Esther Perel’s Rethinking Infidelity TED Talk ends with the phrase:
“Your first marriage is over.
Would you like to create a second one, together?”
By this last line of Esther Perel’s TED talk I am in a pool of tears. Reliving the why’s, how’s, when’s, where’s, not to mention the bevy of unanswered questions about my husband’s affair, the betrayal, and the rebuilding of trust, I’m afraid will never be easy. I sat staring at the screen, alone, shaking. It’s still so hard to believe this actually happened to me.
“Not one single cell in my body was ready to accept this man’s crashing fall from grace—not my husband. I’m thinking…this has to be someone else’s life. He wouldn’t do this to me, would he? He made such a big deal about his abhorrence of infidelity. Devastated and shocked, I tried on this new reality like I was modeling an ill-fitted suit I’d be forced to wear for the rest of my life. Nothing could have prepared me for this moment. Is this even allowed to happen to cheerful people?
How could I have missed all the signs? How could I have been so naïve and clueless? Math is indeed my enemy, but even I should have been able to solve this equation:
Phone on Do Not Disturb +
Too Many Disappearances = Infidelity!
I didn’t think it was possible to be brought so low.”
Excerpt from It’s Not Too Late Baby, a Kundalini Love Story, by Eva G Kane
“You have to watch Esther Perel’s TED talk about infidelity,” urged one of my Kundalini Yoga friends while we were sitting in the spacious living room of her Fifth Avenue Apartment overlooking Central Park. We were discussing my memoir about how I chose compassion and deep forgiveness toward my husband, over dismantling and divorce.
After writing for two years,
I was still piecing together the story,
which weaves in and out of my life
leading up to the situation
I found myself in almost four years ago.
It was quite an undertaking, yet it helped me understand choices I made, and patterns or habits I adapted.
That Friday night I drove to Manhattan in my NYU loungewear, with makeup removed and teeth brushed. Saturday morning we attended the all-day meditation event, White Tantric Yoga, a requirement I needed to fulfill for Kundalini Teacher Training. After getting slightly lost in Central Park on our way back to my friend’s apartment we nibbled on some leftovers and went to talk in the living room. No wonder she’s so thin, I thought. We eat out way too often. My husband was away on a business trip, hopefully being faithful at this point.
Whenever I start to worry I remember how
Kundalini has raised him up to
a completely new level.
I think of his actions
all pointing to our son and me.
Sunday evening I sat alone in my home office and watched the Ted Talk for the first time. I knew right away that Esther Perel was brilliant and this video was important. If you’ve seen it, my story is similar to “Heather,” the woman who watched her husband’s affair unfold within minutes before her eyes. Heather viewed messages and photos on her computer. My unfolding took months and months, slow and painful.
Esther Perel asks “Is an affair always the end of a relationship?”
For us, it was a new beginning, or what she calls “our second marriage.”
My “second husband” is much nicer now
and spends oodles of time with me,
at home, petting our dogs,
and of course spending quality time with our son.
I try to have honest and open conversations with him, however he doesn’t like to discuss “it,” preferring to act like “it” never happened. For a long time that didn’t exactly work for me, but if he wants to forget about “it”, I’m good with that now! I certainly don’t want him to be thinking about her all the time!
The second time I watched the talk, it only got slightly easier than the first, especially when she tells the audience, “Infidelity isn’t going anywhere.” In other words, we’re all going to have to live with “it.”
I readily agreed that the affair propelled me into “growth and self-discovery.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my growth and self-discovery, so much that I might have to agree with Esther Perel when she hesitates to answer the question “Are you pro or against affairs?”
What did I have before it all came to a head?
I had a nasty, emotional abusive,
pompous, and depressed husband.
I was miserable.
I was also an uptight,
complaining, immature, micro-manager.
After the affair,
I have a much sweeter,
an original pop album,
and I’m much happier.
I’m also a much more chill,
Aware, trusting, and faithful woman.
So you tell me?
Am I pro-affair?
And the sex! I wondered how it was possible that he was interested in having sex with me, after having kept company with someone at least 25 years younger! It irked me until I watched the TED Talk the second time and I heard what maybe I didn’t hear on that first viewing.
“Fear of loss can rekindle desire.”
Sold! For those of you that are worried about “that,” I am living proof that they can come back to you in the most intimate ways!
I make sure to practice Present-Moment thinking!
Living in the past or worrying about the future
Is just my wounded Ego trying to reclaim its previous status
I want to encourage people not to be fearful of self-discovery. During meditations I often forgive myself for every dreadful thing I’ve ever done. Forgiveness starts inside of us all. It’s liberating to finally see our own “faults” and begin changing what we don’t like anymore, or what’s not working.
I recently attended a funeral of a friend who was brilliant, brutally honest, and much like I used to be, too much of everything. At the end of the eulogy her son named all the other relatives who now reside in heaven, and flippantly recited, “It’s your turn, she’s yours now, tag you’re it.”
After I picked my jaw up from the floor I thought, Oh my, I wonder if my son would be tempted to say something like that about me if I hadn’t gone through this life altering event? Can you imagine? How badly do you have to behave during your life that someone would actually say “tag, you’re it” at your funeral?
I continue to look at my faults. Whenever someone irks me it’s probably because I do the same thing! It’s so frightening sometimes, but I’m happy to be in a place of awareness!
“Forgiveness is a gift I give myself and others.” Calm.com
So thank you, Esther Perel, for your brilliant insight on a new way of thinking to survive infidelity and reinvent your marriage.
Ms. Perel, if you are reading, its hard to believe no one in the audience laughed at the cow joke. I thought it was hysterical.
Eva G Kane
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