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Why do people cheat? | Relationship expert Esther Perel talks to Tony about infidelity, intimacy and the danger of expectations

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Why do people cheat? Even those in happy marriages? And what can affairs help us understand about intimacy?

We tend to think that the act of infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. We judge those who commit transgressions. We shroud them in shame. We dismiss them, label them, categorize them as “cheaters.” And largely, we do so, without a complete understanding of infidelity.

In this episode of the podcast, Tony sits down with world-renowned couples therapist and relationship expert, Esther Perel, to discuss what makes relationships work, what makes them fall apart – and what we aren’t understanding about infidelity.

Esther is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and provocative voices on personal and professional relationships. A celebrated couples therapist who has helmed a private practice in New York City since 1983, she has over three decades experience navigating the intricacies of love and desire. Her international bestseller Mating in Captivity has been translated into twenty-six languages. Perel is a dynamic and provocative speaker on the international stage, with two critically praised TED talks that 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 intimate one-off counseling sessions with real-life couples. Perel has been featured in publications across five continents, including the New York Times

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, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and Vogue. She is also a frequent guest on radio and television shows, including NPR’s Brian Lehrer Show, Oprah, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, and The Colbert Report.

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Over the past ten years, Esther has traveled the world, working closely with hundreds of couples who are struggling to cope with infidelity. She has seen the devastation such betrayal can cause. And she drew upon these experiences, her research and her expertise to write her latest book: The State of Affairs, where she reveals why even happy people cheat and why we shame those who stay with partners who have been unfaithful.

 

In this episode, Esther and Tony invite the audience into an honest, enlightened exploration of modern marriage. What you learn may surprise you, as they challenge assumptions, uproot conventional wisdom, and offer a nuanced look at affairs from multiple viewpoints. Even if you have never experienced infidelity in a relationship, odds are you know someone who has. This episode will not only allow you to approach the subject of betrayal with much more empathy and understanding, it will give you a deeper look at our basic human needs, and why we do the things we do when it comes to intimate relationships.

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