Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

UBT: ‘Monogamy Is a Gift’

giftYou know you’re wading in deep bullshit when you see the title “The Unsparing Genius of Esther Perel.” (Editor’s note: They changed the title since I first ran this. I guess my snark hurt their feelings.)

Oh please do spare us such genius.

Sorry. “Leading Mindful Living Expert” and “Certified Yoga Therapist” Ira Israel broadcasts to The Good Men Project and Huffington Post that Esther Perel is nothing short of GENIUS. (Like picnics are a few sandwiches short. Or loads are a couple bricks short. Or casseroles are a few peas short…)

Maybe Ira lost oxygen to his brain attempting a double Buddhasana (Google it). How else can you explain?

“Esther Perel commands a much more expansive breadth of knowledge regarding relationships than anyone I have ever read, her insights are blistering, and the manner in which she has aggregated the academic literature and assimilated her clinical observations is nothing short of genius.”

Maybe you just haven’t read a lot, Ira?

Frankly, I couldn’t get past the douche-y first sentence. “For patients who wish to deconstruct the myth of romantic love I always recommend…”

I thought people went to therapists to learn to get along better with their mother-in-laws. Or fight fairly with their spouses. Or cope with their children’s drug habits. No. Apparently there is an entire segment of the therapy market that goes to Deconstruct Myths.

Do they sit around camp fires and read John Campbell? Are there hash brownies?

There’s Sartre!

Anthropologically she observes that the shift during the Industrial Revolution from village to city life caused the burden of selfhood to shift from the tribe to the individual. Just as Sartre posited that we are “confronted” by our relatively new freedoms, Ms. Perel notes that contemporary urban life places the onus on the individual to decide “how much we eat, sleep, work, and fuck.”

I hate when the tribe tells me what to do. The tribe is not the boss of me! But how will I ever deal with the Burden of Selfhood unless the tribe tells me how much to eat, sleep, work, and fuck? I can’t be expected to make decisions! Damn you freedom!

The UBT can’t take much more of this article. Just one Esther Perel concept at a time, otherwise the engine starts to melt.

..her work on infidelity which she reframes as “a desire to feel alive;” she claims that the majority of people who stray from their marriages have been faced with their own mortality in some way during the preceding three years and their affairs function as a temporary antidote against certain demise.

I’ve done some work on bank robbing, which I’ve reframed as a “desire to have money.” I’ve also done some work on hegemonic systems and colonial rule, which I’ve reframed as “I can take your stuff because I have guns and small pox.” And I’ve also done work on the stubborn existence of my squidgy midsection, which I’ve reframed as a “desire to eat cookies.”

Esther and I should really compare scholarly notes some time! Over hash brownies!

Anyway, that’s not why I was writing. I just couldn’t skip over those nuggets without snarking. (I am avoiding the whole divorce is dignity over forgiveness shit. The bitter chumps who can’t get over ONE SINGLE indiscretion! Otherwise my brain will explode.)

I wanted to Deconstruct “Monogamy is a gift.”

What the fuck does that mean? Monogamy is a gift? What, you mean like a hostess gift you take to a party? Monogamy is a scented candle?

Monogamy is a commitment. You choose (oh damn those individual liberties!) exclusivity with your partner.

I’m not entirely sure why I find the “monogamy is a gift” argument offensive. I think there is this whiff of triviality, along with this monogamy as a dog treat imagery I have in my head.

Monogamy dangled over a hungry schnauzer.

“Have you been a good boy?”

Schnauzer: Pant! pant! GIVE ME THE TREAT!

“Are you deserving of the monogamy biscuit?”

Schnauzer grows more frantic, circles madly.

“Maybe I should give the biscuit to Ginger, the Australian shepherd instead? She’s been a good girl.”

NO! DON’T GIVE MY BISCUIT AWAY! (barks desperately.)

(Flings the biscuit.) “Here you go!”

(gobble, gobble…)

Do cheaters even WANT the monogamy biscuit? Only chumps want the monogamy biscuit. Chumps “gift” monogamy. Kibbles! Thank you very much! and are given a counterfeit “gift” in return.

Here’s what monogamous commitment looks like to me: I am so lucky to have you. I respect and admire you so much, I want to be yours. To be your partner, would be such an honor.

I want someone to feel that way about me. Not give me monogamy as a grudging gift, or a badly chosen one, like an itchy sweater from Aunt Mildred. I prefer a commitment that is shared happily and freely. And that has substance — through sickness and health, for richer for poorer.

You can’t do that? Fuck the biscuit.

This one ran before. 

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.
  • I’m trying to think what better word could describe monogamy anyway – a word that emphasizes the trust involved. Monogamy is a pledge, I guess.

    • Vows ????

      I don’t get how anyone can justify cheating when a cheater has made vows. Not that unmarried cheaters are any better, but married cheaters STOOD UP IN FRONT OF EVERYONE and the law and God and said “Only you, forever.” Then changed the rules without so much as notifying the other party.

      I don’t give a flying fuck how the cheater felt; there’s no justification.

      And why anyone would want to stay with a cheater who does something like this, I cannot understand. Their word is garbage.

      And it just so happens my cheater also violated his oath to abide by the UCMJ.

      No thank you. Cheater can recommit to monogamy all he wants; I know what his word is worth. Keep those garbage biscuits.

      • “And why anyone would want to stay with a cheater who does something like this, I cannot understand. Their word is garbage”


      • ????

        Not only do I not care how they feel, I hope they get theirs; over and over again.

        • Ester perel has always focussed on the Cheater rather than the chump. Like the selfish shits should get all the attention. Which is what they crave in the first place. Makes me think she’s one of them.

          • Good point ???? Perhaps she is. Her book was one of the first I read after D-day #2. Left me feeling maybe I had this all wrong and I had done something to deserve the shit storm until I found CL’s book ???? and got the real version of cheaters and the shit they peddle.

    • That’s what I think.

      I think monogamy is a contract, an agreement between two parties to restrict their sexual activities and adventures as something that will happen between them.

      • I think it’s principally an agreement of priority. You don’t simply restrict yourself, you agree to shift romantic valuation toward your partner so that monogamy doesn’t feel like a restriction in the first place. Having one’s head on straight is part of the commitment.

  • Any indication that Ira Israel has reconsidered his endorsement? Very sad, since so many chumps have turned to on-line mindfulness and yoga resources during pandemic.


      Apparently, he is a “modern-day prophet.”

      He was also a yoga instructor for the Clif bar company. So there’s that. And he’s a marriage counselor with actual academic credentials.

      • Her insights are blistering.

        Like herpes from a cheater.

        He is a modern day prophet?

        Like the kind we should beware of.

        Bernie Madoff was a financial genius. Until all those people, including those he called best friends, found out he wasn’t.

