Lisa says she can’t choose between her boyfriend of one year — or her husband of 26 years, Rick. She claims Rick is verbally abusive, controlling and has held her against her will — and she never would’ve cheated if he treated her better. Rick says he’ll do anything — from bribing his wife with gifts to forcing her into his car and driving off — to keep her from this other man, but nothing seems to work. Lisa says she’s tried to break it off with her boyfriend several times, but she just can’t let him go. Lisa and Rick’s grown children, Alexa, 25, and Jordan, 20, say they are disgusted by their mom’s behavior, and they’re tired of being pulled into the middle of the drama. Will this couple fix their marriage or call it quits? Whom will Lisa choose: her boyfriend or her husband?
Torn between Two Men
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“Rick makes me feel like I’m nothing.”
“Is there a point at which we say, ‘Enough is enough’?” Dr. Phil asks the couple. He notes that this isn’t Lisa’s first time cheating on her husband. She admits this is her third affair. Dr. Phil turns to Rick. “At what point do you say, ‘This is not a marriage’?”
“I always believed in hope; hoping that we can work something out, but obviously that’s not the way it’s gone,” he says.
Lisa says they tried marital counseling, but Rick only showed up once, and denied that they had any problems. She says the therapist told her to leave her husband.
“You try to bribe her to stay, right?” Dr. Phil asks Rick. “You buy her things, give her spa days and stuff like that. You understand, she goes to a spa and gets all fluffed up — for him.”
Lisa argues that she’s not allowed to have a car or a credit card, and their house is only in Rick’s name. Rick says his wife can have a car — if she doesn’t use it to meet the other man — but she does, so he takes the car away.
“Listen, I’m just kind of a common sense guy. This just seems to me that you guys are working at a train wreck,” Dr. Phil says.
Is Lisa in love with her boyfriend? And, does she still love her husband?
Lisa’s boyfriend joins the conversation via phone. Dr. Phil has some strong words for him. “I think you’re an intruder.”
Is Lisa the only one who has had an affair? Rick says his wife is “relentless and vicious” in her accusations.
Lisa says her husband has had at least 15 to 20 affairs. Rick denies her claims but admits he had two one-night stands 15 years ago.
Dr. Phil asks why they haven’t done serious work on their marriage problems — and doesn’t like Lisa’s answer.
“Is this thing on? Can you hear me at all?”
Lisa explains that she’s never really been alone, and she has to be certain about her boyfriend before she makes any decisions. She says her boyfriend wants to marry her.
“Do you want to marry him?” Dr. Phil asks. “You’d be his third.”
She pauses before saying, “I don’t think so.”
Dr. Phil points out that her boyfriend threatened her son, Jordan, with bodily harm. Jordan, who is sitting in the audience, says the man told him he was going to beat him up.
Lisa says she doesn’t remember that. “Of course, I don’t want my son hurt. I love him,” she says. “I don’t condone that.”
Kids in the Middle
In previous interviews, Lisa and Rick talk about how their children got involved in their marriage problems.
“Unfortunately, the kids are in the middle of all this,” Rick says. “They see the hurt Lisa’s caused me. The kids don’t understand why I continue to put up with it. I try to explain to them, one day you guys will be married, and you will fight for your marriage. The kids are very angry with Lisa.”
“Rick discusses my affair openly with the kids,” Lisa says. “They make fun of my boyfriend, they make fun of me. It’s like a group effort. There have been times when he has had the kids follow me, and spy on me and report back to him. My son, Jordan, calls me whore and slut almost on a daily basis. It hurts my feelings because he’s my son, he’s supposed to respect me, but because of his dad, he was brought up not to, as were the rest of the kids. I was eating in a restaurant with my boyfriend and Rick and Jordan came in and confronted my boyfriend and called me slut in front of everybody. Rick has turned the kids against me. They’re brainwashed, and they don’t even know it.”
Dr. Phil turns to their daughter, Alexa, sitting in the audience. “How do you guys feel about all this?”
“It’s just disappointing. She defends him over us, and I see the hurt that my dad’s going through,” she says.
“What do you want to see that would bring the most peace to this family?” he asks.
“A decision. Either them staying together or splitting up, but it can’t continue this way,” Alexa says.
Do Lisa and Rick realize what they’re modeling for their children?
Dr. Phil tells Rick that his behavior is not above reproach either. “Your way of trying to remedy this is to control her. That will never, ever work. You can chase her, but you will just die tired, because if she wants away from you, there’s nothing you can do to contain her, control her or run her down.” He suggests trying to inspire Lisa to want to be with him.
Dr. Phil turns back to Lisa and tells her if she took the amount of hours she spent with her boyfriend — who he says is “hugely flawed,” in his opinion — and instead invested that time in healing herself, her family and her marriage, she’d be in a different place.
Lisa argues that she and her husband have no communication.
Dr. Phil throws up his hands in frustration.
“Change begins with you,” Lisa says, resigned.
“That’s not a cliché. The first house you clean is your own,” Dr. Phil says. “You’ve got to get yourself in a position where you can hold your head high with your children, with your spouse … He clearly is going to have to either plug in or get out, one of the two. You will never, ever fix this situation if either one of you are involved with somebody outside the marriage. And if you aren’t willing to stop that, if you’re aren’t willing to say, ‘Leave me alone, I’m going to work on this situation and try to fix it and heal it,’ then you might as well get a divorce because it will never, ever get better.”
Dr. Phil offers the couple resources to repair their marriage and family. They agree.