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The State of Affairs

Rethinking Infidelity
Narrated by: Esther Perel
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (255 ratings)

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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

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Fantastic

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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No Holds Barred

As a therapist and as person in relationship, this book is a wonderful challenge and an education in the way to re think our views on the way in which we relate in intimacy.

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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An incredible guide through a difficult time

Very insightful, I felt like my world was being analysed and treated from a far.

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Amazing for both professionals and the public

I am a relationship counselor and Esther is a revolutionary in the field. She's the foremost expert in affairs.
Her voice and deliberate choice in words made me listen carefully to every word. I may not have agreed which every choice she made but she makes it easy to learn and follow her logic.
The real life cases were so insightful and educational. Her mastery of narrative therapy is enviable and reignighted my interest in further study of it.

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Amazing, transformative.

The way the Esther contexualises infidelity reimagines what it is to be in a relationship without condoning transgression nor condemning the unfaithful. Instead it is an honest mature look at the topic with a plurality of cases which provide the reader with a host of different aspects to relate their own thoughts feeling and experiences. 10/10

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A must for couples & individuals, at any stage.

Esther cuts through the history, pain and assumptions surrounding infidelity, and in doing so reveals the real mechanisms of our hearts and minds. The title is spot-on - most definitely a refreshing, rewarding and ultimately an uplifting take on infidelity.

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unexpectedly enlightening

unexpectedly more enlightening than I imagined! this read is for everyone, because it teaches you and relationships too.

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Revolution of relationships

Very good insight into the nature of relationships and the modern evolution of the relationship between partners and the desire for others.

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  • Maria Jorquiera
  • 31-10-2017

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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-11-2017

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Pearl
  • 12-05-2018

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-03-2018

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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  • dan
  • 22-01-2018

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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  • CharbelB
  • 10-01-2018

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
  • 16-01-2018

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Accidental tourist
  • 08-10-2019

Thank you

This book really helped my wife and I. With insightful learnings and practical discussion Esther shows you that you're not alone. Infidelity does happen, and for many different reasons. This book does not peach, but gently guides you towards your own conclusions relevant to your specific situation. An interesting and insightful read. I would recommend this to anyone whether married and affected by infidelity, or looking to help ensure it doesn't happen to you. I wish I had found this book and read it before I found that I really needed it.

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  • Edelwais
  • 03-05-2018

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pepe
  • 26-11-2017

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-01-2020

Incredible insight.

What an insightful Therapist. Full of wisdom, creativity and solution focused practise. Creating an environment for discussion rather than judgement. Well done Esther

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  • e l quick
  • 13-10-2019

Great for anyone interested in relationships

I loved this book. I am a psychotherapist, but this book is s great book for anyone wanting yo understand relationships better. if you have been part of an affair, been hurt by an affair, thought about the concept of monogamy or just want a better relationship, this book is a must. It's easy to listen to and Esther Perel perfectly captures the emotion in her narration.

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  • scott
  • 29-09-2019

A definite need for life.

This book is for anybody who has cheated on anyone or has been cheated on by someone. I never understood all of the areas of life that can be affected by either cheating or being a cheater or cheated upon. This book helped me understand all of the areas that I had made mistakes on full stop and areas that I needed to re-evaluate my life The only part of this book that you need to bypass is the acknowledgement on Chapter 1.

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  • shili
  • 19-09-2019

eye opener!!!💛

this book made me realise I'm worth it as an individual in my relationship. I found myself again. it made me stronger as a woman! now it's time to take actions

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  • Nora
  • 24-04-2019

<br />A great book to re-examine Infidelity

An interesting outlook on infidelity and how its perceived, individualy, by couples and others outside

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  • Petra
  • 06-02-2019

Great and complete insight into infidelity

Not as groundbreaking as Mating in Captivity for me, but still full of amazing insights and reassurance (though not always positive). I certainly recommend this one and will keep it “on the shelf” for further reference. Also, I love that it’s Esther Perel herself reading the book.