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Esther Perel Can Bite Me

I first wrote this take down of Esther Perel’s bullshit in 2014. She’s only gone on to greater fame and word salad, which is striking when you consider we live in a #MeToo moment and Andrea Dworkin is being rediscovered as a prophetess. (I’d like to shamelessly point out I was ahead of this zeitgeist — I lovingly drew Dworkin with twigs in her hair for my book.) Today Perel’s minor celebrity gets her on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! (Oh, the irony… Do tell me. What’s the secret? Clap?) She’s got a newer chump-blaming book to sell, and spoons her poison so winsomely.

Newbies — welcome to my literary grudge match.


Esther Perel can bite me.

I know that’s not the level of erudite discourse called for when debunking a pre-eminent Belgian psychotherapist. Perel is the best-selling author of “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence.” I mean, who am I to quibble with “one of the world’s most original and insightful voices on personal and professional relationships“?

Who dares to question the great and powerful “organizational consultant to Fortune 500 companies”?

Do I have a “keen cross-cultural pulse”? No, I am a chump. Very average. My pulse is about 80 beats per minute.

Do I ever say “paradigm shift”? As a former think tank editor, I hate the language of turgid academic pretentiousness. I would never commit such word salad crimes.

“Esther shifts the paradigm of our approach to modern relationships. She is regularly sought around the world for her expertise in erotic intelligence, couples and family identity as well as corporate relationships and team collaboration.”

Okay, maybe I’m just jealous because Nike and Johnson & Johnson aren’t seeking me out for my erotic intelligence. (“Her clients and platforms include companies such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson…”) Alas, I’m on no one’s corporate retainer. And no one taps me on the shoulder at cocktail parties inquiring about butt plugs. But I probably don’t travel in the right circles.

Neither do I have long, silky blonde hair, or a European sex kitten persona, or a masters in art therapy. I’m a squidgy, middle-aged woman with weird hair and a masters in African history.

But I can say with utter authority:

Bite me, Esther. 

Bite my squishy, 47-year old, monogamous, married in captivity ass. I’ll inquire intelligently afterwards if that was erotic for you.

Why does Esther vex me so? She’s just the latest pseudo intellectual to make cheating cool. We’re all too judgy. We need to stop “demonizing” infidelity.

She’s written this lovely little essay on “Changing the View on Infidelity.” (Why not “shifting the paradigm,” Esther? Did you get an editor?)

And you all know what that means — it’s time again for the patented Universal Bullshit Translator.

A first step towards understanding why affairs happen with such frequency and across cultures, and towards understanding those involved in affairs, is a move away from demonizing the act itself, both in our personal lives and, for those of us in the mental health professions, in our work. In addition, rather than treat every affair as indicative of a deeply flawed relationship, we can consider the possibility that in some couples, this may not be the case.

Yeah, God forbid we demonize people who spend our 401Ks on Russian hookers or prostitutes on BackPage ads. Or demonize people who waste years of our life and risk our health. Or who break up our families. Or imperil our pregnancies. Or decimate our finances. Or compel us to paternity test our children. Or who leave us with trust issues, herpes, and a twitch. God, we suck. We’re so judgmental.

But Esther, you totally have a point on affairs as not being indicative of a “deeply flawed relationship.” The relationship has nothing to do with it. Affairs are indicative of deeply flawed individuals — cheaters.

In America, infidelity is described in terms of perpetrators and victims, damages and cost. We are far more tolerant of divorce with all the dissolutions of the family structure than of transgression. Although our society has become more sexually open in many ways, when it comes to monogamy, even the most liberal minds can remain intransigent. When discussing infidelity, we use the language of moral condemnation. And it isn’t only the act that’s reprehensible; the actor, too, is judged by the strictest standards. Adultery becomes a moral failing as we move to a description of character flaws: liar, cheater, philanderer, womanizer, slut. In this view, understanding an act of infidelity as a simple transgression or meaningless fling, or a quest for aliveness is an impossibility.

Boy, I never thought of it that way, Esther. When I discovered my ex-husband had been cheating on me during our entire relationship, and had financially defrauded me and moved me to a no-fault divorce state, I should have recognized this as a Quest for Aliveness! I suppose we must attribute my dim-witted reductionist view that pathological lying is a “character flaw” to the fact that, yes, I am an American (and of Puritan stock somewhere way back there).

Yes, I believe at some point in the narrative I have said that I am a “victim” of infidelity. Because I believe in victims, Esther. I think if someone holds you up at gunpoint and takes your wallet, you’re a victim of crime. I think if someone rapes you, you’re a victim of sexual assault. And I think if someone fucks around on you and risks your emotional and physical well-being that yes, you are a victim of infidelity (and probably emotional abuse as well. Most people don’t cheat without a good measure of lying, gaslighting, and blame-shifting). “Victim” implies that a bad person did a bad thing to you against your will. I put cheating in that column, but my mind is intransigent that way.

Am I tolerant of divorce? Hell no, Esther! I’ve had two of them. They sucked epically. But I’m more intolerant of being played for a chump. Nice little turnaround, there. It’s a mindfuck we’re all familiar with here at Chump Lady. It’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it that’s the problem. It’s not the cheating that’s the problem! It’s your reaction — the divorce — that’s the problem. You live with a cheater, an addict, a person who won’t treat their mental illness — and you get back to me on that “dissolution of the family structure” shit. I raised my son mostly as a single parent and he’s turned out quite splendidly, thank you very much.

An affair sometimes captures an existential conflict within us: We seek safety and predictability, qualities that propel us toward committed relationships, but we also thrive on novelty and diversity. Modern romance promises, among other things, that it’s possible to meet these two opposing sets of needs in one place. If the relationship is successful, in theory, there is no need to look for anything elsewhere. Therefore, if one strays, there must be something missing. I’m not convinced.

Religious prohibitions aside, the meanings and motives of infidelity transcend monolithic interpretations, yet we therapists overwhelmingly respond to affairs with an entrenched set of beliefs and practices. The majority view is that affairs can never help a marriage or be accommodated; they are always harmful. Whether disclosed or hidden, lasting a night or a lifetime, they are bound to shake the very foundation of a relationship. They are potentially irreversible and can demand an immediate call to the lawyer.

Boy Esther, I WISH shrinks were telling people to call their lawyers. I thought that was against the whole shrink code of ethics of telling people what to do, and not arriving at these conclusions themselves. If there were a bunch of other monolithic interpreters of cheating as Bad and Something You Should Run Away From, it sure would make my job a lot easier.

The current view is that infidelity depletes intimacy and is a breach of trust and commitment, both emotional and sexual, that can never be fully recouped. Even the psychological literature focuses almost exclusively on the ravages of infidelity. I’d like to offer a view that challenges this premise and encompasses both growth and betrayal at the nexus of affairs.

Though affairs often result in deep emotional crisis, deception and betrayal are not the prime motivation.

Really? Deception isn’t the prime motivation? Than why keep this shit SECRET, Esther? If not for the power trip and the whole “you’re not the boss of me!” sexual hijinks? Cheaters just don’t think they’re going to get caught — but they’re quite happy to adopt one set of rules for their special selves and let us chumps do the monogamy thing. Newsflash — the “deep emotional crisis” is a reaction to being betrayed and deceived.

Right, but that’s not how the affair was intended. I didn’t intend to hurt you! Every chump has heard that, Esther. And you know what we concluded? That cheaters did the cost-benefit analysis on hurting us and fucking around won out over honesty every time.

I suggest we look at infidelity in terms of growth, autonomy, and the desire to reconnect with lost parts of ourselves. Perhaps affairs are also an expression of yearning and loss.

So when Anthony Weiner sent pictures of his junk on Twitter, this was an expression of “yearning and loss”? I just thought it was pervy, and really disrespectful to his wife, but I’m judgmental that way.

And autonomy is for single people, Esther. Interconnectedness, reliance, and trust are for those married saps who agreed to it.

I believe that not all affairs point directly at flaws in the marriage. Affairs are motivated by a myriad of forces— tainted love, revenge, unfulfilled longings, and plain old lust. Yet, as it happens, plenty of adulterers are reasonably content in their relationships. While sometimes the result delivers a devaluation of a couple’s emotional stock, at other times individual growth brings about a new energy to the marriage. In other words, infidelity can be an economy of addition.

Oh God please. Another proponent of the Affairs Can Make Your Marriage Stronger school of bullshit. Yeah, affairs can make your marriage stronger the same way shooting off your kneecaps improves your tennis game. Marriages are based on trust and respect. And when someone deceives you to get some strange, yeah, it does have a way of “devaluing” the ol’ “emotional stock.” It makes you sick with grief, Esther. It makes you puke, and lose sleep with mind movies, and run out for an STD test, and ask yourself every day if you can live with having been played, conspired against, and humiliated. It fucking SUCKS, Esther.

I’m glad adulterers are “reasonably content” in their relationships. Bully for them. After discovery, chumps are not content — they’re devastated. And it’s cold comfort to hear that gee, we don’t suck completely! Our cheaters were reasonably content! I mean, I couldn’t be a smorgasbord of pussy, but I was pretty okay. Good to know, Esther. Thanks!

The lamentations I hear most include feelings of loneliness and emotional deprivation. There comes a point when one no longer can tolerate feeling devalued and taken for granted. Lack of attention and the sense of having become a function rather than a person can instigate a wish for escape. Sexual boredom and frustration, or plain sexlessness, can lead to what Steven Mitchell dubs “acts of exuberant defiance.”

