Photography by Roger Erickson. Elliott Sailors (left) and Olimpia Soheve.
Elliott Sailors, Model
We met on Instagram. I thought she was beautiful and incredibly stylish. Then we finally met in person at a little bar in Milan, and after that we had sushi and went out to a Punks Wear Prada party. But her friend was with us all night, so it wasn’t really a date.
She asked to bring me to Lake Como that weekend with friends, and we had an amazing time! Our first kiss was after Lake Como. She dropped me off at my hotel, and when she touched my face I just melted. It was just days after meeting that I told her I was falling in love with her. I definitely said “I love you” first. Olimpia is not the first woman I’ve been with, so I was not apprehensive, but I do think Olimpia was—not because I’m a woman, but because of our pasts.
Olimpia is a photographer and has a great deal of experience in the fashion industry, so she understands what I do. Sometimes we even get to shoot together. The evening we met, we actually arranged our first job together, shooting Elle Serbia. She helps manage my career, and I do everything I can to support her art. We are each other’s biggest champions.
I think making love includes so much more than just sex. It’s the many elements of creating and re-creating love that keep us connected. Keeping our relationship the safest space for us makes that space the most inviting place to be.
Olimpia Soheve, Photographer
We met on Instagram in January 2014, and after a few months of emoticons, “likes,” and smart comments, we had our first date in Milan in May. We met in a bar in my neighborhood and ended up having dinner with a friend of mine. Elliott was sitting next to me with this stoic aura. I was feeling studied and tried to impress her with my recent work, and then we went to Punks Wear Prada. I remember taking her hand to walk her through the crowded room. That was the first time I touched her, and I liked it. I danced all night, feeling her eyes on me.
The day after, I asked if I could bring her to Lake Como. We spent a marvelous day by the lake. At sunset I felt her stare getting under my skin, and I lost my words, afraid of feeling her breathing too close. When night fell, I drove her back to her hotel and parked in front of it. I did not want her to leave, so I started putting random sentences together. She leaned in. I kissed her. A relief.
She told me “I love you” first, the same day she was supposed to fly. I was terrified. I thought, Don’t give me what you can’t leave here with me. Don’t leave. But I couldn’t say it. I didn’t want to get my heart broken. She didn’t take the flight—she stayed one more week.
I’d never met anyone in an open relationship, and I had no idea she was married until she told me the day after I met her. I was afraid of getting hurt, but I chose to love her because that’s what my heart was telling me. I met her husband when I came to visit her in New York. We liked and respected each other. It hasn’t been easy for any of us, but living on opposite sides of the ocean somehow made it more bearable for me. Each one of us had to face our own fears to get through it. They’re separated now, but he loves Elliott very much, and all I want for her is to be surrounded by people who love her. And today I can call him my friend.
The way to maintain a relationship? Always picture the future. Share a dream and build it together. Bring breakfast in bed. Read beautiful books. Step beyond your world to understand another one. Travel together. Surprise them. Kiss often. Be there.
Like what you see here? Subscribe and be the first to receive the latest issue of Out. Subscribe to print here and receive a complimentary digital subscription.