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We first met them three seasons ago in the painful aftermath of an infidelity. She was diagnosed with an STD during a routine visit to her OBGYN, leading to the revelation that her husband had been visiting sex workers. Four years later, they’re still together, but old wounds persist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this latest episode of Esther Calling, we meet a young woman looking for advice on how to stand up for herself in a fraught and traumatic relationship with her mother. She worries the trauma and violence she experienced in upbringing is dictating how she responds to authority figures elsewhere in her life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of Esther Calling, Esther meets a man who’s never been in a relationship for more than five months. As he approaches age 40, he knows the reason lies with him, and not the women he’s dating. Esther encourages him to look back and see if the clues can be found in his early parental relationships. Perhaps the work starts there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We Started As An Affair

We Started As An Affair

2022-06-0955:1113

Esther says in this session, “a love story is between two people, a marriage engages an entire community of people.“ Here we see how that plays out when the relationship in question is the result of an affair; when it means the dissolution of two prior marriages and the breaking up families. How does this couple write their own two-person love story when there’s "an entire community of people" with a stake in the plot? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
He prides himself on being an empathic confidante to his friends…but is it to a fault? In this episode of Esther Calling, we meet a man fed up with being the container for his friends’ relationship woes. But, he wonders, can I put up barriers without losing the intimacy of those friendships? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
She longs for a child, but her partner isn’t there yet, and as a trans woman she already faces other barriers to parenthood. She worries she’s letting her partner’s indecision dictate her own future happiness. She and Esther navigate the delicate dance between exerting her own wishes within the relationship, without letting the pressure shut down the conversation altogether. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When Esther first met with them two years ago, they’d recently opened up the marriage. At the time only she had ventured out, and after a lifetime of feeling her sexuality wasn’t her own, she felt an awakening. But at what expense? Her newfound freedom seemed to result in his misery. This time around, they are both exploring elsewhere, but the subject of their non-monogamy takes a backseat to other foundational stories within their marriage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
He’s in a new relationship and wants it to be exclusive, but he can’t get a read on his partner's feelings. It’s hard for him to have an open honest conversation about his needs without feeling weak, especially when he’s met with silence from her. Esther encourages him to feel confident in his vulnerability and to not mistake having needs for “neediness.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What starts as a story of sexual incompatibility and a difference in life goals for these two women takes a wildly unexpected turn during this session. Esther finds herself witness to a fantasy ritual unlike anything she’s experienced before in her work. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
They were married, divorced, and then married again. And with four kids between them, tensions run high. They fight about everything: the chores, the cats, who gets to tell who what to do. They come into the session with one story and Esther helps them write an alternate version. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Her new boyfriend’s wife died four years ago. Reminders of her are all over his house, from her clothes in the closet to her photos on the wall. It makes the caller feel uncomfortable and inadequate. She wonders if there’s room in his house — or his heart — for her. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In another episode of Esther Calling, he worries his desire for a serious relationship is putting women off. But early in their phone call, it becomes clear to Esther that he’s talking about a particular woman from his past. He describes his feelings for that woman as “intense”, whereas she was more ambivalent. Esther and the caller explore the question: when is yearning for someone’s unreciprocated feelings more about pride and getting what you want than it is about that other person? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Comments (232)

M.K.A

Powerful Feels like many millennials/genzs deal with this sort of issue from people I've come across. I'd argue it's been that way for way longer, and this's been echoing into the future generations Love how Ms. Esther navigated this conversation and how she eloquently put those feelings into words when words failed the caller "I need her to see me" is so impactful. Sometimes we get lost in our own past we forget to see others for who they are. Kudos to Ms. Esther and the team for allowing us this insight, and many thanks to these brave souls for taking that step towards betterment. I'm proud of every one of you, and know you'll definitely positively influence others with this bravery. I've felt it👏

Sep 27th
Reply

Marta Duarte

audio is really bad

Sep 22nd
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Mo U.

it's a miracle she hasn't left him. wow

Aug 16th
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Maribel Castaneda

GO OFF Esther !!! I love you ❤️

Aug 10th
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Maribel Castaneda

GO OFF Esther !!! I love you ❤️

Aug 10th
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Jello

dude is selfish. it's amazing how easy people give up on their marriages. after 8 WONDERFUL years of being married, I can't wrap my mind around so many giving up. ( excluding obvious abuse, mostly speaking about the whole generic "we fell out of love" or "I needed to find myself" ... you didn't fall out of love, you quit working at it . go as far as you want, and travel as far as you will, you will never completely "find yourself" . I suppose I could say that I found myself when I found my wife.

Jul 8th
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melody webster

. ,?

Jun 28th
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Vasiliki Pentaraki

that was intense 😑

Jun 24th
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Katelyn Ashley

💯 easier when family isn't involved. good job!

Jun 10th
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Mo U.

This dude sounds like my abusive ex. 👀

May 18th
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Death Doula ☠

Is she emasculating him or is he emasculating himself?

Apr 20th
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Death Doula ☠

"a shriveled up nincompoop" Ester 😍

Apr 20th
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Death Doula ☠

"As long as you each come in and you start to talk about what the other person is doing wrong and how they need to change. Nothing will move."

Apr 20th
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Ahmed M. Gado

This was very enlightening ❤️

Feb 4th
Reply (1)

Mona Hoseinzadeh Dal

beautiful 😍🙏thanks Esther ❤

Jan 28th
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Kat

This episode really re-enforced how sexist Esther is. In a gay couple, she was able to let go of normative gender roles and treat them equally and bring to both of the women the subjects they need to work on. The previous episode with an heterossexual couple, Esther was unable to do this at all...

Jan 28th
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Kat

This was an incredible unbalanced and sexist conversation and I am shocked Esther didn't pick up on really basic important things that needed to be discussed for their relationship and turned against the women for most of the conversation. 1) He has a past of when things are not good, he cheats. This is a clear pattern he admitted, that has nothing to do with his wife. This was completely ignored by Esther. 2) She was hurt and angry, but Esther kept gaslighthing her, telling her she was wrong in her feelings and she should listen to him instead and accept his feelings. Her anger has a reason and is important, it shouldn't be repressed. 3) She complained about him going travelling, enjoying life outside home duties (cleaning, cooking, kids), while she was left alone dealing with it all. Again, Esther ignored this completely like this is the normal thing, women are housewifes, men do whatever they want. 4) He describes having sex with the woman he supposedly loves as a dead fish... this was such a red flag!! Also ignored by Esther. 5) At no point I felt that Esther was exploring his side of what he did, or what he thought about these points, even though he was the one reaching out to Esther and wanting this conversation. Esther's view from the begining was clear and really biased, supporting the man and failing to acknowledge any responsability by his actions way beyond the affair. Such a disappointment! I really wanted to like Esther, but she was so sexist in this conversation that feels impossible in 2021 to take any of this seriously...

Jan 28th
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jules Lag

surprised you couldn't explore or see the sexism angle here in relation to porn. which is anti woman.

Dec 18th
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Erica Ferreira

If they have to give up parts that are intrinsic to their personalities, should they stay together? The conflict steams because their belief systems differ. He is definitely playing the rescuer here and she craves the security that he provides but inherently they are different people, with a shared childhood trauma.

Dec 10th
Reply (1)

Nilar

"This is not a problem that we want to solve, this is a reality that we learn to live with"

Nov 14th
Reply
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