The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

July 15, 2018 By The Editor

The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

1st Best Book 2017

The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

Esther Perel

Genre Psychology Counseling Sexuality

With The State of Affairs, 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.

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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.”

Editorial Reviews

“[One of the] best books of 2017… In The State of Affairs, Perel explores a vast landscape of the adulterous terrain… in a way that’s deeply humane and never preachy.” (NPR’s Guide to 2017’s Greatest Reads)

“[Perel] deals with the mess and pain of fractured relationships with searing honesty, astute observations and compassion… If your marriage were in trouble, you’d want her help.” (Guardian (UK))

“As someone so completely plugged into the world of relationships, it makes sense that Perel would have some incredible insight into the most important one of all: the relationship we have with ourselves.” (Shondaland)

“She doesn’t peddle in bromides or offer a shoulder to cry on — she’s too busy trying to shake you to your senses, insisting on your agency, your vitality and your complicity in what happens in your marriage.“ (The New York Times)

“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)

“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)

About the Author

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered nearly 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 24 languages. Her newest book is New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins).

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