What an awful reading!!!! not that the book is bad, but of course, reading 300 pages on adultery when you are in a relationship is a real mine of anxiety. be in good shape if you decide to do it!
to tell the truth, I did not like this book as much as I thought i would. I find it messy, with the conclusion: all cases are possible … well thank you!
on the other hand, I’ve learned some very beautiful things. sometimes painful but truly beautiful.
1. The phenomenon of adultery is universally observed
so either, it means our need for transgression is universal or maybe that our love model, monogamous and romantic, is universally inappropriate to the human race (I recommend the incredible reading of SEX AT DAWN on this theme, I’m currently devouring it!).
2. romantic love is an impossible “ideal” that is therefore toxic
attention, drum roll: guys, soul mate does not exist! to think that there is one person who is at the same time your best friend, your best lover, the best father/mother and all this… forever, is a misconception, which puts pressure on couples and therefore weakens them. it is not impossible but very very rare and therefore we have, at least, to think about it.
3. I am more anxious about the idea of cheating on my partner than on the contrary
EP gives no idea to avoid adultery (or I did not read well). but if I pull the thread, for my part, everything is a question of truth. to oneself. towards the other. and I find it very difficult. in some examples, you see people who “truly” don’t know what they are doing. they are totally cut between truth and the stories they are telling to themselves “especially if what I want / need evolves over time and therefore the (often tacit) agreement of the beginning of the relationship is no longer valid. like “I do not want to do that anymore”, “I would like to sleep with a woman” or “what about becoming poly-lovers ?!” etc, etc, wow, I find it dizzying but it gave me courage to initiate some difficult discussions. and you have to because … see point 2
4. People who experience adultery are often completely isolated
In the United States, for example, societal pressure means that adultery must necessarily lead to the end of the marriage/monogamous couple. however, many couples continue to love each other and want to rebuild a relationship, even if it is destroyed. the demonization of adultery therefore places the couple desiring to continue in very great isolation and therefore increased their distress. Roughly speaking, they only have the therapist to help them. think about it if it happens to your surroundings.
5. The reaction to adultery is socially conditioned
in the United States, it is often the total devastation, in Senegal on the other hand, where EP works with communities of women, there are feelings of treason and anger but the women do not feel “entirely” destroyed by a husband who goes elsewhere.
6. Sexual betrayal does not have to be seen as the worst betrayal
we often forget all the reasons that lead to this situation. For instance. in some couples, one of the two does not want to make love anymore, and obliges the other to a sexual “celibacy”. who betrays who? the life of a couple, of a family should not be reduced to sexual fidelity: I was touched by this man who said: “but I supported my wife during her cancer, when her father died, I was there when his drugged brother spent several months at home and we still love each other … I do not want our relationship to be reduced to “I slept with another woman”.
7. some people cheat, sometimes risking losing everything
Why? because it corresponds to an unconscious necessity. so there are loving and happy couples but the woman goes to sleep with the gardener because he connects her to a part of herself that she did not know and which becomes essential, vital. her work with EP will be to integrate this part of herself in her couple so as not to have to ask to the gardener anymore. hence the need to know one true self! and the loop is looped with point 3.
8. Adultery is like cancer: EP does not wish it to anyone but finds that it sometimes allows to connect the couple to a deeper truth and love
In particular, she salutes the creativity and compassion shown by some to reinvent their lives with two … or more!
to conclude with, I much prefer Esther Perel in her talks (on infidelity and desire) and especially her podcast Where Should We Begin where she records her therapy sessions with couples: there is so much compassion and growth, it upset me more than once and we learn a lot about relationships! especially that you have to grow, learn and be honest. love, sex and intimacy are not “natural” or innate things. re-drum roll: guys, you have so much work ahead!
i know these issues are hard but hope it can help.
a thousand kisses!