The State of Affairs Book Summary - The State of Affairs Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The State of Affairs summary

Esther Perel

Rethinking Infidelity

4.2 (222 ratings)
22 mins
Table of Contents

    The State of Affairs
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    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.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The State of Affairs?

    Key ideas in The State of Affairs

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The State of Affairs about?

    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?

    Best quote from The State of Affairs

    He that is not jealous is not in love. – old Latin proverb

    —Esther Perel
    example alt text

    Who should read The State of Affairs?

    • Faithful lovers
    • Unfaithful lovers
    • Mistresses and manstresses

    About the Author

    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?

    Categories with The State of Affairs

    Books like The State of Affairs

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial