My Partner and I Met in a Dungeon

When I was thirty-four, I realized something: it wasn’t happening. And it probably wasn’t going to. By “it,” I mean “a romantic relationship.” I’d been single for over a decade. And though I’d briefly dated people during that time and had my share of, ahem, dalliances (a gal’s got needs) the thought of one more well-meaning, polite OkCupid date was making me want to poke my eyes out with a fork.

And, truthfully, I liked being alone. I loved living in my own apartment, decorated by me (Who loves that throw pillow? I do! Who else cares? Nobody!) and I loved having ample time to organize camping trips with my friends, live as messily or neatly as I was inclined to that week, and pick out exactly what I wanted for dinner, every single night. I told myself I wanted a relationship, because that’s what everybody wants, right? But really… after years of single bliss, I’m not sure I actually did.

The hitch was that I wanted a kid. I had since my mid-twenties. Not with any great immediacy (obviously). I liked life fine enough as it was, but at some point I’d recognized a space in my heart for parenting—for caring for and loving a kid, helping them grow, watching them figure shit out, and encouraging their best self. I’d always seen this as something I’d do with a co-parent; in my head, I pictured a sporty, grounded lady (I’m bisexual, but in my head this person was always a woman). She’d coach junior’s peewee soccer league and indulgently let me pick out all the paint colors for our house. But Sporty Lady was a no-show. So, facing facts, I did what I do best: I sat down with pen and notebook and made a plan. A plan to be a single mom. It was a really good three year plan, and it looked something like this.

Year 1: Year of Sex and Saving Money
Year 2: Year of Obtaining Kid (Adoption or insemination; I’d figure that out the same year.)
Year 3: Have the Kid

Year one was all about sex and money because I realized that one, kids are expensive and I’d need to save, and two, when I was a parent I’d be pretty busy, and sex might be in short supply, so I should get some now and avoid being a grumpy mommy. At least, I reasoned, if Sporty Lady failed to appear, I could look back at year one, go, “Damn, that was a fun year,” and not get too bitter about the whole enterprise.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up on April Fool’s in a BDSM club, totally sober, and making out with a sweet-faced stranger.

Say what? Yeah, here’s the thing. Just try going on OkCupid and being honest about looking for consensual, fun, mutually respectful, sober sex, without any strings, and see how far it gets you. Women who wrote me politely ignored this part of my profile. Men who wrote me were pretty much exclusively, and I say this with all the sex-positivity in my being, totally gross. I want to have some nice sex, dude; that doesn’t mean I want to be treated like an extension of your right hand! And the folks that I wrote to didn’t write back. After a month of that, I was done. I was considering just getting drunk at a bar and seeing what happened, but not totally loving that plan either (Safety! Consent! Bad drunk sex!), when I started talking about my problem to some kinky friends.

My friends thought I had it all wrong; if I just wanted to have some safe fun, I should consider looking at the local kinky scene. An amalgam of their advice goes something like: “Dungeons in this city are awesome women-run totally empowering and super safe sober spaces and way better than the bar scene or online; you should totally give it a shot.” They made it sound pretty awesome. So, I thought, what the heck. If not now, when? Am I freaked out? Yes! Am I intrigued enough to get past being freaked out? Also yes.

Once I’d decided, my biggest concern was actually the same worry I have about non-kinky parties: will there be anybody there I know? Who will talk to me? I had signed up to an event online, but my kink pals were out of town. So I looked through the invite list, and wrote to someone else who was going. He looked fairly normal, or was at any rate not dressed like Voldemort. He was friendly and nice; he said he’d be happy to say hello at the party and introduce me to people. Phew! I had people to talk to: him, and a friend-of-a-friend who said she’d be happy to meet me and introduce me around. I had my well-rehearsed boundaries and exit lines, and a safety phone call scheduled with a friend in a different time zone. I also had a hot outfit (very important). I was ready.

And you know what? Two years later, I am buying a house with that fairly normal, not-cape-wearing guy. He turned out to be exactly who I needed in my life: kind, considerate, smart, open-minded, and open-hearted, someone who was capable of seeing my defenses for what they were, and waiting patiently as I slowly, slowly dismantled them. The night we met I told him I had a three-year single-parenting plan, and that I didn’t want a boyfriend. He said, “Okay,” quite sweetly, and we proceeded to have the best sex of my life, and after a month of sex and making breakfast together, I looked in my heart, and realized he was there, right in the center. I had let him in, and I wouldn’t want the apartment with the awesome throw pillows if he wasn’t in it.

I’m actually really proud of how we met, but it’s not something I can tell my family, or he can tell his. Most of our friends know, but the story to coworkers and family is “we met at a party.” I really don’t want to have a conversation about sex clubs with my parents (hellll no) so I’m okay with this, but I’m not okay with what our little lie might imply—that we’re embarrassed about how we met. I realize some people might hear this story and make some unflattering judgments about me or us. Heck, even some supportive people find it a bit weird. After we started dating, more than one friend asked, “What if it gets serious? What will you tell people about how you met?”

After some thought, here’s my answer: honey, I don’t know. But here’s what I do know: the night I met my partner was one of the bravest nights of my life. Without the white noise of dating-with-the-intent-to-get-serious buzzing in my brain, I was my most authentic, honest self, and I met the kindest, most loving partner I could have ever wished for, someone who really sees me for who I am, and who makes me happy every day. I do not want to run a little kingdom by myself; I want to create a life with him. I don’t care if I get to pick all the paint colors. And I’m really proud of our story: I think it’s, well, unmistakably us.

I know other people who get embarrassed about how they met their partners: this seems to (still!) happen sometimes for folks who met online, or who met as a one-night stand—they want to make some excuse, or have a “better,” more “romantic,” more socially acceptable story, one that could plausibly be the plot of a movie starring Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl. Meeting my love in a dungeon was a gift, because it made me realize that no one’s story needs embellishment or excuse. It’s the story of how you met, and out of that meeting came your love, and that’s what makes it beautiful.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Liz

    Amazing! I love this story.

    • rys

      Me too! Such a great way to start the day.

    • Amber

      I think I accidentally hit “report this comment”. Totally didn’t mean to! Sorry!!

  • Allie

    I was not quite sure what I was in for with this story, but I certainly did not expect to tear up. This part:

    “He said, “Okay,” quite sweetly, and we proceeded to have the best sex of my life, and after a month of sex and making breakfast together, I looked in my heart, and realized he was there, right in the center. I had let him in, and I wouldn’t want the apartment with the awesome throw pillows if he wasn’t in it.”

    LOVE this posting!!! And the reminder to be brave and take chances, whatever their form!

    • Amy

      I was about to quote this exact same bit – I burst into happy tears when I read it! Best description of falling in love ever.

  • Anon Today

    Love love love this post! I met my partner in a “normal” way but our actual getting together was a bit embarrassing/shameful and not a story I love sharing, so I feel you when you round up to “a party” – but I also loved that you got to tell this tale very publicly today and celebrate it! Congrats on all of it, including good writing.

  • May

    My partner and I met at work. How boring. People always look a little disappointed when I give that answer. Maybe I’ll start telling them that we met in a dungeon.

    • meg

      Some offices I’ve worked at have had a work culture that was a little BDSM, if you ask me (investment banking, cough) so…

      • Class of 1980

        Yeah Meg, but the investment banking firm wasn’t safe, sane, or consensual.


    • GreenBeans

      My partner and I didn’t meet at a club, but were introduced by a mutal friend who knew about our individual interests in kink and S&M. It’s one of his favorite stories to tell, and I have this strange feeling that it’s going to be part of his best man’s toast at our wedding.

  • MG

    Hell yes!

  • Amanda L.

    My DH and I met on MySpace. I always feel the need to qualify how that happened. First, to show that he wasn’t some kind of psychopath that stalked me and two, because I’m not totally comfortable with ‘we met online.’ I know, I know, I need to get over that.

    Sarah, you took these words right out of my head: “Without the white noise of dating-with-the-intent-to-get-serious buzzing in my brain, I was my most authentic, honest self, and I met the kindest, most loving partner I could have ever wished for.”

    Because when I first emailed my now-DH, I didn’t want a date, I wanted some information. I wasn’t trying to impress him, and I think that’s why I ended up being rewarded with this amazing relationship where he loves me for me and vice versa. I feel like there is a MASSIVE underlying lesson there… the best things happen to us when we are our true, authentic selves!

    • That line struck me, too. I fell in love with my husband during what was supposed to be a similar year of sex (and kind of freaked out, because I wasn’t wanting the serious but there it was). I hate being the person saying “it comes when you’ve stopped looking for it” but for me that was completely the case.

    • My husband was supposed to be my rebound after a bad breakup.

      So much for that. ;)

      • Hintzy

        ha! I think more than a few thought my about to be husband was a rebound after a particularly bad (emotionally abusive) high school boyfriend… or that growing up would send us different ways… so much for that! :)

        but yeah, we met when I wasn’t even thinking of trying to date him, nor he trying to date me, so it just happened. I’m not a fan of the saying either but the shoe fit in this case.

    • I had that experience too.

      My fiance was a friend of a friend that I had met a few times and I thought of him when I was looking for some no-commitment sex.

      I wasn’t trying to impress him or make him like me, so I was just totally myself. And now we’re getting married. lol.

  • Claire

    Cheers to bravery and authenticity and finding your loving partner.

  • Megan-E

    “[…] no one’s story needs embellishment or excuse. It’s the story of how you met, and out of that meeting came your love, and that’s what makes it beautiful.”


    Beautiful piece that turned around a rough morning for me. Thank you.

    • Corrie

      I love that line. And as much as it applies to ‘how we met,’ it applies just the same for proposal ‘stories.’

      • Megan-E

        …and to weddings, relationships, life, etc. We can all be proud of ourselves and the beauty of our own stories. :’)

  • Kristen

    I met my husband online and I do still feel a little weird inside about it, but I definitely state it loudly and proudly outside my head (no need to show your fear). And reading this, I didn’t feel judgmental or anything negative. In fact, I was super impressed by Sarah’s bravery in going to this club and for being even braver – to let someone in her heart. I’m only impressed by this love story honestly. Bravo and congratulations!

  • Rachel

    This post was so great — fantastic writing (you are really funny, lady!) and such a sweet, uplifting story. Congrats on taking a chance and finding someone who is such a great fit!

  • One More Sara

    I too met my partner when I was very seriously trying NOT to start a relationship. We were working at a camp, and I had spent the previous 3 summers as a Serial Camp Dater (week 1-2, find boyfriend, attempt to date for 1-2 weeks after camp, give up, repeat). I vowed that 2008 would be the Summer Without a Boyfriend. I lasted about halfway through (I melted after watching him take care of a low functioning special needs camper [complete with adult diapers] for a week without complaining ONCE), but the chemistry between my now-almost-husband and me was undeniable. I had just come to terms with maybe staying single for a few more years, and I was totally caught off guard by this guy.

    PS. I knew I was about to read something good as soon as I read the title of this post.

  • SarahToo

    As much as some people might look at you a bit askance if you admit to meeting your lifelong love in a dungeon…I know a bunch of others who would exclaim “AWESOME”!!! And I’d be one of them.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you for sharing your story! I could have written a great, great deal of this. When I was 34, I met my fiancé at a dungeon party thrown by a local BDSM group. We were friends for about a year before I decided to kiss him and see what happened next. And 7 years later, here we are, planning our wedding.

    This part:

    “I’m actually really proud of how we met, but it’s not something I can tell my family, or he can tell his. Most of our friends know, but the story to coworkers and family is ‘we met at a party’.”

    Is also something I could have (and probably actually have) said. Our default answer to the question of how we met is “through friends,” and people seem disappointed we don’t have some elaborate meet-cute story. But “I met him in a dungeon, was confused by the fact he was wearing a skirt, but I asked him to tie me up anyway,” is not really what our families want to (or need to) hear.

    And this:

    “the night I met my partner was one of the bravest nights of my life.”

    Right there with you. And I AM proud of that fact, proud that I got past my fear of going somewhere alone, where I didn’t know anyone (which would have been scary even if it was a meeting of the flower-arranging club), to explore something I had been curious about for most of my life. I did that for ME. The fact that I met the man I would eventually marry is honestly just a wonderful, amazing bonus.

    • KB

      “the night I met my partner was one of the bravest nights of my life.”

      Ditto – it wasn’t at a dungeon, but the night that I met my fiance, I decided to go to a law school-sponsored bar event, even though I knew no one who was going and didn’t have any plans to meet anyone. Something I NEVER do. It goes to show that forcing yourself outside your comfort zone can have great and unexpected results!

  • One More Sara

    PPS. APW staff, the monthly theme banners are still on last month’s theme (this month: tradtion, next month: pride). I never noticed when this changed before, so if this is intentional/normal, feel free to delete this comment.

    • meg

      We’re still deciding next month’s theme, because we’re changing our minds. Plus, Maddie is on (forced) vacation, so we can’t decide till she’s back. They’ll be updated soon.

      • One More Sara

        I thought it might be something like that! Looking forward to it, whatever it might be :)

  • Teresa

    I met my husband during Halloween weekend our senior year of college–it was literally the drunkest night of my life and neither of us wanted a relationship AT ALL. There are lots of things I don’t remember at all and lots of things that I remember and make me just cringe! The beginning of our relationship was a bit dramatic and not even a bit romantic–most people do not know the whole story. After reading this, I feel a bit inspired to tell our story. Who cares if we don’t have a sweet story to tell?! What matters is that we found each other!

  • Martha

    Though technically my 11-day-old-husband and I met many years before we began dating, what really brought us together was facebook. I guess we owe our many years of bliss to Mark Zuckerberg!

  • Thanks for sharing. We had a rough meeting that I don’t usually own up to- it was just a messy situation- so it’s great to hear someone take pride in their unconventional story. It’s strange- I feel like I would be embarrassed about our story because it isn’t like the plot of a Kate Hudson movie, but I enjoyed hearing your story for precisely that reason. It’s definitely given me something to think about!


    I’m sorry y’all…. this is the best story APW has ever published. BDSM on a wedding website – I think my whole life has been made!

    • Susie

      Amen to that!

  • Rachel

    I love both of these lines!

    “Who loves that throw pillow? I do! Who else cares? Nobody!”
    “I do not want to run a little kingdom by myself; I want to create a life with him.”

    They perfectly capture the bliss of singledom and the happy transition when you find that person who makes you want to start making compromises.

    • Rachel

      Yes!! I loved the line about the throw pillows so much!

  • Kaitlin

    My husband and I met at a Halloween Bar Crawl. I was decidely NOT looking for a relationship, rather a “Halloween Boyfriend”… i.e. someone to flirt with and have fun dancing with. Ended up meeting my husband that night and making out on the dance floor. Whoops!!! There was a lot of drinking involved – hello bar crawl. And he may not have remembered my name – but it adds to our story and he went to great lengths to figure it out. We’ve been together ever since. I am proud of our story even if it’s a little embarassing… especially b/c there are pictures of said make out session!

  • js

    I feel like the best relationships happen when you’re not looking for them. I can’t top this nor do I want to, but I’m glad you got your love story. Also, I just think it’s bad ass and brave for you to be so sex-positive! This is just awesome!

  • Laura C

    Love this. What a lovely story and what a great piece of writing. One measure of how great the writing: My story is totally different, but so much of what you said felt really familiar.

  • SJ

    I think your whole story is wonderful. Mostly for me, though it was

    “…I looked in my heart, and realized he was there, right in the center. I had let him in, and I wouldn’t want the apartment with the awesome throw pillows if he wasn’t in it.”

    THAT. It describes perfectly (down to the throw pillows that I love and FH hates) how I fell in love with him. Perhaps no one was more surprised than I was.

    But now he’s MINE.

    • AshleyMeredith

      Yes to your whole comment.

      The apartment you’ve decorated yourself, and having any dinner you want whenever you want it. Those were always the big daily-joy-inducing parts of being single for me. Complete in my head was the house I would build for myself if I ever had the money, but those plans are scrapped because I married a guy with a pretty strong sense of style of his own. But the great thing is, what he likes is what I was always afraid to like on my own because I thought it would be “too expected.” And between us we twist it and play with it and make it more interesting, and it’s better than what I came up with on my own. And I think that’s true of most parts of our life, not just the decorating.

      I connected with this sentence so much: “I looked in my heart, and realized he was there, right in the center. I had let him in, and I wouldn’t want the apartment with the awesome throw pillows if he wasn’t in it.”

      Another thing that struck me – while I’m sure there are very many and perhaps even a majority of people who do want to be in a relationship, I wasn’t one of them either. And I don’t understand why the cultural narrative has become so overwhelmingly incapable of understanding that. I spent the whole summer of 2010 trying to convince people that no, really, I was perfectly happy single. In hindsight, I view the fact that I got together with my husband the second week of September as proof of my sincerity! (Because let’s be honest, if I’d been looking I would not have been looking for him.)

      By the way, this is officially my most favoritest post on APW ever. Can we hear more from you/her?!

  • Granola

    This is one of the most charming stories I’ve read on APW (I’ve been away for awhile because of new job) and I’m so glad that I got to start my morning with it. Congrats to you and your partner and thanks for sharing it with us.

  • GB

    Great article! I loved the story and the writing style; funny and touching. It also resonates deeply.

    My fiance and I met at work. We barely knew each other, however, until the night we got extremely drunk with our coworkers and ended up having a failed one-night-stand. (Failed because I was too drunk to continue, and he was too gentlemanly to try and make me continue. I slept on his couch and he made me breakfast the next morning before escorting me home on the bus.)

    We tried for a little while to be “sex buddies” but we weren’t cut out for it. About two months in, when I thought he was going to break it off, he actually asked me on a date. For a first date, it was magnificent. Because we’d already gotten to know each other after several nights of talking about everything with each other in bed. It felt like we’d been together for ages. Fast forward a couple years, and we’re about to get married. It feels extremely right.

    This is a very sweet story to tell a select few friends, but when my mother asked how we met, what did I say? “Work. Through friends.” Which is technically true but… like, an eighth of the whole truth. The whole truth was that in trying to explore our sexualities in a way that didn’t suit us, we got to know each other better than we ever could have otherwise. But my family is weird about sex and his family is weird about… everything up until marriage… so we’re forced to squeak by on barely-truths. I won’t be able to talk about how we met at our wedding.

    We were a little ashamed of it for awhile. But recently when we passed The Bar Where It All Started, we started laughing and realized that it’s just a funny, sweet, and sexual-if-not-exactly-sexy story that we could be proud of together, because it led us to each other. No one else really needs to know it anyway. Everyone who does are people we trust to find it strangely sweet right along with us. (As much as I love my grandmother, she is not one of those people.)

    It’s a strange feeling! So much of the popularized notion of romance revolves around “The Story” and “How We Met” that feeling like you can’t share in it wholeheartedly is almost a little sad. But I hope that changes soon. It looks like it might be already, with the proliferation of internet dating, though as you say even that isn’t fully acceptable yet.

  • Caroline

    I love this. We have a “how-we-met” that would be either embarrassing or geekily awesome. I embrace it and when people ask how we met, I say “in an online renaissance role playing game.” With sort of a nod and grin to say, yes it’s geeky, and it is so us too. We didn’t just meet in a game, we met in a historical game. Of course we would. We also met when we were teenagers, and have been dating since.

    I also wasn’t looking for someone. For the past few years before that point, I had really been looking for someone to date, but had decided it was okay being single for a while. I was actually flirting with another guy when a friend pushed me towards J. I wasn’t trying to date irl but I thought having my character date would be fun. As we talked, we ( the people) actually fell in love. While a lot of folks talk about how easy it is to be someone else on the Internet, I think it is also easier to be deeply, vulnerably yourself on the Internet ( for introverts).

  • Cleo

    I think this is an excellent rom com meet-cute. Much better than whatever cockamamie convoluted story is put on the big screen. There’s an honesty and sweetness here.

    • AshleyMeredith

      Right? I would totally see the movie of this. But good heavens, with the main character played by someone much more cool and less neurotic/helpless than Katherine Heigl (as she always seems to play it).

      • LMN

        Jennifer Lawrence. That is all.

        • Cleo

          someone get this lady (or guy) a job in hollywood!

          • LMN

            :D I’m a lady with a mad crush on Jennifer Lawrence, which my partner keeps feeding by getting me more of her movies. I suspect he may have a crush on her, too. I think it’s a sign of good taste.

  • Foi

    Oh, god, THIS: “Without the white noise of dating-with-the-intent-to-get-serious buzzing in my brain, I was my most authentic, honest self, and I met the kindest, most loving partner I could have ever wished for, someone who really sees me for who I am, and who makes me happy every day.”

    And yeah to people being disappointed with sanitized stories… Our usual answer is “we were old friends”. The real answer? I met him while I was hooking up with his cousin and he was dating my best friend, when we were both 17. And then we lost touch, and he moved to the same city I was in when I was 24 and just out of a relationship and *ahem* enjoying being single very much, so I took him home and had amazing sex, and the next weekend I took him to a dungeon party, and that was pretty much that. (Incidentally, the cousin of his I was sleeping with at 17 with was a groomsman at our wedding.)

    • HAY

      Without the dungeons and the cousin complication, this is pretty much my story with my partner.

      We first met when we were 17, and then, at 24, had just gotten out of relationships, both went in wanting a one night stand/quick hook up… and then we kind of couldn’t stop talking to each other.

      And this was complicated by the fact that we were living 2500 miles from each other at the time and I pre-meditated this one night stand by first arranging to come to his town for a friend’s crazy birthday weekend (she happened to live there too). He was always my “what if…” person, and i’m really glad my fantasy matched up to reality. :)

  • Blizalef

    I absolutely love this story. I find it refreshing — I believe that the emphasis on being yourself with you partner, and having all of the good and bad bits fully exposed, is critical to any honest and healthy relationship. (Also, I think I like this story because part of me wishes I had tried the adventure of going to a sex club, before my partner and got serious & I readjusted the level of “wild and free” in my life.)

    • Kristen

      Yeah! Although my brief fling with single life and dating taught me I don’t do well with unemotional sex – I still woulda tried this biz! It sounds hot/fun.

  • Amanda

    I met my fiance at work. There was an undeniable attraction and chemistry, but he was living with his girlfriend of seven(!!) years at the time. That relationship was going downhill fast before I was even in the picture, and nothing inappropriate happened before he broke it off with her, but still. Not only is our story not “cute”, but the details are not something I really feel comfortable broadcasting. I do feel pride though – I am proud of our relationship, and I’m proud of the ways we’ve both grown since meeting each other. I truly think the best relationships come along when you’re least expecting them.

  • Blizalef

    I absolutely love this story. I find it refreshing — I believe that the emphasis on being yourself with you partner, and having all of the good bits and maybe-not-so-good bits fully exposed, is critical to any honest and healthy relationship. (Also, I think I like this story because part of me wishes I had tried the adventure of going to a sex club, before my partner and I got serious, therefore causing me readjust the level of “wild and free” in my life.)

  • Anon for now

    OMG! I also met my last partner at a sex party! With many similar details (I’m bisexual, in my early 30s, like living alone, sick of online dating, wanted to get laid, kinky friends, etc). I didn’t go with any expectations, and we hooked up, and it was awesome/fun/hot. I really liked her and wanted to keep talking to her, so I got her contact info, we hooked up again, and then started dating!

    We have since broken up, but it was a great way to meet someone in a totally HONEST, different way. Much more refreshing than OKCupid!

    Dan Savage also talks about meeting his husband while making out at a gay bar. I bet a lot of us have similar stories, when we’re being really truthful.

    • I was just thinking about that. He calls it “meet sleazy,” which I totally love.

  • Jo

    SO much truth in this moral here:

    “But here’s what I do know: the night I met my partner was one of the bravest nights of my life. Without the white noise of dating-with-the-intent-to-get-serious buzzing in my brain, I was my most authentic, honest self, and I met the kindest, most loving partner I could have ever wished for, someone who really sees me for who I am, and who makes me happy every day.”

  • Sarah

    Thanks for the support y’all :) I wasn’t totally sure how people would react. I love hearing other people’s (what’s the opposite of meet cute? Meet real?) stories! Funny thing is we were both on OK Cupid at the same time. He didn’t get past my filters (cough, metaphor, cough). But if I had been more open when I was doing OKC, our meeting would absolutely have been a “we met online” story. All stories are good that lead to love! Thanks for reading :)

    • Anon for now

      See above: in the words of Dan Savage, “meet sleazy”!

