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Publisher's Summary

Iconic couples' therapist and best-selling author Esther Perel returns with a provocative look at relationships through the lens of infidelity, providing the insight we so desperately need to help us move beyond a simplistic discussion.

An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, and so, too, have the prohibitions against it - in fact adultery has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. And yet this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honoured taboo - universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat? When we say 'infidelity', what exactly do we mean? Is there such a thing as an affair-proof marriage? Is it possible to love more than one person at once? Can an affair ever help a marriage?

Psychotherapist Esther Perel is recognised as one of the most insightful and original voices on modern love. For the past 10 years, she has worked with hundreds of couples who have grappled with infidelity. Betrayal hurts, she argues, but healing is possible. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage - with the same person. With the right approach, couples can learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart. Weaving real-life stories with incisive psychological and cultural analysis, Perel invites listeners into a truly revealing exploration of modern marriage.

©2017 Esther Perel (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Beautiful. A brilliantly intelligent plea for complexity, understanding, and - as always - kindness." (Alain de Botton)
"Esther Perel does nothing short of strip us of our deepest biases, remind us of our purpose in connecting as lovers, and save relationships that might otherwise sink into the sea-all with even-handed wisdom, fresh morality, and wise prose. Thank heavens for this woman." (Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fantastic insight even for singles

I am single and while listening to this book, I have learned so much about myself. Amazing stories and new light into accepting that relationships are not black and white, and that is up to you to build one in the best way that serves you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Insightful and well produced

What a treat to hear Esther’s wisdom from her own mouth. I recommend the book to all couples, not just those affected by infidelity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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amazing book

very insightful, emphathetic and full of wisdom. the book not only talks about infidelity but about the principle.behind human relationships

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a must read for any relationship

enjoyed the book. I loved how it was segmented. it was honest, objective and the perspective very balanced. quite insightful & challenging. a great read for anyone in a relationship, going through a challenge, considering infidelity or trying to recover from it. I hope it starts the right conversations

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Interesting, but hard to follow

Interesting book and content, but Esther has a very thick accent and a reading style that i personally found difficult to understand

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amazing therapy book

amazing book to deal with a breakup or trying to work through an affair. changes and heals perceptions.

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  • regarnol
  • 01-16-18

Listen with your partner

If you could sum up The State of Affairs in three words, what would they be?

A powerful, intrinsic reminder

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

From start to finish my partner and I were glued to this book. We played it during a long car journey and the conversations, insights and reflections that we both took away will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pepe
  • 11-26-17

A very informative introspective on infedelity from many angles

Most people have a simplified view about affairs which sums up to either he has the affair because he is a sex addict or she has it because she lacks something on the relationship. This book shows a much more complex set of circumstances, motifs, developments and attitudes relating to affairs.

Some of the things you may not be expecting are the meaning the affair may carry for the infidel, a chapter devoted to the other person, and good final summary about how affairs end and affect relationships and a bit of advice on how to avoid them. The chapter on alternatives to monogamy is informative too.

Esther Perel reads her own book with a very clear voice. Following her style, the book is full of pompous words and you may not find many of them on common dictionaries. As this is an audio book, that amount of verbosity is not as bad as it is when you read directly on paper. She also likes to reinterpret words to give them different meanings like repair = re-pair. I find these two things a bit annoying, on an otherwise intelligent and very sensitive book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashen River
  • 07-06-18

Must read!!

Everyone should read this book!! It’s an insightful and educating outlook on relationships. Excellent and mind opening!

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  • Victoria
  • 06-10-18

Great for thinking about modern marriage

vs old days

if anyone is tempted read this first it will give advice and warnings

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  • Edelwais
  • 05-03-18

Eye opening, challenging, empathetic

Eye opening, challenging, empathetic, an inspiration for self reflection whether one is in a relationship or not.
Esther Perel's raspy accented voice is perfect in delivering slowly and passionately the numerous stories of pain in these pages.
She states clearly her attempt at understanding and unpacking instead of cheap fixes, and jumping to judgement. The raw voices of anger and pain bring authenticity to the clinical stories.
The guidance she provides on dealing and healing after an affair is a gift.
She is careful in acknowledging the several sides on a particular view or attitude. But also unafraid to say when she disagrees with certain therapeutic strategies.
The quotes and citations are clearly conveyed and add more value for readers who may want to pursue certain topics further.
I was initially hesitant to buy the book thinking I already have read and thought about all there is on designing our own relationships on the basis of honesty. After this book, I have discovered new points of view that had escaped me before.
Fantastic work, deep gratitude to the author.

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  • Selah
  • 04-05-18

insides into real life couples - excellent

I love the realistic approach, open-minded in getting the context of the story rather than the blaming rules. Teaching by understanding others. a must read...

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  • Rebecca
  • 03-22-18

Rethinking what you know about affairs

This is such an important book to read. Narrated by Esther herself, her lovely accent is wonderful to listen to with her poetic prose. This book opened my eyes to affairs from both parties and it has given me an understanding of how to operate in my relationship to ensure it remains full of love and happiness. Well worth a read!!!

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  • lori
  • 02-22-18

everyone who has a relationship should read this !

The uncomfortable yet fascinating thought provoking true book I've ever read . I recommend it wholeheartedly.

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  • Ana
  • 02-12-18

Great book about relationships

My favourite from Audible so far! Thank you Esther Perel for such an amazing work.

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  • levasseur
  • 12-16-17

very interesting for married or even single

what is monogamy now a days and understanding the complexity of relationship boundaries. how far can you - the limit is your perception of what you believe.

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  • Charlie R
  • 10-26-17

Fantastic

An incredible insight into infidelity. It completely challenged and widened my understanding of how we view infidelity and it's repercussions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-26-18

sooo helpful

I loved the way this book gave such diverse examples and flexible solutions. It is truly helpful for anyone in a marriage not just those dealing with affairs.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-18

Intriguing

Engaging, insightful. Intelligent and logical without advocation.Calming.A great resource for understanding the complexities and causes of betrayal.

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  • Bradley
  • 03-05-18

The Potential to save your relationship

As a middle age man in a 20 year happy marriage, I'm amazed at how well the author articulates feelings I have, but have never understood myself. The book is full of excellent real life stories that you can relate to.

Everyone in a relationship or about to enter a new one should read this.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-18

real life cases

I really enjoy the book. very interesting topic and whats happening everywhere in the world. school should start teaching this more, and we all possible to have a passion love life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-24-18

Enlightening!!

Enlightening view of relationships. A must read for anyone with an open mind who actively thinks about their relationship as opposed to blindly following societal traditions. If we all understood just half of the concepts discussed in this book our relationships and the world would be a better place.

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  • Ralph
  • 01-09-18

Excellent but

This is such a useful and timely book! Ester’s wealth of experience, sharp eye and compassionate wisdom is deeply and desperately need at all levels of society.

For myself, I hold to a Christian view of people: that marriage should be for life, that all people can change and become their best selves within this, and that we all need to learn and grow together.

I therefore didn’t find much of value in chapter 14, and hope that everyone can aspire to being the “Explorer” couple described in chapter 15.

All the way along, though, I think her insights and writing are brilliant, compassionate, well-grounded and eminently practical.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-20-17

fantastic book!

absolutely loved this book! it came into my life at the right time and I learned so much from it. my favorite book on audible so far. in fact I am going to listen to it a second time! Thank you!