Rethinking Infidelity

Rethinking Infidelity

Photo Credit – We Heart It

The other day, a friend of mine shared a Ted Talk video with me titled, Rethinking Infidelity.

The talk was given by Esther Perel, a well known relationship therapist and author of the book, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Her talk explores the deeper layers of why people cheat, and reveals that it’s not always our partner that we are turning away from but rather, from the person we have become; and it isn’t always that we are looking for another person, but that we are often looking for a new self.

She gives a perfect example of this when she refers to one of her patients who “is blissfully married, loves her husband and would never want to hurt him.” This same patient has always done what was asked and expected of her, until one day she fell in love with a tattooed arborist who came to remove the trees form her yard after a hurricane – and who was anything but similar to her. The affair this woman had with this man had nothing to do with her husband and everything to do with the adolescence she never had.

Esther also explains how infidelity has a negative effect on us, now more than ever. Marriage used to be an economical arrangement, which made infidelity a threat to our financial security. But now that marriage is a romantic arrangement, infidelity poses a threat to our security and sense of self-worth – a very dangerous side effect. Not to mention, in this digital age, an affair can cause multiple deep wounds with our ability to see the explicit details of an affair, through messages, emails and all the other forms of modern communication.

So the question is, does infidelity always mean the end of a relationship? Esther explains that you can absolutely heal from affairs. One of the observations she’s made over the years is that soon after an affair, couples will often engage in depths of conversation that they haven’t explored in decades – or possibly ever at all. And that often, if one person has been experiencing sexual indifference for years, the loss of fear can actually arouse a renewed sexual desire.

She goes on to say that every affair will redefine the relationship and that love and desire, do not yield black and white answers. And while she would never recommend an affair, she has witnessed time and time again that good can come out of it. Like someone who is diagnosed with a terrible illness such as cancer, a new perspective can often be found in difficult situations and a new and possibly improved relationship can come from the hurtful betrayal of an affair.

The way she sees it, there’s hurt and betrayal on one side – and growth and self-discovery on the other. Watch the full video here:

Peace, love and renewed perspectives,


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