Hometown Catskill and Sauqoit, NY
Place of Residence Bronx, NY
Hometown A small town in Vermont
Place of Residence Bronx, NY
Occupation Dog walker, writer and proof reader
Brian and Anna met on OkCupid in 2013. They live in the Bronx and are deeply committed to each other. They both see other people, sometimes together and sometimes separately.
Making a sandwich for their date.
Anna: I like the term ethically non-monogamous.
Brian: I think that works best, probably because that’s the broadest term. I find that everyone’s version of ethically non-monogamous is different because there are just so many different possibilities. I think that works best because it means you need to explain it and there is no confusion by labels.
Brian and Anna post sexytime.
Anna: Also, it’s such an awesome thing for me. I’m gaining so much experience that I wouldn’t gain if all of a sudden I was in my first big relationship and it was monogamous. Then I wouldn’t be open to being allowed to have something with other people. So I’m able to be in a loving, committed relationship and also able to have my crazy slutty twenties where I date lots of people and have fun!
Brian: For the record, I hope you get to have your crazy slutty thirties and forties too.
Anna with her cat Roxanne
Anna: It was pretty hard at first on my self-esteem. I had really bad self-esteem issues going back a long time. It was hard for me at the beginning to not compare myself to other people that Brian would see, and especially those he had feelings for.
Brian and Anna making breakfast after date night.
Morning cookie baking at home.
Brian: One of the biggest hurdles is that people assume I don’t love Anna because we’re non-monogamous. There are so many assumptions that people have. People assume that we’re not committed or that one of us is being taken advantage of.
Anna: And it’s always me because I’m the woman. I don’t have any agency? It’s really insulting.
Brian: I guess scheduling is a constant struggle. The more people that you’re dating or if you are meeting other couples, instead of two people scheduling it’s four. It just becomes harder. There are emotional challenges as well. With that communication, sometimes you have to tell you partner your ugly feelings that you’re kind of ashamed of, and that’s tough at times. For me, I’m generally not a jealous person but talking about jealousy is REALLY tough for me. That’s something I’m NOT experienced in. Jealousy is probably the emotion I have the most discomfort with. I feel ashamed of myself for feeling it and acting upon it. I feel ashamed for letting it affect me. And I talk about it often. Jealousy is not going to go away. You just talk through it and you figure it out. Usually it stems from something else, some other unmet need. I still struggle with that from time to time. And it’s like, “Damn it Brian! You know better than this.
Brian at home
Their street at sunset
Anna setting some mood lighting in their bedroom
Anna: In terms of favorite things, we are both big communicators and like to talk through everything. That goes really well with non-monogamy. It allowed us to have those kinds of talks after we brought up the idea and I feel like it brought us way closer for sure.
Brian: Where once you’ve talked about some REALLY hard things, it makes everything else feel really easy by comparison. Like having to talk about having feelings for somebody else with your partner, that’s something I’ve never really had to do before, and we did it and we’re stronger for it.
Brian and Anna moving in together
Moving day for Brian moving from his place in Brooklyn to a shared home with Anna in the Bronx
Anna: I told my best friend from school about it and she had a very negative reaction to it. So I just don’t talk with her about it in our relationship. You don’t get the privilege of hearing about my life in this way anymore if you are going to be negative. So we just don’t talk about it.
Brian and Anna in their shared bed in the Bronx
Brian: We’ve had a lot of success meeting people on OkCupid both individually and also together because we have a couple’s profile. I’d say that’s where the majority of our partners come from.
Anna: Yea, I’ve never really dated anyone that I didn’t meet on OKCupid, aside from before it existed like in high school. I found love and sex on OkCupid!
Anna and Brian overlook Manhattan from Governor's Island