Before We Got Together I Identified As Gay

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“If we stay together, a part of us cannot come with us.”—Is this their truth or a story they’re stuck in?


In this episode of Where Should We Begin? Esther Perel connects with a couple trying to find a new path forward while navigating how to define themselves and their relationship. Before they became a couple, he identified as straight and they identified as gay. 

In Before We Got Together, I Identified as Gay, the topic of non-monogomy unearths a clash of identities. For them, it’s about a connection to their queerness, community, and creativity. For him, it stirs up fears of rejection and not being enough. Is it possible for each to stay authentic to themselves and consider the conversation without risking the relationship? Esther introduces a new metaphor to help the young couple consider a new vocabulary and open communication.


What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel:

  • As children of chaotic upbringings, one modeled stability; the other became unravelled. Two different survival strategies in similar circumstances. One is no better or worse, and both carry consequences.
  • The complementarity of survival strategies helps each partner transcend a fraught family legacy. Through them, he can loosen the grip to make room for exploration. Through him, they can become more anchored and grounded.
  • What are the implications of having parts of your identity in one relationship and other parts of your identity in other relationships? 
  • An invitation into another’s community—to visit, to understand the language and norms, to be at ease as an observer—can be a powerful bridge between the emotional and sexual gap of two partners.
  • When a conversation is cast in either/or and black-and-white terms, the experience promises to be intolerable and yields no place to move. Nimbleness and adaptability are essential.
  • Exploration, curiosity, and playfulness are all active engagements with the unknown. How can we begin to explore the unknown with positive anticipation when the unknown has been a source of great stress and sadness in the past?

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