Esther Perel Shares The Big Myth That Keeps Couples Trapped In Conflict

The world-famous relationship expert shares the key ingredient for keeping peace.

Esther Perel TikTok

They say opposites attract, but after the initial interest, many couples that have differing ideas and opinions about life find themselves embroiled in conflict over time. Those disagreements can keep partners ‘stuck’ and eventually lead to the demise of the relationship, or if they are lucky, a workable resolution.

But leading relationship expert Esther Perel believes there is a root cause of the conflicts keeping couples locked in battle with one another — even when both people are sick and tired of it.


She says that if partners could each just rid themselves of one damaging and destructive belief, they might achieve a sense of peace together.

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In the video uploaded to Esther’s TikTok page, she shared clip captioned, “Polarity in couples can become quite an intense dynamic — especially on the big issues and decisions. As we each dig our heels in further, we actually reinforce the opposing viewpoint of our partner rather than create opportunity for alignment.”



The video started with a woman in the audience asking Perel how she and her partner, who are polar opposites, “How do our brains hold paradox when two things can be true simultaneously?” She wanted to understand how each person in the relationship can understand that in order for them to be right, the other person does not have to be wrong.


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The myth you must let go of, if you want peace in your relationship:

“The best way to hold opposites is to actually never believe that you are right,” said Perel.

When it comes to the questions couples ask about whether or not to have children, where to live, and other important matters, one person might have a certain point of view while their partner has the opposing perspective.

According to Perel, it’s easy to assume that if a person believes one way, they are 100% committed to their position and in need of a roadmap to resolution. She offers that when considering things alone, a person must hold both sides of an argument. They have to consider the benefits along with the risks and when engaging with a mate, take the same considerations.


But in a relationship, those discussions become “I feel this way. You feel that way.” Each mate latches on to their perspective and holds tight, refusing to let go or compromise. Perel explains that “In a relationship, we outsource the part of our dilemma that we don’t want to hold, and that is polarization.

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To get unstuck in battle with your partner, take their position

“One of the best ways to hold is to actually take the position of the other person,” says Perel. By doing so, you take on the aspects of the argument that your partner is speaking to and automatically cause them to soften and be willing to do the same.

When both of you are able to see each other’s point of view—or at least the ability to truly ‘hear’ your partner, the walls come down and both of you are free to be more vulnerable and compromising with one another.


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Active listening and acknowledgment can stop an argument with your partner in its tracks

Conflicts between people who love each other are rarely about who is right or wrong. It’s not about winning or losing a fight, but rather being heard and validated, then coming up with a resolution both of you can live with. The real problems arise when people are listening to respond instead of listening to understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings.


Some phrases that can diffuse an intense disagreement are “Yes, I heard you”, “That is your opinion, and I am in no position to tell you that it’s wrong”, or “You have a valid point”. All of these phrases acknowledge what your partner has said without making them feel defensive or offering a counterpoint because you feel defensive.

With two different individuals in every relationship, misunderstandings and conflict are unavoidable. When they do arise, it’s important that both people understand the end goal, resolution. Communicating effectively and with love and compassion is one of the best ways to make sure your relationship can stand the test of time.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationship, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.