Cheaters feel devalued and taken for granted? Lonely and emotionally deprived? Then SPEAK UP! Have an honest conversation or call a divorce lawyer. Or do both. But there is no excuse for cheating. And dressing your Ashley Madison profile up as some kind of noble quest for self actualization is insulting. Acts of exuberant defiance?! Fuck that noise.

Yeah, the minute someone equates being married to me to be oppressed by a hegemonic monogamous regime — consider yourself unshackled. Your freedom will be granted immediately. Don’t disrespect me by fucking something strange and endangering my health. Just GO.

Sometimes, we seek the gaze of another not because we reject our partner, but because we are tired of ourselves. It isn’t our partner we aim to leave, rather the person we’ve become. Even more than the quest for a new lover we want a new self.

The men and women I work with invest more in love and happiness than ever before, yet in a cruel twist of fate it is this very model of love and sex that’s behind the exponential rise of infidelity and divorce. We ask one person to give us what an entire community once provided —and we live twice as long. It’s a tall order for a party of two.

This is your argument? Let’s blame cheating on longevity? How do you explain the people fucking around in their 20s and 30s? Or their whole lives? They don’t know when they’re going to die, they just cheat! My ex cheated through three entire marriages (probably more by now). Dude got lots of variety and fresh starts. And yet he couldn’t keep it in his pants.

But gee, I guess it takes a whole village to raise a marriage. WTF? What are you saying “We ask on person to give us what an entire community once provided”? People cheat because no one goes to the Elks club anymore? I think you’re reaching here, Esther. It doesn’t become an internationally recognized, foremost relationship expert to come up with such hare-brained theories.

Let me lay a theory on you — people cheat because of poor character and narcissism. That’s it. They’re perfectly happy to agree to a set of rules they have no intention of following because they’re special sausages. And they’re very happy to have the chumps in their life abide by monogamy and continue to extract value from chumps, because it serves their purposes to do so. That’s why the secrecy. It’s not shame or American puritanism or WTFever — it’s gaining advantage over another. It’s kibbles and centrality. It’s greed. It’s ugly, absurdly grandiose, and it hurts innocent people — yeah, VICTIMS.

No one forces anyone into monogamy, it’s not “a cruel twist of fate” — it’s a choice.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • On YouTube, I saw she’d been invited to collaborate with ‘The School of Life’. It was sickening to read the comments on people fawning all over her. Perhaps, outside of the topic of infidelity, she has some really valuable, insightful messages. I doubt it, but it’s possible. But because of her gaslighting, minimising,victim-blaming, damaging take on betrayal, I’ll never know. I’ll never touch her stuff.

      • “I know many of you are assuming that a place called “The School of Life” probably teaches essential life skills such as button sewing or small engine repair, but you’d be wrong. Those activities are actually useful.”

        • On ‘The School of Life’s’ YouTube channel, they have two videos on infidelity: ‘Why do people have affairs?’ and ‘What infidelity means’. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch either, for fear that it’s full of Esther Perel-type nonsense, and I’d then feel compelled to spend several hours of my life challenging infidelity apologists in the comments section. Thanks to your post, CL, it looks like I made the right choice to avoid watching them.

          Perhaps something for the UBT to take on?

        • Hahahaha. LOL.

          I followed SOL for a few months and gave up. I was attracted by the idea of ‘bibliotherapy’ that was part of its strategies. I gave up, never received any life changing insights at all. It is just a new kind of money trap. Thank God I didn’t waste my money on a course. Far better to take a bona fide course in Philosophy and/or Literature.

          Now I take courses in agriculture and animal science.

          • Great idea! Sort of the John Oliver or the Tracy Ullman of cheaters. I would not miss a show!

      • I love it CL!
        I’ve checked out some of her ‘musings’ myself – it’s all a shit sandwich – but it’s made with really good gourmet bread! She’s another overeducated mindless dolt!

        • I’m betting she’s another narcissistic cheating fuckwith. ‘Cause, to be ‘changing the paradigm’ in this field. a Master’s in Art Therapy is highly UNDER educated.

        • Her writings never include all the behaviors that go hand and had with the sex part of infidelity. So I think we should swap words like lying, gaslight, coverup, STDs, hookers every time she writes or says, relationship, love, intimacy, affair and sex.

          “The more COVERUPS that are brought into the marriage, the less you may be inclined to go looking for HOOKERS somewhere else.”

          “Why does Good CHEATING so often fade even for couples who continue to GASLIGHT each other as much as ever?”

          Word salad indeed.

    • She even writes as cheaters do, boring drivel, full of pathos and shalliw science referencing, difficult to digest. I wonder what does she teach all those Fortune 500 companies? I thought many companies are really afraid of office extramarital romances as it makes companies liable for all sorts of things, from losing their workforce and higher turnover to sexual harassment. Or does she teach them ethics? How defrauding your customers isn’t really a problem, just making the employees feeling alive.

      • Yep, I bet she’s a cheater herself. Only a cheater would come up with some many laughable excuses, and the same ones most cheaters do; “I wanted to feel alive”, “I wanted more attention and sex”, “I wanted independence and autonomy”, blah blah blah. I got all those excuses from my cheater, who later admitted they were bullshit. He did it to covertly abuse me, greedily eat cake, and because he’s a grotesquely selfish person. He seems to get that now, at least.
        Perel probably knows it’s bullshit, too. But it’s bullshit that sells. She’s just a garden variety self-help con artist. She and that Mars and Venus idiot should get together and co-write a useless POS book. Him: “Men are unsuited to monogamy for biological reasons. “Her: “Humans of both sexes are unsuited to monogamy due to increased longevity.”
        Bright side for Perel; chumps may not live that long. If we stay with these assholes, we can develop serious health problems due to constant stress.

          • She’s an entertainer. She knows what she is saying causes controversy and almost rabid, foaming at the mouth adversaries. This is big business. Why not apply to her the same logic as we apply to cheaters? She sees, she just disagrees…because her paycheck relies on her not understanding and being on the opposite, controversy generating side.

            Case in point…


            He knows. He admits fully and freely that no one should listen to him because he is full of shit.

            He does it because he can. And he demeans the mental midgets who follow him as such.

            She is a performer. This shiny thing she is rattling over there that has shown to be a really useful object to get attention and revenue from like minded morally bankrupt others.

            All cheaters want is someone to help them justify their debauchery and destruction. This does not apply only to adultery, it applies to CEOs cheating their employees, family members cheating and pillaging when another member dies, normal gal cheating on her taxes…

            Esther Perel is a smart cookie. As long as she has tapped into the dark recesses of human nature…she will continue to be a multi millionaire that cashes in on misery.

            • I think she was cheater ON. Anyone who can do the mind olympics to rationalize saying with a cheater should get a PhD. Cheaters are too lazy to create this sophisticated of a landscape.

        • I have a friend with a PhD in philosophy; he used to teach “Business Ethics” to the business majors at the university where I teach. He finally refused to do it anymore, because, he said, the students couldn’t give a fig.

  • I just don’t understand how the societally-wide exposure of sexual predation and abuse (#MeToo) coincided with a rise in popularity for someone who is clearly an apologist and enabler for sexual predators and abusers..

    • It’s no coincidence. The growing demand for healthier fast food options coincided with the rise of the triple bacon and onion ring cheeseburger. Action/Reaction. Also and expression of “you’re not the boss of me.”

      • Ironically, “you’re not the boss of me” is a favoured line of cheaters, and four-year-olds. Possibly a link?

    • She hides behind drivel that encourages the belief that cheaters are not predators and abusers, just misunderstood and “seeking lost parts of themselves”. This is reprehensible. The only parts cheaters are seeking are new people’s genitals. Anyone who is not the spouse will do in most cases. I suspect she knows that, but the truth that your marriage is a hopeless fraud is usually not a big seller. Chumps hooked on hopium love her as much as narc cheaters do, and she’s raking in the cash. What a bitch.

    • That’s why we all have a role to play in changing the narrative, and raising awareness.

    • She evidently missed school the day they taught that LYING IS ABUSE.



      Not to mention, aren’t “infidelity” and “cheating”
      BAD qualities by definition?

  • She probably realises that people will disagree with her, she’s playing devils advocate. Any attention is better than none.
    I wonder if she was a ow, it be interesting to know.

  • My thoughts remain the same… fuck cheaters, twinkle twats and supporters of this kind of shit. Hats off to the chumps that put a foot down and lawyered up! All it took was once for me and peace out fucker, I’ll see you in court! Bitches like this encourage this type of behavior. Go fuck yourself lady, value yourself a little more….

  • People cheat because of poor character and narcissism——CL, you say it all in one sentence. I learned the hard way. Never really thought about it until it happened to me. They do it because they don’t care about anyone but themselves. Esther Perel is an idiot. People who agree with her are also cheating or never should be married.

  • Esther’s words are really triggering. It reminds me of when I first discovered this line if thinking and started dancing the pick-me dance. Thanks for running that through the UBT!

    • Agreed! I first found Perel after Dday and never felt more anxious and not good enough. I would cry while listening to her audiobooks. She put me in a bad place mentally and I performed quite a pick me dance. I did not get picked.

      CL saved my life!!!!!! I am more empowered and love myself more.

      • So true. I read her 2 books ‘cos I was so deep in the pick-me-dance at the beginning. However the bit at the end of her 2nd book when she tried to justify open relationships and polygamy was when I started to realise this was just sounding too much like nonsense. Then shortly after I found CN and was saved

      • Yes! Something about her work rattled me and was off- putting. I read it after my DDay and hated it, but couldn’t articulate what it was that rubbed me the wrong way.

