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Publisher's Summary

[Contains mature themes] He reached out because a year after the discovery of his affair, they aren’t fighting anymore, but they certainly haven’t moved on. Esther guides them towards a more honest conversation, and a revelation about their communication.

Step into the office of renowned relationship therapist and TED Talk sensation Esther Perel, and listen in as she counsels couples in crisis due to infidelity, sexlessness, loss, and disconnection. The result? Astonishing insights on how they can make love work – and takeaways for you on ways to repair and restore your own relationships.

About Esther:

Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and provocative voices on personal and professional relationships. A celebrated psychotherapist who has helmed a private practice in New York City since 1983, she has over three decades of experience navigating the intricacies of love and desire.

A Note from Esther:

Too often couples live like isolated islands. We think what we’re experiencing in our own relationship is unique to us, and we don’t know that our neighbors and friends are experiencing the same longings, laments, deprivations, and disillusionments in their own lives.

There is no school for relationships, no place for us to learn the tools for rebuilding and repair, to learn to straddle the many contradictions that roil in all of us. Where Should We Begin? Is a way for me to create meaningful, deep, and open conversations. As you listen to these intimate, unscripted sessions between real-life couples, I think you will find the language you’ve been looking for to have conversations with the people in your own life.

©2017 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2017 Audible Originals, LLC

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Response to the bitter comments...

Any additional comments?

I have to be honest, many of the comments on here are really frustrating. These are two people who wish to repair their marriage. They aren't there to play a game of who gets the blame. The counselor is not there to tell either party that they did something wrong in the past, she is there to help them be able to communicate honestly and to help them each be receptive to that honesty. When the husband tells how he was feeling, the wife constantly wants to argue against that as if his feeling aren't valid. The point the counselor is making is that he had those feelings and they were real. She isn't telling the woman that she was at fault nor is she taking "the husband's side", she is simply saying that the wife needs to listen without immediate judgement. The wife if very defensive and that is totally understandable, but the counselor's job is to help her be less defensive so that they can communicate openly and in a safe place. If the wife never truly forgives her husband than they will never move past their problems. Once she is able to forgive and let her guard down, then they can work on building something worth saving. BOTH PARTIES in this episode were responsible for not communicating, despite that the man did something completely stupid as a result of it. The counselor has to fix the communication problem first!

As a side note about her being like a dead person: sometimes feelings aren't kind or pleasant and sometimes they are downright rude and inappropriate. But, it seems like many of the listeners wanted the counselor to scold him for that comment. Although maybe not pleasant, he was trying to convey that he didn't want it to be another chore for her. That is a big problem in many relationships, he should have said it a LONG time ago rather than cheating. Then, she could have said how she felt, etc. Relationships take work and HONESTY.

I am 32 years old and I have been with my husband for 12 years. I can tell you that the biggest reason why we work is because we are honest despite how that honesty will make the other feel at that moment. I love that we have that because, if we didn't, who knows where we would be. We definitely aren't perfect people, but our willingness to communicate when something doesn't feel right makes us happy in our relationship 99% of the time. We both feel heard and we both make an effort to make adjustments when we need to. If you don't grow together you will grow apart and that is what happened with these two people, but they can recover it if the learn how to.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Vicarious Relationship Counseling

Would you listen to Ep. 1: I've Had Better again? Why?

I would listen to this again simply because there are nuances to the problem-solving that Esther makes that you will only catch the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, or the 5th time. There's always a chance to learn and grow in a relationship. Because there are different seasons to when a certain piece of advice pertains to you or someone else.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ep. 1: I've Had Better?

I honestly enjoyed listening to Esther's commentary. Particularly on how she felt she gained the trust of the wife in order to better provide counsel that would be well received. It was a surprising turn, but her input on how the turn happened was very very interesting.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Ep. 1: I've Had Better?

Definitely on how to better receive what is being given. How to be mindful of that. And also, to be aware of the changes in myself that I choose to make as a result of negative feedback. I don't always have to take in wrong feedback. I can choose to correct any situation through communication so that it doesn't have to get to a point of bitterness and anger due to a lack of communication.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Every therapist should listen to this series

Esther is everything I aspire to be as a therapist, and even outside the field of couples therapy I can recognize that she is truly a master of her craft - she shows the utmost empathy for her clients, while simultaneously challenging their beliefs, and giving great insight into the formation of their dysfunctions. She interrupts their unhelpful patterns while encouraging a really genuine sense of hope. She addresses the impact of variations in cultural background, gender identity, and sexual orientation on the clients' presenting problems through her interventions, without ever pathologizing these differences or othering anyone.

Not only is Esther a top tier therapist, but the production quality is terrific, edited to give you the highlights of sessions in an easy-to-digest way, as well as in-between asides from Esther where she explains an instinctive choice she made or the reasoning behind an unusually creative solution. I highly recommend this series to any mental health providers, or anyone interested in improving the interactions in their own relationships. Very much looking forward to Season 2.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I feel like they're talking to me

Esther Perel is intuitive, informed and a good listener. The advice she gives is gut wrenching and strong. The couples she counsels are raw with emotion, it's real and has value... many couple go through these things and many are unlucky because they can't share or bother to seek the truth to help their marriage. It's just too easy to walk away these days. Not saying divorce is easy but the walking away and not accepting any responsibility for it... that's the easy part. I am learning so much about myself when listening to these episodes.. even though I'm not in a marriage that has suffered an affair the feelings or getting there are present and I'm happy to have found these audibles now. I'm hooked. I'm ready for self realization and healing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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powerful and useful.

I'll be honest, it was a little painful to listen to this conversation about this couple's marital difficulties. An immensely valuable! Learning how to hear each other in the midst of pain such a valuable skill and this is a great introduction to that skill.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I wish she were my therapist!

she makes total sense and these podcasts could be anybody's life. could so relate! Love it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I've had better

Very insightful her feelings of betrayal his feelings of needing all of her not just the sex of her but her

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Liv
  • Los Angeles metro-area
  • 06-10-17

This was the longest 46-min. listen of my life!

What disappointed you about Ep. 1: I've Had Better?

I found it difficult to have any sympathy for the cheating husband what so ever. He seemed very much okay with leaving all the heavy lifting parenting of their 3 kids to his stay-at-home wife. And then he had the nerve to be freaking surprised when they had perfunctory sex. Maybe if he'd been more involved with his kids, she would have had more energy than to just lie there like a dead fish. His straying because his wife wasn't giving him enough attention was classic, lame and anger inducing. This is the 21st century and relationship help is accessible and readily available. He should've made use of that. Yes, the wife was guilty of not vocalizing more that she was also dissatisfied with their sex life, too. But any partner in a committed relationship should offer to get counseling BEFORE deciding to cheat. At the very least, as the potential cheater, he could've asked for a separation so his wife would've been alerted that all was not right in Denmark.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I may try one of the other topics and try to avoid any more cheating ones. Cheating is a real life trigger for me as a victim of it. I'm one of those kids who was impacted by it greatly, so I never can take in this topic lightly.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Esther was good at being neutral and getting the couple to actually TALK about what each was feeling before, during and after the cheating ended. They were able to see their issues in a more objective manner thanks to her.

17 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Stuck on this from the first episode.

I have listened to Esther Perel before and I really like her. She is so good at really getting to the heart of communication and the problems with communication. This episode is a couple in the extremes. I mean, personally, I think she's done. And, I completely get it. Relationships can be hard. It's not all smiles and roses. So, when one uses that as an excuse to bail and leave the other in the trenches alone because life got real, well,that's hard to come back from. BUT, to not judge the actual couple and their situation. If you can strip away all that, and focus on where these people aren't communicating or hearing each other and how well Perel points it out. It is so good. At the heart of most conflicts and misunderstandings, someone is usually not really hearing the meaning behind someone else's words. Or, someone isn't saying what they should. And, then feelings get acted upon and someone gets blindsided. I realized during my masters program with all of the counseling hours that are required, that I'd been mediating conflict all of my life. And, I knew I didn't want to do it as a career. To create the mental space for others to explore, understand, etc, their emotions is not an easy job, even if you're good at it. And, this in particular is where I think even a lot of therapists fail. Helping someone work through addiction, a painful past, etc, is very hard, but very different. There is a specific outcome you are guiding towards. However, with relationships, good therapy has to give each person enough space to determine what that outcome will eventually be. Those emotions have to be worked through before knowing what the outcome will be in many cases. And, I think Perel deals with that very well. Much better and fascinating being an observer than the actual therapist.

23 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Nellie
  • Independence, ks
  • 10-23-17

Doc, you're not listening.

Aaaagh you're killin' me Doc, you're the one not listening!

The Mrs was loud and clear: I no longer even want to have sex with my husband - its off the table - its not going to happen. The Mrs wants her husband there for the sake of the kids, and Mr and Mrs can do things alone together without the kids and have fun, but she does not want to have sex with him, period. And the Doc just keeps making them do the - when you do/did this - I feel/felt that - exercises.

As with just about all women the Mrs age with three young children, on a scale of 0-10 she was a zero on the sex drive scale and the Mr not getting any action, decides to get it elsewhere. The Mrs finding out about the affair and now feeling TOTALLY betrayed blames the betrayal and her now lack of trust in him for turning her off sexually. When, probably, she just didn't have a very high sex drive to begin with and now dealing with 3 young children daily killed off what was left.

No matter how many times they do the - I feel - exercise, the fact that the Mrs will not have sex with the Mr - and she clearly states she wont - is just the perfect recipe for him to eventually have another affair and THATS what really need to be addressed because at the time of this recording the only alternatives for the Mr are to sexually self-service in secret for the rest of his life, or divorce so he can find a sexually compatible partner.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • BusyMum
  • 10-05-17

Powerful

I'd heard good things about this series and wasn't disappointed. Useful for personal insight on relationships as well as for professionals working with couples.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-26-17

Powerful

I think every couple and every individual will find themselves being touched by this podcast. The courage and openness of the participants and Esther's compassion and clarity, along with the universal themes of betrayal, vulnerability, the need to be seen and heard and how difficult it can be to ask for what we need when we've learned as children to expect something less make this recording a real privilege to experience and a real gift.

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  • EL
  • 09-22-17

Raw. Emotional. Tense.

What made the experience of listening to Ep. 1: I've Had Better the most enjoyable?

The experience wasn't enjoyable at all but worth the while.

Who was your favorite character and why?

None.

What about Esther Perel’s performance did you like?

I like that fact that Esther Perel made insightful observations throughout and helped the couple to communicate more effectively.

Any additional comments?

I think it would have been nice to hear why they came to Esther and what she is hoping to achieve by counselling them. There was an implicit assumption that the couple wanted to remain together and work things out but that was never stated. As Esther herself said there are various options. I can understand why someone had suggested that Esther was slightly biased against the woman in the couple. I don't think that is the case. But I think that the experience of the betrayal is traumatic for the person who was betrayed. That is made worse when the perpetrator (for lack of a better word) appears to somehow justify the action even in the cold light of day (i.e. a year later). Not sure I'll be continuing with the series but certainly looking forward to the book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-12-17

Esther Perel never disappoints

This was a fantastic insight into the therapist session in couples councling. It invokes a lot of emotion and speaks to so many people who have no doubt found themselves in the exact same position. Esther equips the couple with the communication tools they need to help them get 'unstuck' as it were. So moving.

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  • Clare Moriarty
  • 08-09-17

great

really interesting and incisive
I'd recommend for people who like to think about relationships in a pragmatic way

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  • Danai Ngangira
  • 08-03-17

Very personal, fly on the wall podcast

For anyone, anywhere who has fought for a relationship - this is an absolute must.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-17

Disgusting attitude towards the woman but ok podcast

Cannot believe how Esther blamed the wife throughout. Family has 3 kids, he has an affair and blames it in her for withholding emotionally - Esther eats it up. I really felt Esther was very balanced listening to her in the past but after this podcast I'm not sure.

Having said that, she seems to have reframed their conversation in some ways. It's hard not to like Esther, she's so articulate and forthright. But I'll have to listen to a couple more to see if I can warm to her reasoning.

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  • viviann tuong
  • 07-30-17

Esther is a relationship and intimacy genius!!

Love her relationship psychology work and her many other talks. I very much enjoyed the profound insights gained from listening to this first recording of one of Esther's real life couples therapy session on audible. Right on to the next recording now!

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  • irma
  • 07-29-17

For everyone to hear it.

Very good!!!Cried throughout!!! The theme is so well picked, full of raw emotion that could be found in many households, couples' relationships. Thank you Esther Perel ❤

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  • Shane
  • 07-05-17

This lady understands humanity.

Personally, I am a fan of Polyamory but I love listening to this woman's take on relationships.

Whichever methodology you choose it's clear that communication is the most important factor in relationships and until such time that we take this seriously we will only continue on our path of the creation of colateral damage in our children which society at large has to tolerate.

We all need to be better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-16-17

Interesting

An intimate insight into a relationship broken by infidelity. Being on the outside helps you see how easily it can be to be blind to your own faults when you feel hurt.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-14-17

Esther has a lovely style

This is a nice example of couples work. It has something to offer the therapist, and also those in a relationship who feel that their communication could be better

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  • Heyjools187
  • 07-07-17

so personal

Like listening to my own counselor again. So personal, was fascinating and Esther is brilliant.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-06-17

Loved it

Loved this!! So insightful and reflective and just super helpful to build my own relationship

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  • Miranda
  • 07-16-17

Fascinating, compassionate and important.

I wish we all could have Esther to talk to about our most significant relationships. This is the next best thing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful