Psychotherapist Esther Perel shares why deception is a priceless revelation.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Our relationships are an essential part of our growth and expansion. According to world-renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel, the importance of trust, stability, and care can be especially vital when it comes to romantic partnerships.
In her viral 2015 TEDTalk, “Rethinking Infidelity … a Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved,” Esther explains the antiquated foundations of love conflict with the modernity of romance. These foundational discrepancies are especially apparent in instances of infidelity, making it more difficult for couples to repair and reconnect.
Fortunately, Esther had a few wise words for all lovers out there. Here are four main takeaways couples should examine before and after infidelity.
“We have a romantic ideal in which we turn to one person to fulfill an endless list of needs: to be my greatest lover, my best friend, the best parent, my trusted confidant, my emotional companion, [and] my intellectual equal. And I am it: I’m chosen, I’m unique, I’m indispensable, I’m irreplaceable, I’m the one. And infidelity tells me I’m not. Today, [infidelity] is often traumatic because it threatens our sense of self.”
In her speech, Esther calls attention to the downfall of modern romance: Unrealistic expectations. (Cue the prince in shining armor.) Your partner is human, just like you. No matter how perfect your match is, “the one” can’t be the only one to fill your cup. We’ll take a love note out of Alicia’s and Swizz’s book: You and your partner are autonomous beings bringing your energy into the relationship. Having your own space, passions, friendships, and rituals keeps you healthy and happy in the long run.
“Affairs are an act of betrayal, and they are also an expression of longing and loss. Death and mortality often live in the shadow of an affair, because they raise these questions. Is this it? Is there more? Am I going on for another 25 years like this? Will I ever feel that thing again?”
We’ve had it all wrong. Infidelity is often associated with dissatisfaction with a partner, but Esther has a different perspective. In her talk, she says affairs are linked to bigger questions about life, purpose, and fear. Instead of seeing an affair as rejection, Esther challenges clients and listeners to consider infidelity a desire to be seen and significant. If you’re on the receiving end of betrayal, you have an opportunity to dismiss self-blame. If you were the perpetrator, you could delve deeper into understanding what you were seeking by stepping out of your relationship.
“Betrayal in a relationship comes in many forms.”
A modern romance will naturally be affected by the advances in technology. Esther acknowledges that the modern world poses new ways to define infidelity and provides easier access to cross the line. There are many ways to break trust in relationships through dating apps, social media, pornography, sexting, and emotional affairs. Preventing cheating altogether might not be possible, but couples miss an opportunity to create boundaries by not exploring and defining understandings of infidelity. Make an effort to communicate what you consider cheating or inappropriate, and check in to ensure you and your partner are on the same page.
“Every affair will redefine a relationship, and every couple will determine what the legacy of the affair will be.”
Your relationship is yours to salvage or release when a rupture occurs. Esther believes that infidelity will leave its mark on a couple, but that isn’t how the story has to end. The responsibility of repairing the relationship can feel heavy, but it’s possible to restore trust and connection with the right amount of effort. At the end of the day, partners decide the future of their relationship — not friends, family, or even a phenomenal TEDTalk. Seek the answers within yourself and with your significant other. (And inviting a professional therapist in your process is never a bad idea.)
How was that? Which quote stood out to you the most? Let us know in the comments!