        • Love this VH. Want to say thank you for all of your wonderful posts. I have learned much from them. BTW, you mentioned Kintsugi several times in reference to a gift you gave to your ex that has become a source of pain for you. It makes me sad that such a beautiful concept has been tarnished for you by your ex. I had never heard of Kintsugi before reading your posts and it got me interested. I am now reading a book called Kintsugi Wellness and it is helping me on this part of my journey towards meh. I just want to again say thank you for all of you wonderful sharing and insights.

          • There is a member of Chump Nation whose user name is “Kintsugi.” I learned about the concept from her name. Subsequently I got online to research “kintsugi” and found this website: I bought a lovely kintsugi necklace from her. Not pushing it, just giving my experience. I hope that’s ok.

          • Thank you for your kind acknowledgement. It’s compliment coming from you!

            Yes, after DDay I wanted to rename our sailboat “Kintsugi”. I bought him a piece of kintsugi (a tea bowl) as a Christmas gift. He barely
            looked at it. Neither the concept or the tea bowl (which I kept) reminds me of him anymore. The concept and the sentiment went right over his head, and maybe because it didn’t register there was no association formed. I also now think that when someone cheats, it’s like taking a sledgehammer to a tea bowl
            and repairing it with kintsugi is not even possible.

            I’ve been in therapy and recovery for a long time and anything I’ve said here is a result of all I have learned. I’m glad to know it’s getting passed on. I think that’s one of the hoped-for side effects of any work we do on ourselves; that we may help others recover. May the jillion dollars and hours I’ve spent at meetings and in therapy sessions freely benefit and bless those who read my words! ????

      • I’ve read some of Perel’s work, and I have found some merit in her ideas here and there.

        Listening to her podcast, and also watching her TED talk with Dan Savage, is what led me to discover her thoughts on infidelity. I’ve never agreed with her that cheaters are totally at the mercy of their mortality, boredom, fear or whatever. And I was really surprised when during her TED talk, she and Dan Savage posited that people were willing to walk away from long-term relationships over happy endings massages, one night stands, or series of dalliances with people the cheater isn’t invested in.

        Both of them seem to really unwilling to broach the abusive nature of this kind of behavior. When you expose the person you say you love the most to the physical, financial, and psychological harm that comes with infidelity, you’re in a whole new territory than a mere quest for aliveness.

        And I also felt so frustrated that she and Savage framed infidelity as anything but a double life. I don’t care if a cheater has a meaningless fuck with someone he or she has just met once every two years. The exposure to those harms are still there, and you’re still dealing with a person whose character is such that they are at peace (or not too uneasy) to expose their families to this kind of devastation.

        Look, I don’t think that we should line cheaters up and shoot them dead.

        I just don’t think we should wrap dangerous and abusive behavior in a poetic shroud of hey-i-wanna-live!

        • I stopped listening to Dan Savage’s (aka Mr. Monogamish ) weekly podcast even though I valued his thoughts on gender politics. Too much of a cheater apologist and gaslighter for my taste.

  • Apparently, being an infidelity apologist is lucrative.

    Here’s an example: Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason.

    Big sigh. So brave and empowering to drop a bomb on you family. Abuse is a feminist act! Puke, puke, puke.

    But look at the reviews on that thing:

    A few bright souls note the sick selfishness of it all, but mostly it’s a collection of simpering praise along the lines of, “OMG, what a shining gem—finally, someone captures, in brilliant prose, the deep complexity and meaning of dropping a bomb on one’s family.” Cheater as the heroic main character, don’t ya know.

    It’s maddening.

    Maybe our Friday challenge should be to define infidelity.

    Some days, I think my definition would be, “largely nonexistent, and rapidly nearing extinction.”

    • My favorite take on the author is she “is an emotionally immature human being”. In a nutshell.

  • I want to comment on the “desire to feel alive”.

    I was – for a very long time – a unicorn who had wreckonciled with my cheater which was of value because we were married in the Catholic Church which made us a “one flesh union” …I took all of this very seriously…enough so that by the time Mr Uni (Major Cheaterpants…who I didnt know was a serial cheater at the time of his death) died, him being buried in the Earth left me feeling that I had also been buried in the Earth.

    Cue a very real need to feel alive (no metaphor here, this was QUITE REAL)

    And I hoped to find a worthy partner.

    I dated a cute guy in a kilt who offered to make me one of his women (…uh, no) and other such experiences. In the end, I was reconnected with Col Greatguy who I married. From our first hug on our first date, we were exclusive. I had a twinge of Catholic guilt having sex before marriage but I ignored it and I dont have that since we’ve been married a while.

    I relish the physical aspects of our marriage for a number of reasons one of them that it makes me feel very alive. I treasure his physical presence partially because I know that people drop dead any day and I dont ever want to take him for granted.

    The idea that one can only find excitement in living as a non-monogamist is foolishness to me.

  • It’s been a rough week and I needed this . . .

    Following Chump Lady’s suggestion, I googled double buddhasana. At first I was horrified, but then got the giggles. I hope this woman still isn’t stuck in the position!

    • Oh my God ! It’s what chumps do best, pretzeling ???? ourselves to make the cheaters happy and come back. Just no. ????????

  • If you view monogamy as a gift, then it’s theft to take it away. If someone gives you a car and titles it legally in your name, then takes it back without your consent, it’s theft.

    • Thank you! I wonder if the “good doctor” was trying to say that what someone does with a gift once it’s given isn’t the giver’s business.

  • If “feeling alive” requires you to lie and hurt people, then you are way off track.

    There is nothing like true intimacy and integrity, kindness toward others, making amends, doing the right thing, being sincere, accountability, keeping your agreements, or walking away from danger for making me “feel alive.”
    I experienced an energy drain in my MIRAGE because I was married to a phony front. The energy drain and lack of “feeling alive” was created by the deceit, the dishonesty, the fraud, the secret double life. Lying causes a MAJOR power drain.
    Smell smoke and can’t find the fire? Having dreams about rooms in your house you didn’t know about? Depressed? Anxious? Look for an affair.

    My book might be titled “Esther Perel Is Full of Shit”

    • Serial killers are motivated by that “quest for aliveness” as well.

      Addiction (I am an addict/alcoholic in recovery for 35 years) is a misguided “quest” to feel alive (by ironically wiping out your feelings).
      What I REALLY was after was PEACE.

      Cheating is abuse, and abuse is not love. Cheating, which involves holding your partner hostage, can never be justified or diagnosed as a “quest for aliveness”.

      If you want to “feel alive” there’s nothing like following the path of integrity, trust, and safety to the peace and comfort that comes with it.

      If you are in a relationship with a cheater, you are not safe. If you missed the red flag on the way in, you get a larger, brighter replacement flag on DDay.

      Stand up for yourself and walk away.

      • My dreams involved being in danger with my 3 kids (FW was never in them) and I had no voice to call for help. I can’t believe I never realized what they were about until after he left. Recurring nightmares are such a huge red flag.

