Transcript of 5th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, August 6, 1996 at 4 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Sylvia. Won't you please sit down? How are you today?
Ms. Bows: I'm well. Actually I'm a little tired. How are you?
Dr. Balis: I'm fine, thank you. I haven't heard from you. Have you moved in with Rene yet?
Ms. Bows: I did help her move last weekend. She got her roommate in New York to send her some stuff over. But she still needed a lot of the basics. We went out and got her some furniture--two beds and a table. And I also had some chairs and a dresser in storage. So we did a lot moving. But it looks very nice. Rene is very good at taking a place and making it feel like it was lived in for years.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like it was a lot of work. So are you moving in this week?
Ms. Bows: I've been thinking about it. And I think I'll just visit her a lot. Tom and I are getting very good at avoiding each other. He even moved into the guest bedroom. And frankly, Doctor, I love my house. I'm not willing to give it up.
Dr. Balis: Have you come to any decisions about your relationship with Tom?
Ms. Bows: You mean am I getting a divorce? No, I want to wait.
Dr. Balis: I'm not sure I understand why. Are you still in love with Tom and interested in working it out?
Ms. Bows: No. I'm not sure I can fully express or describe what my feelings for Tom are. But they are definitely not love.
Dr. Balis: Then why? What are the factors going into your decision?
Ms. Bows: I'm not saying this is what I want to do forever. But right now I just want to have things stay still for a bit.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: I want to keep things just the way they are for a little while longer. I know that's puzzling to you. But please be patient with me. I have my reasons even if I want to hold off discussing them with you for now.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Do you have any drug reaction observations for me?
Ms. Bows: You'll be happy to know that I have not had an affair in a whole week.
Dr. Balis: This is not about my happiness, Sylvia. You know that I'm very concerned. I'm giving you medication that apparently radically alters your behavior.
Ms. Bows: I do understand, Doctor. I constantly monitor to see if what I'm doing is compulsive rather than based on my desires and rational thought. If I'm a slightest bit unsure of the origin of my motivations, I stop myself until I'm sure. But I have to tell you that it has not happened yet.
Dr. Balis: You mean there hasn't been a situation when you felt that your behavior might be as a result of medication? I think it is difficult to reconcile that with the vast behavior changes you've experienced in the last couple of weeks.
Ms. Bows: Oh there are lots of things that I do that are the result of Zoloft, I think. I'm much calmer. I sleep much better. I am more self assured. The list just goes on. But I know you're asking about my sex life. And I am very confidant and sure about my decisions. In fact, even more so now.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry?
Ms. Bows: I ran into Richard again last week. Remember Richard?
Dr. Balis: Yeah, he was the Starbuck's guy.
Ms. Bows: Yes. We had lunch together last Friday. It was sort of an accident really. I literally ran into him in the parking lot at work. I didn't hurt him but I destroyed his lunch. He said that he liked pressed chicken but was not sure about road kill. I felt so bad. But he said he would forgive me if I'd take him out for lunch. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches and had lunch on a bench on the waterfront. We watched the boats, and the people, and fed the birds with our leftovers. Last time we met, I didn't really have a chance to get to know him. Richard is really a very interesting man. I think I told you that he works for SII. On Friday, I learned that he is part of our think tank. His job is to figure out the future. He studies technological and sociological trends and tries to extrapolate them into the future. He said that he sees the time when people will not even be able to comprehend what it's like not to be connected to the rest of the world via the Web. I know the Internet is very big now, but he's talking about something much more, like personal information appliances that people will wear that will make them connected to the web all the time. Did you ever see Star Trek, you know, the new one? Do you know the Borg? Well, Richard is talking about a kind of benign version: cyber people.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like Richard made quite an impression on you.
Ms. Bows: Oh yes. I think I would like to get to know him better. He makes me feel very optimistic about the future. And he definitely makes me think in new ways. I remember when Tom and I used to talk like that. Sometimes we would get so excited about a topic that we would stay up all night talking. I really miss that.
Dr. Balis: When did your relationship with Tom start to change?
Ms. Bows: I'm not sure. It was so gradual. At first, even when we were very busy, we always found time for each other. But then Tom got this job that made him travel all the time. And somehow we started to drift apart. Nothing really obvious, but we no longer knew everything about each other. We didn't have time or energy to share each other anymore. And then when I changed professions, and the child issue, our relationship just started to unravel, I guess. The web of ideas and emotions that keeps people together has to be in progress all the time or the links break or get old. We stopped spinning our web some time ago and just didn't notice it. I wonder how long we would have stayed together even if Tom never did get a vasectomy.
Dr. Balis: It doesn't sound like a good situation in which to have any children. Perhaps, in some sense, Tom was right about not having children.
Ms. Bows: I see what you mean. You think that Tom might have understood that our relationship was flawed and his decision to get a vasectomy was partly based on that. No, I don't think that's right. Tom is basically too selfish. I think he had the relationship that he wanted. He had a wife that he could introduce to his associates and not lose face. He had a house that was mentioned in Architectural Digest. People enjoyed his dinner parties. I think he was happy with his situation and wasn't willing to change it. He thought that kids would cramp his lifestyle.
Dr. Balis: Remember that you used to be in love with Tom. So there were things about him that you found worthy of admiration.
Ms. Bows: When I met Tom, he was young and adventurous and emotional. But even then there was this hardness about him. I knew that he was very controlling and arrogant even when I met him. And I identified with him somewhat. I felt very driven and I always had a strong sense of being right. But even though we possessed similar qualities, they've developed differently over the course of our lives.
Dr. Balis: So you believe that at one point in your relationship you were more similar. And with time you've grown apart.
Ms. Bows: Yes, essentially that's it. I'm really talking about character traits. It's like Tom was seduced by the dark side of the force. When I was talking with Richard, I was thinking how my life would have been different if I spent it with him.
Dr. Balis: Do you regret your whole life with Tom?
Ms. Bows: No, not exactly. But I was just thinking 'what if.' What if I met Richard ten years ago? What if I met Richard two years ago?
Dr. Balis: Are you thinking that you might have had a relationship with Richard? An affair?
Ms. Bows: Yes. I was thinking what a surprise it would have been for Tom if I got pregnant about two years ago. I wouldn't have known that it couldn't possibly have been Tom's. How would have he reacted? Would he have told me?
Dr. Balis: Tom was safe because of the kind of person you were. So these hypotheticals are based on the situation after you found out about Tom's vasectomy.
Ms. Bows: You're right. I never had an affair and never would have even if I met Richard and liked him. My relationships with men in the last couple of weeks I don't consider affairs. I don't feel like I'm cheating on my husband. Whatever our legal status is now, I don't regard Tom as my husband anymore. I don't feel like I am doing anything wrong.
Dr. Balis: Do you think that you are acting out of revenge?
Ms. Bows: No. Then I'd feel bad about making love to Richard, and to David, and maybe even to Matthew. I'd feel bad not because of Tom but because I was not sincere with these wonderful, intelligent, and charming men. Do you understand?
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Bows: Actually, Doctor, you will have to excuse me early today.
Dr. Balis: Oh why?
Ms. Bows: I have a date with Richard. We are meeting for an early dinner and then he is taking me to see the Phantom of the Opera. Do you believe in all these years I have never seen it?
Dr. Balis: I saw it in New York and thought it was very good. I hope you have a good time.
Ms. Bows: Oh, I'm planning on it. I'm wearing a tear-away suit.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Bows: Just kidding, Doctor! But I am hoping to stay out all night.
Dr. Balis: Should we make our next appointment?
Ms. Bows: Same time, same place?
Dr. Balis: On Tuesday, August 13th at 4 pm, then.
Ms. Bows: Very good. Goodbye, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia. Enjoy the show.
Ms. Bows: I will.
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