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of troubled marriages don’t seem to fit my situation,” Priya insists. Great kids, no financial stresses, careers we love, great friends. For years, I have worked as a therapist with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity.
He is a phenom at work, fucking handsome, attentive lover, fit, and generous to everyone, including my parents. And my conversations about affairs have not been confined within the cloistered walls of my therapy practice; they’ve happened on airplanes, at dinner parties, at conferences, at the nail salon, with colleagues, with the cable guy, and of course, on social media.
And agony it is—infidelity today isn’t just a violation of trust; it’s a shattering of the grand ambition of romantic love.
Infidelity may be ubiquitous, but the way we make meaning of it—how we define it, experience it, and talk about it—is ultimately linked to the particular time and place where the drama unfolds.
In contemporary discourse in the United States, affairs are primarily described in terms of the damage caused.
Eventually, I got tired of bothering and slept with someone else to get my needs met." —Kay, 32"I didn't feel like myself""I felt like I was stuck in a relationship I didn't want to be in.
I didn't feel like myself in it, so I emotionally cheated on my ex with a few other men." —Jasmine, 20"He couldn't remember my birthday""I was in a long-distance relationship with a man for five years, and I'd only see him twice a year.
From Pittsburgh to Buenos Aires, Delhi to Paris, I have been conducting an open-ended survey about infidelity.