Problems have existed since humanity arose. In the 1950s, a wife would find some red lipstick on her husband’s neck and that was it. Today, in the digital age, where social media and real life are intertwined, finding out that your partner is cheating on you can be heartbreaking.
Experts have a hard time estimating what percentage of the population strays since cheating can mean different things to different people.
Esther Perel, a renowned psychotherapist, is an expert in infidelity and we want to share her groundbreaking theory about why the majority of the population resorts to love affairs.
The definition of monogamy has transformed over the last few years.
According to Esther Perel, monogamy used to mean 1 person for life. Today it is 1 person at a time. We live in a time when we feel we have the right to pursue our desires. If before people divorced because they were unhappy, today they divorce because they could be happier.
In the past, monogamy had nothing to do with love. The marriage was just a business transaction; today it is a romantic arrangement, and infidelity threatens our emotional security. We used to resort to adultery as a space to find true love. Now that we seek love in marriage, adultery destroys it.
As partners, the pressure is high as we try to wear so many different hats.
Our romantic ideal is complex: we turn to one person to satisfy a wide spectrum of all our needs. According to Perel, our perfect partner has to be “my greatest lover, my best friend, the best parent, my trusted confidant, my intellectual equal, my emotional companion and I am it: I am chosen, I am indispensable, I am unique, I am irreplaceable. I am the one. And infidelity tells me I am not — it shatters our grand ambition of love.”
Affairs happen in happy relationships too..
Kevin Hart had an affair while his wife, Eniko, pictured above, was pregnant. His wife believes in second chances and forgiveness, sharing, “As long as he behaves, we’ll be fine.”
The concept of affairs only happening in troubled relationships is incorrect. If we have everything we need at home, there is no reason to look elsewhere, or so we think. At the same time, there are people who, despite truly loving their partner, may one day admit that they had an affair.
At the center of an affair is betrayal, anguish, and the desire for emotional connection, for novelty, to want to reconnect with lost parts of ourselves. According to Perel, “when we are attracted to the gaze of someone who is not our partner, it is not because we want to leave the person we are with, but because we want to leave the same person we have become.”
In the shadows of an affair often lingers a loss, whether it’s a parent or a close friend or bad news from a doctor.
Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart, pictured above, were a couple for 4 years until 2013 and ended up breaking up because there were rumors that Stewart was having an affair with a movie director.
All over the world, people who have affairs often say, “I feel alive.” Mortality often lives in the shadow of a case because it raises questions like “Is this it?” “They are?” “Am I going to live another 20 years like this?” “Will I ever feel that thing again?”
Esther Perel believes that these questions may be what drives people to have affairs in an attempt to feel more alive and as an antidote to loss.
Although many people feel guilty about hurting their partner, they often don’t regret the affair itself.
Would you give your partner a second chance after an affair? What do you think is the secret to a happy relationship? Let us know in the comments.