On the site’s “family and relationships” section, people get surprisingly candid about their marital problems, all in the hopes that strangers on the Internet will offer up some straight-shooting advice. (Note that Yahoo! is part of Oath, which also owns HuffPost.)
We asked marriage therapists to weigh in on some of the most pressing marriage quandaries currently on the site. See what they had to say below.
We have been together two years and just got engaged. He does have photos of us all over his social media and people know we are together, but he doesn’t want me to be his friend on Facebook or Instagram. I feel like he’s hiding something. Am I overreacting? I don’t know if I want to enter a marriage where I feel like someone is being dishonest and hiding things.
Ryan Kelly, a psychologist in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the woman’s suspicion is understandable, since her fiancé’s decision to ignore her friend request is “very unusual.” He continued:
“Here’s the real question: Is your fiancé creating a boundary of privacy or a wall of secrecy? Privacy in a relationship is a good thing, a necessary thing, that can help maintain one’s independence and self-awareness in a committed relationship. Secrecy, on the other hand, compromises intimacy and I believe that’s what you’re worried about: Does he fear that access to his profile will yield judgment or reprisal? He’s acting secretly, but it may not be what you think. Keep in mind, healthy relationships rely on a balance of privacy and intimacy, mediated by trust and communication. I would avoid acting on that assumption, as these situations are largely contextual. You should express your concerns to him ― that you feel like his privacy or secrecy is interfering with your intimacy ― and give some thought as to why you distrust him.”
I am married (four years) and I have a crush on my husband’s friend. He is lovely, has charisma [and] his body is amazing. He’s a personal trainer and he asked me a couple of times to come to his gym. My husband accepted this idea and encouraged me to join alone. I admit that I like his friend more. He gives me special care at the gym, set an objective, measured my body and sometimes, he’s touched my body, including my butt. Should I let my husband know or not? Should I continue with the friend?
If this woman values her husband and marriage, Kelly said she should think long and hard about continuing to hang out with her gym bud. He added:
“I strongly suggest you refrain from entertaining these feelings or fantasies related to your husband’s friend. If not, the likelihood of you acting upon them increases exponentially. Crushes are largely a product of only one aspect of love ― passion (your sex drive) ― which is largely a neurochemical response. These feelings makes us manic but they’re usually brief. Consider the intimacy and commitment that you and your husband have developed over the years ― the more necessary parts of a love than passion ― and disregard any advances your husband’s friend may or may not be making. You can’t control the other man’s behaviors, but you can control your own.”
My husband and I got married five years ago and moved into my parents for three years because we didn’t have very good jobs. My parents bought groceries because we couldn’t afford a lot. His parents bought us nothing. We have better jobs now and are on our own but they never offer to help us ever. They help his brother and sister constantly. I feel like, because we got married, they think, ‘Hey, we’re off the hook now, he’s yours.’ We recently had major car problems. We called them seven times because we were in their town. We found out they were home and just ignored our calls. My parents had to drive 35 minutes to help us tow our car. Again, they help his brother and sister out constantly.
David McFadden, a marriage and family therapist in Hanover Park, Illinois, noted that parents get to choose whether they want to help their grown children out financially, regardless of their marital status. To avoid issues later on, parents should let their kids know ahead of time if they’ll be willing to help out in the future.
“Some parents have been burned and nearly gone bankrupt due to the continuing needs and demands of their adult children. The goal for most families is that children become adults and are independent. Communication on what an adult child can expect is key to maintaining a good relationship.”
The first time, we were married 18 years. The second, 21 years. Now again, six years later. She is not going to change at this point. Thankfully our children are adults and moved out but seriously I loved this woman.
Marissa Nelson, a marriage and family therapist in Washington, D.C., suggested that after 27 years, wants and needs in a marriage evolve:
“Affairs are an expression of longing and loss, a wish to recapture loss parts of ourselves, and to feel vibrant and alive. Every affair will redefine a relationship. If both people are committed to doing the hard work, staying in the marriage is actually a heartfelt act of love, devotion, commitment and growth. Even if couples walk away from one another, they’ll still need to process all of this. Doing so will only benefit them moving forward and make them better people and better partners. In this situation, where affairs have occurred several times, a lot of unpacking needs to be done. If they’re staying together, the couple needs to address the needs that each person has, and talk about how this disconnect has pulled them farther away from each other.”
I have been married for a few years now and I am the best at compromise. But I really miss having my own bathroom back when I was single. If I were cleaning up a splat or some hair from the sink, I knew it was MY OWN hair, so it made it easier, I guess. I love my hubby so much and adore the manly things he does on a daily but ladies, do you share my frustration? Do you miss having your own bathroom? And by the way, not everyone has the luxury of two bathrooms ― some of us are on the struggling end of the stick.
Nelson said she’s seen this scenario play out often with her married clients, especially women. She continued:
“These women report that they fantasize and relish some period of time where they don’t have be responsible for anyone else. It makes sense that many women wish they lived alone and had some space, given everything that comes with the multifaceted roles of mom/wife/career woman. What I hear when this question comes up is the need for a sense of control and self-care. When you live and share your life with other people, there is a part of you that may feel like you’re losing control over your time your energy, your space. And when you are not taking good care of yourself, these things can build and cause great stress and annoyance. This is a good time to do the things that feed your soul and find ways, big and small, to give back to yourself.”
My husband is always doing things without me and never invites me. He will invite his kids (from his previous marriage) to do activities with him or his mom or friends but he never includes me. He does kickboxing classes, karate classes, art class, yoga and goes to political rallies but never invites me. How do you handle this? If I mention it, he calls me selfish and says I should be happy for him, his kids and mom and not always think about myself.
McFadden noted that it was strange for the husband in this situation to leave his wife out of fun life events and activities. He said:
″A major part of marriage is developing good companionship and friendship and sharing fun and enjoyable moments in life. There may be more to the story here regarding why the husband is not inviting the wife to join. I’d tell him it seems selfish to not include your spouse.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.