This story catches up with a polyamorous couple nursing raw emotions. Sometimes the original story masks deeper meaning.
In this episode of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel, we revisit a couple two years after Esther helped them negotiate an open marriage. What began as a one-sided non-monogamy between primary partners has evolved into a polyamory for both. The pair remains joined by co-nesting, co-parenting, and salvaging residual pleasures of their fifteen years together.
You Want Me to Watch the Kids While You Go Out with Other Men?, Where Are They Now peels back the personal and collective layers to expose a complexity far beyond the original focus of their expressed concerns. When is fun just fun, and when is it a decoy for an emotional void—or even a strategy for anger management? Esther unzips the legacy of racial trauma and invites fresh nuance into the menage.
What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel:
- Vocabulary matters. When relational arrangements begin to focus on dogmas that justify themselves by discarding the other side—non-monogamy never works or monogamy is toxic—it risks failing to validate the very real emotions that can arise as a relationship undergoes a major transition.
- When you do something wrong, do you ask, What's wrong with me? In the aftermath of a mistake, try this healthier reframe: I’ve done something wrong. It’s an important shift from blame and shame to accountability and responsibility.
- Conflict avoidance is different than preserving peace. Rather, the peace it enables is sustained by not talking about the relationship issue(s) at hand.
- You are not responsible for your partner’s fulfillment, especially when they lack clarity around what they need to feel fulfilled. Resist taking it on as a personal mission.
- To constantly chase the next experience or thing that makes us feel alive is to constantly find emotional flatness on the other side.
- Fitting in versus belonging. In order to process lived experiences of discrimination and authentically connect, find a community in which you can be known to. When you find a community to belong, you can begin to feel safe to express shared burdens—from racial trauma to the loneliness and alienation that often result.