Think back to any time you've been physically ill. Associated with the physical symptoms is a certain sense of helplessness. Since you are a college student, I will assume that you are a young adult who has grown up in a family on which you could rely for advice and assistance when you were sick. As children, we "know" that mum and dad know more about illness than do we, and we kind of give up whatever fraction of adult power we have achieved during illness as we go back to the status of a smaller child who is nearly totally dependent. When an otherwise competent adult develops a "psychosomatic" illness (a constellation of complaints that require medical attention but turn out not to be part of a physical illness) we may assume that the individual is really asking for nurturance at the level recieved by a sick child. Often we see this pattern of behavior in adults who are limited in their ability to ask others for help at many levels; not infrequently, this is the pattern we see in people who work in the helping professions.
Later in your training you will run into the work of the psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut, who introduced the concept of the "selfobject," a helper (usually the mother) who reads the emotional output of a preverbal child, figures out what is needed by merging with that affect (a combination of identification and empathy) and finds a solution for the problem. Harold found an adult version of this selfobject function in his paramour. The problem seemed to be that he chose as a wife someone who was unwilling to take that role for him as he takes it for others. Finally, you are surprised that he choses as a lover someone who is not involved in his work---actually, as his secretary, she is totally involved in his life. A term often used here for secretaries who literally take over the emotional lives of "busy" executives (who then go home to their families) is "office wife."
As the case develops, we are likely to see the contrast between Harold's need to take care of other people and the paucity of such care available to him elsewhere.