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The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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“Sexologist Perel, a marriage crisis ‘first responder,’ excavates the messy psychology of infidelity, digging into such charged topics as the ‘new shame’ of wives—staying with a cheater—and why even happy partners sometimes stray.” (O Magazine, 10 Books To Pick Up Now)
“Ms. Perel uses this sensible book to dispel these myths and to show that affairs can sometimes even fortify relationships, so long as they spur a couple to discuss what has long been left unsaid.” (The Economist)
“Ms. Perel doesn’t recommend that couples be unfaithful—far from it. But she thinks that affairs can happen in stable, happy marriages, and that they often have more to do with a person than a relationship.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Perel suggests that one factor driving infidelity in otherwise happy marriages is the fact that we rely on our spouse for too much, particularly too much in our own quest for self-discovery.” (New York Post)
“Through her research, [Perel is] able to dive into the sordid history of affairs, the modern prevalence of romantic love, and why, exactly, infidelity doesn’t always lead to the dissolution of a marriage. As it turns out, the widely accepted reasons for why people cheat don’t always apply — and the list of potential reasons is ever-evolving.” (Refinery29)
“Esther Perel is one of the most influential and well-known psychotherapists in the world. Through TED Talks, best-selling books, a podcast (Where Should We Begin?), and her clinical practice in New York City, she explores the one subject she believes interests every human: relationships.” (The Cut, New York Magazine)
“With a Francophone accent that sounds just as knowledgeable as it does erotic, to say Perel is easy on the ears is an understatement.” (Vogue on podcast Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel)
“Perel takes a peel-the-layers approach to infidelity that surprises on every page…. [She] weaves together a collection of personal stories that is both thrilling (you feel like you’re eavesdropping) and moving.” (Goop)
“Perel spends much of her book examining the psychological meaning, motivation, and impact of these affairs.” (CNN)
“If anyone knows the varied ways cheating can impact a marriage, it’s Esther Perel.” (Health magazine)
About the Author
Esther Perel is a couples and family therapist with a private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the International Trauma Studies program at Columbia University, is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Day New York, CBS This Morning, and HBO's Women Aloud. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
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Esther Perell has been studying the psychology of affairs and relationships for quite some time. In this book, she shatters a lot of myths about the reasons behind affairs, love and the whys of it all.
I was skeptical about the book at first, but I am really having a hard time putting it down. I keep finding myself looking back at passages and rethinking the relationships I have seen, the people I have counseled, and understandings or judgments I have had about others, rightly or wrongly. Yeah, as a pastor I try the judge not lest ye be judged. But as a sinner, I find myself crafting the stick by which I will be judged more often than I like to admit.
The book is somewhat cathartic in that respect. Often opening up new avenues of understanding. It’s not that she ever seeks to justify affairs. She doesn’t. But often our preconceived, worst construction on everything the cheater did, stands in the way of ever finding the ability to forgive the person, or see them as human, even when we pay lip service to forgiveness.
For some reason, I begin to think of John Updike as I read this book. He explores many of these issues through the use of fictional characters. Esther, brings in real people, real situations, with pseudonyms, and their real thoughts and feelings. With these, she mines the mechanics of it all.
I highly recommend this book o anyone who deals with people.
It's a highly charged topic that everyone has definite opinions about because most people have been touched by it in some way.
But what truly lies beyond the emotion, beyond the pain, beyond the preconceptions?
This is the territory that clinician and researcher Esther Perel covers in this important new work. Through working through the pain of infidelity with hundreds of couples, interviews and feedback from hundreds more across a broad swath of cultures and situations, and analysis of current research she tries to construct a picture of infidelity for all of us to look at and learn from.
In fifteen chapters that progressively work through defining different types of infidelity, the emotions of pain, jealousy, and guilt, processing, rebuilding, and constructing meaning, and the nature and challenges to monogamy in this culture, Perel brings her points home with clinical vignettes that illustrate both the ravaging damage and the potential hope that characterize walking through infidelity.
Perel challenges the reader to rethink their views, whatever they are, and realize that infidelity is rarely as simple or as straightforward as we think. There is no one single path to healing, there is no one pat answer as to why people cheat or what they should do when they're caught. Trying, really trying, to deeply understand the deep issues involved for all the parties is the only path to real growth, real healing.
I don't know anyone, whether "cheater" or cheated against or friend or family who would not greatly benefit from this important work. Highly recommended.
The book covers a lot of ground and Perel writes with clarity on a complex subject.
The personal stories are insightful and in the end there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to working through infidelity.
I've been there as have many of my friends and we all handled the situation differently.
As Perel acknowledges, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to working through infidelity. Her book provides some insight into how dozens of couples have coped with this betrayal of trust.