We Asked A Therapist To Review Reddit Relationship Advice And Here's What She Said
"The response is too harsh."
However, after years of inhaling this content (and occasionally posting myself), I was curious — was the advice that people were getting actually any good? So I enlisted the help of Rachel A. Sussman, a licensed therapist and relationship expert, to review some of the top-rated advice given on three different posts.
"I (26 M) recently found out that my fiancé (28 F) hid her massive debt from me for our entire relationship. I'm thinking of calling off everything and leaving, but everyone around me says I'm overreacting." —ThrowRA80k
"$110,000 is a MASSIVE amount of credit card debt. She has likely been lying on credit applications to even have that amount of credit available to her.
"She will probably be declined for pretty much anything going forward. This is a very big deal; your parents are wrong. Flee from this situation because it's probably going to be around for the next 10 years as it is."
Relationship expert Sussman says: "That comment isn't necessarily factually wrong — but they're not talking about a relationship. Yes, it's about the debt, but from my perspective, it's more about the lie.
Sussman continues: "Right now he's really angry, and I get it. But doesn't the relationship deserve some closure? Shouldn't he sit and talk to her? Shouldn't he hear her out and tell her how he feels?
"At the end of that conversation, he might say, 'I love you, I really feel for you — but I feel so blindsided and lied to by you that I don't think I'm capable of trusting you again.' Trust is the most important element in a relationship. Once that trust is broken, it's hard to get it back. The longer the time, the bigger the deceit, and the harder it is to recover."
"My (22F) boyfriend (23M) wants to move forward in the relationship, even though we disagree in fundamental matters — like religion and kids." —throwRA323u12313
"You’re not awful; you didn’t waste his time, but it is now breakup o’clock. A relationship doesn’t have to be permanent to be meaningful."
Sussman says: "If you talk to a counselor, especially a marriage and family therapist, you will be guided in a research-based process to help couples through these difficult situations."
Sussman continues: "I've had multiple couples come to see me to discuss their views on child-rearing. I find that if their views are very different, it opens up the discussion. I want each person to be curious about the other person's perspective.
"There are so many opportunities through differences for couples to try to have empathy for the other person and find out where the other person is coming from. Differences are not fundamentally deal breakers, but unresolved differences can be a deal breaker."
"My boyfriend's ex wrote a letter to me. I feel really strange and jealous, even though it was a nice letter." —ThrowRA-strangelette
"This is one of those things that are beautiful in a movie — but IRL they're weird.
"I don't think you should contact her; it's your boyfriend's fault that she's even a factor in your relationship at all. He shouldn't be holding her on this pedestal because it's going to ruin any relationship he has with anyone else that's not her. I would tell him that her letter makes it feel like you will never be as close to him as she is, and that it seems like you're his second pick."
For this one, Sussman says: "Although there are some kernels of truth, the response is too harsh. Who are we to say that a breakup should be brutal?
"Maybe they are really nice people; maybe the relationship before you was a healthy one, and maybe it broke up because someone has had to relocate — but it's still in the past, and you, in the new relationship, are the present."
Sussman adds: "I honestly think someone feeling so jealous of an ex-girlfriend shows insecurity on their part — and that insecurity has to be processed.
"I think the most important part was that she said there seems to be a closeness between her boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend that this new relationship doesn't have."
Sussman continues: "If she was my client, I would ask her to describe why she doesn't feel like she has that closeness in detail. Does she have intimacy issues? Or is the ex blocking the intimacy?
"A strong, confident woman will say, 'I want to get closer to you and have a greater level of intimacy — but I've been feeling you holding back. Now I read this letter, and what I see is a different you. And that confuses me. Can we talk about that?'"
Although it's hard to fully gauge a situation from a Reddit post, it looks like some of the advice can be a little simplistic in comparison with the pro's opinion. When in doubt, communication is key.
Note: Quotes have been edited for length and/or clarity.