Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

The Mother of All Oedipus Complexes?

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Gina, I think we need couples’ therapy.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I don’t think our problems are a result of our individual quirks clashing; I think we need to see a therapist because only then will it become clear that all of our dysfunction is your fault.

I know a few things about therapy, and the course it tends to follow. A good therapist will get the couple to really hear each other, to understand that the other half is willing to listen and accept what is being said, without judging or answering. Eventually, we will discover in therapy that you have all these mental and emotional issues that produce ranting far in excess of any spouse’s capacity to listen to, let alone accept. Also, you refuse to listen to me.

Not that I have any particular things that I feel you must hear; no, I relinquished that expectation long ago. That’s why I’m having an affair: you simply aren’t there for me, so I am left with no choice but to seek a more willing partner to engage with me in what I have to express. In therapy, you will learn to change yourself such that eventually, you will be capable of earning my trust and affection again. Then maybe I can break off the affair. We’ll have to see how things work out.

Your reaction demonstrates exactly what I’m talking about – none of this would have happened if not for your obtuseness and selfishness. A skilled therapist will sense that very quickly, and find ways to get you to open up, and perhaps do something about all those self-inflicted, self-generated problems. Did you expect me to remain impassive when you tore into me for sleeping with your sister? Why, after all, would I look for someone else unless you weren’t providing something I need? Let’s remember whose fault this is.

As I said, I don’t need the therapy myself; I’m satisfied with my life right now, even if it hasn’t turned out the way anyone expected. I expected to be able to listen, but your mother lode of problems proved insurmountable without professional attention; I expected to find emotional intimacy with you, but it turned out your sister – and your mother, but that was just a few times – were much more forthcoming in that department than you; I expected to be able to share special moments, but you insisted on having those moments when important other events had already been scheduled for those times: the Super Bowl; the World Series; Happy Hour at O’Donnell’s. In therapy, you will begin to cultivate a sense of appropriate contexts for inviting intimacy.

So let’s schedule our first appointment right away. Obviously, it can’t be between six and seven p.m. on weekdays. Remember, that’s Happy Hour.

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Written by Thag

February 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

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