How To Have Successful Relationships

Episode 185 1h 10m


Modern love comes with an unprecedented list of expectations. Relationships can of course be a source of amazing connection and joy, but they can also be really hard.

We want our partner to be our best friend, lover, confidant, coworker, therapist, and so much more. We want from one person what an entire village used to provide. To take it a step further, we want a soul mate; we want in another human what we used to look for in the realm of the divine. We want that person to help us become the best version of ourselves.

I’ve been extremely lucky in my life with my career and friendships, but romantic relationships haven’t come easy for me. I was thrilled to take a deeper look at this part of my life in this episode with my dear friend Esther Perel.

Esther and I get right into the problems most relationships face these days. Many of us carry issues from childhood into adulthood, whether it’s from getting too much of something or too little, and we end up choosing partners who actually activate our unique inner issues. Esther has gained so much knowledge throughout her decades of work with couples, she explains how the dysfunctions she sees today are different from what couples struggled with in the past.

The majority of arguments between couples are around three main areas: control and power, care and closeness, and respect and recognition. Esther explains why these are so prevalent in the structure of modern relationships as well as the four key relationship killers she sees the most. There’s always a story beneath the story; Esther and I discuss why people need to work on themselves if they want to create a change in their partnerships.

Quarantine was a rough period of time for most people and many couples. Esther shares what isolation felt like for her and how it led her to create a new game to help people create more connection in their intimate relationships but also in non-romantic ones as well. We play a little bit ourselves and she prompts me to share my most irrational fear and the biggest thing in life that I can’t believe I’ve gotten away with.

This was such a fun and insightful conversation. I hope you’ll tune in.


This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, AG1, and Cozy Earth. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • Our expectations of romantic relationships have drastically changed over time


  • Our childhood sets us up for difficulty in romantic relationships


  • Why we choose partners who activate our own specific issues


  • What drives couples to divorce and why the end of a relationship does not necessarily equate to failure


  • What brings couples to couples therapy today vs. in past decades


  • Four relationship killers


  • What makes a relationship successful?


  • The card game that Esther created during the pandemic to incorporate lightness and play into our relationships


  • How our relationship to giving and receiving impacts our relationships


  • Esther’s main nuggets of wisdom from her work with couples


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Ep. 185 - How To Have Successful Relationships