The State of Affairs : Rethinking Infidelity
by Esther Perel


Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About The State of Affairs by Esther Perel
 
 
 
Overview

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? When we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Do our romantic expectations of marriage set us up for betrayal? Is there such a thing as an affair-proof marriage? Is it possible to love more than one person at once? Can an affair ever help a marriage? Perel weaves real-life case stories with incisive psychological and cultural analysis in this fast-paced and compelling book.

For the past ten years, Perel has traveled the globe and worked with hundreds of couples who have grappled with infidelity. Betrayal hurts, she writes, but it can be healed. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage--with the same person. With the right approach, couples can grow and learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart.

Affairs, she argues, have a lot to teach us about modern relationships--what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. They offer a unique window into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment. Through examining illicit love from multiple angles, Perel invites readers into an honest, enlightened, and entertaining exploration of modern marriage in its many variations.

Fiercely intelligent, The State of Affairs provides a daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire. As Perel observes, "Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart."


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062322586
  • ISBN-10: 0062322583
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: October 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Psychology > Human Sexuality (see also SOCIAL SCIENCE - Human Sexuality)
Books > Psychology > Psychotherapy - Counseling
Books > Family & Relationships > Marriage & Long Term Relationships

 
BookPage Reviews

Maintaining monogamy

Without infidelity as a theme, there would be a precipitous decline in the number of novels and movies produced, not to mention the utter destruction of country music and much of the legal profession. Whether or not one has personally been unfaithful to a romantic partner, one almost certainly knows people who have been.

As a practicing therapist for more than 30 years, Esther Perel’s goal in The State of Affairs is to go beyond the standard victim-versus-victimizer model of adultery and explore its infinite complexities—the better to salvage something even slightly worthwhile from the experience, preferably for both partners.

One reason infidelity is so catastrophic, Perel says, is that we are culturally groomed to believe marriage should provide us everything we need emotionally, including sex, offspring, friendship, stability, inspiration and refuge. When it falls short, as it almost always does for at least one of the partners, it can open the door to straying. “Not only can an affair destroy a marriage,” Perel writes, “it has the power to unravel an entire social fabric.”

But infidelity, she points out, is not all that easy to define. Depending on the aggrieved partner’s standards, it can range from flirtation or viewing pornography to maintaining a furtive, long-term romantic relationship. To illustrate how varied the “cheating” scene is, she explores the stories of dozens of couples she has counseled.

Among the conclusions she reaches are that you can’t adultery-proof a marriage, that complete honesty in trying to mend the ravages of adultery can sometimes do more harm than good, and that infidelity isn’t always caused by marital dissatisfaction. Sometimes it just happens.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews