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Esther Perel Should STFU

Esther PerelIf anyone’s bullshit ever deserved to be fed through the patented Universal Bullshit Translator (or a chipper shredder… or left at the bottom of a radioactive well) it’s Esther “Affairs Make You Feel Alive!” Perel.

Perel, as you’ll recall, wrote “Mating in Captivity.”  The title alone gives you an idea about Perel’s notions of marriage. Who mates in captivity? Zoo animals! Poor wild animals, caged, far away from their natural habitat. Forced into an unnatural domesticity, having to mate in strange, artificial surroundings, making the best of it. Really they would rather cavort across the veldt, eat a wildebeest, fuck, and have a nap. But no, alas, they’ve been captured, poor things.

Which is so very like marriage, which you enter into voluntarily, with full agency, and can escape at any time with a divorce decree.

But whatevers. The woman makes me want to scream.

I’ve written about Esther Perel before, here, here, and here.

So why would I get my bowels in an uproar and write yet another post about this barmy Belgian? Because she harshed my buzz. I was reading a really nice article on what makes a good marriage by Business Insider “Lasting Relationships Rely on 2 Traits” (kindness and generosity) — and tacked at the end was a video entitled “Why People Are Unfaithful” starring Esther Perel.

Talk about the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Don’t dwell on what a happy relationship looks like, let’s switch the topic to INFIDELITY!

You’d think, quite naturally, the argument might be that people who cheat on you are neither kind nor generous partners.

Wrong answer, chumps!

Perel says — I shit you not! — that “affairs are a type of reconciliation between security and adventure.” Affairs are about “feeling alive.” “Most affairs are love stories of some sort.”

George Orwell wants 1984 back, Esther.

It’s the same old nonsense I’ve responded to before on this blog. Perel acts as if it’s some kind of huge revelation that people eat cake. Did you know that people in happy marriages cheat? She makes cake seem noble — why the poor sausages are having an existential crisis.

In an interview with Slate, Perel states:

Very often we don’t go elsewhere because we are looking for another person. We go elsewhere because we are looking for another self. It isn’t so much that we want to leave the person we are with as we want to leave the person we have become.

What sort of person would that be, Esther? A caged animal? A domesticated drudge? How could we begrudge a person for wanting to cast off the shackles of monogamy and star in a love story? They just want to feel more ALIVE!

Which rather implies that their partner is, well, not as alive, not as sparkly as they could be. Cheaters are dreamers, over achievers, people who just aren’t satisfied with the status quo. Notice Perel speaks in “we” statements. Clearly she’s in the cool kid camp. You don’t hear her saying “we” when it comes to the chumped. Oh, the betrayed. They’re hurt. Chumps stand in contrast to the ALIVENESS and zest of people in affairs.

Slate: Alive?

Perel: That’s the one word I hear, worldwide—alive! That’s why an affair is such an erotic experience. It’s not about sex, it’s about desire, about attention, about reconnecting with parts of oneself you lost or you never knew existed. It’s about longing and loss. But the American discourse is framed entirely around betrayal and trauma.

We’re such black and white thinkers in the States. So provincial. I guess it’s just North American backasswardness to get upset when your spouse is fucking other people. Yeah… that never happens in Europe.

Wonder why she doesn’t practice over there.

Oh, probably because you can’t swan about as one of the “world’s most original and insightful voices on personal and professional relationships” with a masters in art therapy from a third-tier teachers college. Europeans probably expect actual credentials.

Slate: Do most therapists understand this about affairs?

Perel: Therapists are the worst! They too think something must be wrong for a person to have an affair. Also most therapists in America will not work with secrets. Their attitude is, don’t tell me anything I can’t speak about with your partner. Either you end it or you tell your partner. So half of the time, people lie to the therapist and to the partner. And is it always the best thing to tell? Or can we examine that, rather than live with a blanket policy of which the therapist doesn’t have to live with the consequences.

Slate: So the cheating partner shouldn’t tell?

Perel: In America, lying can never be an act of caring. We find it hard to accept that lying would be protective, this is an unexamined idea. In some countries, not telling, or a certain opaqueness, is an act of respect. Also, maybe the opposite of transparency isn’t intimacy, it’s aggression. People sometimes tell for their own good, as an act of aggression.

Yeah, so let’s recap. Affairs make you feel alive. We shouldn’t talk about victims and perpetrators, or frame the discourse around betrayal and trauma. Cheaters are entitled to their secrets and privacy. But don’t accuse Esther of being in favor of infidelity! Heavens NO!

Slate: Do people see you as condoning cheating?

Perel: I make a distinction between cheating and non-monogamy. Cheating is about a violation of a contract. People misunderstand me because they think I’m saying affairs are OK. No! But I do think examining monogamy is our next frontier.

Cheating is about violation of a contract? This isn’t about subletting an apartment in violation of your lease — it’s about ABUSE. Yeah, I can’t believe people misunderstand you, Esther. You make cheating sound so terrible when you talk about how invigorating it is and it shouldn’t be demonized or seen as a reflection of a person’s character. Heck, cheaters shouldn’t have to talk about it at all! To their spouse OR their shrink!

No, no one could ever accuse Esther Perel of being a cheater apologist.

She’s just exploring a new frontier.

And you’ll be happy to know, she’s training shrinks to stop getting so hung up about infidelity too!

Watch Esther appropriate a line from Alexander Dumas (and fail to credit him). “The bonds of wedlock are so heavy it sometimes takes three to carry.” Hahahahha!

That wasn’t enough mindfuckery for you?

Here Esther addresses the same bunch of shrinks on secrets.

“There is no distinction or so between the concept of fidelity and sexual exclusiveness! As if they’re one and the same!”

Listen to the shrinks in the Amen corner there go “Right!”

Clearly Esther wasn’t an English major.

fi·del·i·ty
fəˈdelədē/
noun
    1. sexual faithfulness to a spouse or partner.
      synonyms: faithfulnessloyaltyconstancyMore

She goes on to bludgeon the meaning of privacy and secrecy as well. See if you can get through all five minutes without your head exploding.

The bullshit translator is tiring. So. Much. Crap. Shall we attack cheating as a feminist act of self actualization? Secrecy about affairs being a GOOD thing? The trivialization of intimacy? The offensive idea that people can be loyal to us (“fidelity”) but still fuck around on us? Silly chump, making a DISTINCTION!

I could spend WEEKS untangling Esther’s skein, putting every offensive notion through the bullshit translator and I seriously considered it. But why when I could be vacuuming my car floor mats, or cleaning up cat puke, or sending sparkly red shoes to orphans — doing most anything more improving than watching another Esther Perel video.

Besides, she’s no threat to chumps. Esther doesn’t think affairs are okay.

We misunderstand her.

* A huge shout out to The New Elizabeth for creating this graphic. So awesome!

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • What a bunch of crap…unmitigated bullshit. Perel is an idiot of the worst type. Clueless, illogical and victim blaming.

    Yes, there are couples who practice non-monogramy and/or polyamory. Every single couple I know who practices non-monogamy and/or polyamory also practice RIGOROUS HONESTY. Everything is on the table. There are no secrets or lies. They don’t cheat on each other. All parties involved know everything they need to know to practice informed consent.

    I know most people don’t get non-monogamy or polyamory nor will they want that personally, but it exists and it works for the people I know. BECAUSE THEY ARE RIGOROUSLY HONEST WITH THEMSELVES AND EACH OTHER.

    Cheating is cheating. Lies are lies. Infidelity is infidelity. There is no way to dress that up and make it pretty. It is abuse. If you don’t plan on being monogamous then DON’T GET MARRIED!!!!!!

    I’ve been cheated on by more than one person. I am now in a polyamorous relationship. I personally know the difference and have experienced both. My choice is to deal with this up front rather than be blindsided AGAIN by a lying liar crapweasel who cheats.

    Some will say I’ve sold out….oh well. I’m more secure, not jealous and knowing that I have all the information I need has made me let go of being suspicious. It is working for me. One day it may not and then I may pursue a monogamous relationship, but I doubt it.

    I don’t know any couples who haven’t experienced cheating from one or the other. Some patch things up, most don’t. I don’t want to ride that merry-go-round again. I would rather know up front what I’m dealing with.

    Perel should STFU. She doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about. I do know the difference because I’m living it.

    If you don’t plan on being monogamous then DON’T GET MARRIED!!!!!!

        • Why? You’re making your arrangements HONESTLY. I’ve never argued against polyamory if that’s what you’re into. If monogamy isn’t your bag, then don’t practice it.

          That said, if I was polyamorous, I hope I would do it because that’s what turns me on, versus a cynical sense of “everyone cheats.”

          But look, as long as you’re not lying to anyone — more power to you!

          • Some people don’t get it and get upset when I talk about it…lol And I’m not doing this as a cynical reaction. It feels good to have open and honest people in my life. It is working for me and I enjoy it.

            • Me, too. But in all personal relationships–honesty from the first word, (she said, as she prepared to go out and bag leaves, leaves and more leaves because Jackass lied about everything, including helping me manage 2 acres of suburbia with huge trees. Then if one person finds it doesn’t work, it’s just normal sadness that comes with ending things, not horrific pain and years of work and responsibility (and money) for a person–who was lied to and betrayed–needing to meet alone obligations taken on by two.

    • Samiam, I understand where you’re coming from. But don’t think that being in a poly relationship is going to shield you from cake-eating narcissists. My roommate, she of the previously mentioned lactose intolerance, is going through a divorce right now. She was in an ‘open’ marriage, but here’s what actually happened- the rule was that both partners had to be aware, everyone had to be using protection, everyone had to have clean blood work, nobody from work. There was a limited and equal budget for spending on outside partners (enough for Xmas and birthday presents, a couple dinners out, maybe some movie tickets), and outside relationships weren’t to supersede the primary couple’s time together or their responsibilities at home/work. She was 100% honest with him, and in practice meeting all these requirements meant she even went on a DATE with her boyfriend once a month, they spent the night together maybe twice a year. Her husband, on the other hand, had a girlfriend she knew about- with whom he followed all the rules. And then he had a half dozen girlfriends she had no idea existed, who he fucked without protection, spent their money on, and claimed he was just SO swamped by work and going back to college that he couldn’t make it home til midnight many, many nights. Meanwhile, he used his legit girlfriend as cover whenever he was, say, texting someone a lot, or when she got that creeping feeling you get when your SO is lying to your face. “Open marriages are hard, it’s understandable to feel jealous, sweetie” kind of bullshit.

      A cake-eater’s a cake-eater, and part of the thrill is lying to you and having unequal rules.

      • I completely understand and agree siobhan. There are NO GUARANTEES. That said, I feel so much better with knowledge then feeling that I’m in the dark or wondering when the other shoe will drop. I’m a free agent and live within this with integrity as I did when I was monogamous. No one else I have been with has been monogamous. This way, we are all on the same page as far as it is possible to be on the same page…lol

        My decision is multi-facted. I don’t want to get married again, I don’t really want to live with anyone again, most of my previous partners have been sexually dysfunctional and I won’t live in another sexless relationship again, I’m independent and self-sufficient. I also get too wrapped up in relationships and tend to lose myself so this provides me a buffer.

        My eyes are WIDE OPEN. I get this from all angles.

        • samiam, I just want to say that I’m on board with you. I would love to be able to have a poly arrangement where I was loved and could love more than one person and share that life. At this point I’ll be lucky to find anyone to share romantic love with. You go girl!

  • It is my understanding that every time an article is read advertiser get notified. That means if many pissed off chumps read this she will be invited back. I do not know if Slate has that capability but I would not be surprised.

    • Perhaps we should see if we can just get a transcript to post, so we don’t all have to watch her videos and give a huge bump up in her viewers?

    • Chumplady you have razorsharp wit….sooo hilarious the part that compares marriage to animals in captivity lol. Too funny! However, I must say that I gained some insight in my ex boyfriend`s mind when I read what Perel said about `finding it hard to accept that lying would be protective`. You see I have had this hugggge tug of war that recently ended. I knew there was something wrong but could never prove it. I insisted that he tell me the truth but he would say he did not want to hurt me. Also it infuriated me beyond everything the secrets he kept from me (his kids misbehaving, his needy ex wife, money, his fun at the stripclub). I told him I was supposed to be his best friend and I would rather know the truth because it hurt me to be kept out of the loop. To this he would say it was his business, his private issues. Perhaps cheaters have a universal code, I felt this article deciphered some of it. It brought me some satisfaction because I m so hurt and do wonder why???? even though Chumplady prescribes not trying to understand but that it is as simple as self entitlement.

  • ‘“There is no distinction or so between the concept of fidelity and sexual exclusiveness! As if they’re one and the same!”

    Listen to the shrinks in the Amen corner there go “Right!”’

    I actually agree with Perel that fidelity is MORE THAN just sexual exclusiveness. However, it is certainly not LESS THAN sexual exclusiveness as she seems to suggest here. The definition excludes that understanding.

    It is sickening that she is spreading this disease to more therapists! Not to mention her idea of exclusive monogamy being a new idea is flat out false. Anyone who has read the Genesis knows otherwise (a book that impacts THREE major world religions!) If anything is novel, it is her encouragement of accepting this “frontier.”

    In general, I find what she is doing sad. A fool leading fools. I just hope they don’t run over more chumps on their way to self-destruction.

    • DM, it’s hard for me to believe any halfway decent therapist would believe her. When I sit across from mine I can see that she’s seen this same horrific pain on the faces of other “betrayed” spouses — not something you can easily forget. There are times I feel I might overwhelm her with my pain! Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I can tell she understands it even if she hasn’t experienced it. There’s no way she’d ever fall for a broad like Perel. The bummer is some of those not so halfway decent therapists might.

      • Two responses to today’s posts:

        Many therapists are as chumpy as us chumps or otherwise mis-educated in their training (you will find victim blaming in many training books) as well as being influenced by prevailing cultural depravity and myth (which is Perel’s category). So when seeking a therapist for infidelity PTSD, wise consumer chumps should ask potential therapists about their experience, beliefs, and approach to infidelity recovery.

        The “aliveness” thing about affairs. Ugh. That was the word my XH used to defend why he did what he did. It made him feel alive!! Note to all chumps: ” aliveness” related to affairs is about the pleasure chemicals in the brain and it is major code word for addiction.

        • Yes! They are new relationship junkies. They aren’t interested past the time the buzz wears off. What is so perplexing to me is why do their APs think things will be any different for them once it becomes a relationship? If they will do it with you, they will do it to you.

          • And, why bother marrying their APs? Do they really think it’ll be different or does that just set them up to look for the thrill all over again? Who are they kidding?

    • The therapist I see has been practicing for 35-40 years and has truly seen it all. He says he has only seen one open marriage “work” in his entire career (“work” is defined very loosely in this case – not happy, just co-existing). And he said that one involved two people who both had some pretty significant drug and alcohol problems.

      • The psychologist I saw told me that the majority of his practice consisted of counseling couples where there has been infidelity.
        he told me , outright , that less than 10% stay together after cheating has been introduced into the relationship.
        Pretty upfront guy, admitting that, despite the fact that a large part of his income was derived from counseling these folks, it was almost hopeless to expect reconciliation.
        Anyway, back to Esther. Frankly, as many here have pointed out, the woman makes no sense and seems stupid to me. She lacks logic and insight. She seems to have no integrity. She lacks empathy for the betrayed. She sounds nuts, using all this word salad type language. It is gibberish, in my opinion, lacking sophistication and insight.

        • Yeah, part of the reason she lacks empathy for the betrayed is because she refuses to hear their stories. She won’t accept a patient unless s/he is a cheater.

        • “the woman makes no sense and seems stupid to me”

          My impression exactly. More pathetic than threatening. Then I realize she’s being passed off as an expert by the New York Times and Slate and TED Talks and I think . . . WTF?!?!?!

  • I actually like the fact that Perel says cheating is not caused by being unhappy in your marriage. I interpret her comment about wanting another self as meaning that the flaw is in the cheater. It also gives you the option to find happiness by going hot air ballooning instead of having an affair.

    As a therapist, Perel must be a disaster. Why would you want a counselor who will sympathize with your partner who is having an affair and tell them to keep it secret? Oh that’s right, you’d want her if you were a cheater.

    I’m not sure how the keeping it secret from your partner would work, though, since she’s on the record as only working with people who are having an affair.

    The discourse thing is insane. First, I hate the jargon of framing discourses. This is about the point of view of the betrayed partner versus the point of view of the cheater. The cheater feels alive. They are having fun. This doesn’t actually change anything about the pain they are causing to other people or the problems they will have later when they are caught.

    Yeah, Perel clearly has cheated in the past. There should be a certificate for marriage therapists who’ve cheated hanging on their wall.

    • “I actually like the fact that Perel says cheating is not caused by being unhappy in your marriage” — she doesn’t actually say that. She says “most” cheaters report being happy in their marriages, but would like more happiness. If you listen to the videos, she says cheating is a sign there is a problem in the relationship and other people cheat because their needs aren’t being met… blah blah chump blame blah.

      But she acts like cake is a total revelation and it’s so noble of them to lie to protect chumps.

  • Esther’s word salad and pretzel logic would piss off Saint Thomas Aquinas, CL, don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t engage in a battle of wits with the unarmed.

    As my dear Granny would put it, this woman is a snake-oil merchant, period. Think who her audience is- smug, up their own butt cheaters who probably love her soothing, self-actualization bullshit because it enables them to get off on the subterfuge, sorry, abuse, sorry again-search for self. Vomitous.

    Mr Fab positively GOT OFF on the sneakiness. Schmoopie’s window overlooked my front door, and she would watch for me to leave for work, with DD in tow, before slithering over, to slip it to her ex brother-in-law. Then she and her kid would be around in the evenings for dinner, playing sweet old Auntie. I wonder how Ms Perel would take being treated like that? Life savings gone on therapy for self and DD. But that’s okay, because Mr Fab and the Downgrade have ‘found themselves’?

    As another saint (Stephen Fry) would say of Perel’s justification-“Arse-gravy of the first water.”

    love to all Chump Nation!

    x-Meh.

  • Esther might believe in cheating but where the hell does she get off saying it is good for a marriage? Statistics show that less than 1 in an 100 marriages have a chance of recovering after infidelity .

    I don’t understand why people who want to live like single people don’t just stay single.

    • Well Fred, because they want Kids. You see it is called good future investment; Kids are good to take care of them at old age. They also need somebody trusty to raise them well aka a chump.

    • Hi, Fred: Do you have a citation for that statistic (I could only find that about 1/3 of marriages survive infidelity). Having become an unwilling participant in this topic, I want as much info as I can find.

        • Yeah, I found the 1/3 deal by looking at some stats that did not come from one of the sites trying to sell reconciliation services for a profit. Those sites seem to make absurd claims re the chances of staying together.
          I think I am pretty normal, pretty average ( although the normal bit is debatable). I cannot envision how I would be able to go through life knowing that my partner treated me this way and I accepted it.
          I do not think may people can possibly have this happen to them and not resent the cheater forever. It just goes against any form of self respect , in my opinion.
          I also read that of the 1/3 that do stay together, 7% report ever being happy in the relationship again. So, 7% of 33% = less than 3% happy and in the relationship.

  • I claim a pass on having to listen to what she has to say on the grounds of having tried to read CurlySquirrelly’s review today. My translator red-lined and fried on that one.

    • I read that Curly’s review and think she is a pedant and has little insight into much of anything. She would fit right in with this Perel person.

  • Mehphista, you are so righteously feisty! So glad we are away from those Death Eaters. CL, that article (Lasting Relationships) should be given to anyone contemplating a relationship. My ex rarely celebrated my small triumphs, rarely paid attention to me, and it was exhausting and disappointing. Life revolved around what he wanted, his education, his career, his hobbies. He could not relate to the things I wanted in my life and eventually he chose someone very much like himself to run off with. I recognize now how unappreciative, shallow, mean, scared, and self absorbed he was. Ha! Funny how that just never makes a relationship last. That and the cheating. Lol

    • Right back atcha, Drew. All those little things count! I was due to graduate with a Master’s degree, having done that, held down three jobs and did all the child-rearing. Told ex when the ceremony was, got eyerolls and a ‘I suppose I can get the afternoon off work’. Turns out I was cutting into Schmoopietime with my ‘selfish’ demands.

      Oy gevalt. We are well away from those Death-eaters!

      • My cheater didn’t bother coming to my Master’s graduation, due to a totally debilitating case of poison ivy which would have made it soooo uncomfortable to sit for two hours in long sleeves. I don’t think it got in the way of him sitting in front of his webcam giving whack-a-mole shows to his numerous internet chatwhores while I was gone, though.

  • ‘More pathetic word salad from a moron – ignore’ is all the universal bullshit translator needs to say, really.

    Its ‘framed entirely around betrayal and trauma’ because the cheater is delibrately endangering the safety, health and ultimately life of the chump, you fucking nitwit.

    PS: I’m European by heritage – and I was livid when I found out my partner cheated on me. Would you like to try again?

    • “PS: I’m European by heritage – and I was livid when I found out my partner cheated on me. Would you like to try again?”

      What? you and Valerie Trierweiler. So much for the myth that French / European women put up with cheating.

      • Fuck no! We’re arguably MORE warrior-like when it comes to kicking a cheater out. Haha!
        I’m not some cheap skanky OW, by the way. Please don’t ever refer to me as one ever again.

        • ooh, sorry. I forgot that Ms. Trierweiller has been on both sides of this equation.

          I didn’t see you in that same bateau with her.

  • I only made it through about 40 seconds of the video because I was still banging my head over: ” Also, maybe the opposite of transparency isn’t intimacy, it’s aggression.” HUH? Since when is intimacy OR aggression the opposite of transparency? She of all people should know that opaque is the opposite of transparent since she is as thick, dense or dare I say opaque as they come.

    • You are right, Daisy. But, you are not , really, supposed to stop and analyze this type of word salad deal. You are supposed to listen and see if it sort of flows, sort of sounds neat and evolved etc.
      I have found in listening to my first XW, that she would throw out these weird phrases that she felt made her sound evolved, sophisticated etc, but they made little sense if you stopped to analyze them.
      I have quoted her on this particular one before , but it demonstrates what I am talking about’ When asked to come clean about her cheating ( and I had her own writings admitting having sex with strangers) she came up with : ” There was no physical cheating. There were inappropriate relationships (pl) , where the chemistry became sexualized”).
      So, how , exactly, does the “chemistry become sexualized” if there is no physical component to it?
      But, it sounded neat to her. It sounded really cool and sophisticated.

    • LOL. I didn’t watch the video, thank Goodness. Had enough of this particular woman a while back.

      The opposite of transparency is aggression (or even intimacy for that matter)? WTF does that even mean? Intimacy usually implies a closeness, right? And so maybe more transparency, so who was suggesting intimacy with the opposite of transparency, anyway?

  • The thing about lying—about ANYTHING, EVER—is that there is a reason for it. And it’s not altruism.

    Lies are constructed to shield the teller from consequences. Period.

    If lies were something good, then they wouldn’t need to be told. Cheaters lie because they know that their behavior is disgusting, amoral and destructive. Not because Chumps are just such delicate little flowers—but because the way that we’ve set up our society is that if you are a liar, then people have a problem with you.

    Cheaters hate being lied to, as we all know. They go into fits of rage–a tailspin of panic!! So why is it okay for them to lie to others?

    Another thing…cheating is RARELY all about sex. It effects finances. It effects children. It effects extended families. It effects EVERYTHING, not just the betrayed spouse’s “victorian” version of sexuality. How many of us here gave our SOs sex on demand, in whatever way they liked it! DID. NOT. MATTER.

    Cheating is about power. Just like rape. Just like smacking the shit out of someone. The cheater has HARMED the betrayed spouse, in more ways than effecting their ability to trust.

    By the same token, how many of us have been bled dry by our cheaters’ gambling, financing their affairs or just being overall irresponsible with money. How many of us supported unemployed cheaters while they spent our hard earned dollars on their affairs. How many of us have been subjected to public humiliation. How many of us have been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. How many of us have had to DNA check our kids.

    Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. This woman is a sociopath.

    She presents absolutely ZERO evidence. ZERO. I work with evidence based practice. You don’t get to throw something as complex as the intimate relationship between humans under the bus without some type of evidence to back that statement up. If I didn’t know better, I would say that she’s an “entertainer”, in the same vein as Rush Limbaugh—where he’ll say ANYTHING in order to maintain an audience. He’s despicable and so is this Esther Perel.

    • I agree! She’s nuts. She is clearly a cheater who has perfected lying to herself and everyone else.

      Justification and rationalize taken to a new level.

    • p.s. I’ve NEVER understood why adults feel they need to lie about anything. You are an adult, own your decisions. That is what I find baffling about cheating…UGH!!!!!!!

      • This is where it is for me too. Why lie about anything to your spouse/life partner? The lying is far more damaging than sleeping with someone else. The lying indicates total disrespect. Lying shows that there isn’t a strong trust between two people. I’m planning on being single for a while, but when I start seeing guys again, the first lie and they’re eliminated!

        • My XH lied about everything because he “didnt want to make me mad” — in other words he didnt want me to tell him off for his asshole, selfish, immature decisions. … remember i am NOT the boss of him..

  • My comment on her Youtube (ME ME ME tube).

    “You have got to be kidding…. “acclaimed” psychotherapist? Try mushy art “therapy” from a third-rate school. And putting adultery in context? OK: let’s look at the history of marriage. Yeah, women are property. End of subject. Until the third quarter of the 19th c. in the US. So, yeah hunter-gatherers. What a maroon.

    I’m guessing Ms. Esther likes her cheating, and cares not how many lives she ruins. A note: It’s not cheating when they agree, it’s an open marriage. d’oh. Get a conscience, lady. You’re just toxic, awful.”

    And, all this Europeans are so enlightened, Americans are such Puritans. Jesus H. Christ doing Jumping Jacks. First of all, it’s historically bullshit, for reasons I would be happy to explain (Google the Oneida Community some time and find out about how everyone was married to everyone else, and the old babes got to initiate the young dudes in to sex…but I digress.) (They were Christian Perfectionists, a brand that I believe has gone out of vogue.)

    Europeans are no more happy about committed partners having cheating, lying affairs than anyone else. Half of my family is European of several flavors, including a daughter who lives there now, in a committed relationship, with a man who comes from a family fractured by infidelity. Yeah, they all thought it was just grand, grand I tell ya.

    That woman makes me want to stuff a baguette down her throat, and follow it with some french fries slathered in mayo. No beer.

    • “It’s not cheating when they agree, it’s an open marriage”

      I may be the odd-man out, but I have a problem with married people having sex with others even if there is an agreement to do so between the married couple.

      They may not be cheating on each other to the point where neither knows what they’re doing, but they’re still CHEATING.

      Don’t understand why some people try and re-define what’s already been defined.

      I realize that what I’m saying may go against the do-whatever-you-want-as-long-as-you’re-‘honest’-about-it school of thinking, but because BOTH people agree to do the wrong thing, doesn’t make it RIGHT!

      Just my 2 pesos…

      Gypsy

      • I read an article about a well known polyamorist who was very cocky and happy with himself. He lived in a nice house with 2 women who, in the pictures of the happy little family, looked a bit sad to be honest. In their comments there was also the suggestion that not everything was perfect. To me it seemed it was ‘honest’ in the sense that it was out in the open, but I bet there is still a fair amount of “pick me” dancing. I also know that this guy has a pretty high turn over women. OW was one of them!!!!!

      • Well, personally I wouldn’t go for it, but at least it’s more or less out in the open. Then, (supposedly) the lying part of the cheating is gone from the equation that way. I’d bet it’s a good bit less thrilling….

        • I know people who are poly, who swing and who have open marriages. They aren’t “cheating” on each other because everyone knows what is going on and everyone agrees to the rules they come up with.

          To me, cheating is when you lie or act outside of the original agreement.

          Yes, even poly, swingers or people in open marriages can cheat, but why bother. Needless drama.

          It isn’t for everyone, but it can work. There should be no coercion and all parties should be willing participants. It takes rigorous honesty and maturity and a high level of communication. Those things are what are needed for any relationship to work.

          YMMV…

    • “You have got to be kidding…. “acclaimed” psychotherapist? Try mushy art “therapy” from a third-rate school

      Now you are nit picking 🙂 Psychotherapy is a discredited field of social science commonly refered to a a pseudoscience in academic circules, and “Art Therapy” falls into the new fangled category “Complimentary Alternative Medicine”, or … “things you can charge a partient for doing that have no proven efficacy whatsoever”.

      I can hear you alreadying replying, “But they’re both pseudoscience, then? And She was the one whose publicist claimed she was a psychotherapist”. Yes. But not every quack is the same kind of quack. The Wood Duck’s quack is quite different than the Malard, for example.

        • complementary–complimentary….circule–circle…..you say adultery–I say new! exciting! experience!…..let’s call the whole thing off! 😉

          I wonder how long before my snide remark gets scrubbed.

    • The Wish List was filled within 24 hours thanks to Chump Nation! All 157 items were purchased and should get to Juba by Christmas! LeAnna promised to provide pictures. 🙂

  • It’s simple. You want the freedom to be with whomever you want, whores, multiple partners, upside down, inside out, hanging from the rafters, go for it. Fill your boots. Just don’t get married. Or get divorced first.

    Rocket science.

    • OMFG-this all day long!!!!!! My dad had a saying & it was ‘you don’t get married to date other people’ Guess my stbx had selective hearing. I just get so infuriated that stbx just won’t leave! And don’t even get me started on why he even wanted to be married for the 2nd time!! These disordered wing nuts really suck.

