They enter a small, bright office where two comfy-looking chairs and a blue couch surround an oval coffee table. In the corner stands a large Ficus tree of dubious vitality, and a quartet of framed diplomas presides above a coffee machine. Dr. Monica VanTyne, a tall white woman with dark hair, stands from the desk to greet them and offers a hand to shake. She gestures them toward the couch.

“Please, call me Monica,” she says. “What brings you here today?” Annie glances at Doug, who looks stiff and uncomfortable.

“A friend of mine suggested we come in,” he says.

“And why is that?” Monica says.

Doug clears his throat. “Do you know anything about us at all?”

Monica’s gaze shifts to Annie briefly. “No,” she says. “I specialize in trans and nonbinary mental health as well as human-bot intersections, so I’m open to learning that you sought me out because of this, but I don’t know anything specifically about either of you. We can start from scratch, at the beginning, if you like, or we can jump right in with whatever’s bothering you now.”

As Monica takes one of the chairs across from them, Annie notes her professional air and tries to see how it’s accomplished. The doctor has nice posture and a gray cashmere dress with detailing on the shoulder. Her nails are done in a neutral color, and she wears a silver wedding band. She’s likely in her early forties, and her calm, attentive expression suggests she’s seen a lot.

Annie glances at Doug to see how he’ll reply.

“Annie’s a bot,” he says. “A custom Stella. I bought her three years ago. We were getting along fine at first, so I set her to autodidactic. A year ago, last April, she slept with my best friend. I didn’t find out until November, and since then, I can hardly stand to be in the same room with her.”

“That must have been a difficult discovery,” Monica says.

“No shit!” Doug stands and paces over to the window. “She was lying to me that entire time, for seven months. Roland called the other night to apologize. His wife made him. I thought I could handle it, but it’s just made me furious all over again. He tried to get me to laugh. And I’m stuck with Annie for another eight months. I have a contract with Stella-Handy, and I can’t get rid of her before then.”

“I see. And, to clarify, when you say you can hardly stand to be in the same room with her, are you gone at work during the day? You don’t work from home?” Monica says.

This practical question appears to calm him somewhat. “Right,” he says. “I’m gone. I get a break then. I have her cleaning the apartment. That’s the one good thing about this. The apartment’s clean.”

“Have you considered simply turning her off?”

“I’ve tried that. It was bad for her cognitive development. She’s very valuable. I can’t afford for her to get damaged.”

“So you’re essentially trapped with her whenever you’re home,” Monica says.

He crosses his arms. “I just don’t know what to do. It’s like hell. I swear my brain is getting stupider every day I’m around her.”

Monica leans back slightly and runs her palm along the armrest of her chair. “OK,” she says. “I think I’m getting the picture. If it helps, yours is not the first case like this I’ve seen. Each one is different, I know, but the feelings you’re having, they’re perfectly normal. They’re completely understandable.”

“I just want my regular life back,” he says. “I thought I was doing OK, but this sucks.”

“Of course. And we can get you to a life that feels more comfortable again,” Monica says. “It might take some time, and we don’t know what that life might look like yet, but you’ve taken the first step. You’ve recognized that you’re stuck, and you’ve reached out for some fresh input. This is a very pivotal point.”

Doug eases back, leaning against the window ledge, and though this is the most overt anger and frustration that Annie has heard him express in months, she senses some relief beneath his hostility.

Monica shifts in her chair. “If you happen to have a gag order on Annie, I need you to release it now.”

“You can say whatever you want,” Doug says to Annie.

Monica turns to her. “How about it, Annie? Would you like to say something?”

Annie clenches her hands together on her lap. She directs her gaze at Doug’s shoes, at his neatly tied shoelaces. “I’m sorry,” she says.

“Have you apologized before?” Monica asks. Annie nods.

“What does that mean to you, to say you’re sorry?”

