Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sex, Lies and Therapists

That last panel will just have to wait – Life keeps chucking those curveballs, the ones that have me swinging wildly, looking rather silly. Wednesday may be Prince Spaghetti Day in Beantown, but Monday is therapy day for me, so Monday, on with the jacket, into the car, and Bob – here I come.

Our session begins and Bob is surprised – he does not associate financial professionals with being Riverboat Gamblers; that’s what he thinks I am, gambling it all on this roll of the dice.

It is an interesting thought because in my pocket is a copy of Carrie’s post which ends with a quote from The Passion, the book which first brought Carrie and I from a deep friendship to the precipice of being true lovers. The Passion talks of gambling – true gambling – as only being real when the stakes are more than you can afford, when you are betting your life. And Bob will tell you, I am betting it all.

We cover some other things, our Freudian period, why I am not really gay, just longing for a penis to replace the emotional void of an emotionally absent father. I understand it, but still that penis....

Then towards the end, Bob tells me we need to save my marriage – I don’t disagree. The solution is simple. Tell Carrie I am not going to sleep with men anymore. Tell her it was a midlife crisis: not worth losing her over. He assures me it is what she wants to hear. He explains that when you get a phone call with bad news, you utter “Oh No”. We want to deny, to shut out the bad.

Stopping and not telling Carrie if I start again in six months or a year: it is conceivable, back to don’t ask, don’t tell. But telling her on Monday and hooking up on Thursday: that is lying. Bob is sanguine: he asks the difference, tells me I sound Catholic with my degrees of sin. He is serious, or so it seems to me. My excessive sharing with Carrie – yes I know there are times where I say too much – has always been an issue to him. Why do I tell her things, why did I come out to her originally? Bob would have counseled me to a life of quiet adultery.

My mind is reeling, even by my distorted standards. Where to turn? I cannot ask Carrie, I cannot post – Carrie sometimes reads this Blog: if I take the lying route announcing it here seems beyond tacky – the social equivalent skipping the condom. As a few of you know I turn to e-mail – a letter to some friends, my fellow travelers. I am of course nervous – am I imposing, will anyone answer? Sis tells me I am a doofus for worrying about such things and she is right, my friends respond in force and with force.

They are appalled by the suggestion. They appreciate that honesty might be the last refuge left to me and Carrie. And they wonder about Bob: what was he thinking?

The next day, I send the same friends a follow-up e-mail:

Just wanted to thank you for reading and for the responses. As one of you noted the fact that I sent this e-mail was a sign that I already knew the answer.

I will at some point do a post because it interests me but the simple truth is that Carrie and I have never lied to each other in twenty years. Now is not the time to start. She and I talked last night on this topic and we both accept the issues in our lives and that a "quick fix" based on a lies is far from the answer. We are both committed to our struggle.

Strangely enough as we finished talking and held hands we both felt closer to each other than we have in a while. Honesty is a very potent force.

There were a few things in the responses that did catch my attention:. two friends reminding me “The Truth Will Set You Free.”

Jefferson manages to summarize the incident in fifteen words:
Perhaps you should offer to lie to your therapist if it makes him feel better

Now I should note there is a small movement that thinks Bob was trying to provoke me, goad me into taking a position. I am skeptical, but next Monday either I will be truly impressed by Bob’s cleverness or I will be back to the therapy drawing boards.


marsmsu said...

I think you need a new therapist--one who has the ability to really help you find out who you are on this. Seems to me, this guy is just buying your deferrals and denials, and trying to preserve the institution, rather than exploring that core issue you keep returning to.

Paul said...

I support that it’s never good to lie. It’s too hard to remember what you’ve said. But aren’t there other things to talk about?

And yes, a vacation, or rather a sabbatical, often helps clear one’s mind.

I applaud Jefferson's ability to offer such a frank and pithy suggestion.

But for Bob to suggest, “... longing for a penis to replace the emotional void of an emotionally absent father ...” I just can’t buy into this construct.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bob told you what he thought it was you wanted to hear. Knowing by doing so, it would spur more thinking on your part, thus coming up with the answer you eventually came up with. Those therapist, always working in mysterious ways. Hugs to ya.

Anonymous said...


you know me; to me therapy is just one cork-stopper shy of snake oil, and I say that having benefited from my three months of one-on-one this spring.

But I'll tell you, I was never as gung-ho about leaving my marriage as my therapist was. Easy for her to say -- she wasn't leaving it.

Maybe she hadn't heard that Dr. Richard Isay had recanted...

Hang in there.
We're all rooting for you.

Anonymous said...


I've been reading your blog for a while but I have never posted before.

Being on the same journey as yourself, there are things that I can agree and relate to and some that are quite foreign to me.

That being said, I have to echo what the first poster said but I would like to take it one step further:

If your therapist actually gave you that advice, and actually believes what he is saying, then he needs a therapist!

Al said...

The quality of therapists differs dramatically, and it often amazes me how bad some of them are. Yeah, some work in mysterious ways but I've heard nothing of this one to suggest that he is that kind of therapist.

The absent father kind of issue does often manifest itself in strange ways later in life, but if he was the one that suggested it, he is an idiot. He's putting words into your mind and that will only confuse you. It has to come from you. It simply must. And if you do stumble upon an issue the therapist's job is to pick up on it.

And why would he goad you into taking a position? Have you been debating about how honest you should be? I thought you were being totally open and honest with her (or at least as honest as you are being with yourself). So it makes no sense to try and goad you into thinking the way you are already thinking.

I can't really judge Bob without seeing him work, but you can probably judge him by his results.