“There are broad subjects with a lot of areas to explore, but what I continually get is stories about Facebook during midlife marriage stress. People in their thirties, forties, fifties, experiencing a lack of passion, claustrophobia, kids taking all your attention, and the kind of fantasizing that Facebook brings out in them.”
–Daniel Jones, editor of The New York Times column “Modern Love,” on the most common relationship stories he receives. If you’re experiencing any of the above, take comfort, but don’t write an essay about it and pitch it to “Modern Love.” Think more along the lines of “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” one woman’s essay about using exotic-animal-training techniques to train her husband. It was the most emailed “Modern Love” column of all time and was turned into a book. [NYmag.com]
The New York Times Style section usually emits more groans from me than cheers. Remember that piece about how bangs are “in”? And how women wear dresses? So I was ecstatic this week to see the Modern Love essay is by Jillian Keenan, a woman with a spanking fetish who is struggling to come out about it to her boyfriend. The essay touched on the struggles female spankos face from a judgmental and/or misunderstanding public, namely that we all must have suffered sexual abuse (not true) or must be gravely damaged in some way (also not true). And I was particularly delighted that 50 Shades Of Grey got only a brief mention. Keep reading »
You know when your friend gets a boyfriend, and for whatever reason, you know it’s not a good idea and that it’s not going to work out? And you say “I dunno, I feel like it’s not a good idea, and that it’s not going to work out…” But your friend is stubborn, so obviously they go on dating the person anyway, despite all the signs that they shouldn’t, and then they have a fraught and complicated relationship that doesn’t even last that long, and after the inevitable break-up, you, the loyal friend, are forced to deal with sometimes years of emotional aftermath?
…reading this week’s Modern Love column in The New York Times was sort of like that. Keep reading »
I probably could have written the Modern Love essay, Exit Left, Wordlessly, in this past Sunday’s New York Times. Not that I could have penned it better than writer Aimee Lee Ball, just that I have a story which is frighteningly similar. Ball’s tale is about breaking up with a man only to have him resurface eight years later for round two. But instead of the happy ending that would ensue in Rom-Com Land, after a few months of “too good to be true” dating, the man disappeared from her life without explanation. “No message. No note,” she says. I refer to this dating phenomenon as ghosting — when a man disappears without a trace.
“Ambiguous loss” as Ball calls it, is a particularly heinous and cruel way to have a relationship end because you’re left without any indication of what might have gone wrong.”[It's] unfinished business, without closure or understanding,” Ball explains. Keep reading »
What if you found out the man (or woman) of your dreams was dying of an incurable illness? Would you stay, or would you go? This weekend the New York Times Modern Love column brought to light a real-life dilemma for thousands of people: What happens when it turns out the love of your life has a terminal illness? Written by writer Kerri Sandburg, “On the Precipice, Wings Spread” follows the author’s 18-year relationship with an HIV-positive man.
Keep reading »