Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel

Esther Perel Global Media & Gimlet

Listen to the incomparable therapist Esther Perel counsel real couples as they reveal the most intimate, personal, and complicated details of the conflicts that have brought them to her door. This season Esther speaks to a constellation of new relationships: A couple wrestling with the guilt they feel over the happiness their infidelity created. Another trying to make space for their queerness in an outwardly appearing hetero relationship. A set of friends trying to sort out if their childhood friendship needs to continue into adulthood. And Esther checks back in with couples from seasons past to see where they are now as she creates a space for us to hear our own lives and struggles articulated in the stories of others. So....where should we begin?

Season Five Trailer
Trailer 2 min 49 sec

All Episodes

As Esther says, love is at once an affirmation and a transcendence of who we are. But when one partner grows up as the child taking care of his mother is it any surprise that he experiences the romantic needs of his partner as a repeat of that same responsibility rather than an affirmation of love.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Dec 9

53 min 31 sec

She has no boundaries, he’s walled off. And their opposing communication styles cause immediate tension in this explosive session. So much so, that Esther finds herself adding to the chorus of angry voices. There might only be three people in this session, but Esther realizes she needs at least three more chairs for the in-laws whose voices and opinions are always playing in the background of this marriage.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Dec 2

1 hr 1 min

You are invited to an intimate evening with Esther Perel. In place of this week's session we gather for a few rounds of Where Should We Begin, A Game of Stories. Over the last year to curtail the loneliness and isolation we all felt, Esther and team created a game out of the questions you often hear her ask on the podcast. So please come play a few rounds with her anonymously, of course. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 25

15 min 37 sec

Before they got together, he identified as straight and they identified as gay. What does it mean to make space for their queer identity while they date a straight man? And is that possible as they move into a more serious phase of their relationship? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 18

53 min 14 sec

For the first time on the podcast, Esther invites a couple back to her office for a second session. 10 years ago, his first wife took her own life. A year later he met his current wife and she became an overnight stepmother to four children. Three years after they first spoke to Esther, she asks them what has changed? Have they been able to revive and sustain their love despite all of the obstacles? Listen to the original episode from Season 2 here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 11

48 min 48 sec

In a Where Should We Begin first, Esther sits down with two friends. They’ve been close for so long they feel like brothers, with all of the baggage that comes with family but none of the certainty. There are things that go unspoken between them, issues they have skimmed over in their two decades of friendship. Esther creates the space for the conversation they didn't know quite where to begin. This session was recorded in collaboration with NPR's Invisibilia and a sibling episode with Esther can be heard on their podcast this week as well.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 4

55 min 7 sec

In this second episode of Esther Calling, we meet a woman who feels she is losing her best friend. The caller feels that her friend is rushing into a marriage to someone she doesn’t approve of. During the call Esther talks her through a new way to see their relationship and where to go from here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 28

17 min 41 sec

This time there is no couch, but instead an unexpected phone call from Esther to a woman who is struggling with the differences between her and her partner's upbringing. He grew up in a comfortable suburb, she grew up having less, much less. She loves her boyfriend but wants to get past the resentment she feels towards the opportunities he’s had. Esther helps her think through how these differences might also play into new strengths between them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Oct 21

17 min 49 sec

A new season of Where Should We Begin? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 19

2 min 49 sec

Married for ten years and co-owners for seven, they bring their home dynamic to work with them. Their employees are sick of the fights and the struggles for power and control, and so are they. Meanwhile, she also worries their roles at their gym have been divided along gender lines.This is one of Esther's favorite episodes from How's Work?, her show about the invisible forces that shape workplace dynamics, connections, and conflict through one-time therapy sessions with coworkers, cofounders, and colleagues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 7

54 min 27 sec

He’s a doctor, she works for the government. Her job is one thing on paper, and another thing in secret. He wants to leave his job, but doesn’t know how. When their busy careers come crashing to a halt because of the pandemic, they face a new reality at home. Who gets to be the one to leave a job during uncertain times? And can they rely on their 19 year marriage for stability and support?This is one of Esther's favorite episodes from How's Work?, her show about the invisible forces that shape workplace dynamics, connections, and conflict through one-time therapy sessions with coworkers, cofounders, and colleagues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 30

