Esther Perel relationship advice: why people cheat
Relationship expert Esther Perel. YouTube/TED Esther Perel is a renowned relationship expert.
For the past 10 years she has traveled the world working with couples who, as she says, "have been shattered by infidelity."
The word "infidelity," Perel says in the TED talk "Why Happy Couples Cheat," can mean many different things.
"The definition of infidelity keeps expanding," Perel says. "Sexting, watching porn, staying secretly active on dating apps. So because there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what even constitutes an infidelity, estimates vary widely, from 26% to 75%."
Here's how Perel defines an affair: "A secretive relationship — which is the core structure of an affair — an emotional connection to one degree or another, and a sexual alchemy."
But Perel says cheating is not just about sex.
"Contrary to what you may think, affairs are way less about sex and a lot more about desire," Perel continues. "Desire for attention. Desire to feel special. Desire to feel important. The very structure of an affair — the fact that you can never have your lover — keeps you wanting. That in itself is a desire machine."
Longtime couple Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale called it quits after he reportedly cheated on her with the family nanny. Getty Images Perel says the reasons people cheat today are different from those of the past.
"We have never been more inclined to stray, and not because we have new desires today, but because we live in an era where we feel we are entitled to pursue our desires," Perel says. "Because this is the culture where I deserve to be happy."
The relationship expert adds that when a spouse cheats on his or her significant other, it's more about the person who cheats than the other person.
"When we seek the gaze of another, it isn't always our partner that we are turning away from — but the person that we ourselves have become," Perel says.
Video: Why Do Happy People Cheat? (feat. Esther Perel)... (Matthew Hussey, Get The Guy)
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