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Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy Paperback – November 17, 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
For people who suspect their spouses are having a secret romantic affair, or are coping with the aftermath of one, this primer offers sensible counsel, albeit in pedestrian, chatty prose. From case studies of 100 adulterous couples whom he has treated, Pittman, a psychiatrist in Atlanta, draws profiles of four basic patterns of betrayal: accidental flings which "just happen"; habitual philandering, which he believes to be motivated by insecurity and fear of the opposite sex; crazy, in-love romantic states that cloud one's judgment; and marital arrangements ranging from sexual supplements to flamboyant revenge affairs. His deflation of "popular myths" about affairs is less than startling. More helpful are sections on what to look for in a marriage partner, dealing with jealousy, remarriage (unions between a divorcing partner and the "affairee" have a low success rate) and the traumatic effects of secret affairs on children. First serial to Self.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Dr. Pittman takes us on a remarkably informative foray into the unknown territory of marital infidelity. Private Lies manages to be delightfully readable, compassionate and awfully funny at the same time.” (Maggie Scarf)
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not quite sure why therapists get utterly goofy when they start writing about infidelity, manufacturing nonsense about its always being a function of the marriage, or both parties having contributed. We wouldn't say those things about, say, wife beating, would we? Why say it about other egregious disrespect, damage, and betrayal of the entire marriage contract?
Pittman, with refreshing good sense, shoots down six common "myths about infidelity" and provides very sound analysis and advice. Frankly, I would rank this as one of the better pop books by anyone, on any subject, in matters of mental health. His comments on guilt and jealousy are among the best I've ever heard from a mental health type.
I have only two complaints:
First, Pittman feels compelled to give his own "typology" of affairs, and while it's better than any other I've seen, it's still artificial and doesn't encompass all the sorts of affairs that occur. You might not do well to fit yourself into his pigeonholes.
Second, like other Americans, Pittman for some reason feels the irrational need to deny that sex is at the heart of the damage done by infidelity. True, the lies and so forth are horrible. But let's face facts: We don't get nearly so hurt or angry about lies that have nothing to do with sexual betrayal. I guess Americans don't like talking about the elemental emotions that go with sex, even when we're talking about sex.
Maybe I'll have to write a book saying that monogamy is about sex, and what that means, and what it means that sexual betrayal is sexual. Until then, read Pittman's book. It's very sound.