Dr. Shirley Glass
Editorial Reviews of
NOT "Just Friends"
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
A woman beckons her husband to their bed room upon his return from work. She's wearing a blond wig. It's an inside joke; he had an affair with a blonde. But it's over, and after a struggle, their marriage is on the way to recovery. Now it's time for some fun. This is the happy ending to one of many case studies in "Not 'Just Friends,' " Shirley Glass' fascinating new book on infidelity. Had the story appeared at the beginning, readers might be appalled that the wife could look on the betrayal so lightheartedly. Wisely, author Glass saves it for the end, after walking us through every painful stage of cheating, from suspicion to discovery to healing.
For those fortunate to be reading purely out of sociological interest, Glass identifies alarming new trends, shares intriguing statistical data from her research and disputes common myths. "You can have an affair without having sex," she writes, claiming that being emotionally involved with someone outside a marriage counts as cheating. Among the trends: Adulterous husbands are increasingly likely to become emotionally involved with their lovers, and more wives are becoming sexually involved with others.
For someone who has discovered that a spouse is fooling around, a gun might seem handier than a book. But Glass (mother of Ira Glass of public radio's "This American Life") has straightforward, compassionate, nonviolent advice. Unlike many therapists, she asserts that trust can be restored only if the unfaithful partner answers every question about the affair. And healing only can occur if all contact between the lovers is severed.
Glass' primary goal is to help save marriages. The case studies provide rich illustrations of the pitfalls and triumphs the recovering couple can experience. The book also includes chapters for those who get dumped. No book can guarantee an affair-proof relationship. But "Not 'Just Friends'
" provides an impeccable detailed map that lets readers know where the potential hazards lie. It's up to the reader to use it to avoid what might appear to be a more scenic route.
Personally I could never stay married if I or my husband had an affair - so all of the chapters about healing your marriage didn't do much for me. Although they did have some great communication lessons that could help any relationship - surviving an affair or not. However - I think it is important for single women (and men - but they never read - LOL) that are having an affair with a married man to read this book. If not to gain some insight to their own behavior - then to see what they are destroying in the process.
I also have to add that it is possible to be "just friends". Don't let the title make you think otherwise. I happen to be "just friends" with lots of guys. But maybe that's just me..... :) ~Trixie, February 2003
“I’m sorry, but I don’t shake hands with members of the opposite sex.” This line can be heard coming from Muslims working in office settings everywhere.
Islamic standards of modesty warn against even casual physical contact between unmarried men and women. This, of course, can cause uncomfortable situations in places of business where it is customary to shake hands with colleagues. But Muslims have long known that even casual, seemingly innocuous contact as well as casual behavior between the sexes can lead a person astray into either marital infidelity or inappropriate pre-marital relationships.
Until recently, it seemed that it was only Muslims that felt this way. But in her book, Shirley Glass gives credence to time-honored Muslim traditions on the issue of inter-gender office relations.
Glass’ main thesis is, for all intents and purposes, Islamic in character. She asserts that unguarded, casual office relationships between men and women often lead down a slippery slope towards extra-marital affairs. And according to Glass, this phenomenon does not apply solely to the spouse with a wandering eye; even strong, nurturing marriages can be rocked by office romances.
Glass, who has studied martial infidelity over the last 25 years of her career as a psychotherapist, found that 25 percent of women and 44 percent of men have strayed from their marriages. And although the cliché of the office romance has been around for quite some time, Glass says that the typical lustful physical relationships that often develop are but one aspect of illicit office behavior. For Glass, it is the more personal friendships that develop in the office environment that pose a greater threat to marital stability.
Speaking recently to Connie Chung on CNN, Glass noted, “The crisis is that … men and women are working with people that they respect, people that they have intellectual interests with, people that they share excitement over projects, frustration over deadlines. And so the relationship begins as a platonic friendship that's very deep and rich. And what happens is that, over time, they begin to share more and more of their personal lives together.”
This type of intimate sharing of personal thoughts and feelings is, Glass asserts, more detrimental to marriage because, unlike casual sexual encounters, these interactions create strong bonds between the people. And once this level of personal intimacy grows, the dreaded sexual affair is just on the horizon.
For Glass, the answer to this problem is to establish what she calls “walls and windows” by which married couples agree to keep emotional distance from people outside the marriage while keeping open channels within the marriage.
The resemblance to Islamic standards of modesty is uncanny, although Glass does fail to call for the true Islamic solution, which erects clear boundaries between the permissible and impermissible.
Glass is just one of several authors to recently take a more conservative tack regarding marriage and relationships. And in many instances, themes that have elements of solid Islamic common sense are finding favor over the more liberal trends that have predominated in popular culture. By Ali Asadullah
Glass combines personal observations with a well-documented trove of scientific sources to provide a "prevention manual and survival guide". It is on the basis of her own experience and the many other well-documented sources that the book stands as credible.
Although based on a strong academic foundation, the book is made easy to read by numerous stories and examples, by several quizzes, and most of all by following a single couple through the entire betrayal and recovery process.
Perhaps the strongest point about NOT "Just Friends" is that Glass is careful to address the issues and feelings of all concerned parties, those who have been unfaithful, those who have been betrayed, and also the betrayal partners. She debunks several myths about infidelity, explains how today's affairs differ from those of the past, and draws us inside the various players to understand their fears, their pain, and their motivation at each step along the path.
Prevention and survival are not necessarily the same thing, of course, as the markets for the two are quite different. In fact, the weak point of this book may be an attempt to include too many ideas into one volume. I could easily recommend the prevention chapters at the beginning to anyone in a marriage, but I doubt they would be interested in reading the majority of the book, which focuses on coping with an affair. Similarly, someone looking for advice on how to cope with a fair is unlikely to want to read through the prevention aspects.
This is a sensitive, well-founded, easy-to-read book, but make sure it is for you before buying it. by David Leonhardt