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Act 2: Two Can Be as Sad as One

We turn now to one of the loneliest experiences a person can have: marriage. Ira listens to two people trying to break through what’s going wrong in their marriage, an excerpt from a new podcast in which real couples have a real therapy session with a real therapist, Esther Perel.


Host Ira Glass interviews author Alain de Botton about why so many of us choose the wrong spouses. Botton is the author of the new novel The Course of Love.

Act 2: One Life To Live

Producer Miki Meek spent a week with a family in the midst of a difficult situation. A woman who got in a car accident and then was in a coma for 52 days, woke up having forgotten the last two years of her life — during which she'd divorced her husband.

Act 2: Sunrise, Sun-Get

Mark Oppenheimer reports on agunah in the Orthodox Jewish community. An agunah is a woman whose husband refuses to give her a divorce – in Hebrew it means "chained wife." If you're an Orthodox Jew, strictly following Jewish law, the only real way to get divorced is if your husband agrees to hand you a piece of paper called a get.


A man discovers that his wife is cheating on him, and turns for advice tosomeone he's sure will have his back: his lawyer in the separationproceedings. Unfortunately for him, this is the worst person he could beturning to for advice...because his wife is cheating with the lawyer.

Act 2: Wife Lessons

Kristen Finch was a speech therapist who sometimes worked with kids with Asperger Syndrome, symptoms of which include emotional distance, inflexibility and missing social cues. Kristin and her co-workers often joked that all their husbands had Asperger's, since the symptoms overlap with stereotypically male personality traits.

Act 1: Best Laid Plans

Kurt Braunohler and his girlfriend had been together for thirteen years, and they were only 30. They wondered why they had never considered marriage, and realized that they needed to sleep with other people before they tied the knot.


Senior producer Julie Snyder and her husband Jeff talk to guest host Sarah Koenig about gossip that takes place—where else?—in a beauty salon.

Act 2: Denying the Invisible

In the wake of the tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, some people suspected that Japanese government officials have not been forthcoming about the actual level of danger from radiation. No one, however, is suggesting a cover-up as extreme as what happened in the Soviet Union after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.


Ira talks with Jessica Pressler, who writes the Daily Intel blog for NewYork Magazine, about a phenomenon she noticed in the wedding notices in The New York Times. Couples were cheerfully telling—as part of their "meet cute" stories—how their relationships began with one of them cheating on a spouse or long-time partner.

Act 4: Divorce Is Rrruuffff!

What divorce looks like from the dog's point of view. This monologue was performed by Merrill Markoe and recorded at Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles.

Act 2: But Why?

Eight-year-old Betsy Walter goes on a campaign to understand her parents' divorce. A campaign that takes her to school guidance counselors, children's book authors, and the mayor of New York City.

Act 2: The Grandma Letters

Will Seymour reads letters he and his grandmother exchanged when he was in high school. He was miserable at the time—his parents had just gotten divorced and he had no friends—and so was his grandma.