In this episode of Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel, we are introduced to two individuals in a same-sex relationship. Over three years into the relationship the romance remains a secret as one of the partners is not yet ‘out.’ We meet the pair as they are working to decide if the connection is worth fighting for through the layers of oppression they face. The dynamic has devolved into a classic relationship dance of pursuer and distancer. Each partner unintentionally triggers the exact behavior they do not desire in the other.
Can the pair alter this pattern and create an open, trusting relationship? Or have they become so invested in the choreography they cannot change the dance?
What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel.
- One partner prioritizes emotional safety over happiness, the other prioritizes love over the chance of getting hurt. Which approach resonates with you? Why?
- Grief over a child growing up and leaving home is a theme in the episode. Can you relate to the uncomfortable vulnerability described in connection to her son’s leaving as a devastating loss?
- Esther describes sex not as something we do, but a place we go. According to this definition, when we have sex we go places we’ve never been before. Has this ‘going not doing’ been a part of your sexual experience?
- With one partner in the closet, the other struggles with being a secret. Esther explores this conflict as she clarifies it’s ok to have secrets; it’s not ok to exist as someone’s secret. Being hidden can equate to feeling humiliating. Does this jibe with your perspective on secrets?
- One partner has never strayed and returned to a relationship. The other has never been betrayed and allowed a straying partner to return. Esther refers to changing these behaviors as acting out of script and tells the couple new possibilities will emerge from this shift. When was the last time you chose to ‘act out of script?’