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Esther Wants to Help You Grieve

Celebrity shrink, Esther Perel, who I’ve pilloried here many times, has been on a reinvention campaign of late. First she declared herself an “executive coach“, now during this pandemic, Esther would like to be our grief counselor.

Being the world’s most well-known cheater apologist probably isn’t a good look right now.

That’s okay, because Esther has many looks. Grief counselor Esther is here to buck us up during this difficult time. According to the New York Times:

The irony of the moment, Ms. Perel points out, is that in a time of unimaginable death we can be reminded how to live. Social distance doesn’t preclude our coming together.

Like all you Exuberantly Alive Schmoopies out there! Escape your literal Mating in Captivity cages and come together. Video sex chat, have a long clandestine “shopping” trip (wink wink nudge nudge). Does your partner need help with the dishes/telework/homeschooling? Hey, it’s your happiness that really matters.

Thank you, Esther. You really are the go-to lady when it comes to Quests for Aliveness. Consider me uplifted.

In fact, you’ve taught me so much about relationships, I’ve applied some of your teachings to the coronavirus.

Why are we demonizing lethal viruses? Plague, contagion, are so judgmental.

Coronavirus is described in terms of perpetrators and victims, damages and cost. We need to be far more tolerant of deadly contagions.

Have you considered the needs of the coronavirus? I know you’re dying on a ventilator, but I think you should examine your part in all this. Your anger and bitterness at 27 percent lung capacity is not helping your relationship.

Try to understand COVID-19. Its need to replicate itself at the cellular level.

It just wanted to be happy.

The virus just wants you to know that you are its PRIMARY relationship. Its promiscuity (wow, Bob, you’ve got a nice set of lungs I’d like to know better) is nothing you should feel threatened by.

We should look at coronavirus in terms of growth, autonomy, and the desire to reconnect with lost parts of ourselves.

Organ failure can make a marriage stronger.

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    • That IS interesting. I find it cowardly when figure heads do that. It’s not like she wrote that as a confused teen and should be let off the hook. If she no longer believes in her previous work than publicly retract it. Her essay no doubt emboldened many a cheater to continue to abuse their partner and shamed many a chump for daring to assert their domestic rights. So, take it back Perel or go fuck yourself.

      • I don’t think it’s that she doesn’t believe it, it’s that she’s realised how unpopular this view is. She’s morphing with her market. If everyone was clapping and cheering she would have left it up, and leveraged it hard!

    • *slowly standing and clapping hands* And the truth shall set you free.

    • Could that be that she’s found herself to be a victim of a cheater?! Never know. And people can assume, but will never know how they react to a situation until it happens to them. Just saying.

      • That would require her to have the humility and insight to see that her case wasn’t special and she was just like any other chump. Nah. She doesn’t do humility or insight. If she was chumped, she’d consider it the sole exception to the rule, thus making her previous “work” still valid.

        You can’t really reinvent yourself as a grief counsellor after writing a load of mean-girl sophistry dismissing grief about the ending of a marriage due to adultery as “bitterness”. That seems a more likely explanation to me. She wanted to sell some new snake oil which was incompatible with the old snake oil.

      • Exactly Chumpupthevolume! SO tired of all people not understand that betrayal is a severe trauma. VERY severe. I am a therapist. But you can’t help yourself with those things. Ester Perels writings (a friend of my recommend early in Ddays) made my trauma worse ????!

      • I only refer to her as Esther Fucking Perel.

        My XH belonged to a well-known business leadership organization and they brought her in as a speaker for one of the group’s retreats. Yep. The disgusting book Mating in Captivity (Captivity?) sat on his bedside table. He never brought it up.

        Roll forward a few years. He has his big hairy exuberant affair. Turns out the AP actually worked for the leadership organization and of course I knew her well. XH and I attempt reconciliation. During reconciliation, like many of us, I googled everything I could think of. Came across EFP’s TED Talk and as I watched I put it all together. His complaints matched her words. I asked him to watch EFP’s TED Talk so we could talk it through, get to his real issues. I asked and asked and asked. Finally he did it. He refused to talk about it. A couple of days later he told me he had walked away from the marriage — in the Garage (anyone remember the Garage thread??)

        Roll forward a few years to today. Daughter told me AP posted on Facebook that she had just been let go from her job at that leadership organization, but ‘how happy she was that she had met her fiance there.’ In other news, Esther Fucking Perel decides to be less exuberant about infidelity.

        Fuck you, Esther Fucking Perel. I hope karma is a real beeeeeyotch to you.

      • Or her photographed at that Spirit Cooking ceremony with that weirdo satanist that parades as a performance artist, truly nauseating.

        • I have just found Esther ‘Mating in Captivity’ inviting people to explore the what it takes to bring lust home. That means pornhub an ipad a phone and kitchen roll for the wasband Yuch!

    • Who cares about Esther!?! Why the hang ups here? This place is supposed to support enlightenment! Who cares what this shithead thinks or does? Fuck her!

  • I loathe this woman’s “teachings” SO much that if anyone mentions liking her, it is an immediate turn off for me. It signals a lack of empathy for me.

    Most people who quote her think they are SO enlightened but really they are just validating their own selfish beliefs.

    And it speaks volumes that she scrubbed her article. If she really believed in it, why do that? Because it was nothing more than a marketing ploy.

    • Yes! I was a huge Serena Ryder fan (Canadian musician) until she quoted Esther Perel at a concert, saying how much show loved her. Deleted all her music after that and haven’t listened to her since.

    • Same here. I removed a friend from facebook because she invited me to an Esther Perel interview watch party. I told her, straight upfront, that I despise Esther Perel and her stuff is garbage.

      No surprise this friend had started to think of herself as a relationship guru/life coach and had begun hosting weekly live streams. I had mostly ignored them until she started singing the praises of Perel and invited me into that mess. Nope.

      Last I knew, she was still posting garbage dating advice slapped over backgrounds of sunsets and quoting both Perel and Dan Savage (the dude who thinks it is acceptable to cheat nine times, but draws the line at ten. Anything up to 9 is okay though. *puke*)

    • I had a coworker sing Perel’s praises a few years ago. When he finished, I blurted out, “You must want to cheat.”

      He didn’t deny it. And surprisingly, the relationship he was in mysteriously blew up.

      • Hmmmm it blew up? Will ding dong dang doodley I wonder why…SUCH a mystery…perhaps he felt…entitled…and…some navel-gazing, over-privileged, word-salad tosser gave him a dust-bunny’s weight in validation and that’s all he needed…

        SO mysterious…

        God these people are a circle-jerk of narcissism…

        • I love the way you wrote this. It gave me the chuckle I needed this morning.

        • I find it hilarious that when I searched Esther Perel on Amazon, following her books and podcasts was a suggestion for “Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Healing from an Emotionally Destructive Relationship with a Narcissist.” (There seem, by the way, to be at least three different books with this subject bearing this same title.)

        • “a circle jerk of narcissism”

          I’m dying over this! ????

          This is my new favorite dysphemism!!! Thank you so much Kara!! ????

          • Thank *you*, Now-I-know. I’m a lover of etymology, and I had never heard of dysphemism, so I learned something new today!

    • I hate her almost as much as I hate Elizabeth Gilbert, Miranda Lambert, Julia Roberts, Claire Danes, Angelina Jolie, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, and Boris Johnson… to name just a few cheaters who left spouses and broke up marriages….. f’ing hypocrites!

      • “a circle jerk of narcissism”

        I’m dying over this! ????

        This is my new favorite dysphemism!!! Thank you so much Kara!! ????ex

      • Oh…I had no idea about these cheaters! I don’t follow but it bums me out. Tom? Julia?
        I know Robin was a cheater – Bless him anyway – he was so obviously a wreck. Sad.

      • Don’t forget David Brooks! The Moral High Ground author – who I never see on NBC anymore. He’s a cluster. The Road to Character? Really?

      • In an 80’s movie marathon with my daughter I put on the movie Crocodile Dundee and then I remembered. I then googled him because I just had to know how their story ended. After 19 years of married she dumped Paul Hogan for someone her own age. Timeline says it was an affair. He’s devastated.

        • Don’t forget Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. They polished their story and I’m sure his ex wife made lots of money in the deal.

          • I remember them. My father said years before that they were cheating. You could just see it.

    • Tom Ellis is ruined for me. I had no idea who he was until recently. Enjoyed some of his stuff. Then found out he is a serial cheater.

    • Yah ditto. I had a conversation with someone I respect very much. Turns out Perel’s parents were Holocaust survivors. I said I still thought she is a monster. Maybe it’s epigenetic trauma transfer. Whatever. She’s a professional monster. I am incredibly sorry for what her parents went through, but that does not excuse her total lack of moral character.

