“Modern Love” is based on the The New York Times‘ long-running column and shares stories about people’s complex love lives to make your heart swell and hurt in the best kind of way. From tales of hopeless romantics to crumbling marriages, and even people’s relationships with their pets, “Modern Love’s” stories tug at our heart strings each and every time.
Episodes highlight all sorts of love, loss, redemption, and life-changing moments. The show has meteorically risen in popularity over the years, as it has been adapted into books and a TV series.
David Bowie once sang, “Modern love walks on by / modern love walks beside me.” These lyrics ring true in the episodes. It’s lovely to hear from the authors from each essay in the podcast, who often have heartfelt updates to share with listeners. If you’re just getting into the series, or love this show in general, we’ve selected some of our favorite, must-hear episodes.
To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This
Actress Gillian Jacobs reads Mandy Len Catron’s classic essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” Mandy calls upon psychologist Arthur Aron’s study that investigates if connection can be sped up when delving into a heavy Q&A session right away. Aron compiled a list of 36 questions targeting vulnerability. Each section is broken into tiers that dive deeper with each round. Mandy brings this set of questions to try with a friend to see if they’re swoon-worthy. Questions include, “What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?” “If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?” Some conversation starters are on the list, such as “Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.” Mandy’s story went viral, and her story has inspired countless couples to try this quiz.
When Your Greatest Romance is a Friendship
A heartwarming episode in which a neighborly friendship sparks between writer Victor Lodato and retired psychologist, Austin. After originally declining his neighbor’s invite for drinks, Victor ultimately accepts, and a lovely friendship ensues. They giggle in the supermarket, speak about living alone, and develop an inseparable bond. Victor even renewed his lease after the initial six months in his apartment. Victor shared drafts with Austin. Austin showed him her paintings. It’s an adorable story that demonstrates there’s no age limit for friendship.
Trapped in a Romance Scam
For Michael McAllister, the nightmare of having someone impersonate you online became a reality. He didn’t realize this was happening until his inbox spilled over with messages from women claiming to be heartbroken. Michael’s social media photos were used online by a scammer who then tried to con women into giving him money. Michael took his own form of revenge by tracking down the scammer online, having a conversation with him, and asking the scammer to cease using his photos. This episode also speaks with two individuals who were catfished.
Was It Me or Our Astrology?
“Love life not working out? Health problems? Everything going wrong?” Amisha Patel used to doubt astrology and the astrological services her family would stick by. Patel’s parents immigrated from India to the U.S. and traveled back yearly to Gujarat to share predictions from Hindu astrologers about their children’s fate. In this episode, hear why Patel started following the concept of destiny in her late 20s.
Somewhere Inside, A Path to Empathy
David Finch’s essay recounts his diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. As read by actor Daniel Radcliffe, David’s essay shares his routines, the triumphs of his journey, and experiences of struggle when navigating the world. His wife, Kristen, who works with autistic children, speculated his diagnosis for quite some time. One night, Kristen evaluated David via an online Asperger’s assessment. David received treatment and unconditional support from his wife. They both learn the power of three simple words, “Can we talk?”
We’ll Meet Again in Five Years
Karen B. Kaplan investigates finding true love with the right person at the wrong place and time in her essay, “We’ll Meet Again in Five Years.” The essay follows the story of her romance that began in college. At the time, Karen was 18, and her love interest, Howard, was 21. They made a pact to revisit the relationship five years later, giving themselves time to explore other people. Howard and Karen wrote their pact on a dollar bill, tore it in two, and each held on to the other’s half. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear about the stunning conclusion to their love story.
When Cupid is a Prying Journalist
Susan Lelechi Watson from “This is Us” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” reads “When Cupid is a Prying Journalist.” Deborah Copaken’s essay explores missed connections and unexpectedly rekindling that relationship years down the line. This episode inspired an episode of the Netflix series.
Desire is Never the Mistake
“Desire is Never the Mistake” reviews the life of Paula, a foster child who hoped for a family and for her circumstances to improve, especially during the holiday season. This started an annual bout of desire. When she was 21, Paula met Jeff. Her cyclical desire stopped. And she learns some serious life lessons just in time for the holidays.
Your Stories of Love During the Pandemic
During lockdown, The Times called upon listeners to submit voice memos of experiences in lockdown. As part of a multi-themed episode series, this first love from lockdown episode sees listeners sharing stories of a wine tasting via Zoom, stressors of isolation, loneliness from a single lady, and a marriage that’s falling apart. We also hear about how relationships shift in lockdown, newer couples get diagnosed together with Covid, and people who have recently started dating decide to quarantine together.
The Language of Love with Saoirse Ronan
This essay explores communicating and connecting with others in ways where language leaves off. Writer Emily Robbins discusses moving from the United States to Syria in 2008. She falls in love with an Iraqi doctor at a refugee camp. While Emily studies Arabic, the lovers are able to communicate without speaking the same language. As read by actress Saoirse Ronan, this essay speaks about how love, in and of itself, is its own language.