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xxi

One night when I was seven years old, I was shocked awake by a strange and terrible sound: my mother and father were screaming at each other in the living room. The subject of the argument, I now know, was his persistent infidelity.

My mother, who usually played the role of family peacekeeper, had finally found a clue so blatant that not even she could ignore it—that classic brand of the adulterer, a scarlet smear on his shirt. She knew it was lipstick; absurdly, he kept insisting that it was only a smudge of dye from the red pistachio nuts that were served at his late-night poker game.

“It’s pistachio nuts!” he insisted. “You’re lying!” she snapped back.

I couldn’t bear to hear anymore, so I clapped my hands over my ears and burrowed under the covers. And there I stayed, emotionally, for the next twenty years. I never allowed that awful memory to surface—not in five years of psychotherapy, not in marriage or divorce. I fled so far emotionally from the whole scene that I never even discussed my father with my therapist. Yet I also overcorrected wildly, marrying a man who was not very interested in sex with me, let alone with other women.

INTRODUCTION

(Second Edition)

This book is for everyone who has suffered the agony of betrayal or who fears she or he will. It is for singles, couples who are married and couples who are not; almost one half of my practice is composed of unmarried couples whose relationships have been ruined by infidelity or its shadow. It is for the deceivers as well as the deceived; for the lovers as well as the beloved.

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