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The Monogamy Myth: A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs, Third Edition Paperback – January 27, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Peggy Vaughn, who's been featured on Oprah! and CNN, has helped thousands of folks recover from affairs. As the extramarital-affairs expert behind AOL's "Ask Peggy" forum and as a woman who's been married for 40 years to her high school sweetheart--who cheated on her for seven years while she kidded herself that he was remaining faithful--she certainly knows what she's talking about. She says that to successfully overcome an unfaithful spouse or companion, you have to work through the myths of monogamy. It's not just men, or men who travel a lot on business, or women with supermodel good looks, who cheat. It's people of all ages, all occupations: from pastors to postal workers to, well, presidents. In other words, everyone is at risk for betraying or being betrayed.

Studies conservatively estimate, Vaughan reveals, that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair. "These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved, since it's unlikely that all the men and women having affairs happen to be married to each other," she says. "If even half the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages."

Vaughn outlines the societal causes and supporters of affairs, from the commercialization of sex in every visible nook and cranny of our world to our lifelong tendency to surround sex with secrecy. She also lists the common desperate measures that people take when they suspect they're being cheated on, and why they don't work. (Vaughn herself resorted to becoming a gourmet cook, wearing sexy underwear, and acting like a sex fiend in bed, all to no avail.) She also tells what to expect during a confrontation, and includes copious techniques for rebuilding self-esteem. There's also information about how to choose a marriage counselor or group therapist and, even more important, when to stop seeing one. For couples--especially those with children--debating whether to divorce or remain married, there's plenty of proven guidance to be found here. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A beautiful, personal, gentle, practical book." —Diana Sollee, Director, Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education

"An outstanding and wonderfully helpful book." —Harriet Lerner, The Dance of Anger

"This book saved my marriage, and probably my sanity—and maybe my very life." —A letter from a grateful reader

"Thorough and measured…An intelligent look at the experience of adultery, the healing process, and final outcomes." —Booklist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Third Edition edition (January 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557045429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557045423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Peggy Vaughan is no marriage counselor (or psychotherapist) and it shows--she actually makes sense.
Ms. Vaughan has drawn insightfully from her extensive work with her Beyond Affairs Network. Unlike many self-styled or state-sanctioned (i.e., licensed mental health) experts, Ms. Vaughan actually uses more reality than dogma to inform her advice. For instance, her research shows that the leading variable in managing to stay together well after an affair is the willingness and ability to talk (and talk and talk and talk) about the affair for as long as needed to detoxify and demystify it. (Her research also shows that most people trying to deal with the aftermath of an affair find mental health types considerably les than informed or helpful, despite their beliefs in their great expertise. As a trained and experienced psychotherapist, and a well-respected scholar, I can tell you that the mainstream training and professional literature--not to mention self-help--on infidelity is mostly just dogma that mental health types have concocted out of thin air, not anything anyone has actually discovered through research.)
I do find a one thing a bit troubling. As I see it, she does not give due weight to issues of individual moral responsibility. There are two sides to this. First, she generally denies that adultery reflects personal failings, placing far more emphasis on social factors to explain why adultery takes place. She does not produce an argument, so far as I can see, against the idea of personal failings; rather she poses an alternative to that idea. But to pose an alternative to an idea is not to show the idea wrong.
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Format: Paperback
Advice during crisis or trauma can be well intended but infuriating. If you're going to give it or seek it, seems to me there should be a couple of important things present. 1) FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE and 2) Lots and lots of time spent involved with others going through the SAME predicament. In other words, information gathered from a number of sources. Then you've got my interest. I recommend this book if you are recovering from an affair. My heart goes out to you. Or if you are the unfaithful partner trying hard to reconcile and understand your own and your partner's very difficult task; to heal from the repercussions of your actions. This book lead me to BAN (Beyond Affairs Network) on the internet. Great resource for both partners.
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Format: Paperback
Peggy showed me how to better deal with my feelings and handle the situation in a thoughtful manner. The advice she gives is very timely. This book really illustrates what usually happens during an affair and how each individual can best cope with what is going on during this awful time. It has given me the ability to start moving ahead once again with my life.
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Format: Paperback
This book was terrible...It made me so angry I actually threw it away.
Basic premise seems to be that a cheating spouse is not to blame for their
behavior. It provides all sorts of 'society made him do it' nonsense. I was looking for a book that would help me to heal and somehow rebuild my marriage with my husband after discovering his long term affair with my best friend. I suppose different people may find it helpful but I found it to be completely worthless in that regard.
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By txmom on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
I got this book thinking it would help me come to terms with husband's recent unfaithfulness. The book did nothing but anger me. I read almost to the end and realized the book was creating more stress for me. It was not because I was reliving anything but the pure and simple BS. Since when is a person not responsible for their own actions. I am not saying that I didn't help the situation but really.....you want to blame society. That does not fly with me. A person should behave with morals and if you don't have any, then marriage may not be for you. Monogamy should not be considered a myth. I am not saying that one cannot overcome what occurred, but this book is just letting you forgive based on society made your partner do it. I quit reading when the book told me that. This is the perfect book for the cheater. In which the authors are married and the husband did stray. I'd say that he did a wonderful job by writing a book with his spouse and completing his I'm sorry, I was wrong, I love you, Society made me do it BS. Grow up and deal with the consequences of YOUR actions.
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Format: Paperback
It's a quick-read and very helpful for anyone in the acute stage of dealing with an affair....from the spouse or the infidel perspective. But, it's not a 5-star read. Too focused on societal causes rather than personal responsibility, and the potential 'impact on kids' is covered too superficially as a consideration after 'money' and before 'home and garden'. But it's still a solid book!
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It has been nearly three years since my partner's affair, and it is only after the full process of healing, and all the stages and setbacks that go along with it, that I choose to write an outstanding review. Not only was this book helpful, but all of Peggy Vaughn's online resources are helpful as well. Every situation is different, and every person is different. Some betrayed partners may be incapable of letting go of the anger and bitterness. And some betrayers do not deserve or earn another chance. If you are in a position where this terrible, but sadly common, tragedy has touched your relationship, but you wish to rebuild trust and you and your partner are both ready and willing to work - this book and others with a similar approach and content WILL help you get there! It's not easy, it's not quick, but for us it has worked and been worthwhile. I am not being trite or naive when I say, quite honestly, that our relationship is stronger than ever. Our marriage was only a couple years old when this happened, but now I have high hopes for our future.
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