Doctor O: Alexis – Session Five

It’s an epidemic. There are droves of women abandoning expired relationships. I don’t know if it’s good or bad; it depends on the man’s situation. Will children suffer? Where are we heading? Sometimes I think no relationship is best. I am becoming a recluse.

“Alexis, welcome back.”

“Hi.”

“How was your week?”

“You’re married, right?”

“Yes.”

“So, why does it seem you’re pushing me toward abandoning my marriage while you remain in yours?”

“Alexis, I think you’ll agree that each relationship has its own set of circumstances. I just happen to be at the point of my relationship where there is mutual happiness.”

“Or, so you think.”

“What are you getting at?”

“How do you know your wife isn’t out having an affair? How do you know that, while you sit here trying to help me, she isn’t out helping herself to something you can no longer provide?”

“I have faith she wouldn’t do that. I doubt she’d jeopardize our relationship. I’m not sure what you’re suggesting.”

“I fucked a client this week.”

“You what?”

“I did. I risked, not just my marriage, my career, because I met an attractive man and I wanted to prove to myself that I could have him. And, that’s not all. You know what else?”

“What?”

“He’s engaged. How sick is that? Next month, that son of a bitch it going to marry some poor unsuspecting woman who thinks he’s her soul mate. He fucked me. No condom either. He wanted me so desperately that he nearly came before I had his pants down. What a loser!”

“Alexis …”

“Oh, please. Don’t you dare fucking lecture me.”

“I’m not going to lecture you. I want to understand what happened and why.”

“Really? You don’t know, doctor? I had sex with a strange man because my husband doesn’t do it for me any longer. While this guy’s sweet, little fiancé is registering at Macy’s, her future husband is plowing his real estate agent–and this is the best part–in the dream home they’re about to move into. Yep, one month before he carries his bride through the doorway, he will have had his way with me in their fucking dream house. It’s sickening. Why get married?”

“Maybe you should have confronted him with those questions.”

“What? And ruin the moment? Hell no. I wanted him, and I had him.”

“Are you seeing …”

“Jesus. No, I’m not seeing him. It was just a pre-closing walk-thru. I’ll see him at the signing, then never again. He’s a piece of shit.”

“You had sex with him.”

“Then, I’m a piece of shit too.”

“Alexis, why are you so angry? What’s happened?”

“Nothing … everything … I don’t know, honestly. Things are crumbling around me. I’m thinking this may have all been a huge mistake. What am I doing here? Christ. ”

“Alexis, seeking help is not a mistake. Your marriage is obviously failing, or you wouldn’t even consider doing something like that.”

“Or, maybe it’s my expectations that are out of whack. Maybe this is what marriage is: ups and downs and riding out the storms when they come around.”

“Some marriages are worth saving.”

“Mine isn’t?”

“If you’ve been honest with me up to this point, I’d say no, you’re marriage is over. Your shenanigans with a client doesn’t change that. If anything, it supports my assessment.”

“Well, fuck you and your assessment.”

“Alexis.”

“Maybe I don’t want to lose what little I have left. Maybe I don’t want to have children on Xanax. Maybe I don’t want to spend night after night hiding the signs of my times, trying to present an attractive, middle-aged divorcee for some poor man to put up with.”

“Alexis, you have a lot to offer. No man would regret getting to know you.”

“Bullshit. What man wants a woman my age with all this baggage?”

“Lots of men. You think men come without baggage?”

“Great, so we have twice the baggage to deal with and half the time to do it.”

“Alexis, please, just stop, take a breath, and let’s talk about this calmly.”

“I don’t want to do this.”

“Do what?”

“This. In here.”

“Why?”

“It’s not helping.”

“What were you expecting to get from our sessions?”

“I don’t know. Answers? Reassurance that I’ll be OK?”

“You’ll be OK.”

“Great. Thank you. You’re the best.”

“Seriously. You’ll be fine. This is natural. It’s like going through stages of mourning, Alexis. Fear, anger, regret: they’re all natural and expected. You need to pass through the pain to heal.”

“I slept with a fucking client.”

DOCTOR’S NOTE: She’s breaking down, crying hard.

“We need to talk about that, but not right now. It happened. You can’t change it. Let’s hope it’s the last you hear about it. It’s important that you don’t become self-destructive, Alexis. You need to resist any urge you have to make yourself evil to help justify your split. You’re a good person and a wonderful mother. You have a job you enjoy, and you don’t want to lose it. You have a father of your children who will be involved with you for the rest of your life. You don’t want to hurt him and make this more contentious than it has to be. If this continues, you’re going to basically take money away from your children’s future and give it to attorneys and me. Is that what you want? A battle? Do you want to go to war with your spouse?”

“No, of course not.”

“Then, you need to stop this nonsense now, put what happened behind you, and never mention it again. We need to discuss a way for you to leave this marriage with minimal peripheral damage. There’s a way, Alexis; it’s not complicated. You need to respect and love your husband and children, be generous with them, face anger with kindness and tolerance, and find a way to part as friends. The alternative is ugly–horribly ugly. Trust me.”

“God. I know. You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“That’s OK. This is natural. You probably haven’t been sleeping, have you?”

“Sleep? What sleep?”

“I’m writing you a prescription that will help. Stick to the recommended dosage as it’s easy to become addicted, and we don’t want that. Meditate, do yoga, do whatever it takes to clear your mind so we can get you through this. I’m your friend, Alexis, and I’m here to help. I can’t have you self-destruct and waste all the progress we’ve made.”

“Progress?”

“Yes. I realize you’re unaware of it, but you’re coming along just fine. This is new to you. I’ve been through it hundreds of times. You’re fine.”

“Thank you. I’m so sorry …”

“Don’t apologize. It’s all right. I’m here for you. Now, go get this filled, and call me if you need me before our next session–any time, any day.”

“OK.”

Diagnosis: Unfortunately predictable behavior. Questioning at the end. She’s trying to get caught. Not good.

Treatment: Sleep will help. Next session I’ll alleviate her fears by sharing similar cases. She needs reassurance.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

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