– This is how you stop your partner from cheating | Esther Perel | SVT/NRK/Skavlan

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thank you you're a psychologist and

you're a couple therapists would these

be your typical clients no no no no the

people who are having fun they don't

come to the psychologist the people that

come to me come to me because they're

bewildered because they're in a conflict

because they feel guilty because they

feel shame or because they feel torn

because they're in love with two people

they on the other side they come to me

because they feel betrayed because their

trust has been shattered because they

wonder which life they've been living in

which light they've been living i get

the dark side much more often of this

drama tell me you have you in your book

state of affairs

yes you you talk to people all over the

world in about about this topic not only

relationship and also infidelity mm-hmm

what are the differences between Europe

where where we come from an America so

Europe and Belgium yes and European

America Europe is when you're in America

its Europe when you're in Europe it's

different parts of Europe right and and

the rest of the world is yet a whole

other story so I think it's probably

important to see infidelity has existed

since marriage was invented and so true

that I Bou against it it doesn't hurt

any less in Sweden then it hurts here

but there may be less of a moral

perspective it is hurtful not just wrong

it's the difference between wrong and

hurtful and infidelity is seen as a

relational betrayal so when I travel the

globe I see hundreds of people who are

affected devastated by this experience

but that's just if you look at a couple

if I ask this audience here if they've

been affected by the subject in their

life I would guess that 80% of the

people will say they have been affected

by infidelity in their life and then

it's not just cheated or cheated on it's

the children of its the friend of its

the sister the brother of its it's the

legacy of secrets in families it's the

child of

it's a lot of it's a it's a very

systemic broad subject that isn't just a

party of two or three so how would you

explain I mean how do you define

infidelity infidelity is actually very

hard to define because the definition

keeps on expanding today we it's no

longer just because you have a child out

of wedlock you know you had clear proof

for most of history when an affair took

place today is it a chatroom is it a

massage with happy ending is it watching

porn is it is it you're dating apps that

you continue to check on is it talking

with your exes that you have reconnected

with on Facebook where do we draw the

line is one of the big questions about

boundaries two days and at the same time

there are very clear markers for

understanding affairs you know and the

first and foremost is the fact that it

is organized around the secret I mean an

affair is not about non-monogamy it's

about a violation of an agreement of a

trust of a contract so the secrecy is

the central element and then around the

secrecy is a certain level of emotional

involvement to one degree or another

could be hit and run but that too takes

an emotional involvement to make

something matter nothing and a sexual

aura and the sexual aura is much more

important than the idea that Affairs are

about sex it's really about

what do you mean by sexual aura when you

ask people all over the world that I can

tell you if they have been affected if

they've experienced affairs and and how

they experience it the one word you hear

is that they feel alive affairs a

fundamental acts of transgression in

which people break rules sometimes their

own rules sometimes their own boundaries

that they have spent years putting

together and the aura means that you

don't need to have the act of sex you

have to have the energy the erotic

energy of aliveness that comes with the

fantasy of this thing called an affair

so the kiss that you only imagine giving

can be just as powerful as hours of

actual lovemaking it's about desire it's

not about sex

the desire is about feeling important

feeling seen feeling desired having

someone's attention back on you feeling

that you matter all the stuff that often

gets depleted inside ones committed

relationships and not by full just of

the other but but would you I mean could

infidelity then happen in a happy

relationship as well we tend to think it

goes like this

if I find you and you're my one and only

then I no longer should be interested in

anybody else and especially today when I

have such a paradox of choice and

thousands of people to choose from in

the West when I finally find the one and

only the one that's gonna make me delete

my apps then I should be free from all

of this and I should have everything I

want with this one and only therefore if

there is an affair there must be

something missing and either there's

something missing in our relationship or

there's something missing in you and

this symptom model defies the true

stories of people because the majority

of people who have affairs are not

chronic philanderers they are actually

often people who have been faithful for

decades and one day they cross a line

that they never thought they themselves

would cross and so you want to ask for

what and what starts to happen is this

often when you are attracted by the gaze

of another it isn't just because you

want to leave the person that you are

with but it is because you want to leave

the person that you have yourself become

and it isn't just that you want to meet

somebody else but you want to meet

another self there is no greater other

than a different version of yourself and

this goes from men and women we do we do

we cheat for the same reason many women

look this what I just told you goes for

both traditionally we have arranged it

very neatly

we have been first of all let's be very

clear Manpreet practically throughout

history had a license to cheat you know

and they had all kinds of theories that

came to justify that they are natural

roamers you know so we have all these

evolutionary theories and biological

theories to explain why men are not by

nature monogamous whereas women are

these domesticated creatures we don't

know what women would do if they were

given the permission to do the same

without the consequences that they face

which are very different than the one of

men what we know is that men and women

lie men lie by exaggerating and by

boasting and by inflating and women lie

by denying and by minimizing because

that is what is expected from them

culturally worldwide but according to

you it hasn't I mean it doesn't have to

be the end of the relationship no no I

learned that by by working with so many

couples who of course those who come to

me are not the ones who go to the lawyer

so they come to me because they want to

know is there hope today in the West

most of us are going to have two or

three marriages or adult relationships

and some of us will do it with the same

person and so it may mean that this

affair means the end of your first

marriage would you like to have another

one together and that gave people a

dignified way to understand that you can

go to a big crisis and that some affairs

are breakups but some affairs are

makeups some Affairs will ring an alarm

in the relationship about stuff that

people have become complacent about lazy

about neglectful and they realize that

they stand too much to lose and so they

brace themselves and some Affairs just

basically invite the relationship to say

okay this happened

it's beyond painful let's never minimize

this but there is a way back from there

and actually it's like in Chinese the

word crisis means danger and opportunity

maybe from this we can rise and create

something that may even be better than

what we had so so when when you get the

Quai someone that says I can't stand it

anymore your advice would be the same as

Chris Rock yes you can no I wouldn't say

first of all yes you can that's that's

not the therapists response

I he wouldn't be a good therapist I I

would say I would say you know what is

it that is what is the pain point for

you what is the thing that you are most

upset about and what is the bare minimum

that you need from your partner I mean

in the aftermath of an affair it's very

clear what you need from your partner

the first thing you need which is the

condition by the way for making it or

not is you need a partner who can

acknowledge how badly they hurt you

if they can't acknowledge that if they

minimize it if they justify it if they

explain that in fact you drove them to

do it you're done because even if you

don't feel guilty about the experience

of the affair itself you do have to feel

remorse and guilt about how it hurts the

other person that isn't no cynic why not

that's a condition and then from there

there is the what did it mean for you so

I've always said today we need a dual

perspective Affairs are about hurt and

betrayal but they are also about longing

and loss and self exploration

it's what did you go to look for there

why did this happen to you how should we

behave in our relationship to not to get

betrayed what is it that you do to make

your partner feel that they are special

that they're the one you still choose

every morning when you wake up that

they're the one that you want to be

there with the next morning and the next

morning how do you manifest your love

your appreciation your admiration for

your partner have you shown up you know

you work here you're very invested in

this project you're super attentive to

me you're charming you're funny when you

go home is this the guy that goes home

or is it the leftovers that you bring


the questions worse to you - but then

how do you control your life then by

because in life you don't know what's

gonna happen tomorrow that's correct

how do you know with this commitment

that you have met the one that higher

power have placed in I don't believe in

that conjunction with you I don't

believe so you can meet somebody when

you're 16 years old and marry and say

this is gonna be my partner then all of

a sudden when you're 44 if something


what are you doing this situation I just

want to hear because I'm I'm a believer

and it happened to me you know that I

just met somebody and she's sitting here

and it just happened that's why I don't

buy the idea that there is a one and

only we used to marry till death do us

apart today we marry till love dies

we used to marry and have sex for the

first time today you marry and you stop

having sex with others you used to have

monogamy one person for life and today

monogamy is one person at a time and

everybody says I'm monogamous in all my


yeah and it's importantly makes sense so

the the norms are changing so fast there

is nothing you can do when you leave a

person then to tell them how especially

if it was not bad then you that that you

are so sorry that you're hurting them

and you have loved them deeply and you

wish them the best and you thank them

for everything they've given you and you

wish for them the best and yet you're

going to go and it is just raw pain you

can't circumvent that heartbreak is

heartbreak what about children being you

talk to the children of course I talk to

you yeah and the children always lies so

you know I said you know and parents

usually say the parents I met all the

kids are so much happy now you know when

you ask a kid nine years old you have a

new dad a new mother we you know

separated married the neighbor's wife

and it wasn't their choice yeah so and

and the kids are they're so much better

off now they're so happy so what are the

kids saying I mean because we will

really make a lot of kids and then we

just leave them behind yes and you make

many more children in Sweden than we

make in America

yeah but here's the thing we live in an

individualistic culture in the West this

is not different from u.s. to Sweden and

that individualistic culture has done a

few things amongst all the other things

I've just named it has really brought

happiness down from the heavens and it

has made it a mandate happiness used to

belong for the afterlife you suffered on

earth and then you could be rewarded

afterwards now we want to be happy and

it's not like we have more desires than

your grandmother had but we feel much

more entitled to pursue them no it's not

for the kids if you ask the children

unless it's impossible in the house the

children would rather have their parents

stay together because that's the story

that they're born into yes sir I think I

think we triggered a few conversations

back there in the sofas now thank you so

much that's my pleasure