cover image The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

Esther Perel. Harper, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-232258-6

Longtime couples therapist Perel follows 2006’s Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence with another provocative study of relationships. This time around she puts forth the controversial view that infidelity is ultimately beneficial to relationships, and she successfully explores the ways that affairs force partners to closely examine their attitudes about love, commitment, and sex. Make no mistake: Perel does not advocate infidelity. She dismisses the oft-used excuse that adultery is due to sex addiction and argues that emotional cheating is still cheating (“When it’s no longer an exchange of kisses but an exchange of dick pics... when the secretive lunch has been replaced with a secret Facebook account, how are we to know what constitutes an affair?”). She sensibly makes the case that if the damage has already been done, it’s imperative that the experience provide a way forward—whether that is to stay married or to split up. She bolsters her arguments with real-life examples from both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The book is sure to spark intelligent conversations that will have readers everywhere examining their belief systems. This is a thought-provoking take on relationships and essential reading for couples dealing with infidelity. [em](Oct.) [/em]