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Publisher's Summary

Iconic couples' therapist and best-selling author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel returns with a groundbreaking and provocative look at infidelity, arguing for a more nuanced and less judgmental conversation about our transgressions.

An affair: It can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, and so, too, the prohibition against it - in fact it has a tenacity that marriage can only envy.

So what are we to make of this time-honored taboo, universally forbidden yet universally practiced? For the past 10 years, master therapist Esther Perel has traveled the globe and worked with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity. In The State of Affairs she asks, why do we cheat? And why do happy people cheat? Why does infidelity hurt so much? And when we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Is an affair always the end of a marriage?

Affairs, she writes, have a lot to teach us about relationships. They provide unusual insight into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment. Betrayal hurts, but it can be healed. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage - with the same person. With the right approach, Perel argues, couples can grow and learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart.

Fiercely intelligent, The State of Affairs provides a daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire. As Perel writes, "Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart."

After listening to Esther read The State of Affairs, continue on as she opens the door to her office and invites you to listen in on actual couple sessions. These are unscripted conversations of real, anonymous couples grappling with infidelity from her Audible Original podcast Where Should We Begin Begin? (courtesy of Audible Originals, LLC). As you enter this raw, intimate space with Esther, we hope you find the vocabulary for the conversations you may wish to have.

©2017 Esther Perel (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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A compassionate approach

The timing of this book was perfect for me. I am going through my own story of infidelity and this book has helped me put the issues and problems that led to my partners infedelities in perspective and into a clearer context. Ester's compassionate and non-judgemental approach to infidelity helped me come to terms with the hurt my partner caused me but also my role in the crisis. I started this book thinking that I would find strategies and ways to bring the relationship together again but in fact what Esther has done for me is help show me that the relationship is over and can't be repaired. But, more importantly, she has helped me see that there can be a happy life after infidelity and it is up to me to find a way to take the sadness out of my life and move on to a happier future.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Dope AF!!

Esther is a legend. Such a smart, well-spoken person. I appreciate how she's not dogmatic, allowing for new conversations to emerge. A very insightful and enjoyable listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely fantastic

If you have anything resembling traditional views on monogamy and marriage (and most of us do, to various extents) Be prepared to have the foundations of your beliefs dismantled. This should be required reading for all adults, and certainly for parents.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This should be required reading for every relationship

There is something that is both scandalous, intriguing and upsetting about infidelity.

The question I get from this book is that infidelity depends on what a relationship is. I don’t think that many relationships really consider what the nature of their commitment and their boundaries really are.

An open mind is required when listening to this book, and a little patience given the author’s accent.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Waste of money

Her podcasts and her other book mating in captivity are both five stars and awesome however this book is just listing off all the different affairs that she's come across and then ending it with one of her podcasts. Her podcast is excellent but I already heard it.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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A compelling and novel look at infidelity

The State of Affairs is an insightful, layered, thought-provoking, thorough and original piece of work, and Esther Perel is pleasure to listen to. The author provides a compelling and novel exploration in an area that rarely gets an unbiased look. It takes courage to offer new perspectives on topics as contentious as infidelity, and where deeply entrenched absolutes exist. Perel's erudite, empathetic, steadying voice manages to pierce the veil of the collective unconscious and invite deeper consideration and intelligent discourse. This book, agree with the conclusions or not, will permanently broaden the landscape and our thinking around infidelity in a way that only Esther Perel can.

26 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary Peace and the Need for Book 2

Would you listen to The State of Affairs again? Why?

This book is a lifesaver and should be shared.

What other book might you compare The State of Affairs to and why?

This work stands on it's own.

What does Esther Perel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Esther's passion and commitment to touching people with views from all sides of infidelity via her own voice on audible is personal, intimate and upfront.

What did you learn from The State of Affairs that you would use in your daily life?

Wisdom on this topic to help others by referring them to the book and being there if they need an empathetic ear.

Any additional comments?

Esther's work is honest, non-judgmental, empathic, edgy, holistic, and brings forth deep unexplored feelings. It's like a thousand therapy visits in 1 book; yet what it really does is set an incredibly strong foundation/framework for you to resolve or at least come to terms with, your own personal challenge. Her research doesn't justify affairs; it instead shows empathy from all angles. Anyone who chooses to be introspective, can better understand themselves; their behavior, choices, reactions, impact and feelings. For me, Esther gave me control and power back. 18 years of stoic repressed sadness and anger was lifted because her wisdom gave me permission to feel pain. I was finally honest with myself and then with my ex-husband in a heartfelt 5 page letter that followed. Thank you Esther. No doubt you'll touch many lives in many ways with your work of art. I would only ask that your next book be for the audience of children who have had to live through the divorce of their parents; split homes; step-parents; siblings, etc. They carry extraordinary pain as noted in much research. They need feelings validated; some sense of understanding; to not feel alone; and to have a framework to express themselves. Forgiving and asking forgiveness alone doesn't fix things for people. Your talent is that you provide a powerful foundation to think deep and create a conversation. That's the medicine that heals. Your masterful talent would again touch a whole new group of people who need the insight, compassion and understanding only you can bring in your special way of research and communication.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Chock Full of Great Points

As usual, Esther Perel, has a strong message that merits paying close attention to. Her keen insights to all angles of an affair was enlightening. There is no judgement in the tone of the book and no over-empathizing with the partner of the one who cheats. We need books that encourage more open conversations like this one. It acknowledges our humanity and fallibility and makes no promises that humans will ever do better. I appreciate how Esther addresses the sex addiction question. I am a believer that this is a real and debilitating disease. Perel draws no conclusion, rather she points to research and to the individuals to determine how to view the behavior. I highly recommend this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Really educational

I read and listened all Perel books and audios and in all is always something to learn.
Really simple the way she explained the complex situation of an affair.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

Full of great information and insight. the first few chapters are hard to listen through if you watch the authors talks online or have read her first book as it is a rehash of information, but once you get into the meat of it, it is great!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful