26 Esther Perel Quotes to Help You Unlock Love’s Secrets

These Esther Perel quotes show her understanding of what a complicated maze love and relationships can be. 

A relationship therapist, Esther Perel is known for helping couples navigate the challenges of modern relationships,  improve communication, and rekindle intimacy.

Her approach blends elements of psychotherapy, psychology, and a deep understanding of human sexuality, making her a leading expert in the field of relational and sexual dynamics.

Through her books, therapy sessions, and podcasts, Perel provides invaluable insights and tools for individuals and couples to enhance their emotional and sexual connections, ultimately promoting healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Enjoy these quotes by Esther Perel that dive deep into her insights and uncover the pearls of wisdom she has to offer about love and modern relationships.

What is love, according to Esther Perel?

It all starts with love; these quotes illustrate how Esther Perel frames love in her work.

1. “Love is an exercise in selective perception.” — Esther Perel

2. “Love is a verb. Not a permanent state of enthusiasm.” — Esther Perel

3. “Love is at once an affirmation and a transcendence of who we are.” — Esther Perel

4. “Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.” — Esther Perel

5. “Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it.” — Esther Perel

How do you choose a life partner?

Esther Perel’s work stresses that choosing a life partner is about more than physical attraction

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Read on for quotes that outline her approach to choosing a life partner.

6. “Each of you chose someone whose proclivities match your vulnerabilities.” — Esther Perel

7. “When you pick a partner, you pick a story. So what kind of story are you going to write?” — Esther Perel

8. “Our partners do not belong to us; they are only on loan, with an option to renew—or not.” — Esther Perel

9. “If you trade passion for stability, you basically trade one fiction for another. Both are products of our imagination.” — Esther Perel

10. “Instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you can imagine yourself writing a story with that entails edits and revisions.” — Esther Perel

Why are modern relationships so hard?

Esther Perel often writes about the complexity of modern relationships and the old ideal of finding “the one.” 

In these quotes, she shares why how we approach modern relationships impacts their success.

11. “The idea of finding the one is problematic for relationships.” — Esther Perel

12. “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships.” — Esther Perel

13. “When we channel all our intimate needs into one person, we actually stand to make the relationship more vulnerable.” — Esther Perel

14. “Modern relationships are cauldrons of contradictory longings: safety and excitement, grounding and transcendence, the comfort of love and the heat of passion. We want it all, and we want it with one person.” — Esther Perel

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15. “Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?” — Esther Perel

Why do people cheat in relationships?

Esther Perel’s work challenges the notions of attraction and infidelity

Read on for quotes from Esther Perel about the nature of desire and infidelity.

16. “Adultery is often the revenge of the deserted possibilities.” — Esther Perel

17. “The ‘symptom’ theory goes as follows: An affair simply alerts us to a preexisting condition, either a troubled relationship or a troubled person.” — Esther Perel

18. “Eventually, if desire withers, monogamy too easily slides downward into celibacy. When this happens, fidelity becomes a weakness rather than a virtue.” — Esther Perel

19. “When marriage was an economic arrangement, infidelity threatened our economic security; today marriage is a romantic arrangement, and infidelity threatens our emotional security.” — Esther Perel

20. “Sometimes, when we seek the gaze of another, it isn’t our partner we are turning away from, but the person we have become. We are not looking for another lover so much as another version of ourselves.” — Esther Perel

21. “The swiping culture lures us with infinite possibilities, but it also exerts a subtle tyranny. The constant awareness of ready alternatives invites unfavorable comparisons, weakens commitment, and prevents us from enjoying the present moment.” — Esther Perel

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What is the best relationship advice?

In addition to her books and talks, Esther Perel is the master of advice one-liners

Enjoy these short quotes with relationship advice from Esther Perel.

22. “If you’re too busy for sex, you’re too busy.” — Esther Perel

23. “The more we trust, the farther we are able to venture.” — Esther Perel

24. “Where there is nothing left to hide, there is nothing left to seek.” — Esther Perel

25. “It takes two people to create a pattern, but only one to change it.” — Esther Perel

26. “The smaller we feel in the world, the more we need to shine in the eyes of our partner.” — Esther Perel

Esther Perel is a leading voice in an ever-evolving world of love, desire, and intimacy. 

Her relationship insights remind us that love and desire are a fascinating journey with no final destination. 

So, let’s embrace the complexities of human connection, armed with Perel’s insights, and find our unique path to lasting fulfillment.

Share these wise quotes with your connections, and let us know which one resonates the most with you in the comments.

Jo Moorhouse is a communications professional supporting the arts and entertainment industry. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcast production from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and believes everyone has a story to tell if you ask the right questions. Raised to be “Minnesota nice,” she has a passion for helping people build meaningful relationships both professionally and personally. She lives with her family in the Chicago metro and loves to spend her free time baking, exploring the city’s museums and restaurants, and enjoying the outdoors.
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