Real Love: A Valentine's Special from Death, Sex & Money

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This Valentine's Day, Death, Sex & Money is looking at real love.

This whole show started with a love story. I’d been married in my 20s, then divorced at 30. Months later, I started dating Arthur, a biologist studying wolves in Wyoming. The distance made things hard, and the relationship almost ended. Then I got a call from Alan Simpson—as in, the former Republican senator from Wyoming. That call, and a conversation with Sen. Simpson and his wife Ann Simpson at their home in Wyoming, are largely responsible for getting me back together with Arthur.

So it's a love story, yes. Maybe one that’s a little too strange, or a little too surreal, to fit neatly on a Hallmark card.

I’ve heard so many stories of real love since we started this show—stories about heartbreak, death, money, divorce. They all tell us how we continue to find joy in relationships, no matter how challenging they can be.

In this episode, we’ll hear from author James McBride, who hasn't jumped back into the dating pool after his divorce. He says he's happier than he's ever been, even without romance. 

Jane Fonda went through a difficult break-up with her third husband, Ted Turner. She found herself scared and alone. Now she’s back in Los Angeles, acting and taking on a new role as caregiver while her boyfriend deals with a serious illness. But she says she'll never marry again.

Dan Savage speaks about our need to communicate with our partners about sex—something that may or may not be part of your Valentine’s Day agenda. He says that while sex hasn’t been a hang-up in his marriage, issues around money and spending definitely have been. 

Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, both in-demand touring musicians, talk about the temptations they’ve faced on the road. After confronting Jason's alcoholism together, they now know how important trust is in any relationship. 

Chaz Ebert remembers her late husband Roger. After his lower jaw was removed, Roger couldn’t speak. He asked Chaz to be his voice—something that brought them incredible unspoken intimacy. 

These aren't just stories of heart-wrenching tragedy or fairy-tale romance. They're honest statements about the exciting, maddening, potentially bankrupting and totally essential experiences we share with the people we love.