        I’ve been waiting for this response since 2015! (Although I know it’s a rerun)

    • I remember watching her Ted talk on YouTube before my now ex-husband came home to dump me. I can’t even remember the date anymore. I cried on my sons bed for about 20 mintues when something insides me screamed “Fuck that bitch, fuck her hair dresser, her momma, her daddy…” just went on and on until I cussed almost everyone.

  • She can call this a fresh (sigh) approach to infidelity all day long, but it is just the same old bullshit cheaters have always slung.

    But, hey, maybe she can tell us where this society that finds cheating and all that it entails morally reprehensible might be. There’s really a place where people understand that the commitment of monogamy is a worthy and beautiful thing? Where?

    Nah. She’s not different at all. Just preaching to the ever expanding cheater choir. Big shrug.

    • A recent Pew poll found 88% of the American public disapprove of cheating. It was one of the two highest acts of which people disapproved.

      Imagine using Perel’s language for Bernie Madoff’s victins: “Bernie was merely bored when he dreamed up his pyramid scheme. He didn’t mean to hurt you; taking your retirement funds was just a way for him to feel exuberant and defiant! Don’t be so judgey!”

  • Thank you!!! If your “quest for aliveness” and “individual growth” require you to lie, cheat, gaslight, deceive, betray, and abuse others, then maybe you need to re-consider your values.

    And how convenient that only the cheater gets to explore the “quest for aliveness,” or that there seems to be need to tell your life partner that you have decided that those vows and commitments you made no long apply. There is no respect for the spouse and children who get to experience the collateral damage of such “exuberant defiance.”

    • That phrase really pisses me off. Defying what? Your own supposedly sacred vow and commitment, freely chosen by you, is what is being defied when you cheat. Being exhuberant about that = disordered sicko enjoying duper’s delight.

      • Exactly! Defying your chosen partner in life is absolutely ridiculous and pathetic. Shameful. And the cheater is full of shame which they try to displace via this pompous BS.

        Chump lady. I love you forever. You saved my life from this drivel.

      • Definace. As in a defiant CHILD. Since most of these cheating fuckwits appear to be stuck in toddler mode, emotional maturity-wise, I think it is apt, along with the “You’re not the Boss of Me”.

        Toddlers, however, rarely give their family members STDs.

        • I’ll add that to the Difference Between Cheaters and Toddlers, if you don’t mind:

          1) Toddlers can be reasoned with.

          2) Toddlers don’t think other mommys are better than you because they have boob jobs.

          3) Toddlers might ask for more cookies, but they don’t try to eat several cookies simultaneously.

          4) Toddlers have tantrums, but they don’t involve slamming the front door and going off to get shit-faced.

          5) Toddlers will lie to get out of trouble, not because they enjoy deceiving you.

          6) Toddlers will stop playing with a toy if it makes mommy or daddy cry.

          7) Toddlers aren’t capable of hypocrisy.

          8) Toddlers don’t give you STDs.

          9) Toddlers are ~supposed~ to be narcissistic. They grow out of it.

          10) Toddlers don’t step over you, as you lie in a sobbing heap, to walk out the door and be with another mommy or daddy.

          Feel free to add to the list, CN.

    • Thank you! Spot on!

      Why is the cheater finding “aliveness” while the chump is what?? Just sittim’ here practicing my morals and living my life of integrity. Sorry that’s soooo boring and in-exuberant. Those pesky vows and responsibilities like children you helped create Do so get in the way of finding ones true self, don’t they?

    • “Exuberant defiance” is just another way of writing “You’re not the boss of me!!!!”

      Perel is either a cheater, a Cluster B, or both. None of which bode well for her.

  • People, especially big corporations, embrace her because she validates cheating and rule breaking. She gives validation to those things that are often frowned upon however make money.
    Corporate bigwigs are cheaters in life and in love. Her rhetoric allows them to sleep peacefully at night.

  • How is it helpful for someone to find a thousand reasons why we should understand cheaters’ personal problems with fidelity? Affairs are not simple, people cheat for all those thousands of reasons, and yet the devastation to the non-straying spouse is predictable and mostly the same across the board. Having gone through Hell and back I can say that my reaction had nothing to do with society norms and expectations. The nightmare had a life of its own. It ripped me apart! There was never a moment when my ex spouse even tried to “comfort” me by explaining that he was “reasonably content” in our marriage. He didn’t even make such a stupid claim! So why would someone offer this as an idea? I’ve never heard of a man telling his wife “I’m reasonably happy in our marriage, but I am going to have sex with whom ever I want, because you shouldn’t be expecting otherwise.” The cheater usually says how they’ve been miserable for years and someone else has the secret to making them happy. You don’t get to change the rules without the consent of your spouse. That’s why they’re called cheaters.

    • Elin,

      My Cheater actually DID claim he was happy in our marriage, and that the cheating was “just lust,” and not something I should take personally. But then he also blamed me for it. He’d say things like, “Well, that day we had an argument. You were being weird.” As if arguing and “being weird” was an excuse to run out and take comfort elsewhere. Not only did it blame me for his cheating & addiction, but it also was designed to make me afraid to ever argue with him or act in any manner that he might construe as “weird” (basically disagreeing with him or not going along with him on something).

      Some Cheaters may have a coherent game plan about their blame-shifting. Others (like my STBX) just throw random reasons at the wall to see what sticks.

      • I think most cheaters ARE content in their marriages. They like their cake. They just feel entitled to MORE. And they hide their actions because they know darn well that being honest about their shenanigans would endanger that cake. Plus, it’s fun to pull one over on their clueless chump.

  • She blameshifts the focus of research. She is meant to be a professional but she speaks of how the research must be flawed because it focuses on the dark narrative and fallout instead of the obvious mythos she has discovered in case studies within her own work.

    Except… it’s not a suprise. Of course the people who act out have the best intentions…. they want their cake and want to eat it too… that’s completely fucking normal for people who are protecting and projecting.

    Where’s the research Esther? Where’s your study that people in relationships who didn’t sign up to cheat- the people who were actually faithful, appreciate the changes in their relationship without years of therapy and whatnot. Even if some people make it through infidelity with their relationship intact, (lucky [?] unicorns) I sorely doubt they think the missing money, attention and safety was worth it. Maybe the cheating spouse thinks so. It reignites the fire or something… I dunno and I don’t care. She’s talking in circles and generalizing and not actually providing research or changing the narrative. She’s still focusing on why it’s ok to cheat, why the poor sop needs to get their rocks off in secret. She doesn’t at all empathize with the other side of the relationship, which is absolutely useless since she is supposed to be there for the couple not just one side.

    Ffs she makes me boil

    • Esther wouldn’t know an independent variable if it bit her in the ass. She pays no attention to research because she is just that suave. It’s like the Lily Tomlin skit on the phone company (back in the monopoly days), “We don’t care; we don’t have to!”

      Esther achieves notoriety and big money for spewing her nonsense. I’m sure the executives of Fortune 500 companies LOVE her message that cheating is warranted. The entitled lap up messages that they are entitled to their entitlement.

      • In fact she’s ideal for big companies who have no empathy

        e.g. big company dumps toxic chemicals in river — gets caught and they “express their guilt” over the matter and as we know here in CN, guilt just means they’re sorry they were caught as they really should be expressing shame & remorse, which will never happen

        So to have EP come in and spout loads of meaningless twaddle is perfect to add to all the other corporate drivel they already have

        • That’s right. Spilling toxic waste is just an “exuberant act of defiance”, so we should not be so judgy. Those old EPA rules are out-dated.

      • I don’t think you learn a whole lot of Statistics & Research Methods in Art Therapy. My guess.

  • Esther Perel appeals to people who don’t believe in boundaries (others) or that the word “NO”, or its cousin (FUCK NO) applies to them. Only inferior people. Not emotional or intellectual giants like themselves.

    Of course, they get angry when someone brooms their lying asses to the curb.

    I also seethe when I see her dehumanizing other people as mere mobile fetishes in skin. Wanna bet she and her husband play cuckold games with “bulls” of a different hue?

    She’s a cliche.

  • Esther and people like her try to make cheating complicated when it really is quite simple. All you need to whip up a cheater cake is to add equal parts of people with poor character, a sense of entitlement and a dash or a pinch of narcissism. The final ingredient is optional and the amount added isn’t important.

    Throw that all together in a pan with some opportunity and let bake for 1 hour at 350. Viola! Perfect cheater cake. For chumps it has a bitter aftertaste of blameshifting, emotional abuse and perhaps an STD to boot but the recipe is full proof. It’s not special or original, it just works every time.

    The fact that there is nothing more to it is what drives cheaters, ooops people like Esther Perel nuts. Because for them being ordinary is a fate worse than death.

    • THIS!!!^^^^ Cheating is VERY simple. People do what they want to do. That’s it. A cheater goes out and fucks someone, co-worker, neighbor, prostitute, bar rando, because they WANT to. They know it will hurt you; they know it is wrong. They do not care. They consider their wants above everything else. They have done the math and the equation looks something like this: wet genitals > promises. Trying to make easy straightforward things into complicated things is indeed the work of all pseudo-intellectual posers.

  • I wonder how Esther would like to explain to my grandchildren that their mother was just “tired of herself” and that’s why she blew up their family.
    It wasn’t that she didn’t care how it would affect them or their standard of living, that every week they have to pack up their things, leave their friends and go to ‘Mom’s’. That they now go to therapy and feel disloyal each time they are nice to the “new boyfriend” and waffle between hating her and loving her at the same time. No it was just an “act of exuberant defiance” nothing person kids! Oh, I get it just collateral damage, no big deal!

