another way.
A family comes face to face with their secret second family.
In the prison visiting room, a fiancé finds brotherhood among other men whose wives are also incarcerated.
A couple’s divorce arrangement makes dating and moving on an awkward challenge.
A son learns to appreciate his difficult and troubled mother during her battle with Alzheimer’s, and after her passing.
A brokenhearted woman calls on a performance artist to get over a breakup.
After being branded by her family as cold, a woman finds out what a damaged heart is capable of.
A novice monk faces two different loves, and is torn between a heavenly and an earthly calling.
The editor of the series attempts to answer some of the prevalent questions about love he has observed Americans asking recently.
I was in love with a handsome man with whom I shared a love of books, and I wanted to view that as our singular experience. Yet this was not a simple love affair between two people.
Turner Syndrome leaves a woman infertile, and forces her to mourn the loss of expectations from family and friends.
A daughter comes to terms with the unease and silence that has followed her mother’s murder.
A wife reflects on the roles played in her marriage while pondering her husband’s epitaph.
Through my scheming search, I’d actually found love, and instead of me getting his flight benefits, he got mine.
What if my son came to love his father, only to lose him?
Once my mother welcomed a horse into her barn, a lifelong commitment began.
A man looks back on 35 years of marriage and how he and his wife have managed to stay married so long.
Were subtle clues in our relationship getting lost in translation?
How might a woman love the millstone I believed myself to be?
If I can snoop on my ex-girlfriend online, then why shouldn’t she be free to befriend my grandpa?
Grappling with a stricken father and his demons.
Amid anxiety, a family celebrates the wonders of military life with a wedding for a son going off to war.
A mission experience in Taiwan arouses an intense desire for human connections in a 22-year-old Mormon woman from the United States.
There are two kinds of madness: the kind that strikes suddenly, like a startled bird, and the kind that stalks silently for years, circling round and round until you are fully gathered in its dark wings. Mine was the latter.
After the death of her daughter, a mother risks her heart again by adopting another child.
A father answers his question on what he will do for his son who has special needs.
A couple wonders if a dog can really change the dynamic of their marriage.
A daughter studies the void in her parents' relationship.
Want someone to lick chocolate off your belly? You need a guy.
A woman makes room (lots of it) for a pack-rat husband.
A mother is in charge of every fragment of her deceased husband's life, and she's doing right by it.
For one couple, "wife" was a label that changed meaning in their house, as well as society.
My illness has a purpose, but I didn't know what it was.
A tale of startled dog bites man strengthens a couple's bond.
Facebook brings a woman's birth mother and her family just a keystroke away.
"I don't love you anymore," my husband said, but I survived the sucker punch.
A conflict with her daughter has a mother wondering how far can you go to help an adult child.
A father wonders why his son and father are such a pair, while he and his father seem like such a mismatch.
Sexually active at the golden age? Does kissing my husband goodnight count?
In an attempt to distract himself from emptiness, a man begins a one-sided love affair at the gym.
A father makes bumbling attempts at motherly things.
Some children are easy to love. Others require more of us.
Invest when we’re awash in debt? My husband says yes!
A practical arrangement can blossom into a full life.
A writer who is paid to write about love still considers it a big mystery.
A son still finds good in a stepfather who had questionable values, but made sure he had decent ones.
A man learns to deal with Asperger's syndrome, with the help of his wife.
Tom Waits's music cuts through years of turbulence and strain between a mother and her daughters.
He told me that he could not live without me, and that he would not stop telling me how he felt. And then he disappeared.
A transgender parent wonders what kind of men her sons will become.
The realism of a gritty TV program gives a couple joy in their last moments together.
A husband's need for complete control unexpectedly ignites his wife's fuse.
A man becomes emotionally attached and plays caregiver to his daughter’s dying fish.
A woman with regrets gets a second chance at a husband, home and a baby, in that order.
At a shooting party, lessons are learned about death and denial.
After being crippled in a car accident, a wife bobs peacefully, looking once again like every other person lolling in the sea.
A daughter remembers how trading fathers meant changing not only a parent, but also countries, accents, lives.
The most passionate thing I was ever a part of didn't involve me.
What happens when a marriage faces parole?
A daughter gets to know a country and a woman that have always been close to her, but that she never really knew.
A woman flies halfway around the world to have a drink with a stranger.
A bad boy with good intentions strives for honesty.
Freaks, geeks and finding love somewhere in between.
Someone you once dismissed as “yucky” in your childhood may, in fact, be the one.
For many, sex addiction is something to poke fun at, but for others it’s very real and far from a joking matter.
A woman finds support in strangers after she's diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.
Jackie Onassis told me to never marry or mix your money. I took her point.
How can you tell when you start dating someone that you’ll end up spending more time with his mother than with him?
A wife wonders what to do when familiarity breeds a contempt for sex.
Romance, and backseat sex, in the time of buyouts.
It was hard to end our long-distance fantasy, even after I married.
When my daughter was born, it was the begining of the end of my marriage.
My transgender twin learns a lesson in sacrifice.
It was the family jewel, and I was about to give it away.
Graffiti Girl didn’t know my son the way I knew him, no matter what the bathroom wall proclaimed.
So maybe that love poem wasn’t his best approach.
How do you break up if there was never any commitment to start?
My husband's "mistress" has given notice. I'll miss her.
I cradled his head, his features peaceful, perfect, blank.
No Googling on the first date, please.
As a reporter, wasn't I safe from critiques? Not on the Web.
He was asking to be an adult, no matter how bad the consequences.
Gay and unmarried: the new unheard-of.
Unable to rule events, I vowed not to worry (or answer the door).
Some couples become swingers; we provoked the nut down the road.
A gift for my daughter brings up memories of childhood with my father.
I had a habit of getting a tattoo after a breakup, believing a tattoo was sexy because everyone could see that you opted for pain.
Would my daughter fall victim to our legacy of family anguish?
A gay and straight brother are each other's best friends.
An agnostic mother hopes a daughter's faith conquers depression.
"Sometimes we have to fight battles even when we don't want to."
Does your marriage need work? Hit the campaign trail.
My one slim shot at redemption: learn his hat size.
For my generation, casual is sexy, caring is creepy.
It's hard to lose yourself in the woods if you're scared of the dark.
I used the Internet as a means of communication with women I had already met offline in order to overcome my social awkwardness and forge romantic relationships.
Owen Powell, a runner-up in the Modern Love college essay contest, writes about his dreams of Natalie Portman, while serving in Iraq.
The mother of the bride, there in spirit.
The winner of the Modern Love college essay contest writes a clear-eyed account of her generation’s often noncommittal dating scene.
I was surprised to hear he was a father. I was 28 then and had never dated a guy with a child. Also, he seemed like sort of a kid himself.
Over a French dinner, my partner, a doctor now, told me goodbye.
The sex chair was perfect terrain for my son's soldiers.
The day the coffee in bed went, so did my insatiable urges.
Part of what I love about him is his late wife.
She and I had not been alone together in more than 30 years.
I wanted to love someone who had my disease, and I did.
I had to be as alone as possible to know that we should be together.
Thinking of my perfect life with Sophie, my daughter, I couldn't marry.
My brother sobbed unconvincingly. "She broke up with me."
How many bipartisan couples did I know? Absolutely none.
Hopeful thoughts, for those of us wriggling in the muck of love.
Married, but still looking, sort of.
A DVD just can't satisfy a yearning for a previous lover.
Like a first love, Big Sur can make you feel small in its grasp.
Dating when you're bipolar.
In our closets, and our minds, the books, clothes and dreams.
A few years ago, my life was roadworthy but lonely.
Even an unfulfilled wish list is worth composing.
At the barber, I looked into the mirror and saw the end of an era.
Once a girl is made to feel dirty, it becomes her lot, in perpetuity.
The heart is the engineer, common sense just a passenger.
In our 20s, we thought only about the cost of not doing things.
Finding the child I put up for adoption led to a bonus: my grandchild.
Repressed feelings of love, fear and sadness about the father who almost was.
I suspected the worst: he was seeing someone else.
I wanted the best for a 2-year-old, but even more, I wanted her.
An older woman taught a lesson very different from what I expected.
He was uneasy with beliefs worn on the sleeve, or in my case, on my head.
Two sets of parents and an East-West emotional divide.
The man who once wanted me to have his baby now hangs from hooks. My fault?
I had given up on loving my stepchildren, or their loving.
A moment of pure glee, which happens before everything changes.
I asked the Internet, When do you tell dear baby “I love you”?
I didn’t want hugs or cards after my divorce, and thanks to the hurricane, I got none.
Cancer lets you cut to the chase; time together means more now.
Closer than sisters, we always said. And then, suddenly, it ended.
“This is Anthony. The guy who was your sperm donor. Strange isn’t it?”
As my boyfriend and his wife await divorce, four of us share one roof.
My husband and I moved to Mexico to break into international reporting, but a bigger decision lay ahead.
My therapist dubbed me the Needless Wonder for my doormat ways. So I decided to take some action.
Being of sound mind and broken foot, I used terms my husband grasped.
I even posted it on Craigslist, looking for a little humor in my plight.
When Dad wasn’t dating a divorcee, he was with me, his lonely daughter.
He wasn’t good at making money and I was. As a couple we were a whole.
China confronts a foreign temptress.
Sometimes you fail to realize how things fit until it’s too late.
Frank seems confident that if he waits long enough, my wife will be his again.
How would we manage her care? Yet how could we leave her behind?
I thought my gay ex and I had closure: a rabbi knew better.
For helping me jump back into romance, I helped him match wine and women.
A meeting with the birth mother provides answers, and also some questions.
Lights out on the romantic glow.
Two-dimensional fatherhood doesn’t do. Flat Daddy wasn’t fooling anyone and neither was I.
The story began when I was 5 years old and the F.B.I. came for my father.
He’s gay. She was undeterred. He’s still gay.
Their split was not like today’s rational affairs. It began and ended with a butcher knife.
A heart that just wasn’t in it.
In a multiple birth, a troubling calculation of the odds.
A mating dance, between car and curb.
I had tried to take care of my boyfriends. I never imagined one would take care of me.
As the editor of the modern love column, Daniel Jones finds one common thread: Wisdom about love is sorely lacking.
She could be my daughter, and we’re having too much fun.
How does a child who spends her early life glued to your hip suddenly turn into a person who seems convinced that you were put on earth simply to frustrate her ambitions and dreams?
A mystery wrapped in an 8 1/2-year-old boy.
Putting emotion under house arrest.
“I have no interest in cancer,” my husband said, “even if it has an interest in me.”
Being just a bell ring away won’t do for a guilt-wielding mother.
Peter Napolitano Modern Love essay on how he, 48-year-old unattached gay man, moved back home with his 81-year-old mother after she broke her hip and even shared her bed because she was so afraid of having another fall during night; drawing (M)
My plane was plunging, but life would go on.
Katherine Friedman Modern Love essay recalls flying to Mexico with her husband on plane that nearly crashed; drawing (M)
Burning a card, burying a raw deal in marriage.
Dena Crosson Modern Love article describes cleaning her house, physically and metaphorically, after her husband left her; drawing (M)
If my friends heard my story from a man, would they so easily absolve him?
Lisa A Phillips Modern Love article on relationship with man with whom she was obsessed; says she could have been described as stalker and is relieved that she has moved on, but is still haunted by feelings of being driven by desire; drawing (M)
You get obsessively vigilant when you realize having a baby is not just up to you.
Wendy Paris Modern Love article relates her feelings about having two miscarriages after having waited until she was almost 40 to begin to think about starting her family; drawing (M)
Intimacy we struggled for in my childhood seemed to vanish with his ashes.
Victoria Loustalot Modern Love column recalls her father, who lived most of his life as closeted gay man; he died of AIDS, leaving her and her mother with dilemma of how to dispose of his ashes; drawing (M)
Pledging much more than his heart.
As Hezbollah and Israel battled, my fight for freedom seemed pointless.
A Z Cohn Modern Love essay on being happily married but living in her own apartment in Israel to maintain independence; says when war broke out with Hezbollah, she moved in with her husband and discovered that living together turned out to be as e...
In the tricky surf of a May-December match, the “best summer ever.”
Francine Maroukian Modern Love essay on her relationship with younger man; drawing (M)
An Irish boyfriend competes with the tug of letters from my Jewish great-grandmother.
Lauren Fox article on deciding to marry man she loved, a Potestant-raised, atheist Irishman, even though she deeply wanted to marry a Jew in order to honor members of her family lost to Holocaust; drawing (M)
Is the risk of a milk bomb on a flight really that great?
Lindsay Sterling Modern Love essay on her anger at airport security for confiscating frozen gel packs she needed to preserve breast milk; she was accumulating milk on one business trip in order to have enough to leave infant daughter again for ano...
Maternal yearnings, paternal misgivings.
Lynne Nugent Modern Love article on her vacillation about having a baby, which her husband would accept, but only to please her; describes how her desire for child sharpened when she saw photograph of her husband as young boy; drawing (M)
What wears a tuxedo and breathes fire? Groomzilla.
Craig Bridger Modern Love essay on turning into Groomzilla while planning his wedding; drawing (M)
“When I'm with you,” he said, “I feel incredibly alive, and yet always terrible.”
Suki Kim Modern Love essay on staying in doomed relationship with incompatible man for more than a year; drawing (M)
Now, we live like monks: herbal tea after dinner, the endless seltzer.
Michelle Wildgen Modern Love essay on ignoring early warning signs of her husband's alcoholism; drawing (M)
The storm season tapered off, and with no more tender moments to hold us together, our relationship crumbled.
THE first time I said it, I thought it was the best kind of lie: tender and considerate. My boyfriend and I were lounging in bed as a gust of wind from one of those sweeping Midwestern thunderstorms crashed against the flimsy picture window of...
If race doesn't matter, it should.
Kim McLarin Modern Love article on being black woman, once married to white man, who learns she cannot date another white man because he does not grapple with issue of race; drawing (M)
Events of the day entangled many of us in an emotional lost and found.
Nikki Stern Modern love article on how her desire to find love again after losing her husband in 9/11 attack on World Trade Center led her into an affair with married man; finds love after 9/11 painful, foolhardy, obsessive, destructive, redemptiv...
An older dad wonders: dentures before baby teeth? “I began my great late-in-life adventure with a whimper and a crawl.”
Rand Richards Cooper Modern Love article on joy and anxiety of becoming father his mid-40's with full complement of sports injuries; drawing (M)
Sex, the antidote to death.
Jennifer Glaser Modern Love essay recalls holding on to physical relationship with her boyfriend as he struggled with fatal leukemia, because sex was antithesis of death (M)
I can be my husband's nurse, but I can't be his jailer.
Abigail Thomas essay, adapted from her book A Three Dog Life, describes changes in her husband and in their relationship after he suffered traumatic brain injury; drawing (M)
In she walked, a flattering, dirty-blonde asking me for painkillers. I had been warned: Addicts can be creative, ruthless and even seductive.
A J Kim Modern Love article on how, as new nurse practioner, he prescribed painkillers to addicted woman patient who played on his ego and sympathy and was receiving painkillers from a doctor at same time; drawing (M)
I should have told him right then to run, to flee, to find another class.
Jamie Callan Modern Love article on marrying someone she first met when he was student in writing class she taught; drawing (M)
Put "Catholic" and "gay wedding" together, and you get an extravaganza of rituals.
Alison Luterman article on wedding of two Catholic men for whom she held the huppah; drawing (M)
Is that cute avatar checking out my avatar? My virtual heart leaps.
Theodora Stites Modern Love article discusses how technology dominates her relationships; drawing (M)
The morning I turned 18, I was told I was going blind. I would give anything to tell you what my wife looks like, but I can't. A real blind love, the literal kind, is a giving over of consciousness.
Ryan Knighton Modern Love article on how his blindness has created literal blind love for his wife; says he is able to give over his consciousness and let her see for him; says they share rare and unique closeness; drawing (M)
I wanted — needed — to nudge my husband a little closer to perfect.
Amy Sutherland Modern Love column on using exotic animal training techniques to modify her husband's behavior; says after two years of training she finds her marraige smoother and her husband easier to love; says her husband got to employ techniqu...
How I mutated from Gandhi Girl to Army Wife.
Sophia Raday Modern Love article on being anti-war pacifist married to police officer and Army reservist who is due to be sent to Iraq; drawing (M)
In 12-step confessional style, this is what love addiction did to my life: I dropped out of college, quit my job, stopped talking to my family and friends and contemplated suicide.
Rachel Yoder Modern Love article describes her journey from partner in unhealthy addictive relationship to path of self-discovery through therapy and nasty break-up; drawing (M)
An unmarried Jewish woman makes an offering to Santa Rita in a Roman Catholic cathedral in Italy.