      • Lindsey d.

        Darn that report button! I didn’t mean to hit it!

    • Lindsey d.

      Speaking of online dating — I met my pre-fiance while I was also on Match… Had he also been on match, he wouldn’t have gotten through my filters either (too short, lived too far away, different faith). Interesting how those filters can get in the way of what is actually important (kindness, honesty, humor, etc).

      Our meeting story is boring — met at a mutual friend’s party. But the flirtation bloomed on Twitter, so it adds either interest or dorkitude, depending on the audience.

  • This is fantastic. What wonderful writing! And I can relate, a bit: I met my now-wife at a get-together and then proceeded to sleep in a bed (VERY platonically) with her then-boyfriend (who I had dated very briefly in high school but was just a very good friend by that point in college). To be fair to me, nobody told me they were casually seeing each other, so I didn’t find out until several days later. (I was mortified and apologized profusely!) But it is a funny and weird story… not quite as awesome as a BDSM club, though.

  • Justanotherblue

    I met my soon to be husband at work. While I was still in the midst of my unhappy, disintegrating first marriage. We became really close friends. We endured stupid work gossip. I fell stupidly into what I thought was one sided love that racked me with terrible guilt. I left my first husband, not because I loved someone else, but because our relationship was dead and slowly taking me with it. My friend was understanding and kind to me while I worked through all that drama and pain. And then he admitted that he loved me, too…and we’ve been together for five years, in the best and most authentic relationship I’ve ever had in my life.

    Lots of people who know us know exactly how we met. Others know what they think they know based on gossip and lies. Lots of people act like we should be ashamed somehow. My closest beloved friend who was MOH at my first wedding and who I literally considered my sister cut me out of her life completely and hasn’t spoken to me in years. I am madly in love with the best man I’ve ever known and we are building our life together. People can think whatever they want about how we met or how we live, but I am not ashamed of us.

    He is my person. Your husband is your person. However the universe conspired to bring us together, the point of it is that we are together. Obviously, the intimate personal details of how your relationship started are something you would share selectively, because not all true things are meant to be said to all people. But there is no need for shame over choosing to be happy no matter how it came about.

  • Julia

    I loved your story!!! I met my husband online and honestly don’t feel remotely odd about telling people that. But I do understand the people who aren’t comfortable about it. I think for me, it comes down to the same reasons you felt empowered. I was dating online for years. I was at a point where I didn’t do anything other than put my real self out there, and get out there often. It was a second job. Either you like me as I am, or you don’t. An airbrushed picture of myself would not attract the person I really wanted to be with. Like you, I had given up on the idea of the picture-perfect romantic story for myself. But, I did want someone in my life. I was just really, really sick of looking. And then my husband came along. He is one of the smartest, funniest, most wonderful people I know. But he is so incredibly modest, that it took me being in the right place to really see what was in front of me (a younger me would have not taken the time to see how great he is), and a wonderful person who can see more into people than I ever will for us to find each other. The only way we would have met is online. We wouldn’t have run into each other any other way. And I could be happier that we did. I’m also so happy that you found your soul mate.

  • Carbon Girl

    What a great story to start the day. This one embodies the pride theme perfectly! Not much else to say except thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning!

  • heres_a_llama

    Thank you. I really needed to hear this. I don’t care that we met on JDate, but our parents and some of our friends would. We let our worry about their beliefs dictate the story we told the world.

  • Moe

    Well don’t I feel vanilla for meeting my husband on OKCupid?! What a great story, no other wedding blog could publish this!

  • Hintzy

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! I love it, but I also totally understand the vanillafication of “we met at a party”

    Someone up above mentioned a comparison of “how we met” pressure to “proposal stories” and yes I definitely agree, but I also really genuinely love reading how people meet each other.

    We have a fantastical story of having met in Germany even though we lived just a few miles from each other for most of our childhoods, most people assume we started dating right after meeting and the rest is history – but the real story of how we began a relationship is much more nuanced, delicate, and frankly I don’t share it very often.

    When we met we were both in other relationships, me with an emotionally abusive long distance online fellow whom I never met in person (part of the emotional toil was repeated promises of travel plans and last minute cancellations), part of why we ended up growing so close was because he didn’t judge me for what was going on and he gave me the perspective and strength to see for myself what was going on and get out of it. There are a number of other details and specific events that I could retell… but yeah, that part of the story doesn’t come out as often because it is messy and beautiful in it’s own right but not so easily understood by coworkers and acquaintances.

  • Caitlin

    I loved this post!
    Just want to add though that if Kate Hudson/Katherine Heigel ever do star in a film where they meet their love in a dungeon, I will so go see that movie!!

    I am so happy you shared your story, out of the norm meet-cutes are my favorite kinds of stories.
    I meet my husband at the end of a very bad date with a friend of his and my best friend got together with her boy at a midnight performance/showing of RHPS!

