In this episode of Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel, we meet a married couple exploring non-monogamy. 11 years and two children into the union, she confides a deepening desire for sexual encounters with women. He, raised in a family where reactions and emotions are muted, agrees to this new arrangement. In The Other Woman, the couple explores the notion a non-monogamy agreement was never actually created. What the pair unknowingly constructed was an abandonment prevention strategy. With Perel’s help, the two realize the relationship redefinition was never about sex, it was about erotic intimacy, connection and renovating the relational home.
What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel: This episode is laden with loss. He loses himself if he agrees to her being with other women. He also risks losing her if he demands she remain only with him. Can a relationship dynamic shift without one person ‘losing?’ When a child is compelled to assume the role of an adult, they lose the opportunity to consider their own wants and needs. Is it inevitable these children grow into adults who’ve lost touch with the feeling of desire and whose default is to caretake others? This is not a ‘sex story.’ Here the other woman symbolizes equality of emotional connection without the burden of care-taking. Could this same feeling of connection and freedom be achieved without eroticizing the interaction? What we long for in love is to feel irreplaceable. If a marriage shifts to non-monogamy is it still possible to preserve a uniqueness for the union?
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