Esther Perel — Tactics for Relationships in Quarantine (#418)

Photo by Ernesto Urdaneta

“Maybe you don’t feel that enough people love you, but I can tell you, there’s a world of people out there who need you at this moment.”

Esther Perel

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel (@EstherPerelOfficial) is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Esther is an acclaimed TED speaker and the host of the hit podcasts Where Should We Begin? and How’s Work?.

Esther also recently launched Couples Under Lockdown, a bonus miniseries on her podcast Where Should We Begin?. The first episode aired last week and features a couple in Sicily several weeks into their quarantine. Esther will also host an international conversation about the new normal—what it means for our relationships and how we can move forward in a time of social distancing, uncertainty, and grief. It will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. The four-part series, entitled The Art of Us: Love, Loss, and Loneliness under Lockdown, will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. ET, on April 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd.

Please enjoy! 

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

This podcast is brought to you by Magic Spoon Cereal and ShipStation. More on both below. 

#418: Esther Perel — Tactics for Relationships in Quarantine

This episode is brought to you by Magic Spoon Cereal! Magic Spoon is a brand-new cereal that is low carb, high protein, and zero sugar. It tastes just like your favorite sugary cereal. Each serving has 12g of protein, 3g of net carbs, 0g of sugar, and only 110 calories. It’s also gluten free, grain free, keto friendly, soy free, and GMO free. And it’s delicious! It comes in your favorite, traditional cereal flavors like Cocoa, Frosted, and Blueberry.

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear an episode with another fascinating therapist? Listen to my conversation with Lori Gottlieb on this podcast in which we discuss the hierarchy of pain, idiot compassion vs. wise compassion, the benefits of learning to “unknow” oneself, why insight is the booby prize of therapy, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

#415: Lori Gottlieb — The Power of Getting to *Unknow* Yourself


  • Connect with Esther Perel:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Esther’s COVID-19 Online Resources 

For Those with Kids 

For Dance Lovers

For Art Lovers

For Theater Lovers

For Music Lovers

For Student Composers/Songwriters

  • Every Wednesday for the next three weeks, Paramount’s New Works Department will unveil a new theme for the series and post guidelines for submissions for that week’s topic.
    • About: Student songwriters, whether in high school, college, or any student who has learned their school won’t be in session for the foreseeable future, are encouraged to write, perform and submit an original song on video about their connection to their school. The deadline to submit is Wednesday, April 1, at midnight.
    • To submit a video, email a downloadable link (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) to Paramount’s New Works Department at (Note: If filming with a cell phone, horizontal orientation is preferred but not required.)
    • Please visit for more information, and Paramount’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Questions to be directed to
      • Submissions will be accepted until Wednesday, April 8th at midnight. The second Connection compilation video will be posted for free viewing on Saturday, April 11, at 8 p.m.
      • The series is currently slated to run for three weeks, through April 18, but may continue until stay at home orders are lifted. Each week’s Connection social media concert will run approximately 30 minutes.

Relief Funds, Donations, Assistance, Etc. in NYC

Other Resources


  • What has Esther’s current day in quarantine been like so far? [07:50]
  • While conducting remote therapy with couples in quarantine, what noteworthy patterns has Esther been observing? [11:05]
  • During this COVID-19 crisis, some of us are having difficulty navigating a world that isn’t anything like it was just a few short weeks ago, while others are having an easier time adapting to “the new normal.” How does Esther counsel a couple in which each partner takes the opposite approach? [15:41]
  • Is dealing with the uncertainty, mortality, and possibly grief of these trying times made easier for those of us who don’t have kids to take care of on top of everything else? [20:38]
  • When memories of past stressors aggravate the anxieties of the present, and how we might come to terms with them through reframing our self-image. [28:23]
  • If you’ve got something to say to someone — especially parents and older friends and relatives — write them a letter or call them now. Don’t wait. [34:57]
  • The paradoxes presented by spending more time with the family, and the power of disruption + impending disaster to accelerate big choices we might put off in less chaotic times. [36:40]
  • How might someone approach a shared-custody conversation with an ex who seems to be handling the COVID-19 crisis less responsibly than you like? [40:40]
  • How can couples and families cope and give each other space when they’re quarantined together? How might they use the circumstances as an opportunity to bond with, rather than intrude upon, one another? [48:28]
  • How can long-distance couples now separated for perhaps longer than usual maintain their connection? [55:38]
  • Prompts for reconnecting with people you haven’t talked to in a while and keeping the conversation going beyond the perfunctory — especially when you’re communicating with someone who doesn’t easily share their feelings. [56:29]
  • Putting things in perspective for someone who insists that they’re feeling ‘great’ right now, or that they don’t have the right to feel out of sorts under circumstances that could be a lot worse. [59:54]
  • Advice for people who, either by choice or circumstance, are spending their quarantine alone. [1:09:00]
  • Why does Esther think dancing is even better for keeping our spirits up than exercise? [1:19:09]
  • What a day of quarantine currently looks like at my house. [1:20:29]
  • What a day of quarantine currently looks like for Esther. [1:30:27]
  • How Esther makes her global movie and book clubs work. [1:31:25]
  • On the importance of maintaining rituals, enjoying music, and decompressing from too much bad news. [1:38:44]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:56:54]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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21 Replies to “Esther Perel — Tactics for Relationships in Quarantine (#418)”