Linda Dackman Modern Love article describes how prayer to Santa Rita, patron saint of desperate or impossible causes, is answered; finds love in Florence, Italy; drawing (M)
I couldn't let my parents arrange my Indian marriage from Indiana. I would have to find my own suitable boy. Or perhaps even an unsuitable one.
Sarita James Modern Love article on her parents' attempts to find her 'suitable boy' to marry who is both Indian and Catholic; drawing (M)
I was the girl with a framed photo of Gloria Steinem on her bedroom wall, beside a photo of a young Frank Sinatra.
J Courtney Sullivan Modern Love essay on dating and falling in love with man who understands and respects her feminist beliefs; drawing (M)
The part of me that wanted to die simply crawled off into the woods and never came back.
Katherine Ozment Modern Love essay recalls giving birth to son on cold winter's day in Chicago, and her love for him today, three years later in snowless California (M)
I have often joked to friends that I married my husband for his sense of direction. And since I met him, the scope of my travels has expanded greatly.
Michele Herman Modern Love essay on her husband's unerring sense of direction during their world travels, except for one treasured moment for her when he got lost on highway in New Jersey and turned to her for help; drawing (M)
I had come to Bangladesh to try to clean the slate of past relationships. Now I was pursuing the most unlikely possible romance.
Evan Ratliff Modern Love article recalls brief friendship with young Muslim policewoman in Bangladesh; drawing (M)
I'm a stripper with a delectable boyfriend and a rock 'n' roll band. I should be having more sex than anyone.
Liv Osthus, sex writer, stripper and musician, describes preliminary interview with producers for reality show that will center around couples therapy; says that sex life with her husband is less prolific than many would think; explores how career...
The dog and I fell in love, as humans tend to do with their dogs, and we were the ones who became inseparable.
Sheila Kohler Modern Love essay on being cat person who falls in love with dog; notes that she and her second husband got dog to help her bond with her stepsons; drawing (M)
I'VE had five husbands. Four were mine; one was someone else's. I would not recommend going the borrowed husband route, but I will admit it was interesting. And instructive. My borrowed husband (B.H.) had many things going for him. One was a lot...
Margo Howard Modern Love column discusses her relationship with philandering married man; drawing
I had a cowboy once. It wasn't like Ennis and Jack, more like Roy and Dale. But it was still hard for me to quit him.
Sybil Raney Modern Love column on her ill-fated romance with real Texas cowboy; drawing (M)
Our house was gone, but we were alive, and our love for each other the love of a married couple who had put up with each other for 20 years would survive.
Ronald K Fried Modern Love column on his and his wife's love for their Greenport, NY, home and their love for neighbor's cat and how they all survived propane explosion and fire that destroyed the house; drawing (M)
In that breakup I felt like I lost my husband, best friend, father and brother all at once. And I didn't just lose him I banished him.
Asha Bandele Modern Love Column describes falling in love and marrying convicted murderer while he was still in prison; talks about fears and difficulties she encountered when visiting her husband and why she chose to end marriage after she gave b...
I think everyone will see things my way if I just explain them properly. So I keep explaining. I keep talking.
Catherine Lloyd Burns Modern Love essay on being very different from her husband, who, unlike herself, is capable of solving problems in gradual way, particularly when they involve issues with their infant daughter (M)
I liked the idea of being someone's someone else. I didn't like the idea that that someone had a girlfriend.
Xeni Fragakis Modern Love column on brief romance she had with man who lives in house he built himself that is 8 feet by 12 feet; drawing (M)
My daughter was a Beatles fan by the time she was five, and she had already fallen for John.
It's O.K. to fall deeply for one loser after another. It's O.K. to show up at a guy's house with a dozen roses and declare your undying affection.
Veronica Chambers Modern Love column says it is all right to be clingy and desperate when dating men who are just not that into you because they are simply preparing you for the one who is into you; drawing (M)
As the editor of this column, sifting through the tales of love, sex, dating and marriage, I offer the following thoughts on the oft-tortured state of modern love.
Daniel Jones Modern Love column gives overall observations about love, sex and dating in 21st century compiled from many letters and e-mails sent to columnist; drawing (M)
The bracing truth is that he was living larger than I was, in my place. Everything felt chaotic and alien.
Heather Fenby Modern Love column on clutter and chaos her boyfriend brought into her life when she let him move into her tiny apartment; drawing (M)
My mother’s madness seeped in so quietly that my father was able to ignore it, believing that it would get better on its own.
