- This is a follow up with questions from Tim’s previous episode with Esther
- Check her out on twitter – @estherperel
- Esther is the author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence and her new book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity
- Her creative energy is focused on co-creating and hosting an Audible original audio series, Where Should We Begin.
How do you foster marriage longevity?
- You must show appreciation, don’t take things for granted
- Give compliments, and do nice things for each other
- Esther is a fan of writing letters to each other, both at home and while she’s on the road
- Encourage each other to be the best versions of yourselves
How do you reduce arguments in your marriage?
- “Arguing in a relationship often has little to do with the content of the argument itself”
- Check out Fighting for Your Marriage: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce by Howard J. Markman and Scott M. Stanley
- It’s all about the art of speaking and listening
- Don’t sweat the small things
- “Behind every criticism is often a wish”
- Ask, don’t complain
- Check out The Four Horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling
- These 4 things are major relationship killers
- Stonewalling is the silent treatment, or being withdrawn
- Don’t use words like “always” and “never” – this just opens up the argument to places it doesn’t need to go
- Use humor to diffuse arguments
- Show empathy – you have to understand your partners point of view
- Shift your thinking around, think about what you can do to make things better instead of only focusing on what your partner is doing wrong
How do we rid ourselves of jealousy
- Jealousy is intrinsic to love, it’s an erotic rage
- It’s part of love and not something you can get rid of, rather you should integrate it fully into your relationship and use your jealous feelings to drive meaningful and helpful conversations
- “If you love someone, set them free, if they love you, they’ll come back”
How do you move on from divorce and the sadness accompanying it?
- Men have a much harder time post divorce emotionally than women, they suffer much more
- Reach out to friends you can talk to
- Go to a men’s group
- “The most powerful antidepressant is doing for other people”
- Journal on your thoughts and feelings
- The main thing – don’t isolate yourself, when you start to talk, people appreciate the fact that they may be able to help
How do you move past the anger from being cheated on?
- Be careful about pouring all kinds of self-loathing on yourself
- There are phases in the recovery – Esther talks about this in her new book, The State of Affairs
- The hurt, anger, disbelief, lost of the predictable future – respect that all these feelings will hit all at once, and it’s normal
- Talk to your friends , get insight, and make sense of things
- What are your lessons? How will you let this affect you?
- Behind the anger is often a real sense of collapse, and it’s okay to feel this
- Let yourself feel the hate, the hurt, and the sadness – heartbreak is a part of our humanity
- It takes a while until you feel you are able to feel good about yourself again
Is it harder to find true love as you get older and more intelligent?
- When your looking for a relationship as an adult, with many expectations as often happens, you’re ruining your chances and you’re not allowing for the unknown to open itself up to you
- “Dating that involves a checklist is doomed”
- Go about finding love the same way you would if you were younger
When do you know a relationship is done?
- You have to define ‘done’ – That you don’t like who you’ve become? That the relationship has become toxic? What does ‘done’ mean?
- The main element that’s the kiss of death is contempt, once you experience this it’s done
- Constant criticism is another sign or you can’t bring anything up without an argument
Can too much communication hinder desire?
- There needs to be politeness, we can’t expect our partner to always make us feel better
- We need to do some healing on our own, privately
- We do need communication, but you shouldn’t be “all out there”
- How you maintain desire – you need to remain curious, interested, and engaged in your partner
What are the essential blocks to building a strong foundation between partners and establishing balance for longevity?
- Not everything must be said
- The combination of empathy and responsibility is very important
- Be able to see things from your partners point of view, while also being able to take responsibility for things
- The ability to navigate separateness and togetherness
- You should have things that you both do separately, and things you do together
- You should have a monthly/annual meeting to discuss how the relationship is going
- Engage with new experiences
Advice for millennials looking to bring romance and emotional intimacy back to dating
- Go beyond the bare minimum
- Too many young being are afraid of being vulnerable and putting themselves out there – that’s romance
- What to do – take the risks, and put yourself out there
- Men – Check out the book – Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship
- If you want to give advice, ask if she wants to hear it
- Say “tell me more” in conversation
- Do less, you don’t always have to have an answer
How can men effectively handle their sex drive?
- Sex for men is very much connected to what goes on inside of them – if they’re depressed, angry, anxious, sad etc.
- Some men turn to sex to soothe themselves
- Some experience sex as the only language they can feel soft, intimate, and truly there
Advice for a couple looking to explore beyond the boundaries of monogamy
- Check out the movie Monogamish — The Documentary
- An open relationship is less about what people do, than the openness of the conversation itself
- Consider the reasons for this, and talk about them
- Set rules what each person would want to know
- Come back and examine the progress
- Read – Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships
How does Esther help people accept themselves?
- It’s a process of maturation, self-acceptance lies on a spectrum of time
- You have no think – “I’m good enough”
- Self-acceptance is self-confidence, yet also having the ability to live with your lack of self-confidence and insecurities