53 min 25 sec

Today we're sharing the first episode from season 2 of Esther's other podcast, How's Work? In it Esther focuses on the hard conversations we're afraid to have in our jobs, bringing a new perspective to the invisible forces that shape workplace dynamics, connections, and conflict through one-time therapy sessions with coworkers, cofounders, and colleagues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 6

53 min 46 sec

They've been on and off for almost 20 years. While she takes cares of his and their child, she wants to know that he's also there for her. He's been battling depression for years. And the shame that comes with it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

49 min 42 sec

Their whole relationship is based on one big misunderstanding, with infidelity and blame on both sides. Years later, they still can't see the other's perspective.Programming note: This conversation was recorded after the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

43 min 45 sec

They share a legacy of war, a refugee upbringing and family trauma. Their marriage was seen as taboo, and now they're trying to build a happier relationship for their child.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

38 min 28 sec

She left her life, her family and her country for a man she met on Reddit. Their love is real, but his family has been hell.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

40 min 39 sec

Bipolar, infidelity, open relationships: they're stuck in a world of loaded words. Her friends are convinced she should leave, but she doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

47 min 18 sec

Barely a year into marriage, they're trapped in a cycle of explosive conflict. She can do no right, and he can do no wrong.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

39 min 23 sec

They grew up with traumatic backgrounds, met in college and immigrated to the U.S. together. They've built stability and security, and now one of them longs for more freedom.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

43 min

What is desire? How do we find it and how do we sustain it? Esther shares some thoughts on the intricacies of this very human emotion. To hear more, listen to Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

5 min

He's been cheating on her for years, and she's had enough. Now she wants to know: is he in or is he out?Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

43 min 7 sec

Four years in she can't admit she's attracted to her girlfriend, and her family still doesn't know. What does it cost people when their relationship is built around a secret?Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

45 min 50 sec

They met as religious teenagers and married as virgins. It's the age old story — once you're allowed to be intimate, you no longer want to be. Deciding to open the marriage has brought about huge changes in their sex life, and ruptures in their emotional one.Programming note: This conversation was recorded before the COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2020

43 min 26 sec

A new season of Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2020

2 min 27 sec

Last summer they left everything they'd built in Seattle for a chance at a very different life. He took a dream turn to expand his company and be closer to home; she gave up her nursing job to manage their girls and explore new horizons abroad. COVID-19 hits as they watch the fate of other countries, knowing if it reaches Nigeria with a population of more than 200 million people, it will be devastating. They've been offered a chance to go home, but to what? Leaving Nigeria would mean walking away from everything, but staying could be more than either signed up for. Esther speaks to the couple as Africa begins easing restrictions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

May 2020

51 min 43 sec

They have three kids and their volatile marriage has fallen apart. She still hopes to rebuild. He can't get out of there fast enough. Two weeks before COVID-19 forced New Yorkers to shelter in place, they filed for divorce. Now they feel trapped. If he goes he risks not seeing his kids for weeks. If he stays he worries it will thwart his plans to finally leave. Esther urges them to think about this present time together and not about what kind of future they will have apart.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 2020

46 min 6 sec

For the last year they have lived in separate countries. She took a dream job closer to where she grew up in Germany and he stayed behind with the promise he would follow soon. Six months turned into a year, which turned into a conversation that questioned the foundation of their marriage. It took the coronavirus to get them back under one roof again. While others might complain about the close quarters, this couple hopes to find themselves in each other again. Esther pushes them to worry less about the love that was, and focus now on the love that is.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 2020

51 min 56 sec

They left each other emotionally years ago, but with three kids they have been trying to keep it together. For the last two weeks they find themselves confined to a small apartment in Sicily, Italy — he bears the brunt of the domestic duties at home all day. She must report to the hospital every day to help usher in new life as a midwife. Esther helps them come to terms with what these next few months could look like if they learn to communicate with one another in ways that might save their relationship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Mar 2020

49 min 25 sec

Buzz and Sheldon are brothers in their eighties who have been estranged for decades. Buzz visits Sheldon to see if there’s still a relationship left to salvage. Listen to more episodes of Heavyweight on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Dec 2019

40 min 13 sec

They’re a divorced couple whose two-household relationship may prove that a happy family doesn’t have to end with divorce. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2019

51 min 47 sec

Today we’re sharing the first episode of Esther Perel’s new show How’s Work? In it, Esther sits down with coworkers, cofounders and colleagues, and brings her inimitable perspective to workplace relationships and conflicts. Available only on Spotify. Listen to and follow How's Work on Spotify. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2019

50 min 18 sec

They’re a child desperate to connect with their single mother after 28 years of living in the shadow of a special-needs brother. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2019

48 min 57 sec

He’s away a lot. She’s a stepmother at home to four children whose mother died by suicide. Is there anything left over for her? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2019

44 min 35 sec

She wonders if she can satisfy her attraction to women without losing the husband she loves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2019

45 min 47 sec

Their relationship started with an affair that ended two marriages. Now they wonder if there’s enough trust there to build something stable together. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2019

46 min 28 sec

She lives in Mexico, he lives in the US. Their immigration status has forced them to consider marriage sooner than they might have planned. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2019

46 min 44 sec

A new season of Where Should We Begin? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Mar 2019

2 min 40 sec

 Almost two years ago her husband was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's Disease. They have three kids, a mortgage to pay, and he has developed some compulsive behaviors he isn't proud of. Esther helps them learn how to turn off the caregiver, and remember they are much more than that to each other. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Apr 2018

45 min 28 sec

[Contains mature themes] After a discovery in her doctor's office, a woman realizes her husband has been unfaithful. While betrayed and angry, she still feels a desire to stick it out for the sake of the kids. He, meanwhile, is desperate to find a way back to her. Esther takes them back to their upbringings and the years before the infidelities to find a place of mutual compassion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Apr 2018

45 min 9 sec

[Contains mature themes] They’ve been together for more than a decade, but this isn’t the first time they’ve separated. Stuck in a cycle of explosive escalations, a husband and wife want to make it work but can’t break their habit of going for the emotional jugular. Esther encourages them to start their conversations differently. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Apr 2018

43 min 58 sec

[Contains mature themes] What began as an eight-year affair between two women has stretched into a 19-year partnership. But despite their private commitment to one another, they’ve never quite managed to move beyond the shame of their origin story. Esther takes a novel approach to revealing a long-held secret. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Apr 2018

45 min 22 sec

A young couple has endured a series of crises early in their marriage, from a benign brain tumor to a serious car crash to the husband’s near-fatal heart attack. Following his recovery, he’s adapting to new physical limitations, while she says the children bear the brunt of his frustrations. Esther coaches them through an honest conversation on anger, parenthood and the power of apology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Mar 2018

45 min 46 sec

[Contains mature themes] An on-again, off-again couple in their fifties, dating in a post-divorce landscape, are struggling with different world views, priorities and sexual interests. Recognizing that their polarized dynamic takes the fun out of spending time together, Esther guides both towards less rigid perspectives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Mar 2018

46 min 52 sec

After ten years, a husband tells his wife he no longer wishes to be married. A month later, stuck in limbo, they come to Esther. She helps them have an honest conversation about their expectations, desires, and the ways in which their role as parents has left little room for intimacy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Mar 2018

46 min 40 sec

[Contains mature themes] A husband and wife are united in their desire to help their daughter, two years after she suffered a breakdown and moved home, shutting herself off from her family and friends. Esther urges them to examine the way pressure and expectations – no matter how well-intentioned – can shape a child’s upbringing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Mar 2018

45 min 26 sec

[Contains mature themes] A woman realizes she doesn’t want to have children and comes to Esther for help expressing this to her husband, who passionately wishes to be a father. But often the stories people come in with are not the ones they take home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Dec 2017

40 min 50 sec

[Contains mature themes] A newly-married couple comes to Esther for guidance on how to create a space of safety and physical intimacy, while also giving voice to past trauma. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 2017

36 min 54 sec

[Contains mature themes] A couple are first-generation children of immigrants, raised to believe sex should only take place in a marriage. Now that sex isn’t forbidden, it’s deeply uninteresting…to one of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2017

34 min 2 sec

[Contains mature themes] A young family, a ten-year age difference, and a wife who found independence through an extra-marital relationship. They’ve decided to forgive and rebuild, but the pain of the betrayal remains. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 2017

39 min 57 sec

[Contains mature themes] They have been together for 17 years, best friends and partners who, despite their loving and positive relationship, go months without connecting sexually.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Nov 2017

43 min 37 sec