For couples who agree to be monogamous, the news that one partner has engaged in infidelity can be devastating. Depending on your interpretation of cheating, anything from 26-75% of people in committed relationships have been unfaithful.
Traditionally, it is viewed as an enormous betrayal—one that often ends the relationship altogether, or at least heralds the start of a long and difficult road to recovery. But is there a better way to think about infidelity?
Renowned relationship therapist Esther Perel (author of the book “Mating in Captivity: Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss”) wants you to examine your preconceptions and misconceptions about the meaning of cheating.
She explores the reasons why people end up straying from agreements to stay monogamous, and tries to figure out why infidelity causes such great injury to the other partner in the relationship.
If you’ve ever cheated or been cheated on, you might find this video provocative—indeed, it might stir up feelings even if you’ve never experienced infidelity but have found yourself feeling anxious about it as a possibility.
Perel urges you, the viewer, to see infidelity as an expression of great loss and longing. She also takes a critical look at the important topic of how people can heal in the aftermath of an affair. Although affairs can be destructive, Perel affirms that couples can eventually end up in a better place because of them.
So, while she wouldn’t recommend “having an affair any more than [she’d] recommend having cancer” she does want those who have been affected by infidelity to use it as an opportunity for self- growth and self-discovery.
So, if you’re reading this because you’re struggling to recover from an affair, take heart—if you’re willing to invest time, effort and honesty, you could be on the path to reaching new levels of intimacy and satisfaction with your partner.