Noisy High Quality XXX

Their wild weekend together continues.

"So I'm making friends AND girlfriends," he said. "And I have fallen out of love with Mary, which took the better part of the past year. I rarely think of her now."

"Fallen OUT of love?" I asked. "That's different from falling IN love isn't it?"

"Yes it is and it's much more difficult," he said.

"How did you manage to do that?" I asked. Patients usually talked about hating a former spouse but I had never heard one say he "fell out of love" with her.

"It was very difficult because when I went down there she was in my thoughts almost constantly. But it hurt so much to think about her that I knew I had to get it under control or I'd go crazy. Do you remember those naked Polaroid pictures I told you about?"

I remembered them. Mary had used them for sexual arousal on occasion when she was re-reading those letters. I nodded and he continued.

"Those were the ugliest part of the entire collection of stuff she saved. Much worse than the words. I could see them in my mind and they disgusted me. Well, I practiced calling up those pictures in my head immediately when any thought related to Mary popped into my head. So she came into my mind followed immediately by a naked picture of her or him."

My God! I thought. Negative reinforcement! A psychological technique that many counselors might have recommended. I wouldn't have used it, of course, if I were trying for a reconciliation.

Then he chuckled and said, "I punished myself for thinking about her and it worked. Gradually I thought of her less and less. And more than that, when I DID think of her even without the dirty pictures the anger and jealousy seemed to diminish and then go away altogether.

And, most important of all, the love went away. I can go for weeks now without a single thought of her. And I can think of her when I want to without any anger or jealousy or love."

"I had to come up here to do some important personal business but I wanted to see you while I was here. I wanted to ask about Mary. I know she's in counseling and I know you can't tell me personal things but I'm worried that she may not be handling this divorce as well as I am. And I suspect she's punishing herself for having destroyed our marriage. Is there some way I can help?"

If ever a man had reason to be angry and bitter at a woman it was David Newton. He had been betrayed and then lied to for years. Yet here he was concerned about a wife he no longer loved. Was it wise for them to meet, I asked myself? Would it help her or harm her to see that he had found happiness without her? Would a joint session with me be helpful?

"Let me think about that," I said. "How long are you going to be in town?"

"If I can help her," he responded, "then as long as it takes. I don't want her to suffer like I did."

I got his cell phone number and promised to call him tomorrow afternoon after my regular weekly session with Mary. How do I tell her about this, I asked myself. After all SHE was my patient now that her husband no longer needed counseling. I had to think of her welfare first. I thought about the question for hours that night sipping single malt before I reached a decision.

When I broke the news to Mary the next day she was not surprised. Her son had told her he was in town. When I told her I had talked with him her reaction was almost pathetic.

"What did he say about me?" She asked anxiously, leaning forward in her chair.

"He said all his anger and jealously are gone. But so is his love for you."

It was like I had kicked her in the stomach. She dropped her head and tears came into her eyes.

"Mary we have talked about this," I said almost harshly. "I told you that you needed to prepare yourself to live without him. That's what we've been working on since he left. You keep resisting that idea."

"Does he ... does he see other women?" She asked pathetically.

"Yes he does," I answered.

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