Cookies are required for login or registration. Please read and agree to our cookie policy to continue.

Newest Member: LaSecondeFois

General :
Thoughts on Esther Perel and more


 Sincity (original poster new member #83901) posted at 2:03 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I read "The State of Affairs" by Esther Perel a few weeks ago, with the intention of passing it on to my WH to read. I am unsure if it's the right thing to do. I don't know if I'm just being insecure or overly sensitive or if some of the things I read in that book are just bat s*** crazy. All responses are welcome.

Also, for BS's, what are some books that specifically helped YOU in your healing?

Taking it one day at a time

posts: 28   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2023
id 8810021

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:12 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Stay away from Perel. And definitely don't send any of her crap to a freshly caught WS.

She is a wayward apologist. She paints affairs as empowering.

Throw the book in the trash.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6172   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8810023

CFme923 ( member #82955) posted at 2:15 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I would recommend Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass, how to help your spouse cope with infidelity, and there are a couple of good gottman books.

posts: 82   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8810024

 Sincity (original poster new member #83901) posted at 2:18 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

HellFire oh my goodness I am happy to hear it is not only me that feels this way! It was an audiobook, I quickly deleted it. While reading it, I felt so sorry for my WH and I am an overly empathetic person as it is, so it was rough for me to be angry in those first few weeks because I was too busy feeling sad for him and myself. I'm still not angry, just very sad.

Taking it one day at a time

posts: 28   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2023
id 8810025

 Sincity (original poster new member #83901) posted at 2:30 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

CFme -

I am going to get 'Not Just Friends.

I sent 'How to help your spouse cope with infidelity' to my WH to listen to, thank you ❤️

Taking it one day at a time

posts: 28   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2023
id 8810026

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:30 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

That anger will come. Embrace it. Express it. Don't try to suppress it. It's like poison,and it will eat away at you.

He needs to hear your pain..and your anger. Hopefully he will respond with remorse.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6172   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8810027

dontlookbackinanger ( new member #82406) posted at 2:36 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

She’s an apologist hack! The less oxygen given to her opinions and ideas, the better!

posts: 32   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8810028

HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 3:22 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

She’s nothing but an affair cheerleader. Every now and again she has some insight, but ultimately she excuses affairs as some sort of personal growth and other crap. Do not listen to her at all.

I recommend reading other books as well, not just pro R ones. Cheating in a nutshell, and I can’t say the entire title here but it’s {no soliciting} it will give you perspective. I am not pushing for R or D by any means, but a lot of pro R books paint a rosy picture of R, give the betrayed lots of hope, and always assume the WP is truly remorseful and wants to rebuild and change. That just isn’t the truth at all, and the other books can give you perspective of what that looks like. Hope is the most dangerous thing to have in R, because hoping for things to be x or y, will prevent you from actually seeing it will never be.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 2:46 PM, Monday, October 2nd]

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.
in R, getting by

posts: 99   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8810031

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:05 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I agree that she isn't good reading material for WSes, but I think she reports what she sees fairly and objectively. I don't like what she sees, but her reports seem accurate.

Shirley Glass is the best. Some of Peggy Vaughan's is good, especially Help for Therapists (and Their Clients).

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:06 PM, Saturday, September 30th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 29260   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8810032

OnTheOtherSideOfHell ( member #82983) posted at 4:14 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I found Esther Pearl quite helpful. I did not see her as an affair apologist at all, but more so as one that can help a non cheater understand the cheating mind. She helped with some of the "how could you?" questions. Although she doesn’t demonize the cheater I don’t think she excuses them at all.

posts: 104   ·   registered: Feb. 28th, 2023   ·   location: SW USA
id 8810034

Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 4:48 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

My WW, now EX, like Perel as her positions served to remove some of the blame she had for her A. I'd recommend you read the books mentioned and keep read8ng and positing here. You are early on in your journey and how you feel now will ebb and flow. Take time to process.

Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.

Divorced 2022!!!!

posts: 1631   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8810037

Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 5:25 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I would highly recommend you do the following:

Burning in effigy - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

To set on fire something that symbolizes a person or position that one opposes.

I found listening to her videos pretty painful. "Bat s*** crazy" seems like an apt description. I would rather my spouse read nothing than read that. I think she must have had and A herself. Equating having an A to a leaning experience is equivalent to recommending abusing your children as a reasonable way to figure out your boundaries.

posts: 279   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022   ·   location: Northeast
id 8810040

AintDatSpecial ( new member #83560) posted at 5:42 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Living and loving after betrayal by Steven Stosny helped me tremendously. I saw it recommended on here and I wish I remember who mentioned it. My worst time (so far) after d-day was right around where you are, between 1-2 months. I started reading that book and doing the daily exercises about 7 weeks post d-day. I still do the practices and highly recommend the book.

Me- BW/ Him- WH, both early 40s/ D-day June 2023/ working on healing me

posts: 49   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2023   ·   location: United States
id 8810042

This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 5:56 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

She has some overall decent insights that are worth absorbing. e.g. surviving an affair is like surviving cancer; you may be stronger and changed afterwards but you wouldn't wish it on anyone. Most of it is caked in unfortunately taking WS's at their word on the face of it. This is why she comes off as an apologist. Since all WS's are proven liars, we have to examine anything they say about the A with an extremely critical eye (no offense to the WS's here that have done a lot of work, but even then we have to take it very critically).

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2501   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8810043

SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 6:50 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

The book that helped me the most was The Four Agreements. It's become my bible.

Let the world feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.

posts: 802   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8810046

TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 10:08 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I read Perel early on so it's been a minute. I remember thinking she was trying to help WS get to their whys which of course we all want. But I can see how reading that sounds apologetic. I didn't view it that way at the time. I wanted insight into the mind of a cheater.

I think her biggest downfall with BS's is that she doesn't spend enough time talking about the trauma and it's effect. So it can feel like we are dismissed. But I've listened to enough of her public speaking and interviews to know that she does in fact see it as a trauma. She advocates for complete honesty about the affair (not something other therapists advise). She is def geared toward those who want to potentially save their marriages so she delves much deeper into the cause of affairs and how to understand that.

I never recommended the reading to my WS. but his therapist recommended her Ted Talk and he came away from that feeling extreme shame at the harm he had caused. She says something like "an affair is death by a thousand cuts" and that resonated with him. He thought "how do I ever atone for a thousand cuts."

She's not high on my list for waywards. But I also don't see her as the devil advocating for wayward behavior. I see her as someone who tries to take the sting out of it but discussing cultural norms and the way waywards might think. Of course, she profits off of her work so who knows if it's actually beneficial to those suffering.

posts: 524   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8810059

hardyfool ( member #83133) posted at 10:18 PM on Saturday, September 30th, 2023

I read a little from Ester Perel after the infamous slap from Will Smith as her name came with as the counselor for his after the "entanglement".

I didn't take me very long to the damage she can cause or has caused to a number of people with her writing.

I would avoid her perspectives at pretty much all costs. As I believe her teachings and Smith's wife's profound sense of entitlement have pretty destroyed his career.

posts: 75   ·   registered: Mar. 27th, 2023
id 8810060

This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 1:25 AM on Sunday, October 1st, 2023


I think she is also trying to help find the "why" but she often stops at the first answer of a wayward, which is almost always coated in self deception and relationship history rewriting.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2501   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8810075

WhatsRight ( member #35417) posted at 1:53 AM on Sunday, October 1st, 2023

Shirley Glass may be a good author…I don’t know…I never read her work…

But my H and I did phone counseling with her and I was not impressed. She told him to write an apology letter. When he read it to me, I could tell she all but wrote it herself…I know my H’s writing.

When I continued to be upset after we did the letter thing and told her I needed him to tell me EVERYTHING, she told me I didn’t need to know everything.

Not any help. JMHO

"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy

posts: 8089   ·   registered: Apr. 23rd, 2012   ·   location: Southeast USA
id 8810079

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:21 AM on Monday, October 2nd, 2023

I haven’t delved a great deal into her to be honest. But it’s worth noting she is European and I think there are nuanced cultural differences that make us interpret her as an apologist.

I would never recommend an affair but it absolutely put in motion major personal growth in me. I hate how I got here but I like who I am much more today than who I was back then. So I do agree with her on that, but I think it’s unhelpful to newer betrayed or ws who haven’t spent anytime doing work.

Today, I do treat myself gentler because that is actually what is needed to be a healthier person. But had I been gentler on myself back then none of the work or growth would have happened. I think she has worked with many people and witnessed that transformation enough to see the power of it, but the way she frames it might be more appropriate for a reconciled couple in which grace has already taken place, the high emotions have subsided, and one is in a place to intellectualize it.

But as I said I haven’t done a deep dive and will also state there are still things she says I disagree with.

6 years of hard work
Reconciled WS and BS

posts: 6500   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8810191
Cookies on®® uses cookies to enhance your visit to our website. This is a requirement for participants to login, post and use other features. Visitors may opt out, but the website will be less functional for you.

v.1.001.20231011 2002-2023® All Rights Reserved. • Privacy Policy