In Conversation with Rabbi Shira Stutman
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Why do people cheat—even those in happy marriages? And what can affairs teach us about relationships?
As a culture, we are ever more open about sex, but infidelity—despite being extremely common—remains shrouded in a cloud of shame, secrecy, and judgment. This age-old taboo is ripe for reexamination, says world-renowned couples therapist Esther Perel. In The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, a follow up to her bestseller Mating in Captivity, Perel challenges assumptions, upends conventional wisdom, and offers a fresh, nuanced look at affairs from multiple viewpoints.
Perel is clear: understanding infidelity does not mean justifying it. Nor does she seek to minimize the acute emotions involved, whether from an online flirtation, a one-night stand, or a long-running affair. However, she does advocate reaching beyond blame and victimization. Affairs, Perel asserts, have a lot to teach us about relationships—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. With the right approach, she argues, an affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage—with the same person.
Perel has over three decades of experience navigating the intricacies of love and desire. Her two TED talks have reached over 17 million viewers. She has consulted on the Golden Globe-winning Showtime series The Affair and is also Executive Producer and host of the Audible Original Series “Where Should We Begin?”, in which she broadcasts one-off counseling sessions with real-life couples. In conversation with Rabbi Shira Stutman, Sixth & I’s Senior Rabbi. Book signing to follow.
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