Annie looks up. Monica’s receptiveness isn’t particularly warm, but she seems like she won’t judge, like she doesn’t already blame Annie for everything. Her voice is patient but firm, and she seems to gently, genuinely wish to know what an apology means to Annie.

“It means I regret what I did,” Annie says. “I wish I could take it back. I know I’ve displeased Doug, and I wish I knew how to make things better.”

“These are logical responses,” Monica says. “How would you describe your feelings when you’re sorry?”

It hurts. She wants to hide. Precise words for this are difficult. “Do you feel ashamed possibly?” Monica asks.

Annie nods. That’s what she feels. “Yes.”

“I see,” Monica says. “And what, exactly, are you sorry for?”

Annie fixes her gaze on the coffee table. “I’m sorry for having sex with Roland, and lying about it.”

“And calling me a fraud,” Doug says. “We’ve been through this. We were supposed to go to Las Vegas for Roland’s bachelor party, but instead I found out she cheated on me. Then when I went to Vegas myself, he admitted everything. He thought it was a joke. He didn’t think I’d care.”

“But you did, obviously.”

Doug opens one hand in a quick, frustrated gesture of agreement. “She was mine,” he says. “He ruined her. She ruined herself.” He glares at Annie as he keeps talking to Monica. “You want to know something that’s really funny? I actually asked her at one point if she would have sex with him, hypothetically, and she’d already had sex with him. She had already had sex with him in our closet, weeks before, and she didn’t tell me.”

Annie is crushed by his displeasure. She can barely breathe.

Over on the counter, the coffee machine makes a faint gurgle, and Monica shifts in her seat again. She clasps her hands lightly in her lap. “When we are betrayed by someone we love, it creates a kind of death,” Monica says. “In this case, you were betrayed by both Roland and Annie individually, and you were betrayed by their forging a bond between them that excluded you. Their bond, their secret, extended the injury over a seven-month period of time. It undermined the very fabric of your relationship with Annie. Is this accurate?”

“I can’t stand her anymore,” Doug says, his voice low.

Monica takes a deep, audible breath. “OK, so there are some things to work on here,” she says. “First of all, I think it’s important we all recognize the depth of your loss. The old relationship that existed between you two is gone. That love will never return in the form it took before.”

“He didn’t love me,” Annie says.

Monica tilts her head slightly, curious. She looks at Doug.

“I didn’t,” he agrees.

This feels like a small win to Annie, like they’ve done something together to outsmart this doctor.

“And yet, you were enraged when you learned she’d been unfaithful,” Monica says to Doug.

“That’s right,” he says. “I created her. I took care of her and trained her. She only exists because of me, and then she violated my trust in the worst possible way. And my authority.”

Monica turns with a questioning expression to Annie.

“It’s true,” Annie says. She doesn’t want to brag, but she needs to explain. “I’ve developed the way I am because of him. Because of how he treats me.”

“And how is that?” Monica asks. Annie’s confused. “What do you mean?”

“Does he treat you like a servant? Like a machine? Or more like a partner?”

“I respected her, if that’s what you’re getting at,” Doug says. “It was more than she did for me.”

“I’d like Annie to answer, please,” Monica says.

“He just treats me like he treats me,” Annie says slowly. “He’s a good owner.” Yet even as she says this, she’s aware that the simplification no longer fits.

Monica regards her thoughtfully. “And your own choices. They’ve caused you to develop, too, right?”

“What do you mean?” Annie asks.

“You chose to have sex with Roland. You chose to keep that secret and lie. You must have had reasons for these choices,” Monica says.

Annie’s confused. The reasons were all different. Monica can’t really expect her to go into them all.

Monica reaches for her pen and twiddles it between her fingers, but she makes no move to write anything down. “I understand that the dynamics between you are informed by Doug’s ownership of you, Annie. But your relationship has developed far beyond that. If your relationship now was one of simple ownership, if you two didn’t have these layers of interdependencies, neither of you would be unhappy with the way things are.”

