Art: Separation, Edvard Munch, 1990
I fit in therapy this week by squashing in the appointment in the afternoon, then going back to work and staying late. It was different, going as an adult, as it were. I was busy using all my energy to cope with work and being adult, so there was not a lot left over for emotions. So in that sense, we had a very grown-up kind of a session, and didn’t get into the heavy territory we’d been in the previous weeks.
However, I learned something about Ron that threw me. One of the kid parts had asked him, last session, if he was getting his wife a present for Valentine’s. She loves all holidays, presents, etc….And Ron had kind of looked away, said no, and nothing else. After the session, I had huge anxiety, mostly about other things, but also I’d had the feeling I had offended him by my question. Not sure why, but it felt like I had. So I sent him a long email, and that was one of the things I asked. He didn’t reply to that one, so I sent him another, on a different topic, asked for a reply, and he did reply to that one. So he never replied to my question.
At my session Friday, I talked about how anxious I’d felt after the last session. Then as we were talking, it occurred to me about the Valentine’s question. So I asked – did I offend you? I didn’t mean to. At which point Ron told me he’d been separated / divorced from his wife for the last two and a half years. So he hadn’t been offended, but hadn’t been sure how to answer with more information than I wanted to know.
Um. I started seeing Ron four years ago, at which point, according to his website, he was married with children. So he’s been through a whole divorce, without me knowing a thing about it.
I was stunned actually. Ron never does chat, so I don’t find things out about his life unless I ask him directly. However, he always says he’ll answer truthfully anything I want to know. I don’t know – I have asked him about his vacations, for instance – you’d think he would have mentioned something huge like this?
So this news scared me. Not entirely sure why. I told Ron it scared me, and we didn’t really discover what the fear was about. I was allowed to ask what I wanted, so I asked how come, of course. And Ron did provide a psychological type explanation, which was pretty open, though it was obviously his side of things – they didn’t have the kind of relationship he wanted to have. He didn’t go into a lot of details, as he said, he didn’t want the session to be all about him. I asked if he’d had to move, and he said yes.
So this all happened two and a half years ago, and I was oblivious.
Here’s what’s coming up for me as I think about it. Is Ron a trustworthy person? I wonder if he met someone else, a ‘younger model’? Was that the actual reason he left his wife? If so, I don’t respect that. But does the person who is helping me have to be blameless in his personal life? Is that really necessary?
I ask if they tried couples’ therapy, and we laugh. Yes they did. Ah good, at least you believe in it. Ron says couples’ therapy only really can point out and clarify the issues – then each individual in the couple has to go off and do their own work.
I say I thought therapist were better at relationships than the rest of us. He says we’re only human.
I’m still scared. At this point, I think of some bloggers I know whose therapists have fired them. I ask Ron if he’s ever decided he can no longer work with a client? Ron says no, never. I tell him about a blogger who has stopped writing, whose only contact with the world was her psychiatrist, who inexplicably got angry with something the client wrote and terminated her treatment. The most vulnerable person in the world, and that’s what this ridiculous psych did to her. Ron says that this psych was clearly not a good therapist.
He goes on to say that he sees why this is coming up for me, but that to him, divorce and therapy are completely different issues. He has no plans to get rid of me. (He didn’t say that last phrase. But he was very reassuring.)
I went back to how much we were not getting along at the end of group, two and a half years ago, around the time of his separation. Ron says he didn’t feel that, but he knows I did.
Now I’m at home, I’m thinking that Ron is probably out there, dating women. Not like pathetic me, who hasn’t dated anyone in years. Maybe he’s living with someone already in fact, who knows. It is easier for middle aged men – they don’t have the expiration date women seem to have.
If my thoughts get darker, I wonder if he’s ever dated clients. To me, this would be the heart of darkness. If I ever found out Ron dated a client or former client, I would sever our relationship at once. But just because I have this fear of sexual misconduct, doesn’t mean it exists. It just means I am afraid.
I’m not afraid of a single Ron hitting on me. I’m not especially attractive, and I’m about three years older than Ron. If he were to act out in this way, he’d have better options for sure.
Does Ron deserve my doubts and suspicions? No. It’s not unethical to get a divorce. Or two.
I just depend on him so much. It’s a shock that something I was led to believe, that he’s married, is not the case. I’d say misled is right though. The kid asked him the same question about Valentine’s presents for his wife last year, and he said nothing. There would have been an obvious and clear place to tell me this.
So, we talked through the first half of what I thought, but not the second half. It did feel very reassuring to hear him say he had never terminated a client, and he wouldn’t terminate me either. Even that he’d never felt we’d had a rocky relationship, when we so clearly had, in my eyes. That was all reassuring.
So I feel oddly connected to Ron, probably because he said this. Plus, I have all these fears and feelings about having been misled, of someone maybe pretending something that was no longer true.