Rethinking Adultery

Attached is a review of Esther Perel's newest book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Adultery, in which she talks about the surprising concept that affairs, if processed honestly, can actually save a relationship.

In this review Zoe Heller also brings up larger points about how much we can expect from our partners overall. A quote from the article:

"This—the impossibility of absolute romantic security—is the bracing moral at the center of Perel’s book. There is no “affair proof” marriage, she warns, whatever the self-help industry tries to tell you. To love is to be vulnerable. Relationships can inspire varying degrees of trust, but trust is always, as the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips puts it, “a risk masquerading as a promise.” To believe yourself to be the sole progenitor of your partner’s desire, rather than merely its current recipient, is a folly. Elizabeth Hardwick, who stoically endured the countless infidelities of her husband, Robert Lowell, knew something about this. In her famous essay “Seduction and Betrayal,” she described the terrible wisdom vouchsafed to the betrayed heroine of classic literature: she 'is never under the illusion that love or sex confers rights upon human beings. She may of course begin with the hope, and romance would scarcely be possible otherwise; however, the truth hits her sharply, like vision or revelation when the time comes. Affections are not things and persons never can become possessions, matters of ownership. The desolate soul knows this immediately and only the trivial pretend that it can be otherwise.'"