Book review: The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel

Iconic couples’ therapist and bestselling author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel returns with a provocative look at relationships through the lens of infidelity.

An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet, this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honored taboo—universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat—even those in happy marriages? Why does an affair hurt so much?

Infidelity isn’t the most easy subject to read about. At least for me it isn’t. 
25bookperel2-articlelargeOne of the reasons I picked up this book is the fact that I myself have been cheated on. Back in the day, I did not even remotely understand how deeply that betrayal scarred me and how almost 8 years after that, it still affected my relationships with men.
Another reason was my insatiable desire to understand, without attempting to judge. I know people who cheated, I’ve known people who were cheated on, I know people whose marriages broke down, and who lived through it all and attempted to glue things back together…
Esther Perel’s study of infidelity is extremely well-written, bold, non-judgemental and extremely insightful. The author treats the subject from all sorts of angles imaginable, relating the stories of affairs not only from the points of view of the cheaters and their significant others, but also from the point of view of the OTHER women. What motivates the cheater? How do the victims of infidelity react and how should they react? Why do happy couples encounter infidelity? These are some of the many many question Esther Perel discusses in the State of the Affairs.

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