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TED演讲:重新认识出轨行为——给所有经历过爱情的人

2016-08-19    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

出轨是一种终极背叛。但非这样不可吗?婚姻专家艾斯特·佩蕾尔研究人们出轨的原因,分析婚外情为何令人如此痛苦:因为它威胁了我们的情感安全。在婚外情中,她看到了意想不到的东西——对渴望和失落的表达。对所有曾经出过轨或被出轨伤害过的人,以及那些想重新理解婚姻关系的人而言,这都是一段必看的演讲。 

演讲中英文文稿:

0:11

我们为何出轨? 为何幸福之人也会出轨? 我们所谓的“不忠”到底指的是什么? 是一夜情?爱情故事? 有偿性服务?私聊? 还是特殊按摩服务? 为什么我们认为男人出轨 是因为寻求刺激或是害怕亲密关系, 而女人出轨是因为孤独 或是渴求亲密关系? 婚外情是不是意味着婚姻已走到尽头?

0:52

在过去十年间,我走遍世界 走访了数百对夫妻, 他们都因出轨而心力交瘁。 婚外情毫无疑问是一种越轨行为, 它离间夫妻关系, 破坏家庭幸福,衍生信任危机。 然而,我们对这一普遍现象的 理解却极其有限。 因此我将这次演讲 献给所有经历过爱情的人。

1:28

婚外情自婚姻诞生之日起就存在了, 我们对婚外情的反对亦是如此。 实际上,婚外情比婚姻顽强多了, 婚姻只有嫉妒的份儿, 以至于它成为了圣经的戒律, 并且重复出现两次: 一次是不准做, 另一次是连想都不准想。 (笑声) 那我们究竟如何处理出轨, 这一屡禁不止的现象呢?

2:04

自古以来,男人出轨是被允许的, 几乎不用承担什么后果, 甚至还有生物理论和进化理论 来为他们撑腰, 这一双重标准自婚外情 诞生之日起就存在了。 但在床上到底发生了什么, 其实谁也不清楚,对吧? 因为一谈到性, 男人可以夸夸奇谈,自吹自擂, 而女人却要遮遮掩掩。 难以置信的是, 如今仍有9个国家的女性 会因出轨而被处死。

2:48

一夫一妻制, 曾经指的是“一辈子一个”, 而现在指的是“每次一个”。 (笑声) (掌声)

3:03

我想,在座有很多人可能说过, “我在每段关系里都遵守一夫一妻制”。 (笑声)

3:11

过去我们先结婚, 再初尝禁果。 而现在,我们先结婚, 然后停止与别人发生关系。 实际上一夫一妻制已经与爱情无关。 男人根据女人是否忠诚, 来判断孩子是不是自己的, 进而决定遗产归谁。

3:35

大家都想知道, 出轨的人到底占多少百分比。 从我到达现场, 就不停有人问这个问题。 (笑声) 这跟你们也有关系。 因为出轨的含义在不断扩大: 发色情短信,看黄片, 在约会软件上玩暧昧。 正因为缺乏一个统一的定义, 到底什么才算出轨, 因此这个百分比范围很广, 从26%到75%。 但与此相矛盾的是, 有95%的人认为, 另一半试图掩盖 出轨的事实是不可饶恕的, 但差不多同样多的人也会说: 如果我出轨的话肯定也不会声张。 (笑声)

4:30

我倾向于这样来定义婚外情, 它包含三个要素: 首先是遮遮掩掩的关系, 这是婚外情的核心; 二是拥有某种程度上的感情联系; 三是性幻想。 性吸引是这里的关键词, 对于性高潮而言,即便是想象出来的亲吻, 也和数小时的翻云覆雨, 拥有同样的魔力。 如马塞尔·普鲁斯特所言, “我们的爱源自想象,而非源自对方。”

5:16

因此出轨是很容易的, 但保守出轨的秘密却难上加难。 因为(出轨者)要承受巨大的心理压力。 如果婚姻是一家企业, 那婚外情威胁它的经济安全。 如果婚姻是一种浪漫协议, 那婚外情威胁我们的情感安全。 讽刺的是,我们曾经对婚外情充满幻想, 认为它是孕育真爱之地。 而现在我们从婚姻中寻找爱情, 而婚外情则将其摧毁。

