Say your marriage is on the rocks, and to help repair the relationship, you and your husband decide to see a couple’s therapist. The therapist suggests that the two of you begin to see her separately, so she can work with each of you individually. Then she bangs your husband and advises you to get a divorce.

Nightmare.

That’s exactly what happened to one couple in Texas who went to see Sheila Loven, who is now on trial for sexual assault for the incident. The Arlington couple had no idea that she was using therapy to collect their deepest secrets and use them to manipulate the wife into leaving and the husband into sleeping with her.

The couple made amends once they realized they’d been manipulated into a situation they didn’t want to be in, but Loven didn’t take that very well. She started harassing them with calls and texts, which led to the couple contacting the police. They were informed that what she was doing was sexual assault, and oh, by the way, would they like to file charges? Yes please.

Loven’s attorney claims that it was a real relationship based on romance, and any emotional manipulation or coercion is perceived. “They went to nightclubs and dinner, and they spent almost every night together,” attorney Adam Burny said. Well if that’s not romance, I don’t know what is.

Holy crap! I can’t imagine how violated this couple must feel after going through something like that. How can this woman claim she did not manipulate them in this situation? They trusted her to help them communicate better to improve their relationship, and she just used them for her own selfish, sexual gain.

If you’re going to go to couple’s therapy, beware a counselor that wants to split you up. It’s one thing to have an individual session early on, so each partner can feel free to express him or herself without sugar-coating it in front of their loved one, but couples counseling is supposed to be about the couple. The counselor should be a referee or moderator, and help guide the discussion, but it is not supposed to be one-on-one counseling. If a couple wants to go that route, that’s fine, but find separate therapists to avoid a conflict of interest.

While everyone is responsible for their own actions, and this guy doesn’t get off the hook for his affair, I hope that the couple is able to grow and bond closer together after this. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can go forward, and being the victim of sexual assault is pretty bad. It seems they were both manipulated and victimized -- the wife into believing divorce was her best option, and then the husband into the comforting, understanding arms of his therapist.

Do you think this was sexual assault, or was the relationship between the counselor and husband legitimate?


Image via katerha/Flickr