    • I always hear… “Oh. Kids will adjust. They are so resilient.”
      Fuck me. I have to pick them up every time they come back from seeing their Dad. They love their Dad, hate what he did, and feel extremely disloyal by being there. They hate the packing up stuff, remembering to bring things, the inconsistency, …
      Yeah. Simply selfishness. The STBX did not care about the kids or he would have addressed unhappiness differently.

  • E.P. was rec’d to me by my marriage counselor and so I watched a few videos and bought her audiobook. The videos were okay, I thought at first, through my weepy, shocked, “I don’t want this to be real” haze right after DDay. But I couldn’t even make it through the first chapter of the book. Such pretentious psychobabble. It felt like she was writing the cheater’s handbook- How to get away with it by mindfucking your spouse into thinking that your affair is really a ‘quest for aliveness’ and will actually bring you even closer.” What B.S.
    I wonder how E.P. would feel if she’d found out her husband had had 2 affairs, at one point simultaneously, over 4 years, while her teen daughter was suffering from mental heath issues. Then, when she tried to confront him and get to the truth he lied to her face and gaslighted her. That’s not “exuberant defiance,” it’s fucked up, selfish, disrespectful and entitled. That’s a character problem, as CL would say. After that first chapter I went online, discovered ChumpLady, finally felt validated about the misery and anger I was feeling towards my lousy cheater, and deleted all traces of E.P. Good riddance.

    • I sincerely hope you also “deleted all traces” of the marriage counselor who was idiot enough to recommend E.P. to a traumatized spouse!

    • I wonder how EP would feel if her exuberantly defiant spouse passed along an STD or six while she was pregnant and/or nursing her children?

  • Though I hesitate to defend Perel, I think that in some small ways she doesn’t disagree with the consensus here. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that Perel does attribute agency – dare I say blame? – to the cheater: “It isn’t our partner we aim to leave, rather the person we’ve become.” and “plenty of adulterers are reasonably content in their relationships” are polite ways to say “the cheater has a hole in his soul and is looking for someone else to fill it up” and “it’s not anything you did in the marriage, it’s them”. This is, in fact, the first step of CL’s message “you’re not responsible for the cheating. You were in the same marriage – with all its stresses and flaws – and didn’t cheat. Your spouse cheated because he has no moral compass.” Perel does acknowledge this scenario, which (as far as I can tell without ever having the opportunity of actually participating in it) is better than a lot of the RIC which goes straight to “blame the faithful spouse”.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not pro-Perel. For sure she gives short shrift to the pain and devastation this causes in the cheated-upon and the kids. For sure she puts more burden on the couple (as a unit) to fix the cheater’s flaws than is appropriate. For sure her dismissal of monogamy is an affront to the billions of people who manage to live within its strictures. My suspicion is that Perel encounters a very particular subset of cheaters in her practice – wealthy, probably educated, articulate, high-functioning people who are somewhat committed to their marriages despite their philandering – because those are the only people who can devote the time, money and energy required for her counseling. She never meets the monsters I read about here, or even the garden-variety “I’ll lie to you if it’s useful, but really I just want to get rid of you with the minimum of fuss” discarder that I had, so her perspective is skewed. Her job is to try to cobble together some kind of marriage out of the ashes of adultery, so that’s what she talks about. I get why her opinions garner more attention than they warrant (people are interested in the hidden dynamics of others’ marriages, plus she’s beautiful and has a sexy accent) but for the life of my I don’t understand why a Fortune 500 company would think it appropriate air them to their employees.

    • She doesn’t want to meet Chumps who boot the cheater to the curb, nor does she want them to stand up for themselves. It interferes with the psychobabble she’s peddling.

      I bet at the first HINT of a Chump finding their spine, dignity and self-respecr, she fires them as her clients. I bet she keeps the cheater though. Someone who hands her money to be told, “You’re justified!”

      Chumps who call bullshit upset her.

      I also want to see any peer-reviewed RESEARCH papers she has ever written on the topic. That would be good for a few guffaws.

    • Dear IG, Two-Legged Rat is relatively wealthy, very well educated, articulate and high-functioning, yet he’s a monster who not only tried to steal my life and my identity, but also had sex with his first cousin for years and had an at least inappropriate relationship with my own sister (together with dozens of subordinates, strippers and hookers).
      Psychopaths, sociopaths and plain old narcissists are everywhere, but especially in positions of power.

    • There is a video somewhere of Esther imploring a chumped wife to consider how alive her cheating husband must have felt. That is lack of empathy masquerading as “cognitive restructuring.”

      My X was exactly the kind of person Esther may have had in mind–completely committed to staying married; home for dinner every night, attended back-to-school nights with me, highly educated (Ph.D; international academic reputation). He tried very hard (in his personality disordered way) to prevent me from divorcing him. Did I hurt any less than other people here? You also had a highly educated cheater. And yet we were devastated by their affairs.

      Agreed that Esther takes the blame off the chumped spouse, but she legitimizes the endeavor that led us all here.

  • Fellow Chumps–Thank you so much for keeping it all so real. If we don’t hear the voice of sanity, like Chump Lady, the Esther Perel crap might pull the wool over your eyes. I rolled my eyes at her BS when I first heard her Ted Talk. Her ‘eat the shit you’re fed’ sandwich seems to be attracting lots of fans lately. Only when you go through it yourself might you be able to detect how damaging of a message she’s slinging. Our ‘couples therapist’ ran to the rescue of the cheater in our first appointment. As far as my scarred memory recalls, it felt that she thought my ex husband was a pitiful victim of his childhood and it was my duty to try to be compassionate. I wanted say, ‘Hey’ I’ve got the noose around my neck here lady! Stop listening to his BS and help me!’ Needless to say, in her mind, ex’s infidelity wasn’t really that big of a deal, there were much bigger things he needed help with, and, things I needed to forgive ASAP. A reason to Yelp her ass about how damaging that therapy was for me. From then on, I decided to find my way through the damage and debris on my own. And to help my hurting, yet trying to be brave, grown kids.

    • Cheaters do have issues – like lack of character and morality. Can’t fix the issues or them. We all end up running around trying to make these poor babies feel better while they sit there feeling all smug. We chumps feel the shit beat out of us (figuratively and literally) and yet we are supposed to stuff it all down because they are having a crises.

      Sounds so fucked up. I entertained the RIC for a few days. Found Chump Lady and knew that I had my tribe. Best decision I’ve made through this whole shit show.

    • OMG, this was our therapists take on things too. How incredibly damaging my ex husband’s childhood must have been for him to act out in this manner! I just need to forgive him, because that is a gift I give myself, to have peace. No, actually, his head on a platter would give me peace.

  • Let’s try and follow the logic.

    On the one hand, “not all affairs point directly at flaws in the marriage . . .as it happens, plenty of adulterers are reasonably content in their relationships.”

    On the other hand, the reason cheaters cheat “include feelings of loneliness and emotional deprivation. There comes a point when one no longer can tolerate feeling devalued and taken for granted.”

    So . . . they’re lonely and emotionally deprived, yet are reasonably content in that situation? They are generally happy with their choice of life partner AND feel devalued and taken for granted?

    Oh wait — it’s NOT the partner or the life shared with that partner that’s unsatisfactory, it’s the longing for “a new self” and “leaving the person they’ve become.”

    So, following the logic — cheaters are responsible for their own feelings of loneliness, emotional deprivation, being devalued and taken for granted, which explains why they purposely engage in so much deception, dishonesty, and emotionally abusive behavior on the people they’re generally satisfied with.

    Thank you for clearing it up for me Esther. My cheater in question is a flaming hot mess that I am well rid of.

    • And it should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that my fuckwit ex thinks EP is just SUCH hot shit.

      In early attempts to create buzz for her (apparently and hopefully abandoned) sex podcast, she linked to articles by EP with:

      “Esther Perel is one of the most insightful therapists and researchers about sex, intimacy, and relationships out there today. We here at [podcast name] just love her.”

      “We love Esther Perel here at [podcast name]. Her views on love, sex, and relationships are nuanced and thoughtful. She makes you think.”

      And on the flip side, she also weighed in on the situation Chump Lady wrote about earlier this month ( involving Dan Gasby, who’s moved his new, younger girlfriend into the house he still shares with his wife, who is suffering from severe dementia. Ex was pretty adamant: “Don’t judge anyone in this situation until you’ve been in it yourself.”

    • Actually, all of that sums up my ex pretty well. I think he did feel all of those things, but none of it had anything to do with me and what I was or wasn’t doing. If anything, I was guilty of failing to read his mind but even if I had been capable of that, I am not sure I would have been able to figure out what he really wanted or needed.

  • CL, you had my vote at SPEAK UP! Do we not have mouths and voices? Why does it seem most of us have “gut feelings”, then ask a question, only to be lied to and then have to put on the marriage police hat to find out our “gut feelings” were correct all along? SPEAK UP!

    • Because we can’t believe that someone we trusted and loved with all our hearts would do this to us.

  • This is exactly why I have an issue with RIC. they’re all about; why did this happen, what drove you to do this, what went wrong in your childhood blah, blah, blah. This seems to be the way all evil doers a.k.a.
    cheaters are let off the hook. It’s pretty simple we all know ‘right from wrong’ so there is no excuse no matter how the RIC and Esther and others want to spin it. Cheaters have agency they know what they are doing they know who the are hurting they simple don’t care. They come first.

  • Infidelity is abuse.

    My ex-husband’s secret affair during our 4th pregnancy resulted in an emergency c-section delivery and a nearly 2 week stay in an Infectious Disease, level 3 NICU hospital for my infant daughter.

    Born presenting with symptoms (blisters) of an STD (HSV), my infant daughter’s first human touch on Earth was a spinal tap testing for meningitis (which would have possibly been fatal), followed by swabs of all her mucus membranes, including her vagina. I didn’t even get to hold my newborn child in my arms until the following day.

    My daughter’s physicians were not sure if she would live and had every Specialist possible involved. A team of doctors called Infectious Disease Specialist created a risk algorithm based on my sexual history. We knew I was testing negative for HSV, but this virus has one of the longest periods of seroconversion (period of incubation to receive a correct result) of all STDs. I had only so much as kissed one man in my entire adult life. However, my ex-husband had secretly committed serial adultery during my first and second trimesters. He had enjoyed sex with me (up until D day), while cheating on me with unprotected sex with a secret girlfriend. I discovered he often had sex with both of us on the same day…one right after the other, without bathing in between. (OW sent me “screenshots” of just about every text they ever sent).

    I discovered the adultery when his secret girlfriend became angry and jealous and created a fake Facebook page to send messages to me on Christmas morning of our planned gender reveal. OW was a divorce attorney (15 years older and 3x divorced). She named herself as a witness in our divorce and hired the most expensive attorney in town to represent her. She wanted to help my ex husband avoid paying any amount of child support and avoid responsibility for his chronic and secret drug and alcohol addiction.

    During the agonizing wait period in the hospital (while I was still recovering from the emergency c-section-and highly medicated), I received a copy of an email from my ex-husband’s attorney to the Gaurdian Ad Litem BLASTING me with the responsibility for my daughter’s circumstances by not being tested more thoroughly for STDs (she didn’t understand seroconversion) and stating that my abusive husband had NEVER had sex with me other than the conception of this child. What a lie! I will never forgive him for lying to his secret girlfriend/divorce attorney (they were colleagues and BFF) in an attempt to place the blame on me.

    Finally, after experiencing unspeakable stress and anxiety my daughter was determined to have blisters not related to any STDs and we were allowed to go home. I was now a single mother of 4 kids, age 6 and under. It was stressful. Our divorce was finalized when the baby was 2 months old.

    I tried to move forward with my life. However, my ex-husband became increasingly controlling, demanding, and abusive. He seemed to know every move I made. It was like he could read my mind. I bumped into him everywhere, and often this encounters would result with him assaulting me physically and sexually, in front of our young children.

    It turns out he had hidden a high-tec GPS in my car that sent him a text alert every I turned the car on. He could track my every move in real time. He loved playing with my head and knowing he had power over me. This period of my life is a nightmare. I will never know what other methods of spying he utilized, but I believe he had many more that I never could prove.

    I am one of the lucky ones. I had the support of family and friends to help me utilize the Court system to seek relief from the constant abuse. My abusive ex-husband has a strict code of restrictions and restraints against abusive behavior. I have four, beautiful and amazing children. I now live a beautiful life, free from his abuse (as free as I can be with 4 little kids).

    Infidelity is abuse.

    • SNC, your story haunted me when you first posted it. The abuse you suffered at the hands of members of my profession haunts me still. I am so, so glad that you are free and doing well. You are truly one of the most amazing, mighty people I’ve “met” on this site. And yes, infidelity, even without the extra horrifying abuses you suffered, is abuse. Damn straight it is.

      • Thank you, Beth! (((((Hugs))))))

        My ex-husband and his secret divorce attorney girlfriend broke up a while ago. He immediately started a rebound series of intense, serious relationships. A few weeks ago he called my attorney (my attorney says he sounded high as a kite) and asked my attorney to help him get the secret divorce attorney disbarred from practicing law! Evidently the OW had created fake Facebook pages to bully and harass him. Now he’s called the cops on her and allegedly a police investigation is pending.

        The truth can truly be stranger than fiction.

        • Aw…the asshat is being bullied by his former twu luv? That sounds like Karma to me. Your attorney must have gotten a bunch of LOLs from that phone call. It makes me so happy when these cheating fucktards turn on one another.

    • SNC, your story is horrifying. This is not to trivialize – it’s like an 80s movie about love gone wrong and someone seeking vengeance and revenge. Only you discover that the movie is based on real-life and you cannot imagine living that horror.

      Here you are, telling your story and being mighty for your children and yourself. Esther Perel can go to hell.

    • Your story is why I despise cheaters with the fire of a million suns, and understand completely why someone would want to actually murder such a fuckwit. In fact, I’m surprised that you didn’t (it would have been completely justified).

      • He avoided jail time. Many do. My attorney was satisfied that we got the best possible outcome, which in addition to numerous life-long protections, also included him pleading guilty to everything. It is legal paperwork that will hopefully be able to protect the children and me in the future. Additionally any future abuse of the same kind will land him in criminal court (rather than family court), which would potentially be more likely to result in jail time. Family Court can be a difficult place to look for justice.

        If I could do it all over again and give advice to myself, I’d recommend finding a Domestic Violence Advocate ASAP by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If I’d had the foresight to install a nest cam or something similar to record the abuse that occurred at my home, it would have been a whole different legal experience.

  • I am so sorry that you have had to endure this abuse. The Esthers of the world have no idea the damage that these evil cheaters have on their families. The media glorifies and sensationalizes the notion that affairs are all fun and drama and just an escape from reality. They don’t publicize the truth of the heart-ache and life threatening consequences that are real possibilities. I am glad you have the support of your family and friends and wish you every success. Lots of hugs.

  • I loathe Perel and all abuser-apologists.

    This is what I know having been cheated on apparently multiple times in a 25 year marriage where in many ways I gave WAY more than X: X cheated because of poor character and narcissism, just as CL says. He was perfectly happy to agree to a set of rules he had no intention of following because he felt entitled, special. And he was very happy to have me abide by monogamy and he deceived me to continue extracting value from me, that’s called a con, plain and simple. It served his purposes to do so. That’s why the secrecy: to gain advantage over me! It was all about his kibbles and centrality. It was his greed. It was and now, appallingly will be for my kids, ugly, absurdly grandiose, and it hurts innocent people — yeah, VICTIMS: me, four children, pets, extended family members, friends, even those in the community. X deprived me of my basic human right to choose how I would live with his deception. I will never know the true extent of the horror and I don’t want to — I know enough to know that what X chose to do is not OK with me. Once I knew, and despite his further abusive conduct of blameshifting, gaslighting, trying to emotionally manipulate the kids, refusing to split assets fairly, I kicked his ass out to the curb, hired the best lawyer there is, went completely no contact, and secured my financial future by taking him as rapidly as possible to a full trial and the Judge imposed consequences. I’m two years out from divorce. I’m working steadily on building my new life. I have a career, a retirement, great relationships with my four children, and a wonderful significant. There are hard days still, but X’s choices and conduct was intolerable to me — there was nothing to work with. He caused that. I chose me, my one and only life. And it’s a life worth living.

    No one forces anyone into monogamy, it’s not “a cruel twist of fate” — it’s a choice.

    • See Nelson Rockefeller dying on top of a side dish (talk about coitus interruptus). His first marriage ended when he married the mistress Happy. There were many openings for new mistresses to step in/spread ’em.

  • In one of his “justification of his actions” emails (NOT an apology nor amends nor remorse), some of his rambling verbal vomit mirrored Perel’s, so it’s hard for me to read without being triggered. He absolved himself of destroying our family and 28 years of what I thought was a good marriage by telling me if I wasn’t so morally rigid, I would consider redefining our marriage vows to now be “monogamish” which let me know he was buying into Savage as well as Perel. Anything to justify CAKE. When I said no, it unleashed 2.5 years of divorce hell. Like it somehow became all my fault because I didn’t react the way he wanted me to. Now he wants to be my friend. No again. No contact for 7 months and counting.

    • Above all else, ‘no contact’ has been the most effective tool for my healing and recovery. It’s something that usually takes no effort, but some days takes enormous effort. The longer I practice it, the better I feel.

      I only have two words for Esther Perel, and the second word is “off!”.

    • Sheesh, what is it with the friend thing? Mine said “but of course I’m your friend; I’ve always been your friend”. I wouldn’t treat an enemy the way cheater has treated me but he feels his behavior still demonstrates friendship?! I think he actually believes it too, which is the harder thought to wrap my head around.

      • Yup, ‘Still love you, still care about you, still want to be (our daughter’s) loving mum and dad as much as possible’.

        Er, really? You think that’s possible? When I wouldn’t go along with this ‘friends’ thing. Oh dear I got it in the neck then didn’t I.

        I agree I think mine believes it that it’s turned out the way it has because of me. No wrapping your head around it. It’s mental.

  • Tell it like it is CL! That dumb bitch is nothing more than a whore pimping out her fucked up views for money….along with her dignity, emotional, mental and vaginal health. Last time I checked that kind of lifestyle binds you in an ever torminted hell. She is a fucked up narcissist putting on a front and projecting to hide her true feelings of guilt, shame, lust, infedelity, etc. just like all of them do. Man, I would hate to be her two sons or their wives or her grandchildren. When she see’s how her “experimental views” negatively impact their lives she will feel the burn of her idiocy for promoting such behavior.

  • Wow look at Perel’s early pictures vs the newer ones. Evil changes the countenance.

    • People often end up with the face they deserve as they age. A good person who lives a healthy lifestyle will not have that extremely saggy, sunken-eyed look. My cheater looks at least 10 years older than me and we are the same age. He aged more rapidly during the affair, too. He used to comment on me looking younger than him a lot and I think he was jealous. Self-indulgent living, the stress of conducting a double life, and the attendant constant lying will eventually do a number on your face. Naturally, he cheated with somebody younger and thought acting like a teenager compensated for looking like he got kicked out of the crypt for scaring the residents. The sad sausage face he has now sure doesn’t help.
      Perel is a fraud and it’s stressful to live a lie. I suspect it’s even more stressful, in a way, than being chumped, because these assholes will never be at peace with themselves and will always be unhappy. Our pain lessens with time while they just keep on sucking.

      • Mine looks 10 years younger than I do.
        I attribute that to the fact that he was married to me, while I was married to him.
        Living with a fuckwit wears you down and wears you out.
        Living with a spouse who loves you, treats you like you are loved and does everything for you doesn’t take the same toll as living with someone who treats you like shit and does absolutely nothing for you, and never shows any gratitude or reciprocity.
        But I will take my saggy, baggy, wrinkled face over the smooth countenance of a cheater all day, every day.

    • Whoever is doing her Botox injections isn’t doing such a great job-just sayin’

  • “And no one taps me on the shoulder at cocktail parties inquiring about butt plugs. But I probably don’t travel in the right circles.”

    Haha! I lost it on that one. Thanks for the laugh, CL!

  • This part of what is it about an affair – however painful to read, I think is true:

    “We are no longer just the person who makes problems around the in-laws and doesn’t lift their weight around the house or the finances: we are someone whose very essence has, via the flesh, been witnessed and endorsed. What we may be doing is slipping off another’s top or inviting them to release our trousers, but what all this means is that another human has – exceptionally – chosen to find us worthy. For so-called cheats (who will most likely have to pay a very heavy price indeed for going to bed with another person), sex can have remarkably little to do with ‘sex’. It is an activity continuous with a range of non-physical needs for tenderness, acceptance, care and companionship. It is an attempt, negotiated through the body but focused on the satisfactions of the psyche, to make up for a long-standing painfully-severed emotional connection with a primary partner.”

    • Sometimes, but sometimes not. I think for many narcissists (i.e., my ex-husband), affairs were thrill-packed exercises in manipulation, control, and physical release. People like this aren’t capable of emotional connection, so they fill that void with the pursuit of excitement and purely physical pleasure. For them, affairs have everything to do with sex, as a form of manipulation. And the welfare of the people who are hurt by these decisions—the spouse and kids—doesn’t even enter into the calculation.

    • I suppose that could be true in some instances but it is a serious over-generalization to say that is close to standard. So many of us (myself included) were cheated on with sex trade workers. No matter what my ex wanted to pretend, it was not a search for emotional connection it was him buying women’s bodies and treating them like sexualized objects, not human beings. It was him risking my health and perhaps even my life, a risk I did not know of or consent to. It was him risking our financial well being and reputation. It was him putting his dick above his family. That’s it. It had absolutely nothing to do with care or tenderness or compassion – not his for them, not theirs for him and certainly none of them for me and my kids.

    • That is certainly how my ex viewed it, but that loss of connection was on his end not mine. He didn’t feel loveable and so he assumed I didn’t love him and then resented me for not loving him. I did love him and tried to show him that in many ways, but he refused to recognize anything I did as a display of love because it didn’t fit the narrative he had created for himself. He didn’t trust me, not because of anything I did or failed to do but becuase of the way he chose to perceive our relationship. He developed a narrative in which he was the victim who just wanted to be loved and wasn’t. Anything I did or didn’t do was going to be twisted to fit that narrative because his own insecurities had brainwashed him into thinking that that was the way things were. Eventually I probably did become more distant and less emotionally connected, not because I lost interest in him, but because nothing I did was ever received in the way it was intended. That in turn was discouraging for me so I retreated.

    • I disagree. If they’d just put the time and energy they spent on other partners to work on their marriages, those needs could have been met without cheating in most cases. Cheaters don’t want to work on their marriages. That’s hard and requires they do some giving rather than just take. They are lazy and selfish people by nature, so getting a new partner who doesn’t know how shitty they are is just easier. Plus they can covertly abuse their spouse at the same time.

    • Yes, but WHO severed that connection in the first place? I was fully attentive and doting on him even in the lead up to the discard.

      I can’t help the fact that my love and interest in my husband wasn’t enough adoration to feed his ego. He apparently needed the validation of someone much younger and hot. I, past my prime, no longer offered enough validation of his prowess.

      He absolutely wasn’t validating me as a partner, but I didn’t choose to cheat to shore up my flagging self esteem.

  • I haven’t read all of the comments here, but does anyone else suspect that even Esther doesn’t believe her own bullshit? She wanted to get rich and famous, and cheaters will hand her a fist full of money to justify their unjustifiable actions. “You see! It’s not a lack of character, it’s totally natural and normal!” Terrified chumps will hand over some cash too, so a so-called ‘expert’ will tell them their feelings aren’t rational and they can stay in their “safe” existence. I wonder how long it takes the average Perel chump to figure out they’ve been chumped AGAIN?

    • To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be surprised. No matter what era or region, there will always be a troupe of snake oil sellers ready to spring up a cottage industry around something which appeals to people’s woes.

      “Are you a cheater, but you don’t want to feel bad for doing the bad thing? Let me help you suppress your cognitive dissonance!”

      “Have you been cheated on but you’re too afraid to ditch that lying bastard yet despite your best efforts you can’t quell that sense of I’ve-been-wronged that hits you in the face every day? Let me help you rediscover your submissive personality!”

      EP’s either a cheater herself, a snake oil saleswoman, or high off her own “look how objective I’m being right now” farts. Probably all three, to be honest.

  • “I suggest we look at infidelity in terms of growth, autonomy, and the desire to reconnect with lost parts of ourselves. Perhaps affairs are also an expression of yearning and loss.”

    Growth- irs really about power and control.
    Autonomy-um I believe self control developmentally starts in toddlers.
    Lost Parts? Esther there’s no such thing as character transplants.

    Yeah, expression of yearning and loss justifys cheating. It all sounds so devilish and exciting. You’re incompetent EP. Why sell sleaziness?

  • She has clearly never met a child devastated by her parents Longing for self realization that required screwing aroind, lying and general offensiveness.

    Of course, she would expect said child to sacrifice their own safety and security for the parent. Don’t stifle cheaters quest of their true self.

    What bullshit.

    • She’s not interested in the damage done by a cheater. Interferes with prostituting herself.

  • Perel reads like faux-intellectual dribble.
    All I’m thinking is:
    Narcissists In Captivity: An Exploration of Me by Esther Perel (insert self-aggrandizing credentials here)
    Sociopaths In Captivity: Because Feelings are Pesky by Esther Perel

    “Perel’s work gave me permission to be my real self! Now I was my dick in between work flings, with aloe wipes.”-Richard Head, CEO Capital Financial

    Bitch, please. The Nation knows better.

  • Watch just about any tv show or movie now and you will see how badly broken society’s moral compass has become.

    Hurting, deceiving and using people is seen as a-ok in the personal quest for ‘aliveness.’ Whatever that bs means. Lots of excuses for shitty behavior.

    • One of the many reasons that I never like “reality” shows like Survivor. Let’s be two-faced, stab people in the back, run over those that are weaker – all in the name of winning. Makes me sick.

      • Or the garbage that is the “Bachelor” (and its female equivalent) – a couple dozen women doing a frantic pick-me dance for someone who isn’t even a prize anyway (and has had his tongue down the throat of every other person there as well).

        Reality TV is fucked up. In fact, most TV in general is.

        • I recently watched the documentary on Fred Rogers. As a survivor of infidelity, I connected with the following quote from Mr. Rogers: “I think that those who would try to make you feel less than who you are, I think that’s the greatest evil.”

          • “Every single thing that upsets you goes by the same name-abuse of power”

  • I heard Esther Perel (Perel made me want to soak in Purel… amIright people? ) interviewed a year ago or so while on a long drive. It put me into one of those horrible moods where you think the world has turned into a soulless place and the monsters have taken over. I guess no one ever went poor helping abusers and narcissists rationalize their behavior. She is awful.

    Why so many want to identify with abusers and think victims are whiners is a reminder of how justice and empathy is a fragile thng we have to work hard to preserve.

  • She’s the patron saint of r/adultery. Those folks can all squat on the business end of a pineapple.

    “Boy Esther, I WISH shrinks were telling people to call their lawyers.”

    Mine did, but she’s an LCSW, so maybe not bound by the code of the RIC.

  • Perel’s Attitude toward how one deals with cheating is like the women who make millions in sick, violent porn. They’ve figured out how to game the system for money and fame by beating and exceeding the current condition. They’ve given up trying to make the world a better place. Fame, easy money and perhaps a need to rationalize one’s own behavior as not being ‘so bad’ makes them buy into stuff that is illogical to one’s emotional survival. The biggest transgressions against each other starts with ‘a lie’. So rationalization of the lie is how they then survive. That is what corruption is. Anyway, her sauce isn’t preaching authenticity. It’s just okay to self deceive.

  • Wow, that article is so gross. I’ve only ever seen her Ted Talk. This is even worse. The day I start to feel sympathy for the “poor me” mentality of a cheating piece of shit, somebody please take me out back and give me 30 lashes. The fact that the simple “YOU CAN ALWAYS JUST LEAVE THE GODDAMN MARRIAGE, YA KNOW” argument is lost on so many people is mind-boggling. There’s no excuse for deception. No excuse for unwanted cohabitation. Absolutely no excuse for fucking some strange just because they make you feel those 5th Grade butterflies again.