  1. Esther and Tim are fantastic. Love the episode. I was on a conference call with the local Sheriff Monday. Someone asked him if crime was down due to the shelter-in-place. He said, “Yes except for Domestic Violence which is up.”

  2. Trying to continuously feel and be great resonates so much with me. The opposite end of nothingness hits hard as well. It seems that somehwere in the middle can be the happy place. Great listen, thanks Tim and Esther!

  3. I am midway through the episode, listening from my confined flat in Paris and I just want to say THANK YOU ! I’ve listened to many past episodes of your show, and the previous ones with Esther too, but I had never felt the need to express myself with that level of gratitude and appreciation before. There’s just so much wisdom and empathy coming from Esther. Thank you Tim for making this interview happen at such a specific time.

    P.S : You don’t don’t need to show my comment here, it just felt important to reach out and tell you how much your work matters.

  4. Hi Tim – a while back you asked for your followers to fill out a Google Form for creative ways we are spending our time in quarantine. What happened to that? I would be really interested in seeing the results.

    Thanks for providing great content.

  5. I listen to podcasts on long runs with my hound Fred–stretching 2 hours or more–this one was a favorite. Normally I have to dictate into my watch to capture notes — your show notes are so detailed I can just lean in and focus on not tripping on roots and plummeting into a ravine.

  6. “Maybe you don’t feel that enough people love you, but I can tell you, there’s a world of people out there who need you at this moment.” Love these lines 🙏🏽 Been following this blog from last 3 months and I fall in love with it thank you

  7. Amazing podcast. Each discussed topic can make a podast on itself!
    Is this show going to be in notes, readable version?

  8. Thank you for your post!
    I have a humble request: Could you endorse the use of homemade masks?
    I am terrified that people are still not using masks, in spite of the CDC finally endorsing them.
    Taiwan and many areas in China are no longer on lockdown.
    The Director of China CDC has been advising USA/Europe to use homemade masks for *months*
    Some may call the numbers into question, but it is clear that Asian countries, which have widspread use of face masks, have contained the coronavirus – flat out. Forget comparing to the USA, they have already contained the virus.

    I hope you can help by promoting the use of masks – perhaps with a picture of yourself wearing one haha?

    Thank you!

  9. Hi Tim, as part of your daily routine, you mentioned a hot vaporizer. Does this help with Asthma or respiratory strength, and what model(s) have you found helpful?

  10. Really appreciated the prompts for reconnecting with people you haven’t talked to in a while and keeping the conversation going beyond the perfunctory.

  11. Hey Tim, have you heard of Death over Dinner? Given the current state of isolation and the fact that many of our friends live in different parts of the world, my friend came up with the idea of ‘Depth over Drinks’ and she used this podcast to stage it over Zoom. I applaud your journey and have been a fan for over 10 years now. I’m also of similar age, so I completely relate to how you wish to dive deeper into your evolution. Many thanks for both your vulnerability and abundance.

  12. This was such a practical and helpful episode in so many ways! Thank you! Lots of take away for better communication in a couple 🙂

  13. Amazing podcast by Esther! This is a strange situation to be in, as all our coping mechanisms like going to work, hanging out with friends, going to the gym; everything has been wiped out. Many relationships have seen a role reversal, as partners get laid off and stress of finances and health issues can cause havoc on sex lives. Recognizing and working towards individual anxiety reduction has to be primary here, before couples opt for therapy. Bringing anxiety down on an individual level is necessary to facilitate productive interactions.

  14. You commented in one of your talks about setting up a “matchmaking service” (like in the old days:-)
    I think you would be great!
    I would like to be the first client 🙂

  15. “Maybe you don’t feel that enough people love you, but I can tell you, there’s a world of people out there who need you at this moment.” Love these lines 🙏🏽 My bestie recommended this blog and I think he did 1st best things eve in his life.