        • After 20 years of these dreams they stopped immediately after he left- I have not had one since 2016.

          • Me too. I had a periodic dream that he left. It seemed completely fantastic upon awakening so I dismissed it without a second thought.

            I have not had one since DDay (2017).

    • Velvet Hammer please tell me more about the dreams about more rooms in your house that you didn’t know about? I had these recurring dreams fairly frequently (probably about annually over 17 years) and always wondered about them because they always stood out from all my other dreams. Is this pretty common in chumps?

      • Started having those dreams about extra rooms two years into my marriage. Never had them again after he left.

      • Many of us here had that dream about our house having unknown rooms. Too much of a.coinkidink to dismiss. IMHO.

        The final time I had the dream that he left, I was on my very first solo trip for a “mom recharge” since my daughter was born (she was almost 11 at the time). He had kissed me goodbye at the airport like I was a toxic fuel rod and he was as stiff as a board. It was WEIRD and caught my attention. Then it was barely, if at all, responding to my texts. VERY cold. The wildfires near home had started the day I left. I was in Boston and he was home in California. I woke up from that dream in the middle of the night. I texted him and said, “I feel like you are glad I am gone, like you don’t love me and I wonder if you love someone else.” It was a triple
        bulls eye. Several hours later, he answers, “We love you.” Meaning him and our daughter I guess? Weird answer. A couple of weeks later, for our 20th wedding anniversary, which was completely unremarkable (except for me crying and feeling invisible), he said, “ I have always loved you” and then told me in therapy that “for the past few months, I have been thinking about moving out by myself for a while, but I don’t want a divorce.” WTF?! Like he took a Howitzer and blew a hole in me. Happy anniversary.
        I asked him IMMEDIATELY if he was involved with someone and he denied denied denied. Well, whatever that power and force is that brought me those dreams brought me evidence of the affair within the first 48. Right to me.

        I do believe in a power greater than myself and when I have asked to be shown the truth I have been shown the truth. Go figure.

    • Velvet, you just gave me a realization. During the affair, I had a disturbing recurring dream about our house having secret entrances and a creepy, haunted room with blood red shag carpeting and an old record player.
      After Dday, I never had the dream again.
      The record player in particular stuck with me. Why was I dreaming about that? It turned out the jerk and his mistress would rendezvous at concerts he claimed to be going to with male friends.

      The subconscious knows. Thank you for that insight.

      • I had so many red flag dreams! Including (shaking my head here), about 6 months before D day, I dreamed that my now X was having an affair! I called him up at work to tell him about the dream, and he gave me a kind of “OJ” answer (“If I DID it…”), which I didn’t realize was a non answer until I hung up. Then I forgot about it. Silly me!!! He’d been having an affair for 7 years at that point! Trust your gut, it knows.

    • Wait, what?
      I have had chronic dreams about rooms in my house that I didn’t know about! Sometimes they are full of furniture & household items that are amazing. Other times it’s many more rooms that would be great for my large family! They were always good dreams! A friend with a background in psychology told me they were indicating that I didn’t know myself well yet. The rooms represented parts of my personality.

  • I propose that all people should have to sign something like this prior to getting a marriage license (and before the wedding venue is booked):

    I believe in monogamy.
    If ever I have “a desire to feel alive” and I don’t think I’m achieving that in my marriage, I will ask for a divorce, and only then will I pursue another person.
    I will not blame my spouse if I need to “feel alive.”
    I will agree to a fair divorce settlement.
    I will not lie.
    I will value and respect my spouse.
    I will acknowledge that my spouse’s wants and needs are as important as my own.

    (Optional) I will alert my spouse if I start reading and enjoying Esther Perel.

    • Ok, full disclosure: I actually enjoyed EP before I was cheated on, AND I even recommended her to my ex when he said he needed “time apart.” ????????‍♀️

      Thank God CL set me straight.

      And this is why I wish CL had a bigger platform to counter the likes of EP. CL, would you be interested in doing a TED talk? We could nominate you.

      • Yes! CL should absolutely have a larger platform. A Ted talk by CL would be amazing.

        • Wouldn’t it though ? But I think she wrote she doesn’t like public speaking.

    • ….yet signing things is not a deterrent for dishonest people.

  • Um, snarking from the religious protestant corner here, I wonder if (s)he meant “monogamy is a gift” like “celibacy is a gift” I Corinthians 7. And of course, the cheater just “doesn’t have the gift” of monogamy. Total scripture twisting for sure, but who could do it better!

    • That was my thought. I have heard people say “I just wasn’t given the gift of faith.”
      I can hear a cheater whining “ I just wasn’t given the gift of celibacy.” And voila! Not their fault!

  • Chump lady should have her own tv series. Cheaters believe what the ow tells them. Ester is doing a diservce to all cheaters, she should be making sure all parents provide for their children. I bet all chumps get ripped off. If he can spend money on ow, why should his kids suffer?
    to ex, stop telling me to be careful. the ow probably reads this,

    • disservice to chumps
      unfortunately have a broken foot awaiting surgery.
      God knows when that will be

    • OW, if you are reading this, go find your own damn site. Google “cheating whore skanks” and you will find something suitable. On this site, we hope s devlin kicks you with her casted foot in your overly accomodating ass and knocks you into the middle of next week.

  • The idea that monogamy is a gift is passive language, akin to a butterfly landing on your shoulder. “Monogamy is a gift” means people are not responsible for creating it. It’s interesting that cheaters also talk this way about illicit relationships, that “it just happened.”

    Monogamy is chosen and created.

    Just like an illicit relationship.

    I’m guessing that Esther Perel is a cheater and making money selling her justifications and rationalizations to whoever will buy her bullshit.

    I put her books into my recycling bin.

  • What is monogamy? Ok, I’ll take a shot at it. It’s the sincere, ADULT decision to be loyal and true sexually and emotionally in a relationship w/a significant other. NO ONE ELSE. And the understanding that if you find that you don’t want to be that way w/your significant other, or if you feel your relationship w/your significant other isn’t working for you anymore, or some variation on those themes, you will do the adult thing and either work things out w/your significant other to make things better in order to stay loyal and true to that person, or at the very least, you will make it clear to your significant other that you can’t maintain that single, loyal and true relationship w/them anymore, BEFORE you embark on another sexual or emotional relationship w/anyone else. Significant or not. Feel free to critique me, I’m glucose challenged right now, and also not an expert on monogamy.????

    • I think your definition is good. My now- husbands xw gets points for asking for a divorce and moving out before she started dating.

      My Cheater clearly didn’t want to be married but he was not willing to admit his desire to get divorced… he wanted out without looking like the bad guy. He told me he didn’t love me and surely wanted out in a thousand ways but he also liked cake, so he threw crumbs to keep me as appliance.

      But the point that most often Cheaters said vows… in a church, invoking God and in the presence of grandma wearing chiffon … and later violated all they promised to. There is a certain putridity to their actions.

