The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Iconic couples' therapist and best-selling author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel returns with a groundbreaking and provocative look at infidelity, arguing for a more nuanced and less judgmental conversation about our transgressions.
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. Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, and so, too, the prohibition against it - in fact it has a tenacity that marriage can only envy.
So what are we to make of this time-honored taboo, universally forbidden yet universally practiced? For the past 10 years, master therapist Esther Perel has traveled the globe and worked with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity. In The State of Affairs she asks, why do we cheat? And why do happy people cheat? Why does infidelity hurt so much? And when we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Is an affair always the end of a marriage?
Affairs, she writes, have a lot to teach us about relationships. They provide unusual insight into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment. Betrayal hurts, but it can be healed. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage - with the same person. With the right approach, Perel argues, couples can grow and learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart.
Fiercely intelligent, The State of Affairs provides a daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire. As Perel writes, "Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart."
After listening to Esther read The State of Affairs, continue on as she opens the door to her office and invites you to listen in on actual couple sessions. These are unscripted conversations of real, anonymous couples grappling with infidelity from her Audible Original podcast Where Should We Begin Begin? (courtesy of Audible Originals, LLC). As you enter this raw, intimate space with Esther, we hope you find the vocabulary for the conversations you may wish to have.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 10, 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,663 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Medical Counseling
#7 in Medical Psychology of Sexuality
#11 in Psychology & Counseling Books on Sexuality
Top reviews from the United States
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Overall I really like this book and feel it has really helped me in understanding affairs in general as well as in my own marriage. I will caution, like previous reviewers commented, a chapter near the end of the book suggests that maybe the problem isn’t infidelity but our society’s definition of marriage and maybe we need to rethink the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is allowed in a marriage. This, in my opinion, is flawed and goes against everything I believe. Besides this one chapter dedicated to this idea, there are moments sprinkled in the book where she hints at this notion but she herself seems confused on if that is the best solution as most of the time the relationships with more liberal open rules still end up having affairs, so her defense on this idea doesn’t have much weight. Other than those moments I love the book and it has truly helped me understand and forgive and move on, not forget, but forgive and move on.
My favorite part of the book is a chapter near the end that talks about three different types of couples (referring to ones that stay together after infidelity), the ones who never move on, they stay hurt and constantly bring up the affair and the pain and blame each other, the ones that sweep it under the rug and almost pretend it never happened and “move on” but they don’t really move on because they live in denial that anything even happened, and then there are those that use the affair to transform their marriage and find the positives from the affair and can connect more deeply because of it.
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 mainly because of the ideas I don’t agree with regarding redefining marriage, a notion that half the time she seems to be on the fence about herself but has a whole chapter dedicated to it as well as sprinkled hints about through out the book. Other than that I do like the book and found it insightful and loaded with good ideas and mainly understanding.
Top reviews from other countries
At the beginning of the book Esther Peel looks at the conventional wisdom on partnerships and marriages and fidelity in them. She points out that in Western society there are strong views that partners in these are expected to stay loyal to each other, with out straying elsewhere for intimacy and sex. She does not appear to have problems with this per se, but points out there are many divergences form this path. It is human nature to transgress boundaries, even if this is painful.
What follows are a large number of accounts of cases she has encountered. This includes infidelity in conventional marriages, both homo- and hetro- sexual partnerships, open relationships (where issues of infidelity can crop up despite there being a permission to find additional partnerships) as well as ones that insist on monogamy. She looks also at issues of betrayal, the pain of discovery of an affair, how some affairs may save people from bad partnerships and also how that affairs may sometimes (paradoxically?) even save and strengthen relationships. Perel also looks at the various kind of people involved, apparently settled people, those who prefer to have affairs rather than stay in a single one.
All in all the range of people discussed here is wide. Perel's aim is not to discredit monogamy, but to suggest what is needed is a little more space for people in their situations to work through. At one point in the narrative she ponders on the general state of knowledge around human sexuality. As she states it is limited. This book contributes to expanding that space a little more. An enlightening read.
I wonder how many couples would have stayed together had they understood what motivates an affair - not least a million years of evolution!
My betting is that the current generation will be much less likely to run into trouble as there is so much less shame, religion and humiliation around. They do talk to each other as well...! That's the formula!