Now desire for what? Desire to be desired, desire to be seen, to feel important, to have someone’s attention, someone who cares about you, desire to feel alive, desire to reconnect with lost parts of yourself. The kiss that you only imagine giving can be just as powerful as hours of actual love making. The mind is the most important sexual organ. But today that we don’t have religious institutions necessarily telling us what is the king of sins, it is left to us and our relationships to make sense of this, to define it, to know where our lines will be with our partners. To know when we crush those lines. If it’s about thinking, if it’s about remembering, it’s about fantasizing while you’re with your partner. If it’s a subject that is deeply entrenched in our lives and often very difficult for us to open up. And yet, we need to because we need to help people who suffer with it.
LEWIS HOWES: Otherwise, there’s always going to be so much more conflict in the relationship if we don’t talk about it, right?
The one and only was called God, not your lover
ESTHER PEREL: Look, the majority of people don’t talk about any of this. Their desires for others, the boundaries they want to establish with each other, what they share sexually, what is private, what is the space of their erotic freedom. Even in their head, what feelings are they allowed to have, what kind of friendships do they have with others? Most people talk about none of this until the shit hits the fan. In most straight couples, the negotiation of monogamy is very simple. It’s five words: I catch you, you’re dead. That’s it, end of conversation. Then when there is a crisis, when something breaks out, suddenly, people launch into conversations that they’ve never had, and they are finally grappling with a level of honestly about this. But in the midst of so much pain-
ESTHER PEREL: Confusion, pain, rage, disappointment, romantic frustration-you name it. Could we do better? Can we do it sooner? Can we have the courage to have some of the difficult conversations before we’re in the midst of a crisis?
LEWIS HOWES: I love that you talked about-I’ve heard you say this before at a few of your speeches but at our event as well. We expect so much of them, but it’s hard to get everything from one person.
These three things-secrecy, emotional involvement, sexual alchemy intersecting with each other are the three central elements of what makes infidelity
ESTHER PEREL: It’s one person to give us what once an entire village used to provide, that’s what happens. You used to have a community, and the community had all kinds of people in there that gave you a sense of identity, a sense of meaning, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, all of this. And then you had a church, youu had a religious-you had the realm of the divine. Now all of this has been siphoned into one relationship. So when you have an infidelity, it shatters the great ambition of love. Because what does it say? You’re not the one and only, you’re not the only one. You’re actually replaceable, you’re not really that unique. You’re not indispensable, and it breaks you. It’s a crisis of identity.
It used to always be painful, but it wasn’t a crisis of identity where people say, “Who am I? What am I?” This is not me, this isn’t my life. My whole life is a lie, this whole thing is a fraud. I can’t recognize myself or I can’t trust-not only I can’t trust you, but I can’t even trust my own perception. I have lost my own sense of orientation. It is a complete shattering of the self, and that has never been so acute. And it comes because we really talked. Once I find the one and I am your one, this is never meant to happen. We’ve been looking long enough. We’ve stalled marriage or whatever commitment 10 years later than we used to, by now when I pick you, we should be clear of all of this. This should not happen.