10 Tough Love Advice From Marriage Therapists

“Therapy isn’t very effective if both partners aren’t completely honest about what’s creating distance between them. In spite of being told this from the start, people always lie about infidelity. But there are indicators and behaviors that advertise cheating to an experienced therapist. When I suspect it I’ll ask the person, ‘Are you distracted by a relationship outside of your marriage?’ And they always say, ‘Absolutely not.’ And I’ll say, ‘It is vital that we have the truth here, I can’t help you if you aren’t truthful.’ And they become incredulous and say, ‘I am telling you, I am not! When would I have the time? Who would it be with? My spouse always knows where I am!’

The denial goes on and on. When this happens, I turn to the other spouse and say, ‘If I were in your shoes I would sniff around and find out any way I could.’ Then I turn to the suspected cheater and gently suggest we schedule a lie detector test. ‘Schedule it,’ the person will say. The couple will leave and soon afterward they’ll call and tell me no lie detector test is necessary — the spouse has confessed. Now, I have a chance of being able to help them.” — Becky Whetstone, marriage and family therapist

“A husband liked to spend all his free time with his wife and she found it stressful. She needed some time alone to relax and recharge her batteries, as many of us do. I advised the husband, ‘Do more things on your own or with a friend. Think about activities you’d enjoy doing by yourself. You’ll be happier and your relationship will benefit. No one person can satisfy all the companionship needs of another.’ He started playing golf with a friend. He went fishing. He took scenic hikes on his own. It proved that all couples need to find a balance between together time and time spent independently.” — Marcia Naomi Berger, psychotherapist, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted

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10 Tough Love Advice From Marriage Therapists

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