      Trust me, Esther (fucknut) Perel has no idea what she is talking about-I’d like her to experience life from any one of our situations and see what she says. My guess is it wouldn’t be the poor cheater crap she spews now

  • If I were Esther, I would “want to leave the person [I] we have become,” too–an immoral, self-centered, vapid European who advocates dishonesty.

    • Damn, I just realized I filed on an immoral, self-center, European who advocates dishonesty–my British husband. Good riddance.

  • I don’t need to see her in action. Or listen to her shit. Or be on the side of self denial or rationalization.

    What I’d love to say to such a progressive, European (because by default being American =being a puritanical prude ….to some of my enlightened Euro friends) is also STFU. I have plenty of friends in Europe who do not subscribe to her euro, “progressive” hot mess marriage/monogamy crap. The difference between getting divorced here in the US and in parts of Europe is TIME. Some countries dictate you separate for at least 10 yrs before you can formally file for divorce.

    Her position does not empower feminism. She JUST stated the main FACT about cheaters : they need to escape from themselves in order to “feel alive”. This applies to both genders. Who the fuck does THAT instead of confronting what is bugging them honestly and with some shred of integrity?? Oh, yeah…..LIARS. Most liars cheat. All cheaters lie.

    Committed monogamy means you’ve committed, body and soul, to one person. Not the flavor of the month that makes you feel alive. Being legally tied in a marriage contract does not make the chump feel alive. It’s minute micro deaths of having your life stolen and exploited for the benefit of the cheater.

  • Cheating always makes them “feel alive” or “feel young”. Pretty pathetic to get your self worth from sneaking around with Whores…

  • Heh, I posted that article in the forums rather than a link because the video was on the website and I figured it would be, um, distracting…yep! She sucks, I don’t need to watch her vids to know that

  • “But the American discourse is framed entirely around betrayal and trauma.”

    I was traumatized by betrayal, what should I call it? What do they call it in Europe, perhaps I should move there so I won’t feel any pain from it..

    She’d rather look in the mirror and think of herself as sparkly, and not see herself as a blood sucking leech.. I’m not impressed with her gas lighting attempt. She’ll need to try harder. Her husband might want to put a VAR in her car .. Velcro it under the seat. She’s a cheating cheaterpants that lies and cheats. Don’t believe anything she tells you, she’s a liar.

    • I am pretty sure she lives in NY, right? I seem to remember an attempt to feret out her “qualifications” only to find they are partly of the “contrived” and “I made it up” variety (the implication she’d prefer is “trailblazer”, I am sure. I prefer, BS pseudoscience… because that’s accurate and describes the lack of anything approaching academic rigor and lack of anything remotely resembling the scientific method).

      • I’d like to whack her upside the head with a shoe.. because it would make me feel alive. Not to promote violence, I would use a soft shoe… In some Countries, whacking her in the head with a shoe would be a sign of respect. I do think whacking morons in the head with shoes is our next frontier.

          • Of course, and tell her it’s not a whack upside the head, but a love tap.. or deny it happened at all, just say ‘what shoe? I have no idea what you’re talking about and frankly, I’m insulted that you’d insinuate that I’d do such a thing’ Lie to her to protect her.. the loving kind of lie, otherwise she’d know she was getting hit in the head and that might make her sad.

  • I dare say it isn’t this woman who’s causing the chafe; it’s the thought of so many using her lies to justify their own. Even if she were to disappear overnight, her brand of slogging would just get picked up by someone else. With a new twist, of course.

    There’s nothing new about painting deceit and betrayal as ‘noble’ or ‘honorable’. Feeling good about oneself is the important thing. But lies can only support so much before they begin to sag and betray themselves. That’s when Esther will disappear.

  • In other news, some internet pulbication published articles on the alleged efficacy of homeopathy, the predictive powers of an astrologer, potential food risks for GMOs as opposed to selectively breeding cultivars, why vaccinations are always an unacceptable risk, why global warming is a hoax, and a new “theory” (a.k.a. BS speculation) about how Noah’s Ark must have been constructed in order to fit two of every species on the thing (and yet more “proof” the world is less than 6,000 years old and possibly flat).

    Idiocy always has an audience.

    • I’m thinking the Noah’s ark guy doesn’t have a book deal with Harper Collins and get profile puff pieces done about him in the New York Times.

      WTF is wrong with respected media that they can vet her or ask a critical question? Every Slate query was a softball. I’m just guessing that infidelity/sex/swinging is click bait and money.

      • Yes, it raises revenue. Why else? And for the record, Harper put out that book “The Secret Life of Plants”, so?

          • My bad there. The secret life of plants was Harper & Row, not HarperCollins. HarperCollins, though, has put out various tomes of pseudoscience as well. Ironaically, they also published books that point that some of the things they have published amounts to pseudoscience. So go figure? Money, I guess?

              • geez–I need at editor–Ironically and “amount to” (faulty parallelism). I am stopping now. 🙂 I obviously let my dislike of pseudoscience get the beter of me, and in my haste to condemn the stuff, I stopped proofreading.

    • And if you don’t believe me, watch “Ghost Hunters” on the “History Channel” of all places. Something Orwellian about that too.

  • About the article about Kindness and generosity, I thought it was great and went in to my file of what I want to remember when I meet someone new. Definitely had the fight or flight with the ex…

    • “Definitely had the fight or flight with the ex…”

      Me, too. I saved the article as well. I will be working more on cultivating a more positive outlook as well.

  • “The bonds of wedlock are so heavy it sometimes takes three to carry.” ~Alexander Dumas

    Only when one party is too weak to carry their fair share. What does is say when one party can carry the load of two? It says that chumps are strong and mighty stock.

  • Well in a way she’s right. I never felt more alive then when I was married to my cheating ex!

    The heart pounding feeling I got when I found pics of OW’s hairy twat on his computer.

    The all night arguments about his lies. I can sleep when I’m dead of course.

    The exhilaration of the adrenaline rushing through my veins as I read the email another of his OW’s sent me, threatening to beat me up at my own house. Better than jet skiing!

    Oooh, and the exercise I used to get from breaking things after another D-day! My arms were never so toned!

    The anticipation of discovery as I went over my financials with my lawyer, only to find the tip of the iceburg of how much money he had pissed away on god knows what throughout our marriage. So much better than a suspense thriller!

