Mark was a happily married, forty-two year old man.  He had a great job, beautiful wife and three gorgeous kids. He didn’t know if he really needed to see a therapist, but he had to talk to someone, someone he could trust.

Mark was initially quite reserved and found it difficult to actually bring himself to talk about Lorna, the reason for his visit.  Not, he assured me, that anything had happened.  But she was extremely attractive and she was working very closely with him on his latest project and he could sense that she could feel the chemistry too and he just couldn’t stop thinking about her....

Once he started talking though, there was no stopping him. But he didn’t talk about Lorna, he talked about his wife, Sarah, to whom he had been married for the last 15 years. When they had met, he told me, it had been electric. They couldn’t get enough of each other, both physically and emotionally.  Within three months they had moved in together and within a year they were married.  It had been bliss. They had supported each others’ careers, travelled the world together and lived a life most people could only dream about.  He had thought they were soul mates, two halves of a whole. But it felt different now, he couldn’t quite put his finger on it but he had come to feel like an outsider in his own home.  

Sometimes as a therapist I have to go with my gut instinct. And although Mark had supposedly come to talk to me about his growing feelings for Lorna, my intuition told me Lorna was just a reaction to his sense of being rejected by Sarah.  When I asked him if Sarah knew he had sought therapy, he became quite emotional and said yes, she had in fact encouraged him because she felt he was becoming more and more stressed. I then asked him if perhaps he thought it would be a good idea if I were to see Sarah also. He agreed that he had in fact thought about that himself but didn’t know how to broach the subject with her.  I told him to just ask her to give me a call and I would take care of the rest.

Six months on Mark and Sarah have rekindled much of the old spark.  And a lot of it had come down to sex.  Mark, in his effort to be understanding and sensitive, had thought he should give Sarah some space so that she could recover from the birth of three children in four years. Sarah had read this as Mark’s lack of interest in making love to a woman whose body had changed so much.  So she had started to cover up when Mark was around and devote more of her energy towards the kids. This in turn had been taken by Mark as a sign that he had been right all along.  The end result had been a downward spiral where Mark had become more frustrated and lonely and Sarah had become more sensitive. And then Lorna had entered the picture and given Mark the attention which he was craving.  Luckily he had the sense to come to see me before he had done something he would have regretted forever. Once again the gift of psychotherapy.