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The State of Affairs

Rethinking Infidelity

Von Esther Perel
15 Minuten
Audio-Version verfügbar
The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity von Esther Perel

The State of Affairs (2017) tackles the tough subject of infidelity. Cheating is widely condemned as immoral, and yet, at some point or another, many people do it anyway. This book offers a fresh look at infidelity and asks a difficult question: Is it such a bad thing after all?

  • Faithful lovers
  • Unfaithful lovers
  • Mistresses and manstresses

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist who specializes in modern-day love, partnership and dating. For over a decade, she has worked with a wide range of couples, counseling them through every variety of emotional difficulty, from betrayal to trust, infidelity to forgiveness. She also works as an organizational consultant, speaks nine languages and hosts the podcast Where Should We Begin?

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The State of Affairs

Rethinking Infidelity

Von Esther Perel
  • Lesedauer: 15 Minuten
  • Verfügbar in Text & Audio
  • 9 Kernaussagen
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The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity von Esther Perel
Worum geht's

The State of Affairs (2017) tackles the tough subject of infidelity. Cheating is widely condemned as immoral, and yet, at some point or another, many people do it anyway. This book offers a fresh look at infidelity and asks a difficult question: Is it such a bad thing after all?

Kernaussage 1 von 9

Infidelity is hard to define, but most instances of infidelity have a few things in common.

We’ve all wondered about it. Exactly how many people cheat on their partner? Is it a rare aberration or a common occurrence?

Well, such questions are hard to answer, because cheating is difficult to define.

There’s never been universal consensus on what constitutes infidelity. Today, however, the issue is even more complex, thanks to dating platforms and apps such as Tinder. For example, are you betraying your partner by engaging in flirtatious online chatting?

But even if you ignore the internet, the boundary between fidelity and infidelity is hard to pin down. Are you cheating if you sleep with a sex worker? If you get a lap dance? What if you’re in a heterosexual relationship and you sleep with someone of the same sex?

These definitional difficulties have resulted in widely varying estimates of infidelity in the United States. Some studies conclude that 25 percent of the US population has been unfaithful; others, that it’s closer to 70 percent. However, most studies concur that infidelity is on the rise.

This increase is due, in large part, to an uptick in the sexual adventurousness of women. In fact, in 2007, psychologist Rebecca J. Brand conducted a study whose definition of infidelity included romantic feelings, kissing and touching. By this definition, college-aged women were more likely to be unfaithful than men.

Now, despite this lack of a clear definition, it is possible to identify a few elements shared by the majority of infidelities.

In the author’s experience, infidelities usually include one of the three following elements: secrecy, sexual chemistry or emotional involvement. An act may qualify as cheating even if none of these elements are present; however, more often than not, at least one of these things is part of the recipe.

Secrecy, in addition to adding excitement to an affair, is often what hurts the betrayed partner the most. Learning that your partner kept you in the dark can be much more painful than knowing that your partner is having an affair.

Actual sex isn’t necessarily part of a sexual connection. Engaging in intense flirtation can be just as sexual as having a one-night stand and can constitute just as much of a betrayal.

Lastly, almost all affairs include some kind of emotional involvement. Again, the emotional side of infidelity often causes more pain than the merely physical part.

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