  • Not only does it leave you dying on a ventilator, new information is coming to light that it turns your blood into gel too. Rather than bleeding from pretty much everywhere (“black smallpox”), or from every orifice (Ebola) – you get micro clots.

    Fabulous! I bet it makes your lips plump too!

    Ugh. How I loathe that woman and others of her ilk. Male and female. May they all dislocate both of their arms in order to improve their swimming skills.

    • For fellow Chumps – I wasn’t trying to use an offensive term. That really is what it was commonly called when it presented with less pronounced, more velvety-textured haemmorhages on a body. It was invariably fatal and the patient was lucid throughout and up to the moment of death.

      It is more accurately called hemorrhagic smallpox.

      May none of us ever learn or remember that smallpox has a distinctive odor and can be diagnosed by smell too. Apparently it’s not unlike the scent of Parvo in dogs. Let us all be grateful for vaccines for ourselves and our animals.

        • No Shit Cupcakes, I’m a member of an online group of young stroke survivors (VAD/cerebellar stroke in particular, occurring mostly in our 20s/30s), and we have begun discussing the new findings of Covid possibly causing blood clots. Not to be grim, but if the medical community becomes more aware of the stroke risk in atypical patients, perhaps we won’t have to be so insistent on getting diagnosed quickly and correctly. A large percentage of the group was sent home from the ER at least once (it must be a migraine, have you done any drugs lately, etc.), and many also went on to have huge debilitating strokes.

          Any hey, now you just insulted the swimming community, too!

          • Eirine – I am so sorry that you not only have to deal with this, but you have to endure pushback from the medical community. Are you in good health at the moment? Fingers crossed!

            I would happily set up a Wheel of Pointless Pain and we can hitch up the naysayers of your choice. They go around and we all get to deliver a stinging blow.

            Esther is the first one hitched.

          • So very sorry to hear about your health! ????????????????????????????????

  • She’s a cheater apologist alright. The question is why? Answer: she must cheat on her spouse. I wish to see this publicly stated. It pisses me off that she is talking the talk but no one is asking whether she’s walking the walk.

  • When I was trying to reconcile with my cheater, I was an Amazon chump and bought several books that I thought my now xw and I could read together. She would read nothing, but she did send me a link to Esther Perel’s TED talk glorifying infidelity. I think the message my ex got from Esther Perel was “see, it’s ok to cheat, so get off my back.”

    • Yep. My SBTX (we are both women) and all her flying monkey friends LOVE Esther Perel. They seem to think they’re all terribly sophisticated, pushing polyamory (which is already more common in LGBTQ circles than in the mainstream) into new, uncharted dimensions: look, it’s not enough to negotiate sex with others people WITH your spouse’s knowledge! What someone people really need is that clandestine charge! (Puke.)

      One of my earliest realizations after D-Day #2 was that, even if STBX had negotiated with me some kind of arrangement involving her occasionally having sex with other people, that never would have worked for long. Her boundaries are so shitty that she would have violated every agreement we made around any “arrangement.” For her, it’s not just about the sex, but about the whole mutual-adoration kibbles package.

      I wonder: is Esther Perel aware that mental and emotional disorders seen an actual thing? Does she really think everyone approaches relationships with the same degree of emotional health? Smh

      • She has an art-therapy degree from a third-tier teacher’s college. So I’m not sure what actual mental disorders she is aware of.

      • I don’t think she knows or cares about anyone’s emotional health. Only her bottom line. As long as she gets pounds of money, she will spew garbage.

        After all, she says she has conducted “research” and “studies” but holy shit – she has never once actually written a real paper and submitted it for peer review. Where she has to lay out the composition of her groups, the number she used, the questions they were asked and answered, the statistical methods, etc.

        Nope. That’s hard and she doesn’t like hard work without guaranteed FABULOUS responses (and a great deal of money). Neither do cheaters. That’s why they it is called cheating.

        After all, she excuses cheaters at every turn.

      • My ex husband was like that. The polyamory. I tried to do it as a last hail mary to save my marriage, but that lasted for all of two months before I pulled the plug. He walked over every “agreement” we made. He even got fired from a job because he would not shut up about being poly at work and it made his female coworkers uncomfortable (one of our agreements was this is not headline news, we do not need to tell everyone and their mother. If anyone asked me my status, I said I was married. He just offered up that he’s poly to anyone and everyone without being asked…I actually kicked his foot under the table when he started telling our TAX PREPARER…)

        I’m sure Esther Perel doesn’t think everyone approaches relationships with the same emotional health. I think she believes everyone approaches monogamous relationships with the maturity of a hormonal high schooler and they need to be saved by her wisdom. She seems like the sort of person who views others as projects. People who’s lives she will save and in turn, who will only elevate her ego. I don’t think she actually sees anyone as an autonomous person.

        • Excellent points, all! (Sorry for autocorrect typos in my post.) I agree that Perel wouldn’t care to probe too far into emotional health if it doesn’t promote her bottom line. And, as many of us chimps know from experience, cheaters don’t like to be told that they are disordered, even when there’s ample evidence of fuckedupedness. So, from Perel’s perspective: where’s the income stream in that?

      • Lezchump: I don’t think it’s her boundaries. I think it’s her entitlement.

        • You’re right, Adelante, but it’s the trifecta: her disorder, whatever it is, causes STBX to feel entitled to her shitty boundaries. Early on, before she got more cagey (because she fails to understand my hostility), she told me that she really doesn’t know where she ends and the next person begins. And that explains A LOT from my perspective, over 25 years of being with her.

          Sadly, I wish I had seen permeable boundaries as a red flags in my relationship, since they were on display long before the malignant entitlement appeared. In my experience, the entitlement surfaced only when external factors started getting stressful in our marriage, about five years in, and it seemed so incongruous at first with what I thought I knew of STBX. Maybe that’s more common when we’re dealing with covert narcs or other underground flavors of disorder. I could see how some couples might coast even longer before external circumstances bring out the entitlement, esp. if they have fewer financial constraints and are mostly on the same page in terms of lifestyle and values.

          It’s certainly worth being able to recognize both boundary issues and entitlement, as we all strive to fix our pickers! (Though I have zero intention of dating anytime soon, even after we can venture out and about again.) All best to you!

          • Permeable boundaries, yes—that’s a flag I’ve also come to recognize. So often operating on a premise of entitlement: the devouring of one self by the other.

      • Yes, I hate the way people who lack ethics jump on polyamory as a way to have their cake and eat it too. Having done polyamory on and off over the years it’s waaaaay more difficult to do ethically than monogamy not because it’s more “enlightened” (it’s not) but because there’s so much more complexity emotionally and practically. And much of the time I have other priorities than spending so much time emotionally processing.
        And the people who get into it because they can’t help cheating are walking disasters. At least they’re not lying about being monogamous but that’s a low bar.
        This sounds harsh but taking relationship advice from Perel is like getting diet advice from Ronald McDonald.

    • It was when my ex wife had me read Mating In Captivity that I started getting suspicious. The thing that really made me catch on was that I heard the actual good relationship advice that Esther had to offer and dismissed the apologies for cheaters. The ex only heard the apologies. That’s when I started snooping and uncovered an affair.

  • She must be desperate for attention or publicity.

    For Passover she apparently reinvented herself as a religious leader and helped sell tickets to seders.

    As if her adultery advice wasn’t bad enough, she attempted religious and spiritual advice for PAY while most are volunteering their services.
    Can no longer copy the link but it was disgraceful.

    • Yes, I noticed that in the liner notes to Perel’s NYT entry she was described as the child of two Holocaust survivors. So now she’s using her parents’ experience to claim expertise in suffering.

      • She has done that all along. It makes her seem deeper and more empathetic than a rock python.

        • Hey, I love rock pythons! They are a noble species! They shant be insulted like this! XD

          • All they require are bodies and souls! Not so different from Esther, except she also requires MONEY before she destroys the Chump and dismisses their pain completely as being their own damn fault. Focus on the needs and wants of the Cheater because you – well – you don’t actually count.

            Would she be half as popular if she didn’t have a European accent?

            Yes, I did denigrate rock pythons. Hmm. What about Inland Taipans? Only for the venom, not because they hunt people.

      • To me, it’s extra gross that Perel uses the Holocaust to legitimize her skeevy work. This happens more widely too, because the “polyamory is cool” crowd is riding the coattails of LGBTQ to legitimize their bulls**t. Isn’t polyamory just another persecuted sexual orientation?? Just like LGBTQ?? Oh, those bitter chumps need to wake up to how they are just another sexual orientation persecutor. It’s not an obvious angle, but it’s part of the mindf**k.

        • Yep. My STBX (we are both women) seems completely confused about how polyamory actually works, since we see it so much in our LGBTQ circles. (One of our mutual “friends,” a gay man in an open marriage, gave STBX tips during her affair for how to be thoughtful about separating her two lives. Thanks, man.) I think she vaguely groks that she would not, in fact, be okay with a partner having outside relationships – because that would mean fewer kibbles for STBX – but she definitely envies the cosmopolitan poly-lite lifestyle touted by Perel and co. Well, after our divorce is final, she can try whatever she wants! The only reason I care at all is that I fear how things will go with our kids when STBX starts dating again, esp. for DD8.

          Since Marianne also raised the issue of polyamory above, I’ll just say that I really respect people who can actually make it work, though the jury’s still out on whether our LGBTQ friends actually fit that bill. The gay man I mentioned above was in a long-term “secondary relationship” with another guy (one weekend a month together sort of thing) but ended up having to break it off, because the other guy wanted more time and commitment. In practice, it sounds like super-hard work for everyone involved. It would be easier if the open marriage allowed just for casual sex, but then of course there are other issues, like trusting your partner to be safe every time. And, as I noted above, my STBX was not just looking for sex outside the marriage but kibbles – and who dispenses kibbles better than an AP who thinks they’re madly in love?? – so who the hell knows what kind of relationship STBX’ll try to negotiate next.

          • The brief time I was in it before I asked my divorce, it was super exhausting. I imagine it’s tiring enough with people who are actually honest and communicative, but with the added weight of unethical and selfish people just makes it a huge burden. My ex husband had three partners that I even knew of, but then more and more women he’d told kept popping up everywhere and I had never even heard of them before and suddenly they were getting belligerent with me on facebook. I remember one of the worst fights we had was when he told me he was going to hang out with one of his partners at a bar in the evening, I wasn’t there because I had to work.

            Found out this “bar” was actually a club and the thing he was going to was a massive event with over 700 people in attendance and his partner he was going to hang out with was working there.

            I did have one partner. One. My husband knew who he was, met him in person, and my husband knew where I was going whenever I went to see this other partner. But when I tried to, my husband would blow up my phone every minute of the day. I tried. I tried so damn hard to make it work but it became so clear to me that my husband wanted to do whatever he wanted, seeing other people all the time, for the rest of our lives. …And I just flat wanted to see other people. Our marriage was done, so I asked for a divorce and ended it. I can’t do multiple partners. I was trying to fit myself into a box I’d never fit for the sake of someone who acts like his dick is the sigil of his household.

            My ex husband has three wives and continuous rotating dates and girlfriends. I’m seeing one person. One. I am a one at a time type of person and if I never hear the word “polyamory” again, it will be too soon.

  • Anyone else notice her continued theme of “living” while in a metaphorical (or in this case literal) lockdown?

    It’s the same schlep word-salad she’s always horking out there all the time. Same shit different day.

    Only with this, I find it extra and particularly disgusting considering the coronavirus and the need for stay at home orders is a very real and actual thing. Being self-quarantined for the health and safety of yourself and others is necessary. Feeling restless not being able to go out and do all the things you did before and feeling worried with uncertainty is very real in this time.

    Being in a marriage you agreed to and took vows for and feeling the itch to cheat is NOT even close to the same thing.

    Go back to your troll hole Perel.

    • No Shit Cupcakes, that was an interview of me. Although with a fake name as I have minor children.

      • SirChumpALot – I had no idea. I hope that I didn’t rip open a wound by posting the link. I am really sorry it happened to you and your kids. Too bad you can’t sue her for paternity fraud and collect a lot of money from the bitch.

      • That was really brave of you to share your story, even with a fake name. You probably helped a LOT of men know they are not alone.

      • I get literally scared to see the lengths people go to hurt the same people they should be caring and protecting. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this and your daughter, too. What an awful thing your ex did.

  • Thanks, CL, for giving us the opportunity to remind new chumps that Perel is toxic! A while ago, you mentioned the corporate gigs, and I have no doubt that Perel has tried to chase big money. But she never left the infidelity racket behind: I want you to know that I have been served many ads on Facebook for her “master courses” in “rekindling eroticism” in marriage, ever since I did the obligatory Google searches after D-Day #2. Even better, from her perspective of multiple income streams provided by desperate people in pain: these courses seem to be fully automated, with no actual time invested by Perel. So I would imagine that she continues to rake in cash using the “affair-proof your marriage” model.

    Back when I was still being way too vulnerable and open, I tried to tell STBX why I had a problem with Perel’s work. Of course she didn’t listen – she has a serious case of Genuine Naugahide Remorse. Perel is smart, by the way, and a keen observer of other people’s pain, but that sucks even harder, because she uses her acuity in the service of an awful amorality, and further trauma to chumps in the name of “thinking outside the therapeutics box.” I had to stop reading Perel’s horrible “State of Affairs” book when I got to the part where she advised a couple to erect a shrine to the husband’s affair partner in their home, to thank the AP for bringing them closer together!

    But because Perel is smart, and makes STBX feel better about her disordered expectations of marriage, STBX and her flying monkeys think that they’re all terribly sophisticated for reading her work and internalizing her message. I thank my lucky stars I don’t have to hear about Perel anymore from them, and like other posters above, if I hear positive things about Perel from other people, I’m quick to object and point out that I have a different perspective, as a chump. I hope we can keep turning the narrative around on her – thanks for your efforts in doing that, CL and CN!

    • The Kunty Kibbler is example number 1 of thinking she’s all terribly sophisticated for reading EP’s work and internalizing her message.

      In the days when she was trying so hard to create buzz for her sexual evolution podcast, she would frequently post EP links and #WeLoveEstherPerel hashtags. (Dan Savage, too.)

      And why not? Here’s a whip-smart woman (big plus for female cheaters, I think) practically giving blanket immunity to everyone who ever acted with wreckless disregard for their partners, all in the name of self-discovery and supposed personal empowerment.

      • “Sexual Evolution Podcast” says it all! That sucks, UX. I bet your KK would get along great with my STBX and all her friends. They can all have a grand ol’ time valorizing betrayal – until it happens to them, of course.

        • Wouldn’t matter if it happened to them. There would be some sort of brain-numbing, goalpost-shifting extravaganza of verbal and psychological gymnastics, the result of which would be: what was done to them was completely different, and a hundred times more hurtful, than what they did to us.

          • Prob’ly so. I would feel bad for them, in their shallowness, but…aw, never mind. Got better things to do!

    • @LezChump
      This is so well put:
      “Perel is smart, by the way, and a keen observer of other people’s pain, but that sucks even harder, because she uses her acuity in the service of an awful amorality, and further trauma to chumps in the name of “thinking outside the therapeutics box.””

      I think most people despise the misuse of intelligence when it attempts to contort conventional wisdom, especially when it further victimizes the victim, or transforms victim to perpetrator.

      Intelligence is a divine gift and it’s an affront to our creator (or nature or the universe or ‘all that is good’) and humankind when it’s purposefully used to invent false narratives or to benefit at the expense of another’s pain.

      That’s the crux of why Esther Perel and other intelligent con artists are so offensive and unworthy of any recognition.

      • Great points, GDD. I’m an academic myself and believe in the power of ideas – but sadly, we have to guard against the flip side, which is that ideas can be mobilized to harm others. It’s a pretty clear line to me, but some people (like Perel and my STBX) seem very confused about that concept, for all their academic acuity. That’s why the rest of us have to have rock-solid boundaries and great self-awareness! (Am I being harmed? ???? This is not acceptable to me!)

    • I never cracked State of Affairs open because I was sure it was BS I couldn’t stand, but I didn’t think it had stuff like this! Geez … “I had to stop reading Perel’s horrible “State of Affairs” book when I got to the part where she advised a couple to erect a shrine to the husband’s affair partner in their home, to thank the AP for bringing them closer together!” That’s just fucking sadistic.

      • Yep. The Time Magazine review of “State of Affairs” specifically called out the shrine idea as one of her “cuckoo” solutions. It’s worth a read! I particularly appreciate the following paragraph, which seems like something CL might say:

        “The problem Perel never seems to grapple with is that loving someone is incompatible with hurting them. As parents tell their kids: whether you hit your friend by accident or deliberately, it still stings pretty much the same. The simple question at the heart of committing to somebody till death is whether you can value that person’s needs ahead of your own. The answer is often no, because we’re only human. But to love is to make the attempt.”

  • My cheater sent me her Ted talk right after D Day. I couldn’t figure out if she was the cheater or her husband was. Too much word salad for my brain.

  • I think most people are basically sheep, be they liberal or conservative. Liberals (of which I count myself among) like to be seen as culturally relevant. Unfortunately, in terms of relationships, Esther’s what’s been trending. If my current script was flipped, and I was cheating on my partner of 23 years after she supported me without reservation to stay home with the kids while she worked, and even supported me with complete trust in my new “friendship” with a woman from my college days before I dropped the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” bomb on her, I don’t think my wife’s same feminist friends that currently support her cheating would be singing my praises for embarking on a new quest for aliveness. And, they’ve got Esther to back them up! I’m glad my keen sense of smell regarding bullshit isn’t clouded by the stench of ideology. Truth is truth.

    When I confided to a colleague a couple of years back that my wife was cheating on me, this person recommended Esther’s book, Mating in Captivity thinking it would help. Though the title alone was off-putting, I looked it up on Amazon, and listened to a Ted talk of hers. It wasn’t even that I realized how much she was shaming me personally, as much as me just feeling depressed after listening to her.

    The person that recommended her to me meant well, but for whatever reason, didn’t hear her ultimate message that chumps are the primary causes of infidelity. Most people don’t–they’re too taken by Esther’s flair and style to actually think critically about her content.

    • @Tim

      This is spot on. I appreciate your taking the time to write this.

    • Tim: Exactly the same for me: a collegue recommend Perels books and my trauma and all feelings became even worse.

  • According to the Amazon page for Mating In Captivity, “Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive”.


    Go ahead and take 5, UBT. This bullshit needs no translation.

  • I have literally only just found this site and Tracy’s book today…… how I never came across this before is remarkable, as over the last few years I think I have read/listened to every book, lecture, website …. you name it, on betrayal.

    Thank God for Tracy’s book and now to see that she and others also completely disagree with the rubbish Easter Perel spouts,…. I truly feel validated.

    Ms. Perel is a shameless apologist for disgraceful behavior all be it so eloquently spoken and masked under her veneer of academic authenticity. I am overjoyed to see that others see through her damaging message.

    • Welcome, Claire! And we’re all very much with you on the subject of Esther Perel! We have had campaigns to get CL a Ted talk invite – it would be an awesome antidote to the Perels of the world. But for now, at least we have this blog and CL’s book.

    • Oh, and just a reminder to all new chumps that there’s a Reddit group for further discussion – just search Chump Lady and ask to join.

    • Sorry to make your acquaintance under these circumstances – but welcome!

      I hope you reach Tuesday and the Kingdom of Meh very soon.

      • Thank you “No Shit Cupcakes” and “LezChump”. I am laughing out loud and yelling “YES” regularly while listening to the book, I will check out the Reddit group, thank you for the heads up.

        And, yes I will raise a glass on a Tuesday in the Kingdom of Meh one day very soon, I feel sure!

        Onwards and upwards my fellow chumpsters x

  • Hahahaha that’s awesome! And yet, if the virus could talk, and if it said all that, it would probably be sincere! Which is more than the average cheater can say…

  • Yeesh, over the last year or so she has appeared as a guest on a few of my favorite tech podcasts. When I read that she was on them, it just made me so pissed off that she is considered some kind of knowledgable talking head… on what subjsct I do not know

  • I don’t know if my STBX read St. Esther, but she “offered” me an open marriage and was offended that I replied with divorce papers.

    • Good for you, CMcG! I’m sure a lot of us got that “offer.” I’m ashamed now to admit that I actually considered that offer for about a week, until my body made it clear (through the trauma diet, among other things) that it was not acceptable to me, and I never said it was okay with me. Took me a little while longer to file for divorce, though. TL;DR I’m a chump! All best to you.

  • F’ Esther Perel.

    I hope her new spot in the limelight results in scutiny of her past work. She didn’t know what she was talking about with infidelity. I can’t imagine she has a real grasp on the concept of “grief”.

    What a nincompoop.

  • I think the spirit of Esther Perels have reincarnated through the ages. I ran across this political comment from 100 years ago (published 1920), when divorce laws were being loosened. He is describing the cheaters/chumps dynamic here, that the people getting divorced aren’t tragic souls, but incapable of keeping their vows. It’s the same pattern as now, with a good-hearted dupes, broken-hearted good people who honored their vows, and the heart-breakers wanting endless “free love” and cake.
    This author, G K Chesterton, is an incredible writer. One hundred years later his words and points are clear as a bell. The series of essays explains how the Christian idea of honoring vows changed Western civilization. His main argument against it all is that if they only want free love, then pursue that. Stop insisting on the right to take marriage vows again and again with intention of honoring them. Also there were political & economic factors in play.

  • I just wanted to thank CN, lurking here cleared my head. My awful long-term relationship was 30 years ago. But it grew out of some awful mindscrews growing up, which I’m dealing with now as my parents age. Truth and touchstones are underrated.

  • Esther Perel spins awful things as good, and some version of that has been going on for 100 years.

    I ran across a series of newspaper essays published in 1920 while divorce laws were being loosened, which describes the cheater/chump dynamic. It’s called “The Superstition of Divorce” by G K Chesterton (still great reading 100 years later). Chapter 8 describes how the people who most want divorce aren’t as advertised, good souls stuck with the wrong person by tragic fate. Instead, those wanting divorce wanted endless “free love”[casual sex] along with all the benefits of marriage(cake) without the burden of honoring their vows (cheat). Chesterton went on about the dangerous head game of it(head in blender), if they wanted “free love” then pursue that, don’t insist on marriage vows you can’t be bothered to honor. Worth Googling & reading. I’m not sure why it felt comforting/enlightening to read when it implies that this crap has been going on for 100 years.

    I delurked to share that. Thx!!

    • The part which blew my mind was, “The Story of the Vow”. Apparently the Christian concept of a vow transformed Western civilization (great story). Plus, in pagan days, King Henry the VIII wouldn’t have needed to destroy/reform the church which forbid him divorce, since he’d have a harem I guess. Chesterton focused on the underrated positive power of vows rather than monogamy. #mindblown

      • CL – I love how you write too. So brief, punchy, and true. Plus I didn’t know profanity in a sentence could be so precise & meaningful. Thx #endGush

  • I’m a news junkie, but apparently I don’t frequent the outlets that feature info about EP: I had never heard of her until CL wrote about her some time ago.

    I consider myself lucky! I haven’t been subjected to her bullshit. And I don’t have any friends who shared info about her either.

    I hope this is sort of good news: her idiotic views have not infiltrated every corner of the known universe!

  • My stbxh offered an open relationship to me AFTER he got caught cheating. He tried to legitimize it by saying his best friend thought it was okay and they’d been scheming how it might work on my behalf. So on that horrible D Day I drove to said friend’s house and fell on the floor in a heap of tears in front of his wife and children. I said, “I just thought you should know what this looks like. Your giving permission and telling my husband that his cheating is legitimate and covering it up for him has hurt me to the core and ripped my guts out! I’d like you to see me like this so you know that reality and the pain.” He turned white and nearly fainted-turns out he actually has empathy unlike my narcissistic ex. He felt my pain and realized there was a real person at the end of his bullshit scheming with my husband. I often wonder if EP and other cheater apologists would like to sit with us and hold our heads and stroke our hair as we cry and spew over the gut wrenching pain betrayal has caused us? Would they still blame us for not being sexy enough? For not perfecting the art of flirtation? For not letting our men fuck others because they HAVE to? Maybe if she had just one week of seeing that pain with her “coaching clients” that she’d become an empathetic human. If not, then she should keep her narcissistic shit to herself and fuck right off.

    • “Maybe if she had just one week of seeing that pain with her “coaching clients” that she’d become an empathetic human. If not, then she should keep her narcissistic shit to herself and fuck right off.”

      No, she has seen it and blown it off. My guess is it harshes her buzz AND it doesn’t pay her bills nearly as well as prolonging the spouse’s pain by encouraging more mind-fucking and Pick-Me-Dancing. In between running to the clinic for another round of STD testing, maybe paternity testing.

      Adultery takes practice and coaching. She provides the second and encourages the first. That’ll be $500 please. Cash.

  • I honestly believe that Esther is a chump and that this is her way of dealing with it–spackle on a grand scale. If she can convince OTHER PEOPLE to believe that affairs are really OK, that they are just an expression of self-love and individualism and self-actualization, then her chumpdom is not really so bad, her cheating husband will not leave her (or it’s not bad if she lets him stay).

    Either that, or she’s a cheater herself.

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