    Every day I’m alive is another day full of reasons not to ever remarry, I don’t care how awesome the person seems. How am I supposed to know if she’s internalized these bullshit arguments but keeps her opinions silent to “keep the peace”? Infidelity ruins all of us in the end.

  • I was victim to this thinking for 3 years post DDay. I was convinced that if we read the right books, listened to the right speakers, that I could “reframe my thinking” and recognize the part I played in my husband’s decision to BE A COMPLETE ASSHAT. My ex-husband bought this concept hook line and sinker as well, because it completely absolved him of any responsibility for his actions, validated his behaviors, and placed ALL THE EMOTIONAL WORK in my lap. BRILLIANT! Perel is making a mint off of this marketing strategy. Chumps will do anything and pay for anything they think is going to save their marriage. Cheaters will do and pay for anything they think is going to maintain the status quo and get them off the hook emotionally.* It’s way too much to ask of someone who is “longing for their lost selves” to take any responsibility for betraying someone’s trust* Please… I tried that approach and the emotional stress associated with carrying that weight made me want to drive my car off a bridge. The reason YOU, ChumpLady do NOT have the endorsements of Nike and J and J, is that THE TRUTH MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE, and the decision makers in those companies do not want their clients feeling uncomfortable. EP’s agenda aligns well with theirs, plus, she probably has some killer marketers. Stay the course here fellow Chumpsters, cheating is all about entitlement, whether you are trying to express your unrealized self, or grieving over a lost self, cheaters always feel entitled to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of who it affects.

    • “It’s way too much to ask of someone who is “longing for their lost selves” to take any responsibility for betraying someone’s trust” This pretty well sums up the views of cheaters and their apologists. Taking responsibility is the chump’s job.

    • PS. Nike and JJ must have a lot of cheaters in their higher management ranks. That doesn’t make me feel any better about their products.

  • “The current view is that infidelity depletes intimacy and is a breach of trust and commitment, both emotional and sexual, that can never be fully recouped. Even the psychological literature focuses almost exclusively on the ravages of infidelity.” Um.. Yeah! Experience tells me that all of that is 100% true.

  • You can have a relationship that I’m sure that Esther would consider progressive and open minded and you can still be chumped. Because as you can all attest it is not about finding yourself, it’s about narcissism and selfishness.

    My STBX and I had an open relationship early in our marriage. I at no time felt pressured by my husband to participate in this lifestyle. It was a mutual decision by both of us. We had fun and met some wonderful couples that I am still friends with to this day. Our experience fostered trust, openness and confidence. There were boundaries and rules and essentially forced mediation should a disagreement arise. Having an open marriage isn’t a fuck anybody anywhere free card. It requires an immense amount of trust and communication.

    A few years ago I decided that the novelty at least for me had run its course. I simply did not want to spend the time and energy on planning and vetting. As I have come to see that I did all the planning and execution during our marriage. If I didn’t do it, then it didn’t get done. But I never shut the door completely and let him know that if he was interested in an opportunity we could discuss it.
    That’s what made my husband’s secret affair and eventual abandonment all the more confusing and painful. With all the requisite blame shifting, gas lighting, projection and eventually devaluation.

    My husband is a huge flirt, I had no illusions about this nor was I blind to it. When he met the Cumpster and introduced me to her I half-jokingly and half seriously told him that she was off limits. She was single and he worked with her. That is a no go, you don’t shit where you eat and who needs the hassle. Also that if he was so inclined that there were probably some very nice couples available to interact with. My husband committed adultery because he was lazy, selfish and desperately needed validation from others.

    I don’t regret my open marriage at all. It was a wonderful experience that taught me about absolute trust, openness, speaking your mind, and boundaries. I know that the “open marriage” thing gets a bad rap around here and rightfully so as a lot of cheaters use it when they get caught. I want to let you know that is not how it works. And even being that progressive open minded spouse can still get you betrayed. Esther is full of shit.

    • Worthless
      I apologize for these words but you are on the wrong site. Your “open marriage “ is basically cheating while your right there accepting it. Why should you feel hurt with his so called affair. It’s just another woman he’s screwing that you don’t know about. In my opinion “open marriage “ is disrespectful & soul destroying to
      the spouse regardless of her sexual orientation. When one agrees to this life you are being used. Aren’t you enough for him? Obviously your not!

      • No, actually – read what she wrote. Infidelity/cheating is about secrecy and lies. She was chumped.

        I know it’s hard to wrap your mind but you don’t get to dictate who is and is not a chump; nor do you get to decide who can post and who can’t.

      • Look I get it. But I am not going to apologize for how I and my spouse decided to conduct our marriage. Nor am I advocating that everyone should try it out or totally be open to it. It’s not your bag and I absolutely respect that and you are completely entitled to your opinion on open marriages. It also doesn’t negate my experience with my spouse betraying me and destroying our family.

        And no I never felt that I wasn’t enough for my husband. I still don’t, he left because of his own issues not anything that I did or didn’t do.

        My point was that what Esther advocates clearly does not address why one decides to commit betrayal against their spouse. That her be open and humans aren’t meant to monogamous bullshit are not bulwark against infidelity. Because it has nothing to do with sex, it’s about entitlement. Especially when only one party in a relationship feels they are entitled.

      • WCNT is absolutely on the right site. Did you read her post? Just because her lifestyle choices are not the same as yours does not make them wrong or make her any less of a chump. If you need to apologize for your words right off the bat, you probably shouldn’t write them.

      • Open marriages/relationships are not my cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean that the people who go into an open marriage/relationship with their eyes wide open aren’t entitled to honesty. Part of the reason open relationships don’t appeal to me is because it seems like too much work and too many rules to follow. That said if you honestly believe that you’re in an open relationship, with open and honest communication then I would think the blindsiding of a secret affair would be even more severe for that person.

        WCNT is absolutely a chump and absolutely welcome here. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but you don’t get to decide the degrees of chumpdom.

      • “…another woman he’s screwing that you don’t know about”

        That is cheating.

  • What gets me is that my ex typically takes a conservative view of the world (well, maybe less so now that he wants to impress Schmoopie). He hated entitlement in other people and seemed to hold people to a moral standard that was ridiculous for most things. He was always impeccably honest in his dealings with other people and always lived up to his obligations and had nothing but contempt for those who could not regardless of the circumstances. He would have sneered at the writings of someone like Esther Perel and her meaningless word salad and yet he pulls this crap? And he even tried to find ways to justify it instead of recognizing the breach of his own moral code. His needs weren’t being met so that makes it all ok. He even went so far as to tell me that Schmoopie’s ex was a jerk for cheating on her and she was so kind to have taken him back, this within days of DDay when I was in full “we can work through this and not bust up our marriage” mode. If he had lived by a more liberal moral code in general, then maybe I would not have been so blindsided or devastated by his infidelity. As it was, it seemed so out of character which made it that much more devastating. He will live by a moral code and always do what is right except when it comes to his treatment of me because I don’t matter and I don’t count. Of all of the people in the world, I am the one who doesn’t deserve his honesty and respect. How is that supposed to make me feel? He obviously didn’t care.

    • My cheating ex was absolutely horrified when someone might bring snacks in their bag to the movies. He said it was tantamount to directly stealing out of the theater’s till. (He had no opinion on whether it was moral to charge five dollars for a box of Milk Duds). That was an insufferable immoral act (eating chips from home), yet he oddly had no problem with lying, using illegal sex workers, massive deception, stealing marital funds to finance these shenanigans…his outrage was faux. They pretend to be good people to keep their chumps from looking to closely at their lies. That’s all.

      • Fascinating sub thread here. My ex was this walking example of outward integrity and honesty and known as as straight shooter. I realize that all her volunteer work and organizing was partly an exercise in controlling a group to admire her. Certainly her work helps others, and many look up to her… which makes it all the more revolting when someone tells me how much they admire her.

        Apparently carrying on a double-life and not being straight shooting enough to end a marriage like a grown up doesn’t matter.

    • He just can’t maintain the mask in front of you, it’s not that you don’t deserve honesty and respect, Chumpinrecovery. He doesn’t have actual honesty and respect to give. You were too close and it probably became too difficult to keep up the pretense of character. That outward “integrity “ is just the show for the outside world and the narrative they tell themselves to believe they are decent people. It’s the only way (I imagine) they are able to look at themselves in the mirror.

  • Its like Perel shook a thesaurus and used as many of the big words that fell out. What a bunch of crap. Has she ever been cheated on? At least that she admits too or is she a cheater herself?

  • After finding out about the affair & being hardly able to
    speak, my cheating STB ex said “ why are you so upset? Marriage is just a piece of paper”.

    Maybe the Owhore was reading a lot of Esther’s opinions & comments. She is a disgusting individual that probably cheats herself. ????????

  • This fuckface makes these diatribes because she is probably a cheater herself, and she is trying to make others ok with that. She is just another variant of the Cluster B fuckwittery that these clowns push.

  • If you want free reign to put your genitals hither and yon, don’t stand up before God and your community and promise to be true to a single set of genitals for life. Anyone who wants to spin a post hoc narrative about “exuberant defiance” is a creep apologist for other creeps.

  • Oh, it so wonderful, so EXHUBERANT to cheat. Excuse me while I go spew.

    I’m back. So I had several people point me in her direction post DDay, explaining how what this (awful) woman had to say makes “so much SENSE!!” Two different people told me how what EP had to say essentially saved their marriage(s)!

    It is interesting that Every. Single. Person. who made the claim to me that EP is a prophet is now divorced.

    • You can spew but please remember to do so EXUBERANTLY, that makes it all better.

      Did you:
      Defraud the government?
      Conspire with Russia (shhhhh)
      Drown a sack of kittens?
      Did you do so exuberantly while feeling alive for the first time in forever?

