Doctor O: Alexis – Session Seven


Although I rarely meet the husband, I usually have a good idea of the type of person he is, and how he’s likely to react to his wife on her way out. Also, it surprises me how often both spouses are oblivious to certain signs that friends, family members, and I see clearly. If one spouse is unhappy and tempted, it’s most likely the other is as well.

“Doctor, I’m sorry about this but I really needed to see you.”

“It’s OK, Alexis. What’s going on?”

“Like we planned, I took Mike aside and we had our talk. Guess what his reaction was?”

“I have no idea.”

“He agreed, packed his bags, and moved out.”

“He didn’t resist?”

“Not at all. You know why?”

“Because he’s seeing someone.”

“How the fuck would you know that?”

“Is he?”


“Interesting. How long has it been going on?”

“Six months. Here’s the best part: you’ll never guess this.”

“I probably could.”


“He’s in love with her.”

“Have you been fucking meeting with him? I don’t believe this shit.”

“Alexis, no.”

“You’ve been scheming with him behind my back.”

“I promise you, I’ve never spoken a single word to him.”

“Then, how could you possibly know? Are you bugging my house?”

“What? Don’t be silly. Alexis, you’re not the first neglected wife I’ve met. What did he tell you about the woman?”

“It’s someone he works with. She’s married, naturally. What an asshole he is. I’m going to nail him to the wall.”

“Wait a minute, Alexis. You’ve had a few flings yourself.”

“Right, but I’m not in fucking love with them. It was just sex.”

“So, that makes it OK?”

“No, but at least it’s temporary. You know? It’s like getting a massage. Ugh. I hear myself say these words and I sound stupid. How do you fall in love with another person when you’re married? How did he find the time to have something like that develop?”

“You said he works with her. He probably spends more time with her than you.”

“Plus, she’s fucking married. I wonder if her husband knows. Oh, and naturally she’s younger.”

“Why does her age matter?”

“Oh, please. You know you men. You hit a certain crisis age and then you go after sports cars and young women to cling to youth while your hairline recedes.”

“So, you think all men are alike. You think I’m like Mike.”

“You probably are. What do I care? Heck, go for it. Maybe I’ll chase a few young men myself.”

“Let’s get back to Mike. Did you tell him about your affairs?”

“No. I almost did. That prick. He doesn’t deserve to think I sat home taking care of his children, waiting for him while he took advantage of a coworker. Six months! He got away with it for six months! Worse yet, he was sleeping with me while he was sleeping with her.”

“He told you that?”

“I asked. I told him he had to come totally clean or I was going to wipe out our accounts and make sure he never saw his children again.”

“I bet now you wish you hadn’t gotten some of his answers.”

“He told me everything. He said the most attractive thing about her is the fact that she’s totally into him.”

“But, she’s married.”

“Exactly. She has children, too.”

“Has he met them?”

“I have no idea. What a scumbag.”

“Alexis, he has done some awful things, but you need to find a way to not take them so personally.”

“What? They absolutely are personal. He cheated on me for months. He doesn’t love me–his wife. He loves her.”

“Like we discussed, your relationship faded for both of you. The things you both did, you did for selfish reasons, not as an attempt to hurt your partner. I’m sure he didn’t intend to hurt you.”

“I’m not so sure. He was pretty cold about the whole situation. He had no problem leaving.”

“Where did he go?”

“I have no idea. He texted me saying he’ll stop by tomorrow and get more of his things. I told him we need to figure out how to explain this to the children. I mean, I can’t just tell them ‘Daddy is going through a mid-wife crisis and decided he’d rather spend time with his secretary than his children.”

“I’m so sorry, Alexis. I know this is painful.”

“Really? Is your wife in love with another man?”

“No. I hope not.”

“Ah, but you don’t know, do you?”

“This isn’t about me. My relationship isn’t the same place yours is. Now, if you allow anger to cloud reason, you’re going to make this a long, painful battle. Is that what you want?”

“Of course not. But, he should fucking pay. He didn’t even apologize to me. Ugh. I should find out who she is and let her husband know what a whore he’s married to.”

“Stop talking craziness. You two need to somehow put it behind you, find a fair way to split obligations, and move on.”

“Yes, I know. Pay my kids or pay the lawyers.”


“That fucker.”

“Stop running it through your head, trying to justify what you did because what he did was more serious. This is what happens when relationships end and people cling. Desires and emotions cause infidelity and dysfunction. You’re not going to change what happened or repair what’s broken. Give him his space, and let’s get together next week and create a plan to resolve this. The sooner this is behind you, the sooner you’ll meet up with that wonderful man who is waiting for you.”

“Really? What’s his name?”

“How should I know? Something European. Bertrand, perhaps.”

“You’re funny. I can’t believe you made me laugh. I still want to chop off Mike’s balls.”

“OK, don’t do that. Find something fun to do tonight to get your mind off this, and rescue your weekend. That’s an order.”

“Yes, sir.”

Diagnosis: As long as she can remain quiet about her indiscretions, she’ll have an advantage.

Treatment: She should use her leverage to end things quickly, yet fairly. Advise her to continue improving her appearance and attitude to attract the next man.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.