Book review of “The State of Affairs” by Esther Perel

Psychotherapist Esther Perel delves into the deep, dark forbidden areas of love. Often seen as traumatic, scarring and a deal breaker for relationships, infidelity is no stranger to even the strongest of relationships. Why does it happen? For how long? Can we overcome this? Perel tackles the emotional roller coaster of breaking the news, dealing with the clean up and helping regain individuality through counseling lessons with singles and couples. 

Surprising to most but not all, admitting infidelity can alleviate burdens. The weight of releasing a secret, working together in complete honesty, and starting new can have positive effects from a shameful truth. However, Perel notes that healing and fixing a relationship takes time and is not always successful. While never encouraging couples to separate or stay together, Perel gives respect and credit to each partner’s feelings, insecurities and helps voice the love language of couples who have fallen off the same page.

Perel acknowledges the grief, resentment, hurt and disdain felt from a betrayal of loving another when proclaiming to be faithful. Some affairs described in her book were hot, passionate and a one time thing. Others went on for years while maintaining second lives of marriage and kids. 

Learning from affairs can teach us about our desires, wants and needs. Whether they be unfulfilled or the cheater felt entitled to it, Perel examines infidelity in a modern eye, allowing a new door to be opened in the same marriage. 

This book is a psychological masterpiece, offering unique perspectives on personal and cultural attitudes pertaining to love. Perel is optimistic and encouraging towards relationships and regrowth. A must read for a new mindset on an ancient taboo polluting modern society.

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