My ex-husband and I were in an open relationship when I met a new partner at the gym. I got a divorce, and we're engaged.

Morgan Owen and her partner Axe.
Morgan Owen, left, met her partner Axe at the gym.Ashleigh Haase Photography
  • Morgan Owen was married to her ex-husband when she walked into the gym one day and saw Axe.

  • There was an instant connection. Soon, it was clear it was more than a friendship.

  • She and her ex-husband decided to separate, and today, she and Axe are still together.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Morgan Owen, a 33-year-old from Melbourne, Australia. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I started dating my ex-husband when I was 20. At 24, we got married.

I knew my marriage wasn't right from really early on. It was like I was ticking boxes, but then once I had all the things society tells you that you want, I was really depressed. But I also didn't really know what was wrong.

My ex-husband and I were married for a while, and for a number of years, I still couldn't pin down my unhappiness. It really wasn't until I was 29 that I started to become more and more sure of myself.

By that point, he and I weren't in a good place. We were going through the pandemic lockdowns. When you're stuck at home with someone you don't really see a future with, it becomes pretty treacherous. We were having issues and had very different life goals.

My ex and I had an open relationship when I met Axe

He knew that I was attracted to women and nonbinary people, and he didn't have a problem with that. We had what you'd consider an open relationship, and other women involved in our marriage. At this stage, it was purely a sexual thing.

I joined a gym called South Pacific in Hawthorn in Melbourne, and on my first day, I got up to go to a burn group fitness class at 5 a.m. I rolled out of bed to go to the class, and I was running late, which is on brand for me. I just sort of snuck in the background.

I was doing squats and trying to blend in, when I noticed Axel (Axe), the personal trainer instructing the class. I was like, "Wow!" I was immediately attracted to Axe's appearance and energy. Then Axe saw me.

There was a whole class full of probably 20 people, and as soon as Axe noticed me, they gave me a lot of attention. As we did jumping jacks, they danced around me, singing along to the class music. It was quite a performance. Straight away, there was just this instant attraction. There was no doubt about it.

The class ended and I was walking out. Axe followed me out and asked, "I haven't seen you here before, what's your name?"

"It's Morgan," I said. They asked whether I'd had my health consult yet. I hadn't. We went upstairs, and they booked me in right there and then.

When I came back into the gym to do the health consult, it was pretty much like a speed date. They asked questions that had absolutely nothing to do with my gym membership. "How old are you?" they asked. "Are you married? Do you want kids?" It was very flirty, and I felt a bit giddy afterward.

Morgan Owen proposing to her partner Axe. She's wearing a white dress and down on one knee.
Morgan and Axe knew they wanted to be together not long after they started dating.Ashleigh Haase Photography

Axe and I were just friends at first, but our connection was magnetic

The health consult turned into us doing personal training sessions together. Then, we started having coffee after our personal training sessions, and that turned into Axe coming over on the weekend and us going for a walk.

My then-husband knew about all of it. Axe was coming to our house and even trained him in our backyard at one point. It was all very amicable and innocent at first, and probably from his point of view, he thought that I was going through some sort of phase. But I wasn't.

As Axe and I were hanging out more and more, we were definitely getting closer and closer. It was turning into something more than a friendship. We said to one another that we needed to stop.

One afternoon, a few months after we met, I was at my desk at my house. Axe messaged me and said, "I don't think I can continue seeing you." I agreed. But then, just half an hour later, Axe asked if they could see me. I said, "Yes, please, I feel sick." We just couldn't stay apart.

We had this electric, magnetic energy that we couldn't deny. We needed and wanted to be around each other all the time; it was like there wasn't anything that we could do about it. The way that I felt was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I knew it would be doing myself such an injustice not to actually give it a shot. I had to talk to my then-husband about it.

Axe and I had to give it a shot

I told him I was unhappy in our relationship, and that it wasn't working. I also said I was really enjoying hanging out with Axe, and I wanted to explore it further. I didn't dislike him as a person — he just wasn't my person. He had started seeing someone else around that time as well, which made me feel relieved.

My ex and I decided to separate and I moved in with Axe. Six months into dating, Axe proposed. They planned a picnic under a rotunda in a park, put a blindfold on me, and organized one of our friends to film it. As sweet and gorgeous as it was, it was awful timing because I was also getting divorced. I told them that I knew I did want to marry them, but that they'd have to wait for me to propose to them. I proposed two years later.

I had Axe's ring custom-made — a square sapphire with circled edges and diamonds, and a Celtic band. Axe is quite unique, so I couldn't just get an engagement ring that was already made.

I've always been someone who has these big dreams of what I want for my life. Axe just feels like the other half of me who is supposed to be on that journey. I know that I have that solid person who is never going anywhere, who would never do anything to hurt me. We've now been engaged since August of 2022, and we may look to get married next year.

Most people gravitate to what's comfortable and normal, and Axe is so not like that. There's never ever a dull moment.

Read the original article on Business Insider