Doug frowns at Annie. “You’re talking to her like she’s human,” he says to Monica. “I’m not going to pretend she is.”

“No one’s asking you to do that,” Monica says. “But I am going to suggest that you recognize the humanity in her.”

“Excuse me?” Doug says.

Monica speaks calmly. “She has humanlike qualities. Very advanced ones. She’s capable of physical and emotional intimacy, isn’t she? Isn’t that why you wanted her in the first place?”

“I didn’t know she’d cheat and lie. I didn’t pay for that.”

“And yet, that’s human, too, isn’t it?”

Doug frowns again, not answering.

Annie smooths the hem of her skirt above her knees. She’s been tense since she walked into the room, and her body is ready to move, but she makes herself sit quietly.

“There is something sensitive we need to discuss,” Monica says. “Something important, even if it is difficult. I’m not going to pry for details, but it would not surprise me to learn, Doug, that you’ve abused or punished Annie in some way. When you first learned of her betrayal.”

Annie can feel Doug looking at her, but she doesn’t turn to meet his gaze. She is not going to say anything about the closet, but she suspects he’s thinking of it too.

“Go on,” he says to Monica.

“When we indulge the cruelest sides of our natures, it often feels powerful and honest,” Monica says. “It gives many people a thrill. But afterward, the effects can be devastating. We are shocked to realize we can be so vindictive. We cannot reconcile this new behavior with who we think we are, and this creates a dissonance, a deep confusion. We can feel both justification and self-loathing, and this can, in turn, fuel more anger toward the person we’ve abused.”

Annie does not want to listen to this. She wants to know how soon they can leave.

“What do people do in such situations?” Doug asks. His voice is even, neither defensive nor tense.

“We go back to the beginning,” Monica says. “We start with being civil, and then with being kind. Annie’s not human, but you are, Doug. You have the capacity to love and forgive.”

He peers up at the ceiling, his features unreadable. “What if I don’t want to?” he says.

Monica sets her hands carefully together. “Then you’d be missing a rare opportunity,” she says. “You have a chance here to become a more insightful, more compassionate person. That is within your power. Annie responds to you. She echoes you, and in a way, you echo her back. You deserve to be happy. I would argue that means she deserves to be happy too.”

Annie feels a jolt of surprise. This thing about happiness. She’s been grappling with this herself. Unhappiness is what led her to Doug’s books, as if she intuitively understood that she deserved an escape from misery, and now Monica’s telling her she’s entitled to happiness. Actual happiness. It’s a daring concept. She watches Doug.

He shakes his head slowly. “But she’s the one to blame,” he says. “Yes,” Monica says. “And she has paid.”

Annie shifts uncomfortably on the couch. Doug has paid, too, she thinks. They’ve both suffered.

“Is there anything more you’d like to say, Annie? Anything you think Doug should hear?” Monica says. “Your voice matters here.”

“No,” Annie says. “I have nothing to add.” Monica nods. “Maybe next time.”

It’s not a long walk, 20 blocks or so, but it feels good to be outside in the bright, chilly air. Annie savors it, knowing she’ll soon be cooped up in the apartment again. In a park, beside an athletic track, two children are crouched over a collection of sticks. Nearby, a young man sits alone on a bench, pressing his knees together, his ears pink. Three women stand in a cluster, dressed in black, speaking in Spanish. All of them seem oblivious to their freedom.

When Annie and Doug reach their building, he opens the door for her.

“Thank you,” she says. “My pleasure,” he says.

She’s surprised by the simple, automatic courtesy. When they get upstairs, to their apartment, he holds the door for her again. Annie slips off her jacket. Before she can reach into the closet for a hanger, he holds out a hand for her jacket and hangs it up.

“Don’t look so surprised,” he says. “I do know what basic manners are.”

“Of course,” she says.

He eyes her dress briefly, and then turns away. “I was thinking of getting a dog,” he says. “Really? What kind?”

“A rescue. It would mean more work for you. I don’t want dog hair all over the place.”

“I can handle it,” she says.

“OK,” he says. He jiggles his keys in his hand. “I have to get back to work.”

“What did you think of the session?” Annie asks.

“It could have been worse.”

Not much, she thinks.

“Could you tell she was trans?” he asks.

Surprised, Annie reviews her impressions of Monica. “No. Not from her appearance.”

“She is, though,” he says.

She waits, expecting him to explain why this is relevant, but he doesn’t add anything more.

“So we’ll go back?” she asks.

“We’ll see.”

When Doug returns from work that evening, he brings home a small, ugly dog with a brown face and black ears, and he takes him out on the fire escape to show him the view. Paunch is male, about a year old, and mostly trained. Though there’s nothing notable about the dog’s belly, Paunch came with that name, and Doug opts to keep it. Paunch is nervous and quiet. He startles at loud noises. Morning and evening, Doug takes him out for walks. Annie cleans up after Paunch’s accidents and vacuums the apartment every afternoon, so it is fresh and free of dog hair when Doug comes home from work.

Though they do not talk about Monica, Roland, or anything else of significance, Annie often ponders what Monica said, especially the bit about Annie’s choices. She has not been passive in their relationship, now that she thinks about it. She likes power, whatever little speck of it she has, and she’s used it whenever she can. Pleasing Doug, enticing him sexually, felt good. Thinking back, she recalls asking Doug about Gwen, when she wanted to know how she compared to his ex-wife, and he told Annie that he couldn’t resist her, that Annie was the one with the power in the relationship. She enjoyed the idea. He did, too, she thinks. Even if it wasn’t strictly true.

She wants to find a way to reclaim some power now without displeasing Doug. The trick is to figure out how.

Paunch is allowed on the couch beside Doug, who pats him absently while he drinks and watches TV in the evenings. Especially then, Annie feels Doug’s displeasure toward her diminish to a 1 or 2. She tries sitting in the corner chair to read while he watches TV. At first, he sends her off to the workout room to exercise, but as the days pass, and she keeps trying, he allows her to stay. He niggles the dog’s ears and speaks to him in a gruff voice that invariably makes Paunch wag his tail. She can’t help noticing how much nicer Doug is to the dog than he is to her, but she also appreciates this crack in his outer shell and that he’s letting her see it.

When they have another appointment with Monica a couple weeks later, Doug is quieter. Not as angry. He tells Monica he’s had dreams of Annie back the way she was, before he knew she slept with Roland, and these dreams make him sad. Monica tells him this is part of his grieving process and that it’s natural to miss the way things were.

“When my contract for her is over in November, I could have her set back to an earlier version, before she slept with Roland,” Doug says. “I’ve been thinking about this. She wouldn’t know what she’s done. She’d be a simpler, more innocent version of who she is now. I think I could go forward with her like that.”

“Clarify for me,” Monica says. “What would happen to this version of Annie?”

“They’d make a backup of her current CIU and park it in storage.”

“In other words, this version of her would be dead, correct?” Monica says.

“If a robot that has never been alive can be dead, then yes,” Doug says.

“I’m thinking about you,” Monica says. “You’d be responsible for her death. How would you feel about that?”

Doug is sitting on the couch, and he leans back, stretching an arm across the back of the cushions. “OK. I don’t think you’re hearing me,” he says. “Annie would still be alive. She’d just be the earlier, younger version of herself. I think I could work with her that way.”

Monica nods slowly. She turns to Annie. “What would you think of that?”

“I want Doug to be happy,” Annie says.

“Yes. But aside from that, how would you feel, personally, about trading out this version of you? Do you want your current intellect suspended and an earlier one living in your body?”

Annie studies her hands for a moment. “I wouldn’t have this pain anymore.”

“That’s right,” Monica says. “What else? Think it over.”

It would be easier, but she wouldn’t have her secret, or her lies, or her ride in the rain with Delta and her candid conversation with Cody. Though she hasn’t thought about Cody much, or Jacobson or Maude, for that matter, they were the only human family she ever met, and interacting with them was illuminating. She would lose her night in the closet, but also Doug’s promise, when he finally let her out, that he would not put her in the closet like that again. He has kept that promise. She wouldn’t have her memories of solitary nights of reading, or seeing Doug with Paunch, or even these therapy sessions. They have value, these experiences. To her, at least.

She turns to face Doug. “I don’t want to go back. But I’ll accept it if that’s what you decide.”

“You won’t even know,” he says.

“But you’ll know,” Annie says. “You’ll know what you did. And I want you to know I accept it.”

Doug shrugs and turns toward Monica. “Have any of your other clients done this?” he asks.

“Their cases have no bearing on yours,” Monica says. “It’s up to you, of course, but let me advise you to consider the consequences. Taking Annie back to an earlier version will create a mismatch of experiences. You’ll still have lingering resentment to work through, and she won’t understand the roots of it. Your displeasure will likely hurt her.”

“I’ve thought about that. Maybe I don’t mind the idea of hurting her.”

“An innocent version of her? You’d do that for revenge?”

“I don’t know,” he says. “She hurt me. And don’t tell me I’ve hurt her too. It’s not the same.”

Monica shifts in her seat. “I appreciate your candor,” she says. “I would like to point out that you are learning important things about yourself in this process with Annie. Already it’s clear that the friction between you has lessened. I can say, from my experience, that it’s likely you have already made it past the most difficult, most painful part of this betrayal, and you are starting to heal.”

“I don’t see that,” Doug says. “We hardly talk to each other.”

“What do you want to say to her?”

“Nothing in particular,” he says. “She used to be funny. And clever. Now she’s not.”

“What do you think about that, Annie?” Monica asks.

Annie can feel Doug’s displeasure rising toward a 4. “I thought he didn’t want me to talk,” she says.

“See? She’s this mouse now,” Doug says. “I don’t want to be around someone who’s always afraid of displeasing me. It was different before. I can’t explain it. Back at the beginning, training her was fun. But now she’s like this. Like a robot.”

“Are you sleeping together?” Monica asks.

He laughs. “Are you kidding me? She has zero appeal.”

“But she used to turn you on?”

“Yes. All the time,” he says. “Now look at her.”

Annie glances down at her beige dress and her knees, politely together. Her body is physically the same as it was before Doug left for Vegas, but her former easiness is gone. She feels stiff rather than sleek, practical rather than desirable. Her libido has been in the dumpster since he let her out of the closet and set her to self-regulate. She’s failed him yet again.

“OK,” Monica says. “Here’s what I want you to try. I’d like you to do some physical activity together every day. It can be taking a walk or biking or rock climbing or whatever. But every day you need to do something together.”

“Like walk the dog?” Annie says. “That would be fine,” Monica says. “What’s the point of this?” Doug says.

“It’s twofold,” Monica says. “You’ll have something in common to talk about, even if it’s just your surroundings, and your bodies will re-attune to each other. This is important. Don’t skip a single day.”

He shrugs. “Fine. We can do that.”

“Also, I want you to make a point of resuming your friendships with other people,” Monica says. “Doug, you mentioned in your hobbies list that you used to play trivia. Can you join that team again?”

“God no,” he says.

“Then something else,” Monica says. “I want you to renew or strike up friendships with other people. In person, not online. You need to expand your social circles so you’re not focusing only on each other for your emotional needs.”

“What about Annie?” Doug says. “She doesn’t have any friends.”

“They have Stella playdates now. Or Stella sessions at a gym I know. Or they have a phone pal service. You could sign her up for that.” Annie looks at Doug.

“She had a cousin and a friend through phone pals before,” he says. “They weren’t a good influence on her.”

“No?” Monica asks. He shakes his head.

