(photo by Nicolas Ladino from Unsplash.com)

“But when we reduce the conversation to simply passing judgment, we are left with no conversation at all.”
― Esther Perel, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

Interesting though that our culture is one so short-sighted and pigheaded about something which, very plainly, does not work for whole hosts of people. One need only peer closer at the rates of divorce, the reported stats on cheating (which, let’s remember, are not even close to accurate numbers and in reality are much higher), as well as consider those who remain in relationships that only partially satisfy, those in which they feel resigned, too afraid or too lazy to leave.

Where is the room in our culture’s current conversation about infidelity for the complexity of what it means to be human? For the contrasting, even contradicting nuances of what it means to be a person and to be alive.

To both love and hate the same person simultaneously. To lie, in a moment of knowing it’s wrong, feel suffocated with guilt, and yet, still feel as though it’s what one needs at that moment. To make a decision which hurts someone you love, heartbroken by it, while knowing that for you it was the right one. To love someone deeply, while also desiring, crushing on, and wanting someone else. To feel an urge to leave your partner in certain moments, while at the same time, loving and not truly wishing for a life without them.

Is our culture so attached to chosen blindness, willful ignorance, and a one-track way of thinking? Can we not look instead with more openness, curiosity, and flexibility, about these complex, many-layered nuances of the human heart?

When we refuse to make room for human complexity, for our shadow sides, for mistakes, darkness, jealousy, or error, even for surprising contradiction, we are setting ourselves up to lead a life of much frustration and strife.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store