Separated at Home but Still Together at Work

Click here to view this episode's transcript.

A successful business takes passion, dedication and resources. So does the private sphere of the couple who runs it.


Episode 9 of How’s Work? with Esther Perel hears out a couple whose marriage is on the rocks yet whose jointly-owned winery and restaurant are flourishing. For the husband, 10 years of feeling sexually rebuffed have driven him to seek out affairs. For the wife, there’s no penetrating his defenses. He says she’s a killjoy like his mom; she says he’s uncommunicative and checked out. Yet throughout the session they hold hands and adore the respective skills and talents each partner brings to work.

Separated at Home but Still Together at Work explores the complex mixture of affection, desire, withholding and resentment--and the fraught tethers of interdependency--that have kept this pair in limbo. Esther opens up a space for them to start cultivating an authentic connection, without which their future business partnership will likely die on the vine.


What to listen for in this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel:

  • Vocab lesson: “Stable ambiguity”–the logjam that results when a couple neither makes or remakes a commitment nor lets go and parts ways.
  • From the bedroom to the work room: The impact on partners the next day?
  • An unstable relationship between married bosses means an unstable environment for their business and employees.
  • Shared business activities are no substitution for shared intimacies between couples who work together.
  • An entrepreneur’s passion for creating a business are like an erotic experience: Both stir imagination, curiosity, focus, presence, aliveness and a renewed sense of self.

Sharpen Your Relational Intelligence

Sign up for letters from Esther, a monthly newsletter + youtube workshop and conversation.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.