Letters from Esther #58: Introducing The Arc of Love

By Esther Perel and Mary Alice Miller

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Shall We Begin?


On the edge of my seat, I read as fast as I could, following the windy path of a major plot twist in my summer beach read. The sun went down, the night lights came on, and still, I was immersed in the lives of characters who had become so known to me. I related to their dilemmas. I cheered at their wins. I had opinions. Many, many opinions. I wouldn’t put the book down until the final page was turned. I’d been so invested that I felt some grief when it was all over. But I also felt relieved to be back in my own life—and with some new perspective.


The rapture induced by a great story is one of my favorite experiences, especially stories about love in all its many forms. Growing up, whenever my parents’ shop was slow, I would read the photo-romance novels my mother kept by the cash register. Tales of seduction, surrender, mystery, betrayal, safety, and love occupied and transported me. Life rarely feels slow like that now. Much as I love a good, long novel, I find myself drawn to anthologies of short stories more than ever. I like how I can finish one on a train ride. I enjoy the curation, a collection of little worlds that I can take with me wherever I go.


A few months ago, I set out to see if I could curate an anthology of stories about relationships from my podcast, Where Should We Begin?, which features real, one-time, anonymous therapy sessions. Since 2017, I have met with all types of strangers navigating nearly every relational dilemma under the sun. I knew I wanted to curate a collection of episodes that would showcase different relationship stages. It was important to feature stories that explored the big questions: Should we have kids? Can we survive infidelity? Should I stay or should I go? I wanted it to be a mini-series akin to a short story collection you might bring with you this summer wherever life takes you.


Most importantly, I wanted this mini-series to be a love letter for longtime listeners as well as a primer for newcomers interested in being a fly on the wall in other peoples’ lives, a voyeur who quite often, I’m told, ends up seeing themselves. The result is The Arc of Love, an 8-episode mini-series featuring some long lost classic episodes from the vault as well as brand-new episodes of Where Should We Begin?

Click here to listen to The Arc of Love.

Every episode is different. The awkward stops and starts of a new relationship in which immigration status and politics are ever-present. Romantic revivals after years of marriage. An affair that has rocked a small town and the lovers at its center. A pair of divorce lawyers who decide that legally ending their marriage will allow them to be happier together in their romantic relationship. And an episode that experiments with form—not a session in an office, per se, but a dinner party in which the topic of the evening is polyamory.


In every twisty, windy episode, you’ll find something to connect with. You may align with one person until the other brings up a new detail that shifts your perspective. You’ll dive into the messy middle. You’ll see yourself as part of a constellation of characters who feel vaguely familiar. And that’s because, like in every episode of my podcast, identifying details have been changed, but the people—and their stories—are real. They could be your neighbor, your doctor, your colleague, your yoga teacher, or even the stranger on the nearby beach towel as you listen to an episode on vacation.

Let’s Turn the Lens on You

Follow these steps to start listening to The Arc of Love from Where Should We Begin?:

  • Get your favorite pair of headphones or speakers (make sure they’re charged).
  • Survey your surroundings. Make sure you’re in an environment where you can allow yourself to drop into the stories you’re about to hear.
  • If you want to follow along with each episode drop all summer long, consider subscribing to the podcast and turning on notifications. You can do all of that, and listen in, here.

More from Esther


Do you want more aliveness, vitality, and spontaneity in the bedroom? Or perhaps you’re just trying to re-spark desire in the first place? This Fall, I’m releasing two new courses to help with both. Inside, you’ll learn how to remove sexual blocks, reignite desire, and start tapping into new erotic possibilities. Plus, you'll find exercises designed to help you reconnect with play and reignite pleasure.

When you join the waitlist, you’ll get access to the best pricing, plus the chance to attend a live virtual workshop with me and join my foreplay challenge to help you kickstart your connection and desire when you purchase the courses.

Click here to join the waitlist.

Conversation Starters

A compendium of highly recommended sources of inspiration and information


  • Mixed Signals is a fantastic new podcast from Semafor where journalists Ben Smith and Nayeema Raza take on the widespread distrust of media. Every Friday, they discuss topics such as whether #MeToo killed sex in cinema, if journalists feel there is anything to learn in a rerun election, and blindspots that the media may be missing. Listen to episode 2 here.


  • Anyone grappling with the profound loss of a spouse will find a beacon of hope and peace in Warren Kozack’s new book Waving Goodbye: Life After Loss. I highly recommend this personal and accessible guide to navigating the labyrinth of grief. It offers solace and insight from a place of deep understanding.
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