A veteran therapist’s approach to thinking about extramarital affairs.
“Affairs have a lot to teach us about relationships—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to,” writes Perel (Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, 2006, etc.). “They offer a unique window into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment.” Using research and personal stories from her 30 years as a couples’ therapist, the author dives into the world of affairs: why men and women engage in them, what many consider “innocent” behavior versus flat-out wrongdoing, the rage, jealousy, guilt, and host of other emotions that flair up once an affair is discovered, and the full recovery process, which determines whether a couple will remain together or split up. Perel examines each affair with an open attitude, trying to get to the root of why it happened and how each person involved can view the same scenario in a different light. She discusses the stigmas surrounding the words “affair” and “divorce,” how the healing process has to steer away from blame and toward understanding, and how access to social media and pornography have made it far easier for people to cheat on their loved ones, sometimes while in the same room. The real-life examples and quotes from people who are working through the aftermath of a discovered affair offer insights into the sadness, betrayal, innocence, resentment, love, and denial that are part of this complex package. Perel’s advice to these couples will resonate with anyone going through a similar situation, providing comfort and guidance without the need for an actual therapy session.
Poignant stories of couples facing the aftermath of an affair and the highly knowledgeable analysis and advice they received from a well-trained couples’ therapist.