      K. No biggie

  • So what married men has Esther been fucking? I guess she really hates labeling a whore a whore, because why? Because you were one? How many people have you convinced to stay in an abusive fucked up marriage Esther, when those people should have been counseled to run far far away. For a professional asshole to spin a better narrative about people who have consistently and thoroughly destroyed the well being of others is truly a gifted narcissist herself. This isn’t about her helping anyone, this is about following the money, and the money leads her to these huge corporations who have immense HR issues with employees who have no moral culpability. Her talks are for the well paid corporate businessman/woman who are just like herself. They all need a make-believe wax like figure to preach that they are ok being who they are. And that folks is the truly fucked up world we live in.

    • Getting paid by the size of the column, it becomes necessary to use words such as “lamentations”.
      I’m with you on this one. As I said before, the size of the soliloquy is proportional to the size of the bullshit.

      • Oooh, I’m going to cut/paste that quote! “The size of the soliloquy is proportional to the size of the bullshit.”


        • Already noted in my Chumplady Nuggets journal from your previous posting !

  • Good God what utter drivel.
    I’d bet good money that Esther herself is a covert narc, cheater or OW.
    Or all of the above. She certainly writes like it.

  • Somebody posted a link to an interview of Puerile/Purell/Putrid a few weeks ago and I admit wasting a few minutes of my life reading it. My favorite quote of hers ? “Couples therapy is the best theater in town” Glad she finds abusive behavior so entertaining…

    A new family moved into my neighborhood a few years ago. I introduced myself to the father and his son and then greeted the wife a few times as I walked down the street. She wouldn’t respond to my hello or would turn her head away. “Geez, what a rude bitch” I thought. Googled her, she’s a therapist, loves Perel, Gottman and Buber and used the same passive language during a podcast about how “affairs happen”. The frightening part is she’s a faculty member at a local uni training future therapists in human sexuality. My visceral dislike of her was warranted. Trust that they suck and stay away !

    • Speaking of visceral dislike – I have a newish coworker. She’s younger (maybe 29) but there is something about her that I don’t like. She’s a bit whiny and willing to rush to the bosses (both men) when something isn’t going her way or quick to complain because someone (probably me) hurt her feelings or is being a big bad meanie. I’ve worked with the main boss for 9 years and helped him tremendously last year. He knows my personality.

      Found out that she’s been married less than 3 years, wanted an open marriage and convinced hubby to do so. She explored, he did not. She’s finally decided to divorce because she’s now dating another coworker who I’ve been friends with for over 10 years. She told me that she didn’t now if she wanted to divorce because what if he was the best thing for her? What if she divorced and then regretted it.

      The friend she’s now dating? Poor him and me, we got divorced around the same time. He’s was married for 14 years with two little twin boys. They start dating (has never been confirmed to me) and he’s ignoring me. We used to get coffee or have lunch together – as friends. Now he can’t even be bothered to say him and we all work in the same building.

      I knew there was a reason that she rubbed the wrong way – she’s an entitled jerk.

      • Boundaries,boundaries,boundaries. Be clear on who your friends are and who are merely coworkers that you have to tolerate and manage. I don’t spend any of my free time with coworkers and when office whiners/manipulators want to vent during or after lunch I can say “Oh you know I have some errands to run” or once I’m done eating I’ll go for a walk.Without them.

  • I LOVE YOU CHUMP LADY!!! You are a seemingly single voice of reason & sensibility among a bunch of bullshitters! These bullshitters are leading our society toward a total destruction of what marriage is meant to be. It sickens me to the core to hear their cheater justifying theories.

  • So it’s exuberant defiance my STBX is experiencing when she sucks off another woman’s husband in a car. Good to know.

    • Chumpy, I think you need to alert Merriam-Webster so they can update their definition.

  • “Esther Perel Can Bite Me” too! What the actual F@$&!!!!

    So many triggers for us chumped. Thank you, Chump Lady, for being the sane one!

  • I had a friend who’s husband had cheated on her right before mine did. She was a lot of help to me in the very beginning. One day she excitedly insisted I listen to Esther Perel. I could only take a few minutes and I turned it off. (Thank God I didn’t get sucked in). Here we are three years later and she is still with her cheater. She says she no longer loves him or trusts him but stays with him because she doesn’t work and doesn’t know where to start to survive alone—- It’s like she’s walking around with a hole in her soul. How anyone can justify the damage this causes is beyond humanity.

    • I hope you can direct her to some resources – how to figure out about alimony, how to get some career training etc.

  • Oh lord this woman bugs. And she implies this false equivalency type dynamic with divorce and cheating…like forgiving and understanding a cheater may be not the awesomest and easiest…but it’s better than divorce! Is it…is it really Esther?!? Cause I’ve been through both and I gotta say…the cheating bits were worse.

  • I am reading about Marella Agnelli who died today and also her husband who was “very exuberant”. Very difficult relationship in terms of his cheating. I guess it was a different time. I wish ChumpLady would dissect that relationship. People give him a pass because he had some good traits that made him successful. Also, not many people consider adultery a personal misfortune for the chump but not a character strike against the cheater.

  • Great one, Tracy!

    Esther Perel normalizes gas-lighting and normalizes emotional abuse. She frames the cheater as some misunderstood and dynamic hero being abused because a spouse expects the cheater to abide by the promises that they made. The betrayed spouse is made to be the problem because they are not “evolved enough.” Or that is how it seems. She is doing a great disservice to the field of infidelity by teaching cheaters how to gaslight and further abuse chumps. Well, that’s not the only disservice she is doing.

    She also implies the chump should stay and take it and apologize for not being evolved.

    Well- here is the thing I have noticed with cheaters. They HATE a taste of their own medicine. So a female chump could tell her husband that she finally sees the light. And she can make dinner for a new man every night who is NOT the cheater. Now I would never tell a chump to lower themselves to cheater living. But it can shake a cheater’s world if a chump buys a bunch of beautiful new clothes, gets some new make up, and makes dinner for other (single) men. A chump would not have to have a relationship with a single man- just dress up and make him dinner. That would be a huge wake up call for any cheater. Because cheater’s only have fun playing the game if a chump sits at home pining for them. They hate it when they are given consequences. They hate it when they understand a chump has choices. These cheaters truly are narcissistics because they believe everyone else must follow the rules EXCEPT for them.

    Don’t buy Esther Perel’s books. She is creating an abusive culture when it comes to infidelity. Her books will mess with your mind if you are a chump. Don’t go there.

  • What if we were to use terms such as alcoholism or drug addiction instead of infidelity, now how does Esther Perel’s message change:

    Would going out, getting blind drunk, then driving home and crashing your car be regarded as “an exuberant act of defiance”?

    Would using the money for your kids’ school fees on shooting up with heroin be regarded as just “a quest for aliveness”?

    Of course not. But whereas certain acts are (increasingly) regarded as unacceptable within a civilised society, infidelity is one that is not so much tolerated but even encouraged. And we, as part of CN, have to do our part with Tracy to spread the truth and reality of the damage that infidelity causes. Zero tolerance, it’s the only way forward…

  • There’s something subversive about Esther Perel’s message that I do appreciate. Her message is not that marriage makes people feel dead or that affairs make people alive. It’s that people who are dissatisfied with themselves destroy their own lives, marriages, and families for a superficial sense of “feeling alive.” Although her message does downplay the severity of the damage affairs do, it also completely invalidates affairs as special, meaningful experiences while removing the blame from the chump or the supposedly dysfunctional marriage. It’s not that the affair partner is so amazing, nor that the spouse is so frigid or blasé; it’s that the cheater is an empty person inside who goes for an impulsive and reckless solution. At the heart of what she’s saying I think there is truth. The problem for me is that she dresses up this message with language that is sympathetic to cheaters and that plays into the insufferable “monogamy is a dangerous social construct” rhetoric that’s so ubiquitous these days.

  • I tried listening to one of her audiobooks, and watching a ted talk or something, and it was all really triggering for me. I had hoped to gain a new perspective and broaden my mind or something, but I couldn’t stand it. At one point my husband had me watch something by her (and another thing by someone claiming polyamory was the future), and it was really stressful for me.

    The whole experience of being cheated on makes me feel like I can’t trust my feelings, so reading this validates my experience. Her stuff felt like bullshit because it is bullshit, even if she says she is an expert.

  • Marriage, in fact – any explicitly monogamous partnership, is a social contract. Cheating is a breach of contract. People who don’t value monogamy are free to not enter the monogamous relationship. But if you are partnering under false pretenses and then do not comply with the stipulations unilaterally, you are a perpetrator. An Insider Trader. A party that unfairly benefits from possession of exclusive information. Which is heavily punishable in financial world. By imprisonment and life ban on professional activities in some cases. For being unfit for the role. Intrinsically. As are the cheaters! In fact, society needs to hold cheaters to a higher contempt than it does. Stop perpetuating the ‘boys will be boys’ BS. So that the thrill of trickstering and rewards of spouse manipulation are perceived as shameful, universally, not admired by the lads. You don’t like the terms of the contract, it doesn’t fit with your objectives anymore? Exit. Change your cake provider. Like you would with an electricity supplier. Or mortgage lender. Sometimes you have to pay an exit fee, sometimes you don’t. Never are you allowed to just stop unilaterally making payments with no consequences. Thank you, Chump Lady, for debunking the hazardous theories!

  • Well-said! Perel is selling snake oil to a lovesick culture. She does not acknowledge that Eros is not divisible from Thanatos. It’s a form of toxic sex positivity.

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