Esther Perel on the biggest challenges couples face in their relationships

aone of One of the world’s most famous couples therapists, Esther Perel has been through many relationships. But it is her Polish-Jewish parents’ marriage that she believes has shaped her worldview. They met at the end of World War II after surviving life in a concentration camp. They had nothing, lost their families, and were going through unimaginable trauma.

“My father thought he was the luckiest man because the woman he ended up living with and marrying would not have been his wife without the war,” he said. Esther said her mother was very educated and her father was not.

“My mother’s philosophy was that relationships are based on will and compromise. enjoyed life together and had similar views on how they wanted to live.”

For the most part, they taught her how to stay alive in the face of adversity and how to connect with people. joy of living“Everybody knows the difference between a relationship that’s not dead and a relationship that’s alive: a relationship that’s surviving and a relationship that’s thriving,” she says.

Belgian-born, New York-based therapist best known for her hit podcast Where should I start?is talking to sunday life Ahead of a lecture tour in Australia next month.

Launched in 2017, this podcast features real-life counseling sessions with anonymous couples. Young and old, gay, straight and curious, monogamous and polyamorous, with new relationships, long-term relationships, and on-and-off relationships. Of course, the secret ingredient is ester. Empathetic, insightful, and tough when needed. Her demeanor is gentle but firm, playful yet serious, caring and demanding.

People reveal the most intimate, raw and extraordinary details about their lives, and her ability to help solve problems is inspiring. , which may explain its immense popularity with Gen Z to baby boomers.

Esther recently launched another podcast how is work explores workplace connections, and her TED Talks, including one at the Sydney Opera House, have generated more than 40 million views.

The 64-year-old psychotherapist speaks nine languages ​​and cites curiosity and a good listener as traits that make her work well. Her relationship Her transition to counseling was inspired by the case of Bill Clinton and Monica Insky, after years of her involvement in family counseling. She has authored two of her books including: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence and more recently, new york times best seller Current Situation: Infidelity Revisited.


In addition to her private practice two days a week, she uses Sessions, a multidisciplinary online training platform for therapists and coaches, and Rekindling Desire, an online course for couples. After her pandemic, she released her game of cards, designed to get people to tell their stories.

Esther has worked with thousands of couples since her inception. For them to enjoy joy, connection and wholeness. “Not broken does not mean that a person feels whole,” she says. “Not suffering does not mean that a person knows how to feel joy.”

She is best known for saying things like, “If you fix your sex, your relationship will change.”

“Connecting with our life force is a source of healing trauma,” she says.

“In the camps, people made plays, sang, made music, painted and made love in the most dire conditions. is what kept them alive.”

“Connecting with our life force is a source of healing trauma. The erotic is itself a source of help in dealing with our pain and suffering.”

But the biggest challenge faced by couples who come to her for marriage counseling is the issue of “The One.” She says the question is really a mirror of ourselves. ? Who am I?'”

It’s often a case of relationship ambivalence in which you have mixed feelings, she says. Am I happy enough, do I have another life, and can I take a step towards it?”

Nearly 40 years later, Perel has seen dramatic changes drawing people to her McCurdy

Married with two children, Esther and her husband, Jack Sole, a scholar and psychologist, met when she was 23. Did she think he was “The One” when they met? I had never had a connection this deep, and I knew that no one had ever spoken to me on that level.

It’s been decades since their encounter, and she says there’s no way they could be in the same relationship. , the ability to be creative in relationships is what helps people reinvent themselves.

“It’s not just about ‘Have I found the right person?’ but ‘Am I the right person? Who am I?'”

“I often joke, but it’s true. Most of us today end up having two or three relationships or marriages as we grow up, and some of us even do it with the same person.” There are people.”

People celebrate long-term relationships, but she points out that longevity isn’t always an indicator of success. People can be together for years and become completely miserable.

Nearly 40 years later, Esther has witnessed dramatic changes that draw people to her practice. Having a sexless marriage or cheating partner wasn’t something people came to therapy a few decades ago.

Infidelity is a major entry point into therapy today. She recalls the time when gay couples started getting together. It was a polyamorous relationship, a platonic co-parenting, a relationship where someone came out, or a couple who wanted to explore their own queerness. These things emerge over time and trigger help.

Does she think we’re expecting too much from one individual? “Yes, it’s a setup,” she says. “We need multiple relationships: family ties, friendships, colleagues, creative partners, and sometimes other romantic partners. I hope you will.”

Esther claims to ask romantic partners to give and meet a set of conflicting needs. “This idea that we want not only stability, predictability, safety, reliability and security, but also adventure, freedom, exploration and curiosity, passion and excitement is a paradox.”

“Most of us today will have two or three relationships and marriages as adults, some with the same person.”

We ask the same person to meet two fundamentally different needs that are often conflicting, she says. “The modern art of love is about reconciling these two opposing forces. It’s not impossible, but it’s an ever-changing art,” she says. “It takes agility and agility, but it takes people who are very centered. That’s the beauty of it.”

Successful people have relationships that are far better than their past relationships, she says.


Interestingly, couples therapy is the most difficult of all therapies, says Esther. So why would she do that? “The way two people create heaven and hell is endlessly fascinating and incredible,” she says.

“That’s why I created the podcast. It’s amazing when people tell you what happened yesterday and other people tell you this happened yesterday.” stories can be completely different, even though they describe the same events.

“The ability to live with multiple perspectives is one of life’s constant challenges,” says Esther. “It’s an art, more than a science.”

Esther Perel will be in Sydney on November 25th and December 3rd, Melbourne on November 27th and Brisbane on December a ticket here.

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Esther Perel on the biggest challenges couples face in their relationships

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