    Oh, how alive I felt each day living with someone who couldn’t be trusted! I mean, who wouldn’t love having every nerve ending in their body constantly on edge? Who wouldn’t welcome periodic adrenaline producing surprises like random OW’s, STD’s, OC scares, bouncing checks and maxed out credit cards?

    Why living with someone who’s not a WS is positively, mind numbingly boring!

  • Esther Perel, supposedly speaks seven languages but is most fluent in self taught bullshit The language of bullshit is a paradigm of nonsensical sentences that are disguised as enlightenment mixed with ego centric arrogance. Bullshit, spoken with an accent is even more appealing to those who listen.

    As for the Esther Perel listeners, they themselves wish to be fluent in bullshit. The key to becoming fluent in bullshit is to reject ethics and transform it into “truthiness”. Students of bullshit must be focused on their own brand of truthiness, the main objective is personal “happiness” at the expense of someone else’s unhappiness. To become fluent in Bullshit, is to carry disdain for those who don’t think it or speak it. This is where Esther Perel excels in linguistic bullshit.

    Esther Perel, like many of her bullshit contemporaries, seek notoriety by being controversial and selling it as enlightenment. Bullshit Philosophers are quite easy to decipher…they speak out both sides of their mouths and contradict themselves continuously.

    I award Esther Perel the “Golden Wheel Barrow of Manure”. Her underwhelming credentials as a marriage or relationship expert, her lack of coherence in her talks and writings, her ability to say what she says with a straight face has earned her this prestigious award. Congratulations.

  • Okay, so let me be the first to thank my cheater for bringing “a certain opaqueness” to our relationship…..In fact, he transformed my entire reality into “a certain opaqueness” for years! And here I was in my all American ignorance, actually ANGRY at him for that, when, clearly, I should have been grateful!

    Damn! It all comes down to me being so unhip again. My bad.

  • Her masters is in Art Therapy? She needs to take her sand tray and her water colors and stay in her lane of expertise. Which is NOT couples counseling. Maybe she can build some sand penises or hold A nude art therapy class or write haikus about how ALIVE shallow sexual experiences make her feel. My ex cheaterpants would love her therapy. My gut tells me Esther gets something out of hearing the sordid details of other peoples affairs. And people PAY her to listen to it! She’s kind of a genius.

  • All I did was laugh…and laugh some more…Esther is proof that “ANYONE” can have an audience/TV show or webcast. Like Honey Boo-Boo…..thank u TLC for doing the right thing and shutting that mess down.
    And with all the “professionals” and “self help gurus’ maybe there should be QVC for self help. You get 5 mins to sell your advice …while yr 1-800 number scrolls along the bottom.
    ‘Got Marriage Problems?…We have the solution for YOU! For only 3 payments of $29.99 you too can learn the secrets of Madame Pu-Ssays proven methods for keeping your partner satisfied”
    I am sure there will be some “Sham Wows” out there…but buyer beware!
    She is just another peddler with snake oil opinion that is easliy dissected by anyone with half a brain.

  • I love the graphic !

    Ms Perel has both hands full of “Woody” stroking the Kibbles out of him !

  • Esther, Esther. Once again, you miss the point. There are two people in a marriage, usually. When one of the two decides unilaterally to change the rules that two of them agreed to, and fails to mention that to the other, then one person feels alive and the other has tied to the railroad tracks and run over by a train, repeatedly. You and your ilk are free to stay single. Or you can be upfront, honest, and responsible about the need for excitement, new sex partners, and “feeling alive,” and divorce your partner. And because you want your freedom, you give your partner first choice about dividing things up, including child custody and spousal support. You are so responsible, you get your lawyer to calculate the likely child support award and you start paying it right away. You throw in extra money when needed! You wait until the papers are signed and the divorce is final before you fire up your FB page, your online dating services, your Craigslist hookups. You acknowledge that you didn’t live up to your end of the bargain. And so on. Then you are free to go out there and hunt all the “feeling alive” you think you’re entitled to…but wait. It isn’t so “alive” when there isn’t a chump at home to lie to, or the spouse of the AP to “defeat.”

    Nobody wants to be dumped. It hurts like hell. But the abuse that goes along with the “discard” phase of being involved on any level with a narcissist feels like your vital organs are being extracted with a table fork and a rusty pocketknife. Esther, you keep on apologizing for these folks who leave their spouses trapped at home with small kids while they pursue “feeling alive, who miss their kids’ events because they are wrapped up in an extramarital affair, who steal marital assets and spend them on someone bent on destroying the marriage and the family. Your view is so one-sided, as if the spouse and children didn’t matter at all….which is just what these disgusting cheaters sol

    • It is, basically, a breach of contract.

      —–
      Breach of contract is a legal cause of action in which a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract by non-performance or interference with the other party’s performance.
      —–

      The fact is when people agree to be monogamous and one doesn’t want to any more they need to say that and, LovedAJackass says, follow through properly and thoughtfully and with the goal being an equitable situation for both people involved.

      You don’t lie and cheat and then expect people to not be pissed.

      If you want out, fine. Get out, but do it responsibly, quickly and put no burden on the other person.

      Perel is an idiot.

    • Exactly. It is s contract and the faithful party is bring duped, forgoing all typed of options in reliance on the K.
      WTF is so hard to understand a out the breach entailing theft of time and opportunity.
      I bet many of us had the chance to cheat, overtures from attractive people. But , we abided by our word.
      Hell , I was way better looki g than either of my wives. Could have easily upgraded in that regard.

    • Great job, LAJ, of taking this even further down to the real nitty gritty. It really isn’t at all about being honest and equitable with your partner or spouse despite the word salad. It’s all about, as CL says, entitlement and eating cake on the chump’s dime and time – and feelings (but the feelings of the chump don’t matter to these sophisticated types – it’s all about what the cheater feels and “needs”). And part of that is the excitement of the sneaking around and lying that goes with infidelity.

      If you can’t find it within your special self to be faithful; then own up, get out promptly, and give your partner the dignity of a fair exit so they can move on with as little damage as possible (and be aware, there will be a LOT of damage that you have caused). Just take ownership of your issues and act like a grown up with some integrity. Is that really so hard? Rhetorical, of course…

  • This is what I was thinking LAJ. There are names for people who want to date and screw around with whomever and whenever they want – Single, Unattached, Divorced, Never Married – whatever. For most of us, getting married meant with stood with one other person and entered into a covenant before a God and contract before the state – willingly. STBX Cheaterturd asked me to marry him, knowing full well what that meant. If he wanted to date, he could have stayed single. Esther and her ilk make my ass hurt. Most people who spew bullshit make my ass hurt. Ever time I see her picture, I fully expect her lips and chin to be completely brown from all the bullshit that comes out of her mouth.

  • People go looking for excitement in affairs because they lack the imagination, patience and courage required to examine their unmet needs and find ways to satisfy them in an adult manner.

    My ex told me: “I guess I was just lonely”. Yeah, so was I. While you were travelling around Europe with that guy you were fucking. I was quite lonely, then. I was also fairly lonely when you locked yourself in the bedroom with facebook for hours on end. But don’t bother bringing this up with me before you fuck somebody else. Just stick your hand in the cookie jar like a sneaky toddler.

    I think Esther Perel is very cynical and has discovered a big market of people who’ve either cheated, or would like to, and want to numb the guilt a little.

    Will fucking a lot of people really give you much insight into what’s missing in your life? There are so many other things you could do that would be far less damaging.

  • Let me tell Esther something – I was a vibrant, pretty hot, fun woman when my X got his manipulative hooks in me. After 34 yrs of being tricked, and made a drudge while he went out and played, I guess I lost some of my shine! I wonder why?! That’s the thing I regret, I did it for love, and his ‘creeping normalcy’ almost killed me, and I’m not even exaggerating!
    X’s idea of jazzing up his life was to chase tail, mine was to get away from him permanently.
    She is an idiot, this so-called writer, or whatever she thinks she is! Mostly, she’s a troublemaker.

  • I posted the Atlantic article in it’s entirety on the forums two days ago, I do think it’s helpful in understanding who people are and whether you want them in your life. I did’t post a link because of that stupid crap Perel had on the site. I just bumped it up in the forums if anyone wants to discuss the article (not Perel).

  • Body language my dear chumps. She doesn’t believe the snake oil herself. First minute of video she touches her face, swooping of hair and sidepicks he right nostril then unceremoniously rolls it from her fingertips.
    Never mind the mighty attempt she made to control her facial expressions – the neck down continually sold out her fucktard custard.
    Rancid vagina that girl got! Pheewwie!

  • Funny that CL posts about cheating in Europe just while I was thinking “I should translate her articles to French”. If you’re a French chump and look for consolation on line, all you find is excuses for the cheater, from commenters and therapists alike. There is a strong history of considering cheating funny. So many theatrical plays have cheating as the main subject (see Vaudeville, “Ciel mon mari !” the most famous theatrical sentence). Also, there is a word for the chump: “cocu”, while there is no word for the cheater ! The cocu is viewed as a bit stupid, because he/she is oblivious of what happens in the close environment, while the cheater is viewed as adventurous / normal. Recently in a modern TV series, the guy who was sleeping with all the girls was referred to as “manly”, I couldn’t believe my ears. Yet, Europeans suffer just as much as Americans, when such a situation occurs. Therapists always aim at reconciliation and invite the chump to think about what they have to change ! This is why I’m sure CL’s articles would be met with a lot of enthusiasm. D-Day for me was last May, when my BF of 14 years was dumped by his Russian girlfriend he had met 5 years ago on LiveMocha. Believe me, I felt the exact same way as a lot of you, and the story was quite similar. I was so relieved to find this blog !!! Been reading it every day since.

  • Ted Bundy remarked that choking his victims to death during sex used to make him “feel alive.” Ariel Castro probably felt “alive” as he was raping the 14-year old girl he imprisoned in his house for almost a decade.

    Hey, let’s all “feel alive,” eh, Esther?

    • Perel believes that there needs to be “new negotiations” around monogamy. No doubt these views will be espoused more expansively in her proposed new book ‘Affairs in the Age of Transparency’.

      Perel suggests that an affair is an erotic experience and not just about sex. It’s about desire, attention, reconnecting with parts of yourself. About longing and loss. She contrasts this with what she says is the American discourse which is framed around betrayal and trauma. But you see, she’s getting confused with her discourses here. What she is doing is creating a discourse of adultery from the perspective of the adulterer and choosing to juxtapose this with what in fact is the discourse of the betrayed spouse. This is nonsense. It is all part of the same discourse. There can be no separation. The deceived spouse is essential to the act of adultery, and their perspective is as pertinent as any. Betrayal and trauma is what the betrayed spouse gets between the eyes and this is NOT an erotic experience. Betrayal and trauma is NOT about desire, attention and reconnecting with parts of yourself long forgotten. But, without betrayal there can be no adultery!

      Pamela Druckerman provided an interesting analysis of infidelity across cultures in her book Lust in Translation. Even in countries where people supposedly tolerate cheating, almost everyone is heartbroken to discover infidelity.” Married people the world over are devastated to discover their partners have been cheating. As for the French, Druckerman states “French women are startled when I tell them about their international reputation for being laissez-faire on infidelity. ‘Would you want your husband to cheat on you’ one woman relied.”

  • Chump Lady – November 2014:

    To any recovered Chumps reading this email, Chump Nation needs you.

    Could you spare a few minutes to help drum up support for Tracy’s new book? Go to this post and see if you have anything to add.

    http://www.chumplady.com/forums/topic/advocacy-for-chump-rights/

    If nothing else, could you come over to the forum, start a thread, and give us new Chumps an update on your Gain a Life goings-on?

  • I agree. This woman is a disaster, and it’s really unfortunate that she gets so much press as a “relationship expert”. Her worldview is enabling and encouraging shallow narcissists to do whatever they want because they’re being “honest” with themselves about who they are. What bullshit. Anyone who lives by this nonsense is simple a terrible person.

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