Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved | Esther Perel

  • Published on May 20, 2015
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    Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected - an expression of longing and loss. A must-watch for anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on, or who simply wants a new framework for understanding relationships.

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Comments • 10 913

  • True skeptic

    An affair isn't always the end of a relationship but it is always the end of the relationship as it was once known.

  • Brian M
    Brian M  +391

    Good talk.

  • The giving project

    The love for yourself has to be stronger then the desire to be loved by someone else . Make sure your showing up for you first 🥇

  • DeCrown
    DeCrown  +69

    I know it's so unlikely but.. If somebody were in a relationship with me, and they weren't feeling it, regardless of the length of time we've been together.. Just tell me. I can do nothing but respect the fact that you told me instead of lying and cheating behind my back. I'd be thankful. That's what real men/women do. Who has time and will power to do all this sneaking around? Come on. Why cheat on someone when you can just tell them you're not feeling it anymore? Is it really so difficult to be a decent person instead of giving someone false hope and holding someone else's husband/wife hostage. Things don't need to end messy if you do it the right way.X̬̤̯T̬̤̯C̬̤̯H̬̤̯A̬̤̯C̬̤̯K̬̤̯•C̬̤̯O̬̤̯M̬̤̯

  • Hummingbyrde
    Hummingbyrde 21 day ago +88

    I have listened to this speech a dozen time. Each time I hear something new I didn’t hear before. This woman is brilliant and her insight so helpful

  • Min Yuri
    Min Yuri  +45


  • Chris
    Chris 5 years ago +4

    She's a powerful and brilliant orator. It seems like many here missed her message. She is against infidelity, yet does not cover her ears and shout when both perspectives are examined. She is presenting her analysis of both perspectives, that of the cheat and that of the betrayed. She is very scientific and unbiased, and this speech was very insightful.

  • wendelin59
    wendelin59  +270

    Its refreshing to hear somebody talk about an extremely complex issue in a way that is beyond black and white, good and bad. Thank you for that.

  • Smitty Johnson

    Cheating boils down to morals. You either have enough empathy not to betray your partner or you don't. I've had plenty of opportunities to cheat but never have because I know how it would make me feel if I was cheated on. When I thought an ex was cheating, I just dumped her instead of using that as an excuse to go out and cheat myself. Staying loyal really isn't difficult.

  • TheCobra
    TheCobra 21 day ago +39

    "It isn't always our partner that we are turning away from, but the person that we have ourselves become.

  • b a e y
    b a e y 14 days ago +33


  • Wayne Hinson
    Wayne Hinson 4 hours ago +1

    That is a powerful message, one of the best I have ever heard on a TED talk.

  • Annony Mouse
    Annony Mouse 5 years ago +3

    What you say at

  • oldestgamer

    The one thing left out of this is why so many people stay in relationships that are toxic, the person they are with, or more shackled to by the constraints of marriage that includes shared persons (children), property, etc. I have seen many relationships that are just not good for one or both parties but they soldier on to keep the peace, or the "best thing for the children" or to keep the shared properties.

  • Richard Addison

    Very well done, Esther. I hope your words will improve awareness for everyone, understanding, compassion and love of life. I hope too for the safety of all those inadvertantly put at risk.

  • Onur Özçelik

    Absolutely! My parents have been divorced for 20 years and when they were married, they were constantly arguing and fighting. People got involved when they weren’t supposed to and it was so toxic for me and my brother. For years, I realize that them getting divorced was probably the best thing to happen because we knew that they can’t be together! As a child dealing with that, I felt the pain and I learned from it and hope to not ever repeat it! Hurting kids from a toxic relationship isn’t fun. I experienced it first hand. This came to me at the right time in my life. Your recommendation ring so true. Thank you.

  • LiebeMusik
    LiebeMusik 4 hours ago +1

    The people in my life that I know have cheated on their partners did everything else perfectly and probably felt a lot of pressure on themselves. It's like they gave themselves permission to be a little selfish, for once.


    This lady is just spot on. Pure notes, no references but 21 minutes and 30 seconds of a seamless talk with each idea building onto the next. Talk of being of top (pun unintended)of things. She's also very attractive in voice/accent and poise and the occasional real life illustration. Little wonder that she had the audience glued to her talk from its inception to the very end.

  • Kit Bek
    Kit Bek Year ago +3

    "Not looking for another person, but looking for another self." That hit me hard.

  • Garry Moore

    I have made love to two women in my 66 years of life. The first was my first wife. The second was my second wife. I am content now to be a celibate widower. During my first marriage, I was not tempted to stray once. During my second marriage, I was not tempted to stray once. If I fall in love a third time, I will seek matrimony with total fidelity. The desire to stray assumes that you do not want to put the work into your relationship to ensure its success and permanence (except for death).