When I asked you all what you wanted to hear more about in 2016, a good lot of you said my marriage. I guess that’s the polite way of saying “More Mike” aka the man with the big biceps who vacuums, cooks and lifts small children with one arm.
Then I met Andrea Syrtash, a real life relationship expert, and I had an idea. Why not use the blog for MARRIAGE THERAPY???
I know we seem totally happy with one another, but I assure you— we laughed WAY TOO HARD at Valentine’s Day Poems for Married People in the New Yorker a few months ago. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor. If you can relate, this new series may be for you.
Andrea Syrtash usually doles out advice on TV (as a regular on the morning show circuit like Good Morning America as well as shows on OWN and TLC), in magazines like Cosmo and Glamour, and she’s even written a book or FIVE, including Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband) and He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing). Plus, she works with singles and couples as a relationship coach; whether they are looking for love, hoping to sustain or improve their love, or striving to learn to love themselves a little more.
In the next few weeks, Andrea is going to be giving us all a little relationship advice. Mike and I will be listening very closely. If there is anything you’d like for her to address specifically, ask in the comments below!
But before we start, I’ll let Andrea give herself a proper introduction.
Hello Mommy Shorters! (Is that a noun?)
I’m so happy to chime in here every month with a little bit of advice and to hear what’s on your mind when it comes to your relationships.
Since writing my first book in 2004, I have immersed myself in this field and the reason is pretty simple: Is there anything more important in the world than our relationships?!
In fact, this has been substantiated by science; specifically the Harvard Grant Study, in which researchers spent 75 years documenting peoples’ lives and happiness. Not surprisingly, ‘connection’ and ‘love’ scored highest as the glue that kept life meaningful, according to George Vaillant, one of the study’s directors.
With this knowledge, it’s amazing how many of us don’t prioritize this thing that matters most…and who could blame us? Women today are jugglers and barely have time to shower in peace, let alone date our spouses or have long involved talks with friends. I actually dedicated one of my books to jugglers because I’m amazed at everything we women take on. (Does ANYONE mono-task anymore?!)
Even so, I know without a doubt that we have to find time to prioritize the thing that we feel is most important. When we don’t find even a small window of time to dedicate to ourselves and our relationships, life inevitably feels out of balance.
Relationships extend beyond romantic ones, of course. Jealous friends, toxic co-workers and crazy in-laws have also filled many hours of my coaching sessions, workshops and pages of my books.
In addition to sharing relationship advice and answering some of your questions (which I’m looking forward to!), we will sometimes highlight specific topics from Ilana and Mike that I will answer here. And having already spoken to them a bit, I can tell you that their relationship themes are pretty common and you’ll probably see yourselves in there as we navigate their relationship scenarios.
And speaking of relationships… I’m excited to be in this new relationship with you!
Have any relationship questions for Andrea? Post them below! You can even post them anonymously if you like.
You can read more about Andrea here or follow @andreasyrtash on twitter.
I’ll just jump right in! Masturbation! Why, as a woman, do I get upset when I discover that my husband has masturbated? I ‘think’ I can answer my own question; because I am jealous of the time he spends with himself considering, I feel we could have sex more frequently than we currently do. Something about him – home alone, watching porn, pleasing himself – irritates the shit out of me. I hid the stash of porn (I have no problem watching it together – to enhance OUR shared experiences) and have made a conscientious effort to make him well aware of my desire for him, as well as, offered oral services unexpectedly. I am also going to take some boudoir photos for him. I think I would feel better knowing that ‘if’ he ‘has to’ pleasure himself that, at least, it is I to whom he is seeing. Not sure if you can help, but any advice on how to communicate with your partner regarding taboo subjects (frequency of sex, masturbation, porn, etc) would be greatly appreciated.
What do you do when your husband can’t take constructive criticism and is also kind of hypocritical? Example: you leave candy wrappers on the side table in the living room after late night snacks (naturally) and he freaks out. However, any time he empties a package in the kitchen, he leaves the trash on the countertop. If you say anything to him about his behavior he freaks out and gets defensive, but you’re just supposed to accept his criticisms? What gives?
My mother-in-law drives me nuts. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is wacky too, but my MIL is too over the top. Any tips for dealing with a narcissist for holidays, birthdays, etc? She spends way too much on things she likes and then gives them to us. Many things we receive are not our taste at all (especially some of the crazy kids toys or weird decorations) but she expects to see them in use whenever she visits. Which she does fairly frequently. Sometimes without permission. I know there are a lot of boundaries I need to work on, but she does not listen. She’ll blow me off or just talk through me (and my husband) if we’re saying something that contradicts her thoughts. What would you do? It strains our marriage because of the stress she puts us under. And causes the occasional fight. But we’re mostly on the same side.
How do you handle/talk to the in laws about spending equal time with their sets of grandchildren? My in laws seem to favor their other set of grandchildren over my son, I don’t think it’s intentional bc my husband and I are more private then his sister and husband but it’s frustrating when I invite them over for holidays and they say no bc they are with my SILs family and it seems like the only time they see my son is when the whole family is together and don’t spend any one on one time with my son, where as they are at my SIL house almost every weekend to see her daughters. I live in the same county as my SIL and am only 10 mins more of a drive for the in laws to get to my house, so location is not an issue.