Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic.
I’ve always respected Esther Perel. I’ve not agreed with everything she says but this video is spot on. Or, it’s spot on for me and my view of infidelity. First, let me qualify, I’ve never dealt with infidelity in my life. My view on the subject might be different if I had.
A few quotes from Esther on infidelity and my thoughts:
“It’s never been easier to cheat, and it’s never been more difficult to keep a secret. And never has infidelity exacted such a psychological toll. When marriage was an economic enterprise, infidelity threatened our economic security. But now that marriage is a romantic arrangement, infidelity threatens our emotional security.”
I found this helpful in understanding why infidelity kills so many marriages these days. My grandfather cheated, so did my father. I grew up watching couples overcome infidelity and move on. Because of that, I’ve never understood those who were willing to throw in the towel after infidelity. I do now!
Some years back, if a marriage was based on economics, infidelity didn’t do as much emotional damage. Today, when marriage is based on love, infidelity strikes the heart, not just the pocketbook and, as I’ve learned through my own experience with a broken heart mending isn’t always possible. I have a deep appreciation for anyone who can help me “get it.” Thanks, Esther!
“Infidelity shatters the grand ambition of love.”
It does come with grand ambitions, doesn’t it? For me, this was the most emotionally powerful quote from the video. I remember having those ambitions and then having them shattered. Not by infidelity but, the loss of what we think love will be almost keeps us from every believing in love again.
“So when a couple comes to me in the aftermath of an affair that has been revealed, I will often tell them this: Today in the West, most of us are going to have two or three relationships or marriages, and some of us are going to do it with the same person. Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?”
I’d love your thoughts on this quote. Is it possible to create a second marriage after infidelity if infidelity today does so much emotional harm?