5:57

我认为,如今的婚外情有三大罪状。 我们浪漫地认为,会有那么一个人, 能满足我们所有的需求: 是我最棒的情人,最好的朋友, 最好的父母,最信任的知己, 是情感伴侣,又志趣相投。 而我自己则符合上述所有条件: 我万里挑一,我独一无二, 我不可或缺,我无法取代, 我就是真命天子(女)。 但婚外情告诉我,并不是那么回事。 这是一种终极背叛。 出轨粉碎了我们对爱情的憧憬。 如果回顾历史, 婚外情从来都是充满痛苦的, 而在今天更是有过之而不及, 因为它威胁了我们的自我意识。

6:56

我的一个病人费尔南多,就深受其害。 他说:“我曾以为我了解自己的生活, 我曾以为我了解你, 了解我们的婚姻,了解我自己。 但现在,我对这一切都产生了怀疑。” 婚外情是对信任的践踏, 对自我认同的摧毁。 “我还能再相信你吗?”他问。 “我还能相信任何人吗?”

7:19

我的另一个病人希瑟也有这种想法, 她跟我讲了她和尼克的故事。 他们结婚了,有两个孩子。 尼克出差刚走, 希瑟和孩子一起在玩尼克的iPad, 然后屏幕上出现了一条信息: “我等不及想见你。” 真奇怪,希瑟想,我们不是刚见过吗? 然后又来了一条: “真想马上拥抱你。” 这时希瑟意识到, 这些信息不是发给自己的。 希瑟说他父亲也有婚外情, 但她母亲只是在口袋里 发现了一张收据, 在领子上发现了一点口红印。 希瑟继续翻看着, 发现了上百条信息, 里面有互换的照片, 以及各种互诉衷肠。 尼克出轨两年的确凿证据 在她面前赤裸裸地呈现出来。 我不禁在想: 数字时代的出轨真是能让人 感到被千刀万剐,生不如死。

8:26

但是我们又发现了另外一个矛盾。 因为前面说到的浪漫遐想, 我们极度依赖自己伴侣的忠诚。 但同时,我们比以前也更容易出轨, 并不是因为我们有了新的欲望, 而是我们现在所处的时代, 让我们觉得有权利去追求自己的欲望, 这就是我们的文化特点:我有权快乐。 如果过去离婚是因为我们不快乐, 那现在离婚是因为我们可以更快乐。 如果在过去,离婚是不光彩的, 那今天,能离婚而不离婚, 才是不光彩。 所以希瑟,不敢告诉自己的朋友, 她害怕朋友们责怪她还爱着尼克, 无论她找谁倾诉,大家都劝她: 离开他吧,大家各走各路。 如果出轨的是希瑟, 相信尼克的处境也会一样。 维持婚姻成了不光彩的事。

9:34

那如果我们能离婚, 那为什么还要出轨呢? 一种典型的观点是,如果你出轨, 要么是婚姻出了毛病, 要么是你自己出了毛病。 但是不可能成千上万的人 全都有毛病吧。 这一观点的逻辑是这样的: 如果你的家庭完美无缺, 那就没必要出轨了, 假设完美婚姻确实存在, 能治好我们爱出轨的毛病。 但如果激情无法持久呢? 如果有些东西, 即使在完美的婚姻中, 也无法找到呢? 如果幸福的人也出轨呢? 这又是怎么回事?

10:27

我接触和研究过的绝大多数人, 并不全都是积习难改的好色之徒。 从观念上,他们通常赞同一夫一妻制, 至少对自己的另一半是如此。 但他们往往处于一种矛盾之中, 就是观念和做法不一样。 他们通常忠诚了几十年, 但突然有天就跨过了红线, 冒着失去一切的风险, 这在之前他们连想都不敢想。 但换来的是什么呢? 婚外情是一种背叛行为, 同时也是对于渴望和失去的一种表达。 透过出轨的表象,我们经常能看到 一种寻求情感联系的渴望, 追求新奇、自由、自立和性快感, 渴望找回失去的自我, 或者是试图走出失意和悲伤。

11:33

我想起了我的另一个病人,普莉娅, 她婚姻美满, 深爱着自己的丈夫, 从未想过要伤害他。 但她跟我说, 她总是在扮演别人期望的那个角色: 好女孩,好妻子,好母亲, 照顾自己移民过来的父母。 但在桑迪飓风来袭之后, 普莉娅爱上了那个帮她清理院子中 残破树木的工人。 他开着卡车,纹着纹身, 跟她完全是两个世界的人。 尽管出轨时已经47岁, 但普莉娅找回了从未有过的青春。 她的故事告诉我, 当我们寻找情人的时候, 并不一定是想逃离现在的伴侣, 而是想逃离那个曾经的自己。 与其说我们在寻找那么一个人, 不如说我们在寻找另一个自己。

12:38

我走遍世界, 遇到很多有婚外情的人, 他们总是跟我说一个词, 他们觉得自己“活着”。 紧接着他们会告诉我, 自己最近失去了什么人。 比如父母去世, 朋友出了意外, 谁查出来得了绝症。 婚外情常常同死亡 和人生苦短联系在一起, 因为他们经常会问, 就这样了吗?会不会还有其他人出现? 我是不是还要这么过25年? 我还能不能感受到爱? 这不禁让我思考, 也许正是这些问题, 推动他们跨过了红线, 有些人想通过婚外情来重拾信心, 对抗情感的死亡。

13:32

可能与你们想的恰恰相反, 婚外情跟性的关系更小, 却与渴望密切相关: 渴望被关注,渴望重拾信心, 渴望被人需要。 婚外情的显著特点, 就是你无法完全拥有你的情人, 这让你欲罢不能。 就像有一台欲望机器在不断驱动你, 种种不完整,种种暧昧不清, 让你对得不到的东西念念不忘。

14:04

你们中一些人可能会想, 是不是在开放的关系中 婚外情就不会发生了, 并不是这样。 首先,关于一夫一妻制的讨论, 与关于不忠的讨论并不一样。 但事实是,即使我们可以随心所欲地 拥有其他性伴侣, 我们还是无法抗拒偷尝禁果的诱惑, 如果我们做了被禁止的事, 反倒会觉得自己在做真正想做的事。 我告诉过我的许多病人, 如果他们能将自己投入婚外情的 勇气、想象力和热情,拿出十分之一 给自己的婚姻, 也许他们就不用来找我了。 (笑声)

14:55

那么我们该如何治疗 因婚外情所受的创伤? 欲望根深蒂固, 背叛刻骨铭心。 但伤痛是可以治愈的。 有些婚外情只不过是压死婚姻的 最后一根稻草。 而另一些却让婚姻有了新的可能。 实际上,大部分经历了 婚外情的夫妻最后仍然在一起。 只不过有的人精疲力尽, 有的人则将危机转化为机遇。 他们善于将其转化为一场经历。 实际上我甚至认为 被欺骗的一方更是如此, 他们经常说, “你以为我就不想得到更多吗? 但我并没有踏出这一步。” 一旦婚外情暴露, 他们也会提出更多要求, 不再继续委曲求全, 因为委曲求全的结果并不理想。

15:55

我注意到,很多夫妻 在婚外情曝光之后, 由于局面混乱, 可能会产生新的家庭秩序, 他们往往会进行开诚布公的深入交流, 这种交流可能几十年都未曾有过。 之前毫无“性致”的夫妻, 可能突然变得“性致”勃勃, 而他们完全搞不懂这是为什么。 对于失去的恐惧可能会重燃激情, 引导你通往全新的真实之路。

16:29

那么当婚外情曝光之后, 作为夫妻的当事人具体应该怎么办呢? 我们知道要想治疗创伤, 犯错者首先应该承认错误。 对于出轨的那一方, 比如说尼克, 首先应该停止婚外情, 但更重要的是要向妻子 表达自己对伤害她的愧疚和歉意。 然而事实上, 我注意到,很多出轨的人, 也许对于伤害他们的另一半怀有愧疚, 但对于出轨行为本身毫无悔意。 这一差别非常重要。 对尼克来说,他需要维持这段婚姻。 至少在一段时间内, 他要成为婚姻的保卫者。 这是尼克的责任, 因为他明白只有这样, 他才能帮希瑟走出阴影, 让希瑟不必再拿出轨说事儿, 这样信任才能慢慢恢复。

17:38

但对希瑟而言, 或者说被伤害的一方而言, 去做一些重拾自我价值的 事情十分必要, 比如同亲朋好友聚会, 感受他们的爱意, 多参加快乐有意义的活动,找回自我。 但更重要的是, 不要去纠结出轨的细节: 你们都去过哪里?在哪里做过? 多久见一次面?她在床上是不是比我棒? 这些问题只会带来更多痛苦, 让你彻夜难眠。 取而代之的,要问一些深层次的问题, 更关注行为的意义和动机: 这场婚外情对你意味着什么? 他(她)能给你哪些体会和经历 是在我这儿没法得到的? 你每次回到家有什么感觉? 对于我们的关系, 你最珍视的是什么? 结束婚外情你觉得开心吗?