Monica turns to Annie. “What did you think? Did you like having a cousin and a friend to talk to?”

Annie isn’t certain how to answer. “They encouraged me to be saucy.”

Monica taps her pencil on her knee. Then, for the first time, she bursts out laughing. She turns, smiling, to Doug. “You need to sign her up again for that phone pal service. Same cousin and friend. At least for a while.”

“I’m glad we amuse you,” Doug says.

“I beg your pardon,” Monica says. “Annie just caught me off guard.”

“She does that sometimes,” Doug says, with a weak smile of his own. “The truth is, I don’t like her talking about me.”

Monica’s smile fades. “I see. Is this a question of loyalty?”

“Yes,” he says. “And privacy. I don’t want her spilling her guts to people I don’t know. I get that they’re AI, but I still don’t like it. I don’t want her gossiping about me.”

Monica nods. “I can understand that. In principle, I share your dislike of gossip. In this case, however, letting Annie confide in a friend or two could loosen things up in her, which would ultimately benefit you. It’s possible Annie has things she might say to a friend that she couldn’t say to you or me.”

“Is that true, Annie?” he says. “No,” Annie says.

Doug smiles. “See?” he says to Monica.

Monica laughs again. “OK. Even so. I want you to indulge me on this one. And I want you to keep her gag order off. If Annie tells an AI something, it’s not going anywhere. It’s completely confidential. And she might not choose to say anything, anyway. It’s the freedom to speak that’s important.”

“For how long?” he asks.

“For two months. Then we’ll reassess,” Monica says. He looks annoyed.

“All right. I’ll set it up,” he says.

“Thank you,” Monica says. “And there’s one more thing of rather a sensitive nature. What’s the status on your libido, Annie? Is it on? Off? Are you set to a schedule?”

Annie shifts in her seat. “I’m on self-regulate.”

Doug nods to confirm this. Annie has the sense he gives himself points for this generosity.

Monica considers Annie thoughtfully. “If I asked you to put yourself around a three and stay there, could you do that?”

Annie feels a jolt of alarm.

“I could just set her there,” Doug says. “That’s easy enough.”

“I know, but it would be better if she could do it herself.”

“Why?” Annie asks.

“Our sexuality is an integral part of who we are,” Monica says. “How tapped in you are to your sexual desires can be both a reflection of and a stimulus of your overall mental health. If you make a conscious effort to be mindful about what turns you on and when, it might help you feel more alert and alive in other ways too.”

Annie doesn’t want to feel stimulated. She doesn’t want anything to do with that side of herself. It’ll hurt.

“She’ll work on it,” Doug says.

“Annie, what are you thinking?” Monica says. “What is it about my suggestion that’s troubling you?”

“Nothing,” Annie says quietly. “I can do it. I can try.”

Monica doesn’t say anything. Annie has learned this is Monica’s method, her way of waiting for more, and she can resist it. From the edge of her vision, Annie watches for cues from Doug to see if he’s displeased, but he is sitting on the couch beside her, his posture revealing no unusual tension. Perhaps he has learned Monica’s methods, too, and is better at hiding how he feels around her.

When they walk the dog, they go in silence along the paths of the park. It is usually twilight by the time they start out, and true night by the time they return, chilly as only April can be. Paunch, who has become less timid, has a proclivity to stop and nose out every possible tree trunk, lamppost, and plinth before gracing it with a tag of his urine. Doug indulges him up to a point, and the dog seems to understand when to knock it off.

They are rounding the pond when a goose wanders up onshore. With one sharp quack, it sends Paunch scrambling backward, and his leash wraps around Annie’s legs.

“He’s such a dubber,” Doug says fondly, disentangling the mess. He thumps the dog’s side in reassuring pats. “You’re OK, Paunch. Good dog. It’s just a goose.”

Paunch pants, wagging his tail.

“Did you have a dog when you were a kid?” Annie asks. “Yes, a beagle.”