He wore gray turtleneck sweaters and smelled like mint aftershave and old books. He reminded me of my father, but his intentions were hardly paternal.
Abby Sher Modern Love column on dating an older man who reminded her of her father; drawing (M)
Roy wanted me to know that he and my father weren't just a couple of guys boozing it up out on the boat.
MY sister e-mailed me the death notice from The Seattle Times with just this cryptic note: ''Make sure you read all the way to the bottom.'' The subject was Roy Maus, 75, a former Boeing executive and passionate sports fisherman who had died p...
Like Ginger Rogers I danced out of the theater with an airy, lightheaded feeling. It was like renewable virginity.
Lainie Keslin Ettinger describes how solo outings to see romantic comedies reinvigorated her sex life with her husband; drawing (M)
In the continuing case of Full-Time Homemaker vs. Working Mother, I offer myself as Exhibit A.
Terry Martin Hekker, author of book Ever Since Adam and Eve, which touts woman's right to be homemaker, describes what it is like to have your husband leave you and be divorced at age 60; holds that few women of her generation are prepared to ente...
Watching my father's illness progress was watching him move inward to some secret, native core.
WHEN my father was fairly well along into the dementia of Alzheimer's -- not as far as he was to go, but four or five years in -- he developed a taste for looking attentively at trees. At the time I was not aware that this is a common pleasure for...
One of those children up for adoption was mine. My kid, misplaced somehow, and determined to find her way home.
FOR about a year, for the first time in my life, I was addicted to a Web site. Well, two Web sites actually, both of which did the same thing. They listed beautiful children, tragic children, children whose photographs were displayed in colorful r...
For a selfless surrogate mother, the heartbreak that came from leaving was a surprise.
IN the bright California sunshine I'm watching a little girl run around the playground. Her wispy blond hair escapes once again from the ponytail one of her fathers carefully formed for her. She is adorable in her pink, black and white dress with ...
Little has been written about the time when parents are supposed to cut back on the physical contact with their children.
Linda Baker Modern Love article on strong physical bonds she has with her children and altering hugging and similar behavior as children get older; drawing (M)
After months of contemplating breaking up with her boyfriend, the author finally ended the relationship using a PowerPoint presentation.
LAST spring I broke up with someone perfect. Perfectly, that is. Last spring I broke up with someone perfectly. I set out exactly which aspects of our relationship were lacking and why, meticulously charted our decline, and pared months of frustra...
At 14, our son spiraled out of control. We looked into having him taken away to a wilderness program that would help him.
IT'S dark. I lie in bed with my eyes open. The windows are closed, but I can still hear the gentle midnight roar of the New Jersey Turnpike, a mere quarter-mile from the front door of my safe suburban home. Safe, that's a joke. Walk through m...
I AM a good, practical girl. I eat my vegetables. I go to bed early. In fact at 31, I'm not just good, I'm also an apprehensive priss -- and I hate it. In an attempt to invent a brave new me I joined an online dating Web site. Something had to...
A WOMAN with a lopsided smile approached me after class the day my marriage ended. She had dark pageboy hair and ever-scanning eyes, as though reading some invisible teleprompter. ''Professor Hemley,'' she said, almost too quietly for me to hear. ...
I WAS married, and feeling the stirrings of loneliness, when I started thinking seriously about getting a dog. In broaching this subject with my husband of a year and a half, I didn't mention the loneliness part. I simply told him I wanted a dog a...
IT'S a big morning for me: a breakfast date at my place, and I'm cooking. I've scoured the markets and rounded up the best of everything: oranges for zesting, pears for roasting, balsamic for drizzling, goat cheese for crumbling and, to amp up my ...
''AT least he's good-looking,'' I say to my husband whenever the subject of our oldest son's dating future comes up. And he is good-looking, our son, with his blue eyes, wavy hair, broad shoulders and warm smile. He's also got a deep voice (he wor...
LOEFFLER was my trophy intellectual. We met at a party, where he hovered around my conversational circle for a while and then came up to me and asked, ''Are you with someone?'' ''Yes,'' I said. I'd come with my office mate, another editor.
''WHY do you think Jenna left me?'' I asked friends and family, pen and paper in hand. I admit it looked silly, and it felt silly, too. But my psychotherapist had urged me to start writing down my conversations with people about what had happened ...
I'M driving my niece and nephew to the Museum of Science. At the end of our outing, when I take them home, their father -- my brother John -- will tell them that their mother's latest cancer treatment has failed and that she will die. But for now ...
I WAS in my favorite restaurant again, everything in its place except for the empty seat across from me. I never minded eating alone, though I'd long experienced shared meals, especially really great ones, as the ultimate intimacy. Since my br...
THERE was no guarantee that doing an open adoption would get us a baby any faster than doing a closed or foreign adoption. In fact, our agency warned us that, as a gay male couple, we might be in for a long wait. This point was driven home when bo...
ANGELINA and I are in an art gallery that doubles as a dance club. A D.J. stands on a sheet of plywood over milk crates playing house music with a heavy bass line. It's still afternoon but already there are a few office workers here loosening thei...
Though I know I cede my power the minute I get in a car, I feel we're driving on my terms because they're taking me where I want to go.
I KNOW I'm not the only woman who waits for something. Some of you are waiting for the phone to ring, or for him to kiss you, or propose, or come home. I just have my thumb out, and I never have to wait long. Though I know I cede my power the minu...
''THAT'S your husband?'' asked a woman I'd just met. I nodded.
She wouldn't tell him she still loved him in spite of everything. Did I dare disturb the universe and interfere?
I MET Krista after an abrupt breakup with a live-in boyfriend. I needed a new place to live, and responding to an ad, I found refuge in what felt like the Brooklyn Annex for Aging Spinsters, an apartment of three women between 33 and 40, nursing v...
I think I like young guys, especially guys in their 20's, because, at heart, I am a guy in my 20's.
I woke up happy one morning, not taxed by too much work, not depressed, not sleep deprived. But my brain, forever searching for something to worry about, could not let this placid moment be and quickly started an argument with an imaginary boyfrie...
Would Julie and I ever have gotten together if I hadn't been a drowning alcoholic in need of her outstretched hand?
MY first date with Julie did not begin well and ended even worse. For starters, I didn't show. It was Saturday evening of Presidents' Day weekend, and I was drinking gin and tonics and watching hoops in the Telephone Bar on Second Avenue, whiling ...
THE orange message light on my cellphone started blinking as I was getting ready for bed. Barely an hour had passed since our quick kiss goodnight at the subway, and I was surprised to see the screen light up with the initials I'd just entered int...
When I started to read my nanny's online diary, our entire relationship unraveled.
OUR former nanny, a 26-year-old former teacher with excellent references, liked to touch her breasts while reading The New Yorker and often woke her lovers in the night by biting them. She took sleeping pills, joked about offbeat erotic fantasies ...
I WAS playing with my friend's toddler recently, taunting him with an animal voice: ''Grrrr, get over here. I'm a hungry tiger, and you're one tiny mouse!'' He tumbled and squealed, ''Again!''
A LOT of people think I was brainwashed. How else to explain why I would allow the Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church to choose my spouse? Most people regard the choice of a life partner as a deeply personal decision, perhaps the mos...
NATE was my breakup buddy. We were introduced at Scruffy Murphy's Irish Bar by a mutual friend who thought we'd like each other. And I liked Nate instantly. With his tight crew cut and animated features, he seemed transplanted from another generat...
I HEAR them before they come in, all thumps and frantic whispers in the hall outside my bedroom. Then the door opens just enough for their shoulders and elbows to jostle through as they compete to be first, followed by the melody of my own persona...
IT'S done: I've finally finished moving my ex-husband's belongings back into the large, cluttered farmhouse we used to share. He won't be coming back, but his shirts once again weigh down the closet rack, his boxes of household gadgets and financi...
ALLY lived in Santa Monica. A mutual friend had fixed us up on a blind date. She said Ally was smart and fun. I said I appreciated the gesture, but I had my hands full. The mutual friend lowered her voice and added, ''She has a terrific body.'' Wi...
Dancing a few steps in a beautified gymnasium is the least I could do to thank the girls who helped me become who I am.
THERE'S someone out there for everyone. It makes a charming notion for love. It also happened to make an airtight refund policy for the online dating conglomerate I was working for in Los Angeles. Lovelorn hopefuls paid my employer for the opportu...
FOR my wedding this July, I won't be writing my own vows. I'll have no readings. There will be no customized ceremony reflecting the uniqueness of my union through programs printed from my own computer. No aria sung in French. No reading of a poem...
I'M a good mother. This is not an idle boast; I have a signed certificate that says so. I earned this de facto mothering license by successfully completing four weeks of court-ordered parent classes. Why did a judge order me to do this? Was I a ch...
My father died from alcoholism, and we're all be survivors of some kind. All I know is he was capable of doing great damage.
IT is nearly midnight when I get home from my waitress job. I've been out of college for two years and have moved back into my mother's home in Islip, N.Y., for the summer to save money for graduate school. When I walk in the back door, my mother ...
MY ex-husband is gay, and I knew it when I married him. We were only 23, at the start of our promising careers, but he, alas, was at the end of his student visa. So I married Rickie to keep him from being sent back to his gay-intolerant Muslim hom...
SINCE I know what it's like to sob on nearly every single form of public transportation in the New York metropolitan area, I can tell you with authority that crying on the subway is the most cathartic. I suppose I'm not a full-fledged expert in lo...
Linda Dackman Modern Love column discusses inelegant art of choosing sperm donor; drawing; photo (M)
Sara Pepitone Modern Love column discusses difficulty of working with significant other and even having information on their upcoming termination; drawing (M)
For a mother, libido, as she once knew it, is gone, replaced by all-consuming maternal desire. Except, that is, for me.
Ayelet Waldman Modern Love column discusses often politically-incorrect opinion that woman's husband can be more important than her children; drawing (M)
Rebecca Eckler Modern Love column discusses being torn between fiance and new male friend, which is complicated by pending birth of fiance's baby; photo (M)
Jean Hanff Korelitz Modern Love column discusses stage in some middle-aged men's lives when they take up guitar-playing; drawing (M)
Meredith Hall Modern Hall column discusses difficulty of reuniting with son given up for adoption; drawing (M)
Katherine Tanney Modern Love column discusses marriages that end when one spouse is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease; drawing (M)
Cathy Lickteig Makofski Modern Love column discusses difficulty parents face in understanding a son's decision to become a tattoo artist or motorcycle mechanic; drawing (M)
Helen Gerhardt Modern Love column discusses difficulty of being lesbian in US National Guard; drawing (M)
Brendan Tapley Modern Love column discusses love of football as viable bridge between homosexual social banter and that of straight men; drawing (M)
Bonnie J Rough Modern Love column discusses difficulty of deciding whether or not to have children when one person is carrying genetic disorder that may be passed on; drawing (M)
Irene Sherlock Modern Love column discusses dating after two divorces; drawing (M)
"There's not going to be a wedding," the groom's mother said. She laughed. Then she stopped laughing.
Jennie Yabroff Modern Love column discusses complexities of calling off wedding at last minute; drawing (M)
Kelly McMasters Modern Love column discusses difficulty of dating an artist who paints nude women; drawing (M)
Rich Cohen Modern Love column discusses fatherhood and changes in perspective it engenders; drawing (M)
YES, we were on an idyllic rock on a postcard-worthy cove on the New England coast. O.K., I did have a ring -- seven actually, none with diamonds. Fine, there was fumbling and nervousness and the oh-so-slyly stashed champagne in the vegetable draw...
JACK says I'm behaving like Deirdre. We are facing each other on opposite beds in a motel room in Louisiana. It is after 3 a.m. and all he's wearing are white briefs with upbeat multicolored stripes. This is no Calvin Klein advertisement. This is ...
Jean Braithwaite Modern Love column discusses insecurities about weight that can consume person about to meet date and potential lover for first time; drawing (M)
Brendan Halpin Modern Love column discusses difficulty of dating after death of spouse; drawing (M)
Tzivia Gover Modern Love essay on gender-bending life she lives with her lesbian partner; drawing (M)
Theo Pauline Nestor Modern Love column on the sudden breakup of her marriage; drawing (M)
A self-described emotional exhibitionist, this blogger found herself reaping all of the consequences of a blogging relationship but none of the benefits.
Heather L Hunter Modern Love essay on discovering that writing daily Web log about a particularly difficult relationship can backfire; drawing (M)
Autumn Stephens Modern Love essay on healing her breast cancer and healing her wounded marriage; drawing (M)
How can a spurned lover make his case? One writer counts the ways.