18:37

每一场婚外情都会重新定义一段婚姻, 每一对夫妻都将经历 婚外情给他们带来的影响。 但婚外情不会消失, 它将一直存在。 关于爱和欲望的困境, 不能简单地划分黑白和对错, 区分受害者和罪犯。 一段婚姻中的背叛可以有很多种形式。 我们背叛伴侣的方式很多: 藐视,忽视, 冷漠,暴力。 (肉体)出轨只是伤害伴侣的方式之一。 换句话说,婚外情的受害者 并不一定是婚姻的受害者。

19:28

听我说了这么多, 我知道你们在想什么: 她有法国口音,她肯定是个出轨老手。 (笑声) 但是,你们错了。 我不是法国人。 (笑声) (掌声) 我也不是出轨老手。 但是因为我经常说, 婚外情也有好的方面, 所以经常会有人问我一个奇怪的问题: 你有建议过别人出轨吗? 我当然不建议你们出轨, 就像我不建议你们得癌症一样, 尽管我们知道,有些患绝症的人 经常说疾病让他们 对世界有了新的看法。 自从我到达会场, 说我要谈婚外情的问题, 大家都问我, 那你到底是赞成还是反对? 我说,“是的。”(既赞成又反对) (笑声)

20:32

我将婚外情一分为二来看: 一方面是伤害和背叛, 另一方面是成长和自我发现。 婚外情给你带来了什么, 对我又意味着什么。 当婚外情被发现, 夫妻俩来找我, 我经常会告诉他们: 今天在西方社会, 大部分人会有2、3段恋情, 或者婚姻, 其中有些人是跟同一个人一起经历的。 你的第一段婚姻结束了, 你还愿意跟你的另一半 重新开始第二段吗?

21:16

谢谢大家。

21:17

(掌声)

 

0:11

Why do we cheat? And why do happy people cheat? And when we say "infidelity," what exactly do we mean? Is it a hookup, a love story, paid sex, a chat room, a massage with a happy ending? Why do we think that men cheat out of boredom and fear of intimacy, but women cheat out of loneliness and hunger for intimacy? And is an affair always the end of a relationship?

0:52

For the past 10 years, I have traveled the globe and worked extensively with hundreds of couples who have been shattered by infidelity. There is one simple act of transgression that can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness and their very identity: an affair. And yet, this extremely common act is so poorly understood. So this talk is for anyone who has ever loved.

1:28

Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, and so, too, the taboo against it. In fact, infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy, so much so, that this is the only commandment that is repeated twice in the Bible: once for doing it, and once just for thinking about it. (Laughter) So how do we reconcile what is universally forbidden, yet universally practiced?

2:04

Now, throughout history, men practically had a license to cheat with little consequence, and supported by a host of biological and evolutionary theories that justified their need to roam, so the double standard is as old as adultery itself. But who knows what's really going on under the sheets there, right? Because when it comes to sex, the pressure for men is to boast and to exaggerate, but the pressure for women is to hide, minimize and deny, which isn't surprising when you consider that there are still nine countries where women can be killed for straying.

2:48

Now, monogamy used to be one person for life. Today, monogamy is one person at a time. (Laughter) (Applause)

3:03

I mean, many of you probably have said, "I am monogamous in all my relationships." (Laughter)

3:11

We used to marry, and had sex for the first time. But now we marry, and we stop having sex with others. The fact is that monogamy had nothing to do with love. Men relied on women's fidelity in order to know whose children these are, and who gets the cows when I die.

3:35

Now, everyone wants to know what percentage of people cheat. I've been asked that question since I arrived at this conference. (Laughter) It applies to you. But the definition of infidelity keeps on expanding: 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 percent to 75 percent. But on top of it, we are walking contradictions. So 95 percent of us will say that it is terribly wrong for our partner to lie about having an affair, but just about the same amount of us will say that that's exactly what we would do if we were having one. (Laughter)

4:30

Now, I like this definition of an affair -- it brings together the three key elements: a secretive relationship, which is the core structure of an affair; an emotional connection to one degree or another; and a sexual alchemy. And alchemy is the key word here, because the erotic frisson is such that the kiss that you only imagine giving, can be as powerful and as enchanting as hours of actual lovemaking. As Marcel Proust said, it's our imagination that is responsible for love, not the other person.

5:16

So it's never been easier to cheat, and it's never been more difficult to keep a secret. And never has infidelity exacted such a psychological toll. When marriage was an economic enterprise, infidelity threatened our economic security. But now that marriage is a romantic arrangement, infidelity threatens our emotional security. Ironically, we used to turn to adultery -- that was the space where we sought pure love. But now that we seek love in marriage, adultery destroys it.

5:57

Now, there are three ways that I think infidelity hurts differently today. We have a romantic ideal in which we turn to one person to fulfill an endless list of needs: to be my greatest lover, my best friend, the best parent, my trusted confidant, my emotional companion, my intellectual equal. And I am it: I'm chosen, I'm unique, I'm indispensable, I'm irreplaceable, I'm the one. And infidelity tells me I'm not. It is the ultimate betrayal. Infidelity shatters the grand ambition of love. But if throughout history, infidelity has always been painful, today it is often traumatic, because it threatens our sense of self.

6:56

So my patient Fernando, he's plagued. He goes on: "I thought I knew my life. I thought I knew who you were, who we were as a couple, who I was. Now, I question everything." Infidelity -- a violation of trust, a crisis of identity. "Can I ever trust you again?" he asks. "Can I ever trust anyone again?"

7:19

And this is also what my patient Heather is telling me, when she's talking to me about her story with Nick. Married, two kids. Nick just left on a business trip, and Heather is playing on his iPad with the boys, when she sees a message appear on the screen: "Can't wait to see you." Strange, she thinks, we just saw each other. And then another message: "Can't wait to hold you in my arms." And Heather realizes these are not for her. She also tells me that her father had affairs, but her mother, she found one little receipt in the pocket, and a little bit of lipstick on the collar. Heather, she goes digging, and she finds hundreds of messages, and photos exchanged and desires expressed. The vivid details of Nick's two-year affair unfold in front of her in real time, And it made me think: Affairs in the digital age are death by a thousand cuts.

8:26

But then we have another paradox that we're dealing with these days. Because of this romantic ideal, we are relying on our partner's fidelity with a unique fervor. But we also 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 that we are entitled to pursue our desires, because this is the culture where I deserve to be happy. And if we used to divorce because we were unhappy, today we divorce because we could be happier. And if divorce carried all the shame, today, choosing to stay when you can leave is the new shame. So Heather, she can't talk to her friends because she's afraid that they will judge her for still loving Nick, and everywhere she turns, she gets the same advice: Leave him. Throw the dog on the curb. And if the situation were reversed, Nick would be in the same situation. Staying is the new shame.

9:34

So if we can divorce, why do we still have affairs? Now, the typical assumption is that if someone cheats, either there's something wrong in your relationship or wrong with you. But millions of people can't all be pathological. The logic goes like this: If you have everything you need at home, then there is no need to go looking elsewhere, assuming that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage that will inoculate us against wanderlust. But what if passion has a finite shelf life? What if there are things that even a good relationship can never provide? If even happy people cheat, what is it about?

10:27

The vast majority of people that I actually work with are not at all chronic philanderers. They are often people who are deeply monogamous in their beliefs, and at least for their partner. But they find themselves in a conflict between their values and their behavior. They often are people who have actually been faithful for decades, but one day they cross a line that they never thought they would cross, and at the risk of losing everything. But for a glimmer of what? Affairs are an act of betrayal, and they are also an expression of longing and loss. At the heart of an affair, you will often find a longing and a yearning for an emotional connection, for novelty, for freedom, for autonomy, for sexual intensity, a wish to recapture lost parts of ourselves or an attempt to bring back vitality in the face of loss and tragedy.

11:33

I'm thinking about another patient of mine, Priya, who is blissfully married, loves her husband, and would never want to hurt the man. But she also tells me that she's always done what was expected of her: good girl, good wife, good mother, taking care of her immigrant parents. Priya, she fell for the arborist who removed the tree from her yard after Hurricane Sandy. And with his truck and his tattoos, he's quite the opposite of her. But at 47, Priya's affair is about the adolescence that she never had. And her story highlights for me that when we seek the gaze of another, it isn't always our partner that we are turning away from, but the person that we have ourselves become. And it isn't so much that we're looking for another person, as much as we are looking for another self.

12:38

Now, all over the world, there is one word that people who have affairs always tell me. They feel alive. And they often will tell me stories of recent losses -- of a parent who died, and a friend that went too soon, and bad news at the doctor. Death and mortality often live in the shadow of an affair, because they raise these questions. Is this it? Is there more? Am I going on for another 25 years like this? Will I ever feel that thing again? And it has led me to think that perhaps these questions are the ones that propel people to cross the line, and that some affairs are an attempt to beat back deadness, in an antidote to death.

13:32

And contrary to what you may think, affairs are way less about sex, and a lot more about desire: desire for attention, desire to feel special, desire to feel important. And 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, because the incompleteness, the ambiguity, keeps you wanting that which you can't have.

14:04

Now some of you probably think that affairs don't happen in open relationships, but they do. First of all, the conversation about monogamy is not the same as the conversation about infidelity. But the fact is that it seems that even when we have the freedom to have other sexual partners, we still seem to be lured by the power of the forbidden, that if we do that which we are not supposed to do, then we feel like we are really doing what we want to. And I've also told quite a few of my patients that if they could bring into their relationships one tenth of the boldness, the imagination and the verve that they put into their affairs, they probably would never need to see me. (Laughter)

14:55

So how do we heal from an affair? Desire runs deep. Betrayal runs deep. But it can be healed. And some affairs are death knells for relationships that were already dying on the vine. But others will jolt us into new possibilities. The fact is, the majority of couples who have experienced affairs stay together. But some of them will merely survive, and others will actually be able to turn a crisis into an opportunity. They'll be able to turn this into a generative experience. And I'm actually thinking even more so for the deceived partner, who will often say, "You think I didn't want more? But I'm not the one who did it." But now that the affair is exposed, they, too, get to claim more, and they no longer have to uphold the status quo that may not have been working for them that well, either.

15:55

I've noticed that a lot of couples, in the immediate aftermath of an affair, because of this new disorder that may actually lead to a new order, will have depths of conversations with honesty and openness that they haven't had in decades. And, partners who were sexually indifferent find themselves suddenly so lustfully voracious, they don't know where it's coming from. Something about the fear of loss will rekindle desire, and make way for an entirely new kind of truth.

16:29

So when an affair is exposed, what are some of the specific things that couples can do? We know from trauma that healing begins when the perpetrator acknowledges their wrongdoing. So for the partner who had the affair, for Nick, one thing is to end the affair, but the other is the essential, important act of expressing guilt and remorse for hurting his wife. But the truth is that I have noticed that quite a lot of people who have affairs may feel terribly guilty for hurting their partner, but they don't feel guilty for the experience of the affair itself. And that distinction is important. And Nick, he needs to hold vigil for the relationship. He needs to become, for a while, the protector of the boundaries. It's his responsibility to bring it up, because if he thinks about it, he can relieve Heather from the obsession, and from having to make sure that the affair isn't forgotten, and that in itself begins to restore trust.

17:38

But for Heather, or deceived partners, it is essential to do things that bring back a sense of self-worth, to surround oneself with love and with friends and activities that give back joy and meaning and identity. But even more important, is to curb the curiosity to mine for the sordid details -- Where were you? Where did you do it? How often? Is she better than me in bed? -- questions that only inflict more pain, and keep you awake at night. And instead, switch to what I call the investigative questions, the ones that mine the meaning and the motives -- What did this affair mean for you? What were you able to express or experience there that you could no longer do with me? What was it like for you when you came home? What is it about us that you value? Are you pleased this is over?

18:37

Every affair will redefine a relationship, and every couple will determine what the legacy of the affair will be. But affairs are here to stay, and they're not going away. And the dilemmas of love and desire, they don't yield just simple answers of black and white and good and bad, and victim and perpetrator. Betrayal in a relationship comes in many forms. There are many ways that we betray our partner: with contempt, with neglect, with indifference, with violence. Sexual betrayal is only one way to hurt a partner. In other words, the victim of an affair is not always the victim of the marriage.

19:28

Now, you've listened to me, and I know what you're thinking: She has a French accent, she must be pro-affair. (Laughter) So, you're wrong. I am not French. (Laughter) (Applause) And I'm not pro-affair. But because I think that good can come out of an affair, I have often been asked this very strange question: Would I ever recommend it? Now, I would no more recommend you have an affair than I would recommend you have cancer, and yet we know that people who have been ill often talk about how their illness has yielded them a new perspective. The main question that I've been asked since I arrived at this conference when I said I would talk about infidelity is, for or against? I said, "Yes." (Laughter)

20:32

I look at affairs from a dual perspective: hurt and betrayal on one side, growth and self-discovery on the other -- what it did to you, and what it meant for me. And so when a couple comes to me in the aftermath of an affair that has been revealed, I will often tell them this: Today in the West, most of us are going to have two or three relationships or marriages, and some of us are going to do it with the same person. Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?

21:16

Thank you.

21:17

(Applause)

 



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