Return to Forum List

Return to The Book Club® > The Book Club

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

The State of Affairs

lostandbroken123 posted 5/28/2019 02:37 AM

Just finished reading this book by Esther Perel. The whole premise is to change our paradigm regarding fidelity. It is very much written for those who want to R. Though I am the one that wants to and my WW does not. I cried a lot reading the text and wished that a "second marriage" with my wife was/is an option.

TamRiddle posted 6/23/2019 17:36 PM

I just finished the book as well. I had so many “ah-ha!” moments while reading. This book challenged my way of thinking and I hope to it blooms into inclusive thinking.

hdybrh posted 6/25/2019 13:13 PM

I actually really liked this book too. Quite a few on SI criticize it and her as giving WS a pass... but I think in the context of other helpful but dated books like Not Just Friends it's a helpful read.

Her analogy of an A to cancer is really helpful, not something you wish on someone but many can use that fight to become stronger better people.

I particularly liked the end of the book where they talked about "explorer" couples. As we're working through R that spirit of openness and adventure within our marriage and the renewed promises of it has been an encouragement and goal.

gmc94 posted 6/26/2019 10:53 AM

This was 1st book I read after dday, and wish I’d never heard of Perel.
Which is sad bc I agree she can make a few good points, but the overall context of BS blaming and basically saying that the BS has to buck up and take what a WS doles out is bullsh*t. P
Saying that happy people cheat? Really?

Ganondorf posted 7/1/2019 10:28 AM


I don't think she gives the WS a free pass. I don't think she believes a BS needs to suck it up either.

She just wants to understand the "why" of the WS. They're human too. Their needs weren't being met, and thus they sought to meet them elsewhere. Helping them find that reason helps them become a better person, and if they're trying to reconcile, perhaps helps that too. It's not about blaming anyone. It's about everyone accepting responsibility for their contribution.

I'm sure every WS that decides to seek IC is going through their own unique type of pain that a BS can't understand. Just like a WS can't actually understand our pain. Because pain is both a specific experience, and a very individual one.

Look at me and Director. Almost the same situation. Completely different response. It didn't break him. I broke me. And I've always seen myself as a fairly tough person.

If we expect people to sympathize with our pain, we should also be willing to sympathize with theirs as well, right? Though it's obvious, most BS are just not in a position to consider how their WS is feeling. That's understandable. It's not a contest, but I'd imagine whatever a BS goes through is usually more sudden and intense than the WS.

What I got from the book was that. And that people need to work on their relationship skills before the problems arise. And figure out what their boundaries are before someone crosses them.

Goldie78 posted 7/12/2019 20:45 PM

Do not like Esther.

Unhinged posted 7/12/2019 23:41 PM

Just my personal opinion here...

I think Perel is trying to "reinvent the wheel."

baboo posted 8/17/2019 11:28 AM

There is a lot of wisdom in this book and many hard truths for a betrayed partner. I was ready to hear some, others not so much. I would not recommend this book until you feel you are in a more stable, rational place after learning about your partner's affair. Overall, I found it extremely insightful.

hdybrh posted 8/20/2019 10:24 AM

I just read her previous book Mating in Captivity and also enjoyed it...wish we had read it before my W had an A. While the pain of being a BS has been extreme in the aftermath/R we've been WAY more adventurous with our sex life. As only a chapter is infidelity related it's not as triggering, and reinforces the importance of desire and eroticism in healthy long term relationships.

gmc94 posted 8/29/2019 00:41 AM

It's about everyone accepting responsibility for their contribution.
And I guess this is where we differ. I don't believe I need to accept one bit of "responsibility" for my CH's choice to have an A. Or for his choice to continue an A for TEN years.

I do accept responsibility for not being a perfect spouse. I've most definitely been a crummy wife for periods of our M, and I own it. I am working hard to atone to my children for my poor choices and behavior. I spent plenty of time in IC and for YEARS (before and after the EA went PA) I BEGGED my CH to go to IC or MC and for years he refused. I would add that my CH was an asshat for plenty of time too - long before the EA turned PA. We are two imperfect people trying to forge a life. The difference is that I went to IC, I clearly communicated my needs, and when he refused, I decided to compromise to keep the M and LET THEM GO (every one of which was immediately "back on the table" on dday). He held resentment, avoided communication, avoided any conflict, refused any therapy, and then lied to me for nearly 30 years. So, no, I don't feel much "responsibility" for the way he CHOSE to deal with his shit.

As to empathy? It took awhile - and despite my pretty serious anger at him for the A but more for HELL he's put me through since dday - I DO have empathy for my CH - in fact I expressed this to him directly in our last MC session and talked more about it in my IC yesterday. I'm (finally?) at the point where I can recognize how hard it must be to have your world fall apart - and be the cause of it. I can see how awful it must have been to be married to someone HE didn't trust to be intimate with.

So - it's not that I don't have empathy or take responsibility. I still don't like Perel. In fact, i went back and looked at some of the book recently - she comes up on SI from time to time and I wanted to kind of give it a look to see if my opinions about her have changed in the 19 months since I read the book. Nope.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 1:02 AM, October 11th, 2019 (Friday)]

aprilfool1985 posted 8/29/2019 20:52 PM


I don’t think that _Not “Just Friends”_ is particularly dated, even if it predates Snapchat, etc.

hdybrh posted 8/30/2019 09:18 AM

I don’t think that _Not “Just Friends”_ is particularly dated, even if it predates Snapchat, etc.

For the record, I love the book and I think it's rightfully one of the first ones that a BS or WS needs to read. But it's over 15 years old and came before there was Facebook, smartphones, dating apps, texting and lots of technology that helped affairs go underground and I just remember the impression from the book that it was written at a different time. But certainly the psychology and motives and recommendations in the book are timeless.

State of Affairs is certainly one to read after Not Just Friends and arguably when a BS is somewhat removed from DDay.

Because of the rampant Esther Perel bashing on the site for those who hate some of her more liberal perhaps WS forgiving positions, I do feel compelled to standup for the helpful information in the book. If I can read a book that I disagree with in some ways but get knowledge from it's worth it. For others it's triggering. YMMV

Return to Forum List

Return to The Book Club

© 2002-2020 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy