Chapter 3: Serial Coupling Syndrome

Dr. Bennett’s office wasn’t what Simon imagined it would be. There was no sofa – a fact that surprised him. He always figured a psychiatrist’s office would have a sofa. Instead, two over-sized chairs sat in front of a wooden desk. A laptop sat on the far right corner of the desk, leaving a clear line of sight to the center of the desk.

“Hello, Simon.” Dr. Bennett greeted him as he entered the office, pointing toward one of the chairs. “Please take a seat.”

“Hello, doctor.” Simon pulled one of the chairs out at an angle and sat down, resting his right ankle on his left knee.

Dr. Bennett pulled out a notepad and a pen. “How was your weekend?” She clicked the pen and scribbled something down on the notepad.

“I got married.” Simon smirked.

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“Again?” Dr. Bennett set the pen down and looked up. “Simon, we’ve talked about this.”

“I know. I know.”

“You’ve made so much progress over the last few months. What happened?”

“I don’t know.” Simon shrugged. “I was on the Strip, walking around and I accidentally bumped into this young girl—”

“Young girl?”

“Woman.” Simon stuttered as he corrected himself.

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“Woman, doctor. A young woman. Please don’t add pedophilia to my list.”

“Woman.” Dr. Bennett smiled. A sigh of relief followed. “Simon.” She tapped the pen on her desk. “Let’s forget for a second that polygamy is illegal and that you’ve broken this law—” She scrolled through a screen on her computer. “—34 times in the last two years. Marrying all of these women and then abandoning them the next morning is damaging to them and undoes all of the steps you’ve taken to overcome your syndrome.”

Simon slumped down in his chair, running his hands through his hair. He inhaled, puffed out his cheeks and slowly exhaled. “I don’t know, doc. I guess…” His voice trailed off as he struggled with the words. “Maybe it’s my own way of trying to relive that one amazing night I spent with her.”

“Her?” Dr. Bennett leaned forward, resting her elbows on her desk. “Are you referring to your first wife?”

“Yes.” Simon nodded, chewing on his thumbnail.

“The one you left?”

“The one I left believing I’d find her again. Except when I got home, I realized I couldn’t remember her name. And when I went back to the hotel, she was gone.”

“Serial Coupling Syndrome is nothing  to be ashamed of, Simon. It’s a compulsion that requires a lot of discipline to control. There’s only so much I can do to help you. I’m going to end today’s session by giving you some much-needed advice.”

“I’m ready for it.” Simon straightened his posture. “What should I do?”

“You’re going to find her.”

“How?”

“Start with the wedding chapel.”

“I’ve already tried that.” Simon’s face flushed with frustration. “They won’t release any records without a court order or a copy of the marriage certificate – which I lost somewhere on the Strip after we got married.”

“Do whatever it takes.” Dr. Bennett stood up from her desk. “When we meet next week, I expect to hear you’ve done something constructive to find her and for God’s sake! Stay away from the Strip!”

To be continued

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