Why is Esther Perel so Unpopular Among Betrayed Spouses?

A dialogue between Eva and her readers about the double standards on the betrayal topic.

Eva Grape
Heart Affairs
Published in
4 min readMay 22, 2024


AI-generated image via MidJourney.

Esther Perel's work on infidelity is controversial. But I didn't know this when I first heard about her from my therapist, who referenced Perel in the context of repairing relationships after conflicts. The focus was rebuilding trust and intimacy, turning crises into opportunities for deeper understanding and connection.

However, when I picked up her book, "State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity," I concentrated more on her reinterpretation of infidelity than on the relationship repair aspect. In my defense, at the time, I was not experiencing an exact crisis; my husband refused to acknowledge our marriage was struggling, so that was that.

But reading it, I zeroed in on her reinterpretation of infidelity.

Perel seemed to get me. She made me question my morals less and understand my reasons for seeking solace in an emotional affair, but she also made me think of infidelity from both perspectives.

Why Betrayed Spouses Dislike Perel

So, coming from the other side, it's clear to me why Perel rubs betrayed spouses the wrong way. She doesn't just blame the…