  • I am exactlying almost every post on this page. You know you have written something awesome when it is bringing out all of these personal, honest, funny stories from other people. My own cute, socially acceptable met-in-an-African-dance-class-and-found-out-we-have-the-same-tatoo story is actually feeling a little syrpy and safe after all this. Really shows that contrary what all these dating books (so many written by men, have we noticed this?) say, there really are no rules for what leads to committed love.

    I’ve been slowly letting things that would throw family off: my Black feminism, my Afrocentricity, my wish for a non Christocentric ceremony, thoughts on technology becoming a protective emotional barrier, and soon, my mixed feelings about living a fairly traditional lifestyle as in my work I frequent challenge heteronormativity slip into the blog on my wedding website. I figure, if family who doesn’t know me well is reading it, they will be prepared by the time we get to the day and they see things they find untraditional or unusual. I think putting that you met in a sex dungeon on your wedding website would totally stop people from asking you about why you aren’t wearing a veil and whose walking you down the aisle and why you aren’t having a limo!

    This was some great, sharp writing, and both a fun and touching way to start off the day.

  • TH

    Heh. I met my partner because he’d been sleeping with my best (married) friend and when they broke it off she thought he’d be interested in me, but also as kind of a joke.

    Yeah, that was 15 years ago now.

  • I love this! Serendipity is lovely no matter if it happens in an airport or a dungeon. (And maybe it’s less serendipity than being authentic and open to new things, but I like stories like that.) Also, the stories in the comments and where we draw the line on letting people in on our couple origin story are super interesting. I love knowing people are sometimes telling the *technical* truth, but keeping the real story as something shared and private. Excellent post!

  • My fiance and I met at a LARP (live action roleplaying game) based on Neil Gaiman’s story “Neverwhere”. The first 24 hours (three 8-hour sessions over a year and a half) of our interactions with each other involved us pretending to be other people. It wasn’t until the 3rd session that we spent any time together as actual people, and after that it was strictly email correspondence for a few months.

    When people who don’t know that I am a gamer geek (and when I don’t want to explain) ask how we met, I tell them we met while I was out in Boston visiting friends…technically true.

  • Alexandra

    This story was amazing. Also, when you’re standing in front of the paint chips in hardware store, debating if you can actually see the difference between Enchanted Forest and Greenway and which would look better in your hallway… It’s nice to have a second opinion.

  • LifeSheWrote

    Well, this made me tear up at my desk. Not what I was expecting at the beginning of this story and I’m not even exactly sure why – it certainly isn’t sad – but I think it’s because I’m so PROUD of you! Awesome story – I wish you all the best!

    And this is the line that reduced me to tears:
    “After some thought, here’s my answer: honey, I don’t know. But here’s what I do know: the night I met my partner was one of the bravest nights of my life. “

  • Sara

    Well this just makes me want to go to a dungeon :)

    I’m really loving reading everyone’s how-we-met stories. No matter how vanilla or crazy they sound, a lot of small moments and choices had to happen for each person to get to that particular place or emotion headspace. That idea always fascinates me, and makes me wonder if I literally run into the cute guy at the grocery store, am I about to meet-cute?

    I also think there’s a good lesson in a lot of your stories where being as authentic to yourself as possible is the key to meeting your person. That’s really something I have to take into my own life.

  • Can we have a how we met open thread? I am loving these stories.

  • Alix

    This story is so wonderful and charming and makes my heart full <3

    My husband elect and I met on twitter originally. First time in person at a professional hockey scrimmage. I usually go with the hockey scrimmage version when first meeting people. He proposed once but I turned him down because I wasn't ready. Then I had a drunken epiphany at a hockey game and came home and proposed to him. And here we are. Thank you reminding me to be unashamed of owning the whole story :)

    • KINA

      Husband elect is a fantastic term.

      • Alix

        Thank you! I always felt stuffy and weird using fiance. Husband elect is really fun to say and use.

  • Allie

    I love this comment thread! But it makes me want a “that’s f*ing awesome” button rather than”exactly”…

  • Megan

    I love this article! My “how-we-met” is also a never-discussed secret in my family. Went to a friend’s bachelorette party out of state (2 hour flight from where I lived) and I was the only single girl so it was my job to “make all the bad decisions.” Well, my bad decision for the night was going home with this really cute PhD student that I met at the bar we went to. I was super nervous when I woke up the next morning – not sure how I was going to get home or whether this guy would turn out to be a jerk – but there he was in the kitchen, making me coffee and asking if I wanted to hang out for a little while until I was supposed to be back at my friend’s house to go bridesmaid dress shopping. I ended up totally smitten and bummed that I’d probably never see him again. I was supposed to fly home that day but at the airport I found out my flight was oversold. So I took the offered flight voucher, moved my flight back a day, went back to my friend’s house, and called my bad decision to see if he wanted to meet up again. Fast forward three years and he and I are getting married in a few months.

    I used to be pretty embarrassed about it but now I love our story, and I marvel constantly at how we managed to pull this off despite all the things that made it so unlikely. I am a little sad about how cagey I have to be whenever it comes up around my super conservative, Catholic family, and I am also desperately terrified that one of my friends or my sister will make a comment about it during the toasts at the wedding or rehearsal dinner. I love my story and I happily tell it to friends and such, but it is something that would hurt my parents and grandparents to hear about. That’s the only shadow still cast over the story.

    I love the way you put it: “Meeting my love in a dungeon was a gift, because it made me realize that no one’s story needs embellishment or excuse. It’s the story of how you met, and out of that meeting came your love, and that’s what makes it beautiful.” My best friends and I have a meeting stories that are all over the map. One met her husband on JDate, one met her husband in college only to break up and later rekindle the relationship, one met her husband playing in an adult sports league, and another met her while they were working together in a lab. Each story has its own twists and turns and romantic oddities that make it so much more than the easy categorization (“we met at work,” “we met in college”) and I cherish knowing those twists and turns and having witnessed or been a part of them.

  • KB

    Love this story! My fiance and I have an equally “embarrassing” story involving an alternative singles website, so since our first in-person meeting was in a coffee shop, we just tell everyone “oh, we met at a coffee shop.” Like in the story, some of our friends know the truth, and some don’t….it’s weird having that little secret, but we make it work :)

  • lisa

    I am also loving the post and comment thread! So glad you shared your story.

    One week after swearing off men, I departed on a long planned singles cruise. On day two of vacation, after a day of too many rum cocktails, too much sun and a little innocent fun with a fellow cruiser, I climbed into a taxi with him and another guy from the group. I was rather unsteady so they both helped me out of the taxi and as my second foot hit the ground, I proceeded to vomit on the feet of guy number two. Evidently I made quite the first impression, we were married two years later.

  • I totally ruined my husband’s year of sex. He was going to be doing med school rotations in a different city every month and planned to meet people casually everywhere he went. Then he met me on his first one. We were supposed to be a two-week fling. Four years later, we’re married and he never got to hook up with random ladies in any of the other cities. I leave out the “brought him home after our first date” part of the story when I tell family members, but I’m not sorry we met on Just so glad we met at all.

  • i just love this story. everything about it.

  • Katie

    I’m so happy to see this post! My fiancé and I knew each other through mutual friends at college, but we got together one night when we both were very drunk and had a threesome with a female friend of ours. I’d always imagined myself married to a lovely woman, rather than the great guy I’m with now. We’re very happy together, but the story of how we started dating is not one we share with most friends and family. Seeing myself now, happily engaged to a MAN that I got to know through a threesome one night stand (the shock of which some of our friends are still dealing with 5 years later), it’s nice to know that there are others out there who had their plans change as radically and are just as happy with them. Congratulations!

  • Pumpkin

    “Sex and making breakfasts together”… yeah, sounds pretty familiar.

    I was six months out of a horrible breakup of a seven year relationship and literally *just* starting to think about romance again. The plan was a couple of solid years of attachment free fun. Not only was I not looking for any kind of relationship, I wasn’t even looking for /boys/.

    I was pretty heavily into the local club scene and had danced a couple of times with a cute guy with a shaved head but I was there for dancing, not digits, so we never actually met. Eventually we both attended a night being run by a person who turned out to be a mutual friend and since the music hadn’t started yet I walked up to him and demanded his name. If I hadn’t come with someone else (a ridiculous story in and of itself) I probably would have gone home with him.

    Our first date ended with parking lot smooches, our second date ended with him driving me home through a blizzard at 2 am on a work night – I messed up giving him directions because the sex had been so good that I was literally drunk on endorphins, our third date ended with him giving me a Batman shirt off his back because I said I really liked it.

    After a couple of months of sex and breakfasts we realised that we only had eyes for each-other from moment one, but had *both* been avoiding bringing up exclusivity because we had both said we didn’t want a relationship. We now consider Batmanshirtoversary to be our dating anniversary.

    Two and a half years later I’m planning a wedding with the sweetest, most loving , most sexypants man imaginable. He’s so improbably amazing my friends have jokingly started referring to him as “the unicorn”.

    In my case this all translates to “we met at a bar, but we were both there because we were supporting a mutual friend”. You mention a mutual friend and somehow people gloss over the fact that it started out all naked takeout and “how do you take your coffee”? :D

  • Laura

    I saw this while browsing the facebook people’s votes for featured posts of the year and so glad I did! Especially the second to last paragraph, where Sarah talks about meeting her partner as her most authentic self. I was at the “Eff this I’m just going to be single.” Stage and was happily single for quite some time. Then I got talked into going on this blind date during which I said to myself that I would have no expectations about this person and only be 100% myself. And guess what? We’re together almost five years later. So I wonder if we, as humans, are not only able to stay with someone because they love us for who we are, but if it is also because we (I) have been able to love ourselves and be with ourselves as we are?

  • Stacey Bruno

    I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who’s name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one’s gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is