Cheating on your spouse just might save your marriage or something

But recently, a handful of therapists have started to push the idea that affairs can rescue a marriage and to define exactly in what instances that might be true. “People shriek and cry when they are confronted with an affair,” Brown writes in her essay, “The Affair as a Catalyst for Change,” which appears in the book Infidelity “Almost never do they realize that it might be the best thing that ever happened to them.”

Last year’s annual conference of the American Family Therapy academy allowed a panel about affairs called “From Trauma to Transformation,” which was the first time that idea officially entered the lexicon, says Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity and a couples therapist who is writing her next book on affairs. It was public and professional acceptance for the idea that an “affair doesn’t necessarily end a marriage and can possibly make it stronger.” For her research, Perel herself followed up with couples she had treated who had stayed together after an affair, and categorized them. In her paper, “After the Storm,” she describes the types: Some constantly relive the trauma and bitterness of the affair, some just revert back to the stasis they had before it, and for some couples, she writes, “the affair becomes a transformational experience and catalyst for renewal and change.”