Mrs. Perel, on your relationships podcast Did you talk to couples who are arguing in the pandemic under the title “Couples under Lockdown”. Is it always your goal to save the relationship?
No. Couples therapy isn’t always about making sure people stick together, it’s about people making responsible choices that don’t hurt anyone.
You don’t believe in the “happy together for the rest of your life”?
It has nothing to do with belief. For a very long time, the institution of marriage has been built on “Until death do you part”. And today? Marriage lasts until love dies. When people used to say “forever” they died in their forties or fifties. Today they die in the nineties. It’s not the same “forever”. For a long time there was also no option to get a divorce. But when women achieved their economic independence, no longer wanted to be the property of their husbands and when there were divorce laws that protected women, most divorces were initiated by women. Couples therapy always looks: What does the institution of marriage mean at this time? What does marriage mean today? Today, the focus is on the couple. When a couple is not happy, the family does not stay intact. In the past, a couple could be incredibly unhappy, violent, abusive – the couple would not have broken up. Because the family organization needed the couple. And because women had nowhere to go. Those are the things that have changed.