The Affair Paints Realistic Picture of Divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of season one of Showtime’s The Affair. While I loved the concept—a happy family man and father of four falls for a younger, sexy and married woman, has an affair with her and blows up his marriage, I found the two main characters to be unlikeable and the storyline way too slow. Still, for some reason, I was compelled to watch every episode.


Season two premiered six weeks ago and what do I think? I LOVE it. Whereas last season was all about cheating and sex, The Affair might as well be called “The Divorce” now. Plus, I think producers outsmarted me, as whoever said they wanted viewers to particularly like the characters?


Noah and his wife, Helen are now going through a divorce, and I have to give huge credit to the writers, producers and actors because they are 100% right on in depicting what really goes on. I’d be willing to bet a lot of these writers and producers have personal experience when it comes to divorce.


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Episode 4 is notable in that Helen, who has always been a great mom sort of goes off the deep end due to the stress of the divorce process and the end of the first romantic relationship she gets into. She engages in a drug and drinking binge. She then goes out in public and makes a huge idiot out of herself in front of customers in the gift shop she owns and her hair stylist. But that’s not the worst part. Helen ends up picking up her children, getting into a car accident, and getting arrested for DUI. She now has huge legal issues, especially when it comes to custody.


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In episode 6, one of their children ends up in the hospital and it forces Noah and Helen to bond together for his best interest, to stop being petty and to prioritize what’s really important in life. Aha! Now we like the characters.


Writers really nailed a scene where Noah says good-bye to his kids and is leaving his old house. He’s getting ready to drive away and stares at the house, making it easy for viewers to read his mind. I personally think he was asking himself, “What the hell did I do? I ruined all of our lives for some chick I’ve convinced myself I’m madly in love with, and now I’m not so sure I did the right thing.” That said, it takes him a matter of thirty seconds to talk himself back into the fact that he’s in love with Allison…until he goes to see her and realizes they have serious issues.


What is so realistic about the show is the fact that when two people have an affair and one or both leaves their marriage for it, they think things are going to be perfect. They convince themselves that every problem they ever had stemmed from their ex, and they “escape” into this new person without thinking of the possibility that people don’t fix your problems (including marital).


I’m not saying that if someone leaves their spouse for someone else that the relationship won’t work. Some do. But, I have to believe that there’s a period of time in the new relationship that the woman or man who left realizes that this new person isn’t going to sent them into happily ever after. In other words, the imaginary bliss bubble always bursts.


I would highly recommend The Affair to anyone, simply because it is very entertaining. But, I think  those having an affair, those whose spouses are having an affair, those thinking of separating, or those newly separated and going through a divorce will really be able to relate to the feelings and actions and behaviors of Allison, Noah and Helen.

The Affair airs on Showtime on Sunday nights at 9pm CST.





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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

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