Love is in the air — and so is a bitter winter chill — so it’s the perfect weekend to curl up with your partner, your roommate, your pet or just yourself and catch up on some great podcasts. Since it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, here are some of our podcasts about relationships of all kinds: Romantic relationships, friendships, work life, family and more.
“Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel”
Hosted by the OG of relationship counseling, “Where Should We Begin?” features Esther Perel interviewing couples about the most intimate details of their relationships, from infidelity and depression to divorce and loss. Perel’s questions and the couples’ thoughts can be difficult to hear at times but provides helpful advice, inspiration and empowerment for listeners. If you like Esther Perel, you should also check out her podcast “How’s Work?” which addresses workplace conflict and relationships.
“How We Love” — “TED Radio Hour”
Even though it’s from 2014, the “How We Love” episode of TED Radio Hour is timeless. In this episode, various relationship experts (including the aforementioned Esther Perel!) explore the mystery of love, how we do it and why we do it.
“Why Won’t You Date Me? with Nicole Byer”
OK, I know my first two recommendations were serious, so if you need a laugh, check out Nicole Byer’s “Why Won’t You Date Me?” The show started as a way for the comedian to ask that very question—”Why won’t you date me?”—to friends, acquaintances and even her exes. She’s still trying to answer that question, by way of interviewing her guests about the ups and downs of their dating lives, and it’s absolutely hilarious. (Note: This show contains strong adult themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.)
We can’t talk about relationship podcasts without including “Modern Love” in the conversation. In this show, various entertainers read and act out pieces from the New York Times column of the same name and NYT staffers talk to the column authors about their stories and their lives. The “Modern Love” column has been around for more than a decade, so the archive is vast—if you’re wondering where to start, some of my favorite episodes include “One Last Swirl” or “Marry My Husband” (if you listen to the latter, get your tissues ready).
“The Heart Wants What It Wants” — “This American Life”
There are so many episodes of “This American Life” that address relationships in all their various forms, but this one is a personal favorite. It features interviews with people who take that statement—”the heart wants what it wants”—to heart (pun definitely intended) and it’ll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Listen to it here.
I’m still sad that “Dear Sugars” is over (even though they’re still re-releasing older episodes!), but if you’ve never listened, you’re lucky: there’s a massive back catalog to enjoy! Hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, authors of the advice column by the same name, the podcast fields questions of all types—but because we’re all human, so many of the questions end up being about relationships of every variety. Some of my favorite episodes, if you’re looking for a starting point: “Emotional Labor: The Invisible Work (Most) Women Do,” “May-December Romances” and “When Your Loved Ones Just Don’t Get It.”
Though WNYC has stopped producing new episodes of the show, “Nancy” remains on the top podcast charts. The podcast features stories and interviews about the LGBTQ+ experience, from insurance woes to money questions and—you guessed it—love stories.
“Call Your Girlfriend”
In a time when we all aren’t seeing enough of our friends, a podcast about friendship can feel a little bittersweet. But that’s exactly why you need this podcast about long-distance friendship and how to keep up with friends you don’t see often. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman call each other every week to catch up on pop culture, world events and whatever’s going on in your lives. If you’re missing your friends, don’t worry—you’ve got two new ones in these hosts.
“Hot and Bothered”
It feels a little like cheating to include this podcast in this list, but it’s so good I can’t help it. “Hot and Bothered” features two writers talking about romance novels and guides you on the journey to writing one yourself. If you’re like me and your not-so-guilty pleasure is romantic comedies, you’ll love the early episodes. Since the pandemic began, the traditional format of the podcast is on hold, so the hosts are calling each other every week to break down the “Twilight” novels chapter-by-chapter.