2. Spoiled for Choice

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Robert is a handsome young man in his early thirties who is experiencing relationship problems with women. He has been engaged for a few years but is hesitant about getting married. He has enjoyed a few affairs and told his fiancé about them. She has forgiven him and now believes that his interest in other women has waned. Unfortunately this is simply not true.


Robert: I feel I have tremendous choice…


Provocative Therapist: (interrupting) Yes, lucky you! It’s fantastic to be a picker and chooser. Most men would be delighted to have just one lover, but not you. With a menu like that in front of you, it would be a crime to restrict yourself to the same dish every night.


Robert: That’s true, but it’s tough on Laura (his fiancé) so maybe I should just end this relationship.


Provocative Therapist: You mean you should fire her for her own good. That’s a little condescending don’t you think?


Robert: Well…


Provocative Therapist: Listen to me now. Laura is your top babe, at least for now? No other women more important than her?


Robert: No.


Provocative Therapist: So what’s the problem? Let her be your main babe.


Provocative Therapist: The occasional fling with someone else shouldn’t do any harm. I mean she knows you are capable of it. You don’t have to confess all the time. Confess to a priest, not to your girlfriend!


Robert: But what if she finds out?


Provocative Therapist: Then she will decide whether to stay or leave. If she leaves, she will feel empowered by the decision. That’s a lot better than being kicked out of the relationship for her own good. Better for her and better for you. You see there is always a way of doing things… So here are your choices: One! You carry on as normal and keep your flings on the side secret. Two! You have the occasional fling and own up to it. I don’t recommend this option but it’s still better than firing her for her benefit. Three! Play her the videotape of this consultation although I really can’t recommend this. It would give her too much information for her own good but at least she would have no doubt that she is your main babe.


Robert: Yes, but all these choices seem a bit cruel.


Provocative Therapist: Cruel? That’s a strong word to use. Let’s use words like pragmatic, practical, progressive?


Robert: No. I don’t want to be cruel. I want to do the right thing.


Provocative Therapist: Yes, you will do the right thing. But not now! Eventually. Now is the time to pick and choose, to feast and celebrate and truly to understand that variety is indeed the spice of life. ‘This is no time to develop a conscience!’



FOLLOW UP

Robert decided to come clean with his fiancé and end the engagement. She appreciated his honesty and they parted amicably and remained friends.