      • Putrid. A good word to have in your arsenal when discussing cheaters. I don’t know that this wi make you feel any better, Unicornomore, but my putrid, FW XW didn’t want to bother herself w/starting the divorce after exit-affairing me w/her older, richer boss either. Pathetic assholes. Sending lots of love and hugs your way. Forget those assholes, we’re a lot better off w/out them, aren’t we?????

  • Ugh. I struggle with forgiveness and realize I need only forgive myself for being faithful and I owe nothing to my soon to be ex for her infidelity. I forgive myself for doubting the children were mine, I forgive myself for being broken hearted and hopeful. So when a freak writes about compassion and humanity I realize they will never forgive themselves because it’s too difficult so they seek forgiveness from others. I really trust that they suck now. Looking forward to Tuesday one day at a time.

      • Hi, I got the DNA test which enraged my soon to be ex and her twu wuv — I believe he always thought the children his own and she was playing the pick me dance. Me 100% father of three children under 3 with a freak. It’s going to be a long 18 years and more 🙁

        • Yep, have fun. I DNA tested mine and one wasn’t mine. I have under two years left to go…

          • I’m sorry for the male chumps that are subjected to this Jerry Springeresque behavior. “You are not the father !”

          • My heart breaks for the men here who might find themselves needing to ask this question. You, who were only trying to be parents to your children. This deception hurts so many people.

            • I realize freak-men do some pretty awful things to chumps, but to have pregnancy “weaponized” against me was awful— it’s mine, it’s his, it’s yours, you weren’t there and on and on. The blender put me in a dark place while MY 5 month gets to bond with twu wuv. But. She’s my daughter and I will always love her and our relationship will be ours someday soon.

  • Hey, Esther,

    I had cancer in 2001, which most securely slapped me upside the head with my own mortality. Guess what, it didn’t make me cheat, nor did it throw me into an early mid-life crisis at 30. We’re all going to die. That’s the reality. If that realization makes you cheat, well, that’s pretty pathetic.

  • Oh, cheaters do believe in monogamy…for their spouses. I once read about a man who had an affair, and then his wife found out and had sex with someone at a party (it was the seventies.) He saw a couple having sex and recognized his wife’s thighs. At which point he “felt disemboweled.”

    I once asked my husband if it would be OK if I did the same things he did. He said, in an outraged tone. “If you did what I did? No, of course that wouldn’t be OK!”

    In their world, we play by the rules and they make the rules.

    • Exactly. What’s good for the gander is not good for the goose. My FW fretted so much over “what if Fourleaf ever cheated on me?” Incredible, isn’t it? He was the only man I had ever slept with, I was a loyal doormat in love, and he was concerned about me?

      On his way out the door to move into the Wifetress’s house, he also told me that he had grave misgivings about me ever dating again as the Wifetress had a stepdad who abused her and it was a nightmare of his that I would marry again and that theoretical stepdad of his imagination would be abusive to our kids.

      He said that! The man, married to me who was leaving to live with his girlfriend and become a stepdad to *her* child walked out the door and told me that what he was taking for himself, he hoped I never got because if I partnered up it probably would be with a bad guy.

      Girlfriends and wives for the cheater; none for the chump, if they have their way.

      Well, he kind of got his wish. I never want to date or get married again.

      • Mine said I would probably end up with someone who beat me up,,,, fucking asshole!
        Jokes on him, he’s single as soul mate didn’t leave her husband and I’m single, discerning, happy and stronger.

      • My ex called the preacher in a panic when I went out on my first date after we were legally separated, it has been six month since I had seen him; (eight months since we had legally separated).

        The guy I went out with was not the first guy to ask me, though I am sure he thought that. I mean he didn’t want Susie, why would anyone else want to spend time with her.

        Anyway, I did go to the meeting with the preacher, mostly out of curiosity because I knew I wasn’t going to take him back. I told him when he left the second time, that was it.

        He just panicked because he had lost control and he knew it, he wanted to see if he had the power to pull me back in. He didn’t. He looked like a stranger to me. Honestly I don’t think the guy I loved ever existed except in my mind.

    • My ex wife who cheated with dozens of men at the same time thought I had hickies on me and she went crazy on me and started hitting me, screaming at me and throwing things. Yet she was the one who was sexting near 20 men daily and sneaking out to fuck them. They don’t like when the tables are flipped.

      • My ex-wife would have a meltdown anytime I spoke to a female — whether that was a friend, a co-worker, a client, someone random at the grocery store. I also later had to break off all contact with all of my long-time female friends. She was super jealous and possessive. Turns out, she had five affairs with men, including two co-workers. Cheaters project what they’re doing on us chumps.

        “I’m fucking my boss and my co-worker, my husband has to be doing it too.”

        All part of the disordered mind.

        • It’s interesting to hear your ex wife was also extremely possessive and jealous as was mine. I work in an office with lots of younger girls in their 20’s (I’m 37) and I remember the day I sent my ex wife a photo of my lunch and Starbucks and at the corner of the photo was a girls hand and she went ballistic on me. Demanding to know who it was and why they were near me. Girl was sat on an opposite table with her friends.

          Plenty more stories on similar lines or the time last year she held a knife to me over threatening me that if I ever touched another girl she would cut my balls off. Had plenty were she would dig her nails deep into my balls and scream in my face with those threats.

        • I was wondering if I do ever consider to date again, how can I avoid not getting triggered when he takes his phone to the toilet for example or keeps it on the table facing down, like every bloody thing seems to be a trigger now. Even if the guy is trustworthy, don’t know how and when I’ll heal from the little things.

    • My ex wife always told me if I cheated even once she would divorce me. When her years worth of cheating came out after DDay I brought what she said. I had just filed for divorce. Her reply “I don’t believe that way anymore”. It’s OK for them to cheat on you but not on them.

      When I started dating AFTER the divorce she called me up screaming at me about how selfish I was and that she was trying to be a better person.

      • Was it your ex wife who was hiding in the bushes near your house and does drive pasts? These people are just mental.

        My favourite was near Xmas last year when my ex wife randomly turned up one afternoon to assault me and she was punching me hard the chest and screaming you’re mine, you’re mine. All the while she was actively having multiple affairs and then she promised in message to not assault me if she came over with the kids on Xmas. Yet I was the one arrested and removed from the home for mere suspicion of domestic violence against her!

    • Exactly! At one point I told my cheater that I wanted an open marriage. Hell, he had one for years, why can’t I get in on the action? He absolutely refused.

    • THIS!!!!

      Years, damn near 2 decades, of “who are you fucking?!”….”where’d you go?” “Why don’t you answer my calls?” “Who was that guy?!”. etc….

      Never did I think he was cheating (again). He promised, promised, promised that the first one was a one-off (prior to marriage). He promised he’d changed. We did not even make it to anniversary number 8 before his dick found some strange.

      When, after D-Day #2 (and nearly 7 years had passed since that one (?), I decided to have a look-see on the interwebz for my own dalliance (never did it but just to see what his reaction would be…juvenile, I know. CN has schooled me better and Meh is my best life) and showed him the responses I was getting….HOLY SHIT you would have thought I’d stabbed him in the eye! He.Could.Not.Stand.Upright. Literally, fell on the floor. He could not believe that anyone would find me attractive (what?!) and he was annihilated at the THOUGHT of me having sex with another man. This response despite the unequivocal tearing down of me, blaming me, holding me hostage for his decision to have another affair. That she (#2) was “perfect”, they were “crazy for each other”, had “lost their minds” for one another but that he didn’t want to lose “our” home and what “we’d” built to be with her full-time (wife appliance, much?).

      I later discovered, during the anemic wreckonciliation, that yet another (3rd? 4th?) affair occurred; as this disclosure unfolded, he accused me of “being in love” with the idiots on the interwebz as a justification for continuing to fuck around. I let him know, as I packed his bag, that “yes, indeed I am THE WORST” and that he “should file for divorce immediately” to wash the stench of me away. Fast forward 14 months; he told me last week he “doesn’t want to be divorced” and asked if we could just stay separated that’d be great.

      LOL! Thanks? But, um, I would rather stick my head in the blender and look for 4 leaf clovers in the desert. And also, just no. Go enjoy your empty apartment, away from your kids (who won’t talk to you), with her/them in your “new life”. I’m good over here at my new meh. Enjoy your 50s dude. I for sure am enjoying my late 40s!!

      (Can’t totally NC due to minor children, who don’t actually miss him and are actually a joy to be around now that he’s gone. Who knew?)

      • Four leaf clovers in the desert had me rolling???????? love your attitude it’s awesome. Hope he’s looking all raggedity and you’re on your glow up.

        • Thanks.
          I write what I know.
          And this shit is funny.
          Well, it is now. Not so much as I was holding on to my sanity (not sure it worked) and balancing all the life things. #wifeappliance

          Literally fell to the floor. But I got to (??) hear how she made him shake and quiver when she laughed and how her parts felt so tight because she “made” time to work out. Guess running everything (and I mean everything) for him to maintain his standard of living on my salary alone with the kids in tow being perfect students, star athletes and church royalty left few short hours to hit the gym (which, BTW, I totally was doing, he just didn’t see it because #2’s husband paid for the post-baby tune ups while I had to work it off legit.). Glad he finally saw the light (which turns out to be the AP#2’s crazy….ha! Karma bus) and left me for perfection (

    • Exactly. I was told if I cheated on fuckwit, “I don’t know if I could get over that.” … Then told in detail over months why and how I needed to get over it. Fuck that shit.

      At the time I thought it was stupid just because it’s a double standard, but after a few months I knew he was just trying to give me pointers on how to pick-me-dance. I.e. “Don’t cheat, you’ll lose your chance to keep me!” ????

  • Esther Perel is basically Ellsworth M Toohey from The Fountainhead. Every time I see her garbage (i.e. my therapist the other day) that is who I think of. Someone keeps posting Esther in the forums and talking about ethical monogamy or some such tripe where you have hall passes. I am beginning to believe we have some Tooheys among us.

    • Time to change your therapist if they’re spouting Esther Putrid’s crap, IMO.

  • You damn well know when an agreement has been made to be exclusive with each other

    Saying cheating comes from a fear of death is not the point

    The vow, the pact, the agreement to be monogamous is the point

    Lying is lying

    You fear death and think that f’g new people will help that? Then do your partner a favor and have the guts to tell them you want an open relationship.

    The fact that a person has to HIDE what they are doing, tells you they are doing something WRONG

    “How was your day dear?” “It was fine, but I won’t mention that I screwed our mail carrier”

    Come on! .

    Liars justifying lying.

  • My sister’s husband (good guy but a little tone-deaf at times) recently asked me if I think everyone will eventually forget that Bill Gates’s marriage “didn’t work out.”

    What? Bill Gates made the choice to tank his marriage by screwing around.

    It’s not something that passively happened to him, like hemorrhoids.

    Such is society’s view of infidelity. As a group, we either blame the spouse (he/she must have been bad in bed, gained too much weight etc…) or spackle the cheater’s behavior with the passive voice, euphemisms, and nonsensical feel-good expressions such as:
    *monogamy is a gift
    *the marriage didn’t work out
    *they fell out of love (and the cheater special: I just fell IN love.)
    *he/she wanted to “feel alive”

    These turns of phrases help disguise the ugliness and devasting pain of infidelity. They hide the awfulness of the CHOICE that the cheater made.

    My ex didn’t give me a gift of monogamy. That’s not what I heard in our vows. Each of us made a promise, dammit. He then made a selfish choice to break that promise because he wanted what he wanted when he wanted it.

    I suppose one day someone like my brother-in-law might ask, “I wonder if everyone will forget that Spinach’s marriage didn’t work out?” ????

    • “Didn’t work out” is akin to “we grew apart.” As Velvet Hammer said, in her comments above, these locutions remove any agency from the two people in the marriage, as if “the marriage” were an agent in and of itself, which just undid itself.

      My ex wanted me to adhere to the “we grew apart” narrative for our son, because he wanted to keep his behavior and the reason for our divorce a secret. Why? So there would be no consequences for his relationship with our son, and other people wouldn’t look askance at him.

  • Every time I hear that BS of “cheaters just want to feel ALIVE” I wonder whether the writers of the movie “Moonstruck” for plagiarism: a good part of the movie has Olympia Dukakis’ character asking most of the other male characters if that’s true.

    Think of it – the ‘genius’ of Esther Perel getting one of her ‘deepest insights’ from a Hollywood comedy!

  • “feeling alive”. who owes a person “feeling alive”? sounds like craving a rush, and that’s addictive behaviour. seek therapy.

    “feeling alive” is getting up each day to face individual/collective challenges and tasks, caring for one self and others, and vacuuming under the bed. it’s being kind to those around you, including strangers, without expecting anything in return. it’s about adding value to your life through your work and your personal life.

    “feeling alive”. i suggest hanging out at a children’s hospital and watching chemo-bald little kids waft past with big IV rigs full of chemicals and being humbled. lotsa kids don’t make it through. you’re lucky to “be alive”.

  • Anyone feel like using their UBT skills on this? It seems pertinent to the topic. I received it from my ex shortly after Dday. (Note: we were married for 35 years. Before Dday, I had NO idea that he had been cheating on me with a much younger woman for nearly three years.)

    “I do take ownership of my actions and decisions. I did allow this relationship to continue and blossom. OW made a concerted effort to move away and end this. I take full responsibility for what happened, but the question of why it happened is more difficult. I’m not trying to avoid culpability, but the roots of this are deep. There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going. It may be irrational and indefensible, but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

    At another time he wrote: “If I didn’t listen to my voice of defiance, I would despair.”

    • “I did allow this relationship to continue and blossom.”

      I allowed someone else to take my trousers off in a motel room paid for by my credit card that flew, miraculously, up out of my wallet.

      “…the question of why it happened is more difficult.”

      Life is difficult. Feel sorry for me.

      “…but the roots of this are deep.”

      Like me. I’m deep. Complex and angsty, like I was when I was young. I’m young. That’s it. I’m young.

      “…a soft voice of defiance.”

      I will not go quietly into that dark night. Because, angsty. And don’t forget, young.

      PS I think there’s a hair dye named “soft voice of defiance”.

      • Your UBT’s response was wonderful. It was channeling Tracy’s. Loved this line particularly: “I allowed someone else to take my trousers off in a motel room paid for by my credit card that flew, miraculously, up out of my wallet.”

        • thanks!

          it’s amazing how credit cards fly, miraculously, up out of wallets, floating in the wind like rose petals in the movie ‘American Beauty’. coincidentally, it’s the story of a man who fears getting older and lusts after his teenaged daughter’s friend.

          the movie should have focussed on the daughter, Jane, and how, with the help of a therapist, she overcomes having such a skeezy dad.

          • Yes! Not to mention the teenager friend he initiated sex with. Yes he stopped before actually having sex but WTF? I feel like the daughter (whose parents both were cheaters) should have run away with her friend to live with a cool relative- Aunt Chump Lady? Sadly in real life kids often have nowhere to go.

    • I think he’s saying, “VOD made me do it.” Wasn’t me, blame VOD. He wants a biscuit for accepting full responsibility, but wants you to know that VOD made him do it, so he’s not responsible. And OW is a gem, you must respect her from trying to end this, but she couldn’t stop herself or cheater for continuing this affair/adultery. Probably VOD made her do it, too.

      • cue the “voice of defiance”, ever omniscient, in a soft voice over, in the OW’s apartment. “here we see the vulnerable young woman select lingerie to wear for her next encounter. the bra and panty set floats onto the bed like plastic bags dancing in the wind. have you ever seen such beauty?”

    • Notice he never said the word “blame,” as in “I blame myself”? Or the words “I’m sorry”? Instead, he blame-shifted onto you and onto marriage his actions, by rendering them something he had to “defy.” It reminds me of Huck Finn and his need to “light out for the territories” so Aunt Sally can’t “sivilize” him, the idea being he was being held down or held back, and that you, by virtue of you being the person he was married to, were the oppressive force he had to “defy.” All of that bullshit is just him, justifying his actions by an appeal to his “exuberant” self.

    • My Asshat had the “soft voice of defiance” that manifest itself in a constant, passive aggressive, silent rage. Even though his life was objectively wonderful it was meaningless without me to rebel against; I was the mommy in his life and he sooooo enjoyed it when he could be naughty with his defiance, giving me the silent treatment and punishing me in every way he could. It was the only thing that made him feel alive.

      In the end he is a toddler on the cereal aisle, having a tantrum. Pitiful and sometimes hard to ignore, but entirely someone else’s problem. Good riddance.

      He had gratitude for nothing so he lost everything, and will not be part of his adult children’s lives. He will not know his grandchildren. Thank God the trash took itself out.

    • “I do take ownership of my actions and decisions. I did allow this relationship to continue and blossom.”

      It started out all by itself, like spontaneous human combustion. I let it blossom, because twu wuv is like a red, red rose.

      “OW made a concerted effort to move away and end this.”

      She tried to move away, like, really hard. She looked at a job posting in a town 30 miles away. It was beneath her highly advanced and speshul skills, so what could she do?

      “I take full responsibility for what happened, but the question of why it happened is more difficult.”

      Why do things ever spontaneously happen? It’s those pesky fates again. Blames the fates, Spinach. Please note that I take responsibility for the fates because I’m an awesome guy.

      “I’m not trying to avoid culpability, but the roots of this are deep.”

      Me, avoid culpability? Perish the thought. Hence the following excuses.”

      “There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going.”

      You’re not the boss of me. I’m a rebel, in a sexy James Dean kind of way, only I’m not gay. At least not yet. My options are limitless.

      “It may be irrational and indefensible, but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

      Like Linus without his blanket. Like Eric Cartman without his cheesy poofs. Like Jack the Ripper without his knife. Lost, do you understand?!
      Pity me, Spinach, for I know not what I do.

    • “I do take ownership of my actions and decisions. I did allow this relationship to continue and blossom.”

      Yep, I did it. It was awesome. #awesomeblossom

      “OW made a concerted effort to move away and end this.”

      I am irresistible and I nailed her anyway.

      “I take full responsibility for what happened, but the question of why it happened is more difficult.”

      But. “But” erases everything that came before it. You are too stupid to realize that so I will toss that in there to make you think I have some guilt. I do not. #yourfault

      “I’m not trying to avoid culpability, but the roots of this are deep.”

      See “But.” I have roots. I am a complex weed stealing resources from everything around me. I am not sorry, not even one little bit. #sodeep

      “There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going.”

      My life is meaningless if I can’t be naughty. #punishyou

      “It may be irrational and indefensible, but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

      I am truly worthless if I can’t be a bad boy. And I love tweaking your nose, it is the best. I love how you think this e-mail was some kind of admission of guilt and apology but it is because you are so fucking stupid you can’t see that I am telling you to go to hell and enjoy the ride. I am soooo much smarter than everyone else. It is AWESOME being a piggy, petulant child who gets all the goodies and can tell you how you deserve my abuse without you even realizing it. #notsorry

  • Funny how many cheaters seem to expect chumps to remain single AND faithful. And wife appliances when they need us.

  • I’ve been reading a bit of Dr. Omar Minwalla’s articles. He recognizes infidelity as what it is: ABUSE. He says way too much time and energy is given to the entitled cheater, and not nearly enough to the victim – who often suffer from PTSD symptoms for years following disclosure or discovery. This article on “The Secret Sexual Basement” describes well what many of us have experienced:

  • From a legal perspective, marital monogamy is absolutely NOT a gift, but a contract. Specifically, it is a two-way transaction (monogamy-given-for-monogamy) upon which the parties relied (I only married my ex-wife *because* she promised monogamy). In general, contracts can be enforced under the law (marriage being a weird exception). In contrast, a gift is a unilateral transfer, for which nothing of value was given by the person receiving the gift, and so which generally cannot be enforced if the giver decides not to follow through on the giving.

    Monogamy is a GIFT? Nah. For my cheating ex-wife, monogamy was a GRIFT.

    • I’ve always thought of it as a contract, too. Why would you agree to share finances, live with, have children with, love through sickness or health, till death parts you, if you didn’t expect those things in return? Monogamy has benefits for both partners, outside the love issue. Health, dependability, trust being some of the big benefits.

      Cheaters steal. They break the contract. How can there not be a legal penalty?

    • Exactly. Marriage is a promise to be mutually exclusive. To unilaterally change the rules and not communicate that is despicable.

  • I will never consume EP’s crap— she’s a narcissist and cheater apologist. I choose to spend my one and only life reading material that is kind, empathetic, and ethical. Material that calls out the injustice of abuse.

    Fuck EP.

    • I haven’t read her crap or listened to her TED talk either. Never even heard of her before CL wrote about her. And that was all I needed to know about her. A cheater apologist is the last person I want to hear from. CL, however, deserves to as famous if not more than EP!

  • Monogamy is gift?!? What a load of horse shit. Monogamy is a reciprocal agreement by design. It’s a decision 2 people take together because you believe in its benefits. It cannot exist any other way. When it is one-sided, one person being monogamous and the other not, it can only be dishonest and based in deception, so not a willing “gift”, but stolen. And that’s the whole point of infidelity, stealing and cheating the monogamous partner out of something that should rightfully be theirs, and get away with it. As a result there is a huge drain of energy from the cheated party, in addition to the trauma.

    Whoever thinks that monogamy can ever be a gift should not be allowed to call themselves a therapist because they cause harm, they don’t heal it.

  • Blergh. This here: “Anthropologically she observes that the shift during the Industrial Revolution from village to city life caused the burden of selfhood to shift from the tribe to the individual.” It’s a crappy sentence, but more than that, generations of sociologists (hello! we exist–) not to mention philosophers, historians, and other folk have studies and described these phenomena in great detail. “Anomie? Why yes, thank you I’ll have decaf with that.”.

    I’ve been told that her parents are Holocaust survivors. Incredibly awful, intergenerational trauma, no doubt. But does that give her a free pass to write global free tickets for cheating and lying? I think not.

  • Ugh! That they had a near death experience 3 years before they cheat? My ex wife never did have one. She was in her 20’s and early 30’s. I had a near death experience, almost died, yet never cheated.

  • It may be true that cheaters do what they do to feel alive. But what Perel doesn’t get is that non-disordered people don’t have a feeling of deadness and presume it’s because they aren’t fucking whoever they want, getting whatever they want, and generally acting like spoiled children without any consequences. Wingnuts who are empty inside, devoid of the ability to bond, devoid of character and without any gratitude for the blessings they have, otoh, do. That’s why the don’t feel alive. They are like zombies. Instead of a quest to actually *be* alive, they look for the false trappings of it through thrill-seeking behavior and tell themselves the high they get is “feeling alive”. Heroin junkies feel the same way, but nobody tries to frame what they do as a noble spiritual quest.

    Perel frames cheating as adaptive behavior in response to life challenges such as mortality, rather than maladaptive behavior in response to the inner emptiness any human feels if s/he is too disordered to connect and bond deeply with anyone. This is what we were made to do. Without this ability, no human society could exist. Parents would refuse to care for their children and the elderly and infirm would be left to die. Nobody would protect anybody and most people would perish. To bond deeply is an evolutionary imperative. A person who lacks this ability lacks the most important drive we have. It’s not sex, it’s attachment. Sex is pointless as a survival imperative if we cannot bond with and attach to offspring that result from it or the partners participating in the care of them.

    Genius? Perel doesn’t even have common sense, and this Clif bar namaste-spouting self-proclaimed prophet is my pick for k00k of the month.
    (Those of you old-timers who remember the halcyon days of usenet might get the reference.)

    • The last man I dated had a “Zombie Apocalypse “ sticker on his car. Turns out he cheated on both exes (#1 with prostitutes and #2 with web cam hos). I had a funny feeling about him, he felt that funny feeling and he stole my credit card number before the discard.

    • What a fabulous post OHFFS! I love what you’ve said here and it’s so true. I seriously used to get my kicks from just being in the same room with my husband. He, on the other hand, was always discontented. Nothing was good enough, everything was dull, most things didn’t measure up to whatever fantasy land he thought life was. We were a terrible match in that way – I loved simply having a cup of coffee in the morning with him but he couldn’t even enjoy that because he only liked going out for the “ best” coffee. It was constant and pervaded our lives. I almost feel sorry for him that he can’t enjoy a normal, beautiful life that’s right in front of us all. It’s the simple and real things that I cherish the most. Thanks for your beautiful words.

  • Ironically my cheater had a near death experience prior to the last ho-worker, but he also had a different ho-worker during that near death experience. I thought about that a lot and wondered if I’d been widowed at that time would I have ever discovered what a lie he was living? It still is so bizarre realizing the person I spent nearly 20 years with is a whole different person.

    Now I realize why on our wedding day he seemed so nervous and unsure. I think he knew he would never be monogamous. I remember him asking me if I was really sure and he seemed to warn me about himself.

  • Call it monogamy or fidelity – I thought that it was promised in wedding vows. And for most people, wedding vows translate into a legal/financial promise, as well. It is the most significant contract anyone will enter into.

    Does this vary significantly by country or state? Do we need legislation to protect citizens entering into this contract?

    • Rape by deception.

      I think this is why we all feel so traumatized, because we wouldn’t have been having sex with our spouses had we known they were fucking other(s). I certainly wouldn’t have exposed myself and unborn children to std’s! I feel as though there should be more consequences for people that do this. It isn’t the gift of monogamy when there is a contract of monogamy.

      • Joyce Short has been chipping away at this with her website consent

        • Soon to be former governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law to discern between consent and assent. And is going down for creeping on and groping women. His long term relationship with “chef” Sandra Lee ended due to his philandering. The perfect foil.

    • It was like my husband got married to me and the vows in his head went something like this:

      I promise that you will always meet my needs
      I promise that it’s okay for me to get exactly what I want at all times
      I promise you will look after me and find my keys because I’m not organized enough
      I promise you will raise children while I’m out at sex clubs
      I promise you will parade around the house like a porn star
      I promise you will let me play video games and Magic cards whenever I want
      I promise that you will find a way to take care of the house, the car, the yard, the finances
      I promise I will eat your nice meals
      I promise you will support my career
      I promise to look after you so long as it doesn’t interfere too much with what I want to do at the time
      I do promise these things unless I get bored and someone else is willing to do more of these things for me.

      • good one, FKA. i might add

        i promise to pretend to listen to you
        i promise to fake a future with you until i’m ready to drop THE BOMB
        i promise to infer the end of our marriage is ALL. YOUR. FAULT.

        and, i promise to take you to Paris for our 25th (gotta put something good in there, no?)

        • Love it! Also…

          I promise to blame you for my bad behaviour
          I promise you’ll love me even though I don’t really care that much if you’re around or not
          I promise to be admired even though I don’t earn that kind of respect

        • What is with these assf**ks and the Paris thing? I got that. Another friend did, too. Makes me want to stick the Eiffel Tower up where the sun doesn’t shine.

          • I almost didn’t want to say this…but I lived in Paris for 3 years with my FW. It was then that he started cheating on me (I learned 13 years later!). Paris is forever fucked in my mind now, unfortunately. Sex was easy to come by there – hookers were cheap too (apparently).

            • Hookers on the rue St. Denis. And let’s not forget the Bois de Boulogne where Sarkozy went to get his knob shined. He was married to Carla Bruni the supermodel for f’s sake ????‍♀️

              • The first place we lived was in a temporary flat on Rue St Denis (no shit). The words “live fucking show” in English were lit with a neon sign that flashed in my window at night while I was up breastfeeding my baby at all hours. Luckily we only lived there for about 6 weeks, but it was gross. It seems my husband got a taste for this life while we were there. We moved into a nicer family part of the 15eme after that…I sat in parks while he went to brothels I guess. Fucker.

  • I thought loving your spouse and investing in making your life with them was exciting. Call me old fashioned? I find it so interesting that Ester never talks about the series of lies that the betrayed spouse has had to endure. Of course an affair is exciting! I’ll give her that. I could have used a great love affair. Instead I stood by my man even when I was desperately lonely and ignored because he was always “at work”. And she also thinks that there’s no forgiveness – fuck that! Many of us here tried forgiveness and permissiveness and we got doubly chumped and shat upon even more because it was so much more fun to take advantage of a chump’s forgiveness by fucking more people and lying about it. I went so far as to grant my husband permission to have some sex outside of our relationship because he had a fetish. I laid down my rules. He broke the rules and then I discovered that he had been lying and cheating on me all along anyway. So the “permission” was already been taken by him and then he had the gall to pretend he was being honest. What would Ester say to that? That he was seeking to feel excitement? Or was he so f’ing entitled and filled with power and control that he felt just fine keeping me at home doing his laundry and raising our child while he was out doing whatever he wanted? He knowingly hurt me and took advantage. What say you Ester? Seeking excitement from a dull marriage or being a cruel asshole??

    • Honestly these cheater apologist should be tarred and feathered and have their plat form taken away from them.

      Oh so what if you devastate your spouse emotionally, physically, and financially; hey you got your excitement, the hell with your victims.

      • Exactly! It is soooooo entitled to think this way. It’s kind of like, “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her” is the cheater apologist mantra.

  • Some things my therapist taught me. In the 80’s. Which I still agree with.

    1) Dating is doing something fun with someone you are attracted to, then you go home, alone, without getting physical. This enables you to date more than one person at a time until you meet someone you want to be exclusive with, which can take a while. Once you get physical, bonding hormones take over and judgement is clouded, making it difficult to get to really know people and date more than one person at a time. (Cheaters find this out on a regular basis). At some point the cheater or the cheating accomplice wants the betrayed partner out of the picture.

    2) Do not get physical until you have known someone a while and made an agreement to be exclusive. Don’t assume this. It is communicated and agreed upon.

    3) All people have issues. All relationships have problems. You want to choose a partner you can work through problems with.

    4) You will take your baggage with you to every relationship until you are with a partner you can work it through with. (Another thing cheaters find out on a regular basis).

    5) One relationship at a time. Do not get into another relationship until you have completed the one you are in. (Ended things, healed, learned from it, etc).

    6) Not many people are willing to do this.

    7) Relationships end because one or both of the people in them do not have or are unwilling to learn the skills necessary for a successful long term relationship. (Cheaters and those who cheat with them are striking out here from the get go…)

    These guidelines were taught to me a long
    time ago and she was referring only to exclusive (monogamous) relationship conduct. They still ring true for me.

    (I’m not qualified to comment on polyamory. It’s not something I would participate in so my comments here apply to my own relationship preferences. But I do know that making and keeping agreements is a good idea no matter who you are or what your romantic persuasions are).

    I’ll take my therapist and her wisdom
    over Esther Repel any day of the week.
    I did what she suggested but neither of us knew he was an expert liar with a secret sexual double life…..

    • Later on in life, a sponsee called me and asked me how to date more than one person (“date” according to the definition I cited above).

      I said, “Don’t touch anybody.”


    • Lying is not sustainable; the truth always finds a way to shine through.
      Two cheaters add up to only one thing and that is dysfunctional. It’s baked in. People can limp along in a mediocre relationship for years. I did. Not any more. I was more loyal to the mirage than I was to myself. Bad idea.

      If someone is in a relationship, they are unavailable. If they cheat and betray their partner, they are an unavailable jerk.

      If people thought more of themselves and wanted the best for themselves, none of us would be here.

    • I like number six. I feel that number six is important. When I came out of my two horrible relationships which ended in divorce, there was a feeling within me that just wanted to have the distraction of being in love to heal me. It was a strong compulsion. I gave into it in the first marriage, after it was over, and I ended up suffering for it. It delayed my healing.

      I still feel the compulsion. But now I understand that it comes from a place within me that is unhealed. That unhealed place would rather camouflage the pain by getting wrapped up in a relationship then to work through it and get to know myself.

      So I go to bed alone. I wake up alone. I get to know myself. This is the relationship I have chosen to put myself into. Me falling in love with me. Me committing to myself. There may come a time when there’s somebody else, but that time is not yet. That time is not even remotely yet.

  • Chump Lady: “Blistering (insights)”…you have the perfect cartoon for that????????

  • Non monogamist people cheat too, all the damn time, which blows all of Esther Perel’s theories right to hell.

    Cheaters do what they do because they enjoy lying and abusing others, not to feel alive. It’s the deceit that’s so exciting to them, not the sex.

  • I feel that monogamy is a law. It’s a law that says I will keep my heart mind and body only for you. And I would rather if somebody that I have made that law with can’t keep it, that they just released them self from it honestly and forthrightly.

    What’s your favorite store? Mine is PetSmart. But I don’t go into PetSmart planning to steal whatever I like. I plan to go in and shop and pay and follow the rules. And if there’s ever a time where I can’t trust myself to keep my hands to myself and not steal the dog toys, well that’s the day I shouldn’t go into that store. Or that’s the day that I need to have a talk with myself about my motivations.

    Is it OK to shoplift? To stick a video game up your shirt and walk out the door because you know they’re never going to catch you? Some people shoplift like they breathe. It’s just within them.

    Breaking marriage laws was within my husband. It’s who he was.


    I am so sick of Esther Perel’s utter bullshit and I am grateful you are deconstructing her bullshit, in an article.

    Your voice of sanity is NEEDED to counter Esther Perel’s antics.

    Those who are professional infidelity apologizers, are a gift when they walk off a cliff.

  • OMG, thank you! My cheating husband loves Esther Perel, I can’t stand her. Glad I’m not the only one. I should be getting your book tomorrow, looking forward to gaining a life at 62.

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: