Notes from going down the rabbit hole: Esther Perel
I’ve gone down a really good rabbit hole. Today, I was catching up with a friend and even bookmarked some things we talked about on my site bookmarks list.
We talked about Esther Perel being on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast. From there I immediately got on the audiobook loan list at my library, and watched not one, but two long features of her talks.
She’s a therapist and author to works with and writes about relationships, infidelity, trust, and more. Some romantic, some self. A whole lot of growth-related topics.
I didn’t take notes for all of this, as I was also making dinner but thought I’d share what I gathered while watching and listening from at least one of her talks.
- What you did is what your [parent] did
- We have unprecedented freedom yet we have to negotiate everything. Who’s picking up the baby? Who should I date?
- Every (American/Western-raised) person wants a solution, but rather it demands the understanding of the past
- In community we got a lot of continuity, consistence, and were never alone. Now we look to our partners for the existential aloneness to be solved.
“You don’t solve this with Victoria’s Secret. And there isn’t a Victor’s Secret, so we all know where the responsibility lies”
- Intimacy = into me see. I show you my inner life.
- Everyone struggle with change in stability. The thriving ones know how to reconcile that.
- Some need more protection, some need more space. And if you’re in relationships sometimes there in a two-person couple, there is usually one who is each. One afraid of abandonment, and one afraid of suffocation.
- Romantic love, presently, has replaced all the things we used to look for in the perfect world of the divine.
- In the swiping culture, “when I find you, I no longer think I can do better.” And, “When I find you, I will delete my app”
- Too many options, more uncertainty and more self-doubt
- Sex was for reproduction, and now its for wanting. There are a lot of conditions to fill now. There is a lot more pressure
- Patriarchy dismantles men’s vulnerability, makes them less likely to live long, and not be the best partners. For women, we know a lot of what it does. If we have a paradigm change then we can leave this binary gender construct.
- In the village you could hear every fight and every fuck. The walls were porous. Her podcast works to react the village in a virtual sence.
- When we listen deeply to other people, we reach deep into their humanity… …We get to listen to their otherness.
- When we listen deeply to other people, we end up standing in front of ourselves in the mirror
- Every conference talks about the future of food, the future of tech, but none on the future of relationships
- Write well, and edit often.
- The life of women will not change, until men come along with them.
- We need our relationships to exist in a larger social context. When the thought of not being ab
- The ultimatum to the other person. You need to know what you can live with.
- Stable ambiguity: we’re together just enough to be together, not to feel alone. Stuck in a SA state. Have this conversation with other people.
- Post traumatic growth: intergenerational trauma can go through generation
- Give yourself the permission to thrive and experience joy from that
- In long distance relationships: understand the difference between intimacy and surveillance. Instead of “what did you do today?”, focus on the distance and make it the front and center. Write a letter. When you write a letter, you’re with yourself and the other person.
- Monogamy used to be one person for life, not one person at a time.
Her talk at Bumble at SXSW also stood out to me. For one, it was in Austin. Secondly, Bumble posted about the panel they hosted featuring here and shared this quote:
Perhaps the most impactful thing Perel said in light of the outpouring of sexual harassment allegations in the current news cycle was that “men need a place where men can be safely vulnerable and women can be safely angry.” Perel doesn’t claim that this can easily be done, but she does suggest it’s the only way for our society to compassionately heal and move forward.
Other videos and links found during the jump into the rabbit hole
- Esther Perel on Armchair Expert
- Summit Co 2018
- Love Is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm: An Interview with Esther Perel
- Esther Perel on TED (two TED talks, too!)