If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok over the last couple of days, you must have stumbled upon Esther Perel’s videos talking about relationships.
I know she made me question everything I thought I knew about love and relationships.
But let me give you a brief intro for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.
Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist and relationship expert. Among other things, she tackles two seemingly confrontational human needs: the need for security and the need for freedom.
Actually, exploring the central paradox of love is what made her famous.
“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. One does not exist without the other. With too much distance, there can be no connection. But too much merging eradicates the separateness of two distinct individuals.”
But this is not why she started trending.
A few days ago, TheMindHub posted several short clips of Esthel’s 2017 interview on the Scandinavian talk show Skavlan, where the expert explains the psychology behind cheating, breaks the “one and only” myth, and gives us some hard truths about romantic love.
Ever since TheMindHub revived the interview, the hashtag with the therapist’s name has reached 19,2M views. And the numbers continue to grow.
So, what’s so special about Esther Perel’s views on relationships?
The idea of a forever person
Here is a hard pill to swallow: you don’t have to spend the rest of your life with one person. The concept of “one and only” is outdated and doesn’t work so well in practice.
@themindhub Do you believe in the “one and only”?#EstherPerel #Skavlan #psychology #psychologist #relationship #relationshipadvice #love #foryoupage #fyp #fypシ ♬ Twenty One Pilots Hometown Slowed Sad Part – Blasteran MaLaikat
Many argue against this opinion. But if you look at everything around you, you’ll see that Esther couldn’t be more right.
Of course, nobody is forbidding you from being with the same person “‘till death do you part.” She isn’t saying you can’t love one person for life – she is just stating that for many couples, love runs out sooner or later.
That’s why in modern society, we marry “until love dies.” And you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
After all, it’s much better to end your marriage instead of growing old in a loveless relationship.
You have to admit that the concept of monogamy really has changed. Now it means, “one person at a time” (vs. “one person for an entire life”).
Time flies, you grow as a person, and social norms change too.
Basically, what Esther is telling you is to enjoy the moment. Let people be special to you at this exact moment – that’s more than enough.
Why do we cheat?
@themindhub Real reason why people cheat #EstherPerel #Skavlan #psychology #psychologist #relationship #relationshipadvice #therapy #love #foryoupage #fyp #fypシ ♬ Twenty One Pilots Hometown Slowed Sad Part – Blasteran MaLaikat
Those who criticize Esther’s point of view might say that she is justifying cheating. Well, she’s definitely not – she’s just explaining the psychology behind it.
Being unfaithful is about desire – not about the sex itself. In fact, an emotional affair that is all about desire can sometimes be more dangerous for a relationship than physical infidelity.
And what is this desire about? It’s about feeling wanted again.
It’s about proving to yourself that you can draw someone’s attention. It’s about all the things people feel deprived of in their primary relationships.
Yes, in many cases, cheating is about healing a broken ego.
Basically, she states that the underlying reason for cheating is our pursuit of something we’re missing – either in our relationship or in ourselves.
“Often, when you’re attracted by the gaze of another, it isn’t just because you want to leave the person that you are with. But it is because you want to leave the person that you have yourself become.
And it isn’t just that you want to meet somebody else, but you want to meet another self.”
Compatibility over love?
@daily_tao ♥️ #estherperel #loveadvice #relationshipgoals #relationshipadvice #reallove #reallovestory ♬ original sound – Jessie Ася Kanzer ☯️
Here is another piece of relationship wisdom from Esther Perel: there is much more to life than loving another person. No, she isn’t saying that romantic love isn’t important for a happy life.
On the contrary, she claims that the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our life.
Esther just wants you to stop romanticizing butterflies and the excitement of being in love.
As great as this sensation is, there are incredible love stories that never grew into life-long stories.
You can’t build a life with someone just because you share incredible chemistry. It’s romantic in theory, but in practice, life is not all sunshine and rainbows.
It’s about paying your mortgage, going through family emergencies, dealing with health problems, co-parenting, fighting financial battles…
At the end of the day, your life partner has to be someone you get along with well. They should be someone you share the same goals and similar worldviews with.
So, does Esther put compatibility in front of love? Or did we all have the wrong idea of what love actually is all along?
Do you agree with Esther’s views? Give me your thoughts on the matter.