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, she takes on open marriage, racism inside an extended family, coming out in a religious home, and chronic infidelity, among other delicate dyn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They’re a divorced couple whose two-household relationship may prove that a happy family doesn’t have to end with divorce.
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.
They’re a child desperate to connect with their single mother after 28 years of living in the shadow of a special-needs brother.
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?
She wonders if she can satisfy her attraction to women without losing the husband she loves.
Their relationship started with an affair that ended two marriages. Now they wonder if there’s enough trust there to build something stable together.
She lives in Mexico, he lives in the US. Their immigration status has forced them to consider marriage sooner than they might have planned.
A new season of Where Should We Begin?
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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
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.
[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.
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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[Contains Mature themes.] A man has struggled with impotence for over two decades. His wife, in despair over her feelings of hopelessness in the bedroom, seeks relief for her sexual frustration and feelings of resentment.
[Contains mature themes] They’re grandparents, with a 40-year love story and a stable, happy marriage. But one of them had quite a few secrets. Esther gives them some tools to navigate and support each other's experiences.
[Contains mature themes] A husband and wife met while deeply committed to the evangelical faith and didn’t kiss until their wedding day; for her, that kiss felt like “kissing her brother.” Esther gets creative in an effort to help them create a new sexual relationship.
[Contains mature themes] A couple with two small children are at physical and emotional odds in their relationship. One has given herself over entirely to the children, while the other struggles to find her place within the family dynamic. Esther helps them reframe each of their roles in terms of what they uniquely contribute.
[Contains mature themes] He reached out because a year after the discovery of his affair, they aren’t fighting anymore, but they certainly haven’t moved on. Esther guides them towards a more honest conversation, and a revelation about their communication.
Step into iconic relationship therapist Esther Perel’s office and listen as 10 anonymous couples in search of insight bare the raw, intimate, and profound details of their story. From infidelity to sexlessness to loss, it’s a space for people to be heard and understood. It’s also a place for us to listen and feel empowered in our own relationships. So…where should we begin?