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Frequently Asked Questions about Relational/Marital Therapy

Back to Martial/Relationship Issues

When is it time to seek therapy?

The simple truth is that it is time to seek therapy when you think you need therapy. If you are wondering whether you need therapy, find yourself thinking something is wrong with your relationship, or feel something is missing in your relationship it is the right time to call for an appointment. Many couples put off coming for therapy. As a result problems can intensify and more damage can occur to the marriage or relationship.

Is an emotional affair really an affair?

Yes. When one partner becomes emotionally involved with someone other than their partner the consequences can be as, if not more, devastating than if the partner had a sexual affair. The loss of intimacy is one of the most damaging aspects of an affair.

An emotional affair is not a precise term. Generally, it refers to instances in which a spouse/partner becomes emotionally and romantically involved with a person who is not their spouse/partner. An emotional affair is characterized by frequent confiding in the “friend” (particularly about feelings and issues that one normally shares with one's partner), a loss of intimacy with one’s partner/spouse, and defensiveness and secretiveness about the outside relationship.

If I think my partner has a problem why do I have to come in?

Therapy is likely to be more effective when both partners are present. If you have concerns about your spouse/partner’s behavior you need to be present so that you can clearly explain your concerns. We have a much greater chance of helping you address your concerns if you are present to identify them. Moreover, we can help you find more effective ways to influence/bring about changes in the behavior/outlook of your spouse or partner.

Can my relationship work even though my partner and I are really different?

Absolutely! While it is important to have some shared interests and activities, relationships/marriages can flourish even when couples have different interests, come from different backgrounds, and have different goals. While these differences pose more challenges for couples, such differences are not what doom relationships. Rather, the inability to compromise and communicate respectfully about how to manage differences is often what undermines marriages and causes relationships to fail.

Will my therapist respect my values and beliefs?

Definitely! We understand that people have many different types of relationships. We will respect your values and beliefs. Our focus is to help you make your relationship or marriage work for you, within the framework of your values and beliefs. We are a large practice with therapists who have different backgrounds and values. We will work to find the therapist who is a best fit for you. Our approach to therapy is based on the premise that we are working to help you find ways to your make your relationship work better. It is not our agenda to make your relationship conform to some pre-existing model of a “good relationship or marriage.”

Why should we go to therapy when we can go to a marriage workshop?

We are not opposed to marriage workshops, self-help books, or self-help programs. However, most couples need more individualized help to solve their problems. Often couples get stuck in negative patterns of interaction and need a therapist to help them identify and break these patterns, and re-establish positive ways of treating each other.

What can I do right now to start to help my marriage?

  1. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your partner as you would like to be treated, with respect and courtesy.
  2. Read a good book. We strongly recommend the work of John Gottman, PhD, who has written extensively on marriage. Other good resources include the works of Harville Hendrix and Michelle Weiner-Davis.
  3. Let your partner know you want things to be better. Don’t criticize but be clear that you want both of you to be happier.

I don’t want a divorce. Will my therapist push for divorce?

We do not push our clients to divorce. We do not believe that it is our job to tell people how to live their lives. Rather, our job is to help you live your life in a way that is more rewarding and fulfilling. We will work with you and your partner to find a mutually acceptable way to resolve your problems. Unfortunately, some marriages do end in divorce, but it is not our goal or agenda to push for divorce.



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2625 Butterfield Road, Suite 101N, Oakbrook IL 60523
Phone: 630-586-0900 | Fax: 630-586-9990


Oakbook Psychotherapy