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Shirley P. Glass, 67; Infidelity Expert Helped Hundreds of Couples With Relationships

October 14, 2003|From Associated Press

Shirley P. Glass, a psychologist and a leader in researching the causes of infidelity in marriages, has died. She was 67.

Glass, the co-author of "Not Just Friends: Protect Your Relationship From Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal," died Wednesday of breast cancer at her home in Owings Mills, Md.

The New York Times, in a 1999 article headlined, "Infidelity Comes Out of the Closet," referred to Glass as the "godmother of infidelity research," and said her work "suggests the gender gap is narrowing but that men are still likely to be the cheating partner in a marriage."

"Today's workplace is the most fertile breeding ground for affairs," Glass and co-author Jean C. Staeheli wrote in their 2003 book. "The observed increase in women's infidelity is because more women are in the workplace and more women are in professions that were previously dominated by men."

Born Shirley Politer in Richmond, Va., she was raised in Baltimore and earned an education degree from the University of Maryland and a doctorate in psychology from Catholic University. A licensed psychologist, she worked for several years in the Baltimore public school system.

Over the last 25 years, Glass treated hundreds of couples who were dealing with relationship issues. She also wrote articles and appeared on numerous television and radio shows.

Diane Sollee, founder and director of in Washington, D.C., called Glass " the preeminent infidelity expert in America, and her contributions are far-reaching. She was the first one to make us see that you could have a good marriage and still have an affair.

"People think if you have a flat stomach, bake cherry pies and have better sex, a marriage will work out. But that's not what always happens," Sollee told the Baltimore Sun. "Shirley operationalized how to avoid affairs. She made it very clear and doable."

Survivors include her husband of 48 years, Barry S. Glass of Owings Mills; a son, Ira Glass, host of the Public Radio International program "This American Life," of Chicago; two daughters, Randi G. Murray of Hillsborough, Calif., and Karen Glass Barry of Los Angeles; a brother; and two grandsons.

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