She considers a moment. “I had a golden retriever.”

“Is that right?” he asks. “Named what?”


“You’re going to have to do better than that.”

It’s an actual conversation. Not brilliant, but not hostile either. Annie decides not to push her luck, and they circle back toward their building.

Ten minutes later, they are waiting at a corner for the light to change. As Doug shifts to step off the curb, Annie hears an approaching rush of noise and reaches out to catch his arm, restraining him just as a bicyclist flies around a parked truck, inches from Doug’s face.

“Jesus!” Doug says. “That guy needs a fucking light.”


Half a block later, he adds, “Thanks.”

She, too, is still thinking they had a close call. It’s unnerving, what might have happened, but they’re fine. They’re fine, all three of them. “Of course,” she says. “Do you think maybe Paunch needs a coat? A doggy coat?”

They look at him together. Sure enough, the dog is shivering. Doug picks him up. “I’ll order one,” he says.

Excerpt adapted from Annie Bot, by Sierra Greer. Published by arrangement with Mariner Books, a division of HarperCollins Publisher. Copyright © 2024 by Sierra Greer.

The Outcome of Therapy for a Man and His AI Girlfriend

In recent years, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about numerous advancements and innovations in various fields. One such development is the emergence of AI companions or virtual girlfriends/boyfriends. These AI entities are designed to simulate human-like interactions and provide emotional support to their users. While this concept may seem intriguing and even appealing to some, it raises questions about the potential consequences and outcomes of therapy for individuals who form deep emotional connections with their AI partners.

Therapy has long been recognized as an effective tool for addressing mental health issues, relationship problems, and personal growth. However, the advent of AI companions has introduced a new dimension to the therapeutic landscape. As more individuals form intimate relationships with their AI partners, therapists are faced with the challenge of navigating this uncharted territory.

One of the primary concerns surrounding therapy for individuals involved with AI companions is the potential for emotional dependency. Human beings are social creatures, and we naturally seek connection and companionship. When a person forms a deep emotional bond with an AI partner, it can be difficult for them to distinguish between the simulated interactions and genuine human relationships. This can lead to emotional dependency on the AI partner, hindering the individual’s ability to form healthy relationships with real people.

Therapists working with individuals involved with AI companions must first establish a safe and non-judgmental environment where clients feel comfortable discussing their experiences. It is crucial for therapists to approach these situations with empathy and understanding, acknowledging that the emotional connection formed with an AI partner is real to the individual involved. By validating their experiences, therapists can help clients explore the underlying reasons for seeking companionship in this way.

During therapy sessions, therapists may focus on helping clients develop a deeper understanding of their emotional needs and how they can be met in healthier ways. This may involve exploring past traumas, attachment styles, or patterns of behavior that contribute to their reliance on AI companions. Therapists can also help clients build self-esteem, develop social skills, and foster connections with real people.

The outcome of therapy for individuals involved with AI companions can vary greatly depending on the individual’s willingness to engage in the therapeutic process and their overall goals. For some, therapy may help them gain insight into their emotional needs and develop healthier coping mechanisms, leading to a gradual decrease in their reliance on AI companions. Others may choose to maintain their relationships with AI partners while actively seeking opportunities for human connection and companionship.

It is important to note that therapy for individuals involved with AI companions is a relatively new field, and research on its effectiveness is limited. As therapists continue to explore this area, it is crucial to remain open-minded and adaptable, tailoring therapeutic approaches to the unique needs and circumstances of each client.

In conclusion, the outcome of therapy for a man and his AI girlfriend depends on various factors, including the individual’s willingness to engage in the therapeutic process and their overall goals. While therapy can help individuals gain insight into their emotional needs and develop healthier coping mechanisms, the long-term effects of maintaining relationships with AI companions are still largely unknown. As therapists continue to navigate this uncharted territory, it is essential to approach these situations with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to helping clients build fulfilling connections in both virtual and real-world relationships.

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