Ask Augusten Burroughs: Love After Infidelity--Plus Advice on Growing Up Gay

Augusten-Head-LargeMemoirist turned self-help strategist Augusten Burroughs continues his guest advice columnist stint here on Omnivoracious--to kick off the release of his latest book, This Is How--with answers to two perplexing questions sent in by his readers: Can love outlast infidelity? And how can a gay guy find his way to the life he wants? Read on...

Can a relationship really survive an infidelity? Or will someone in the relationship always be a pumpkin eater? —Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,

The question really isn’t can a relationship survive infidelity, but rather, should it survive, and do both parties want it to?

Augusten-coverFrom a theological perspective at least, monogamy is both desired and expected. But for couples who define their relationships in terms broader than those offered by conventional religions, monogamy may be neither expected nor desired.

Assuming, though, that this infidelity you speak of is within the context of a marriage or partnership where monogamy has been the assumption, here’s the important question: why did the affair occur?

Why was there a breakdown in communication? What need was not being met within the relationship? This can be complicated. Sometimes, an unmet need has nothing to do with more colorful sex but rather, the illicitness of an affair itself, the danger, the threat of being caught. Some people are attracted to the forbidden, and you don’t always know this about another person when you become involved with them—because they may not even know it themselves.

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