The Ultimate Guide to Relationship Advice

By
Photo: Getty Images

A wise person once said, “the best advice is your own” — but that person had probably never read Ask Polly. At the Cut, we’ve spent years covering sex, love, and dating — answering your questions and addressing key issues along the way. Wondering what time of day is best for boning? Need a crash course in how to be happy and single? Desperate to stop fighting with your partner about money? We’ve got you. Here’s some of our best relationship advice for whatever shape your love life is taking.

Relationship advice for being in one

relationship advice - if you're in a relationship
Photo: Getty Images

What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky

“After a decade of marriage, if things go well, you don’t need any more proof. What you have instead — and what I would argue is the most deeply romantic thing of all — is this palpable, reassuring sense that it’s okay to be a human being.”

Do Happy Couples Masturbate? When Masturbation Meets Cohabitation by Maureen O’Connor

“If a hobby is an activity pursued for pleasure, then masturbation is perhaps the hobby most of humanity shares.”

How to Stop Fighting Over Money With Your Partner by Mandy Stadtmiller

“Fights about spending it, fights about saving it, and, perhaps most insidiously, fights about hiding it will doom your union if you aren’t careful. My solution: Nip that potential in the bud on day one.”

Maybe Constant Mockery Is the Key to a Happy Marriage by Johanna Gohmann

“Making fun of each other helps you to take yourself, and life, less seriously. Which can really cut the tension during tough moments.”

What Time of Day Is Best for Boning? by the Cut

“Science of Us columnist and Guardian data editor Mona Chalabi helps us have better sex lives through data and crunches the numbers on a whole bunch of sex-related things.”

Ask Polly: Why Don’t the Men I Date Ever Truly Love Me? by Heather Havrilesky

“None of the guys I’ve dated long-term have ever loved me. They’ve liked me a gosh-darn awful lot, but boy-oh-boy do they not want to pull out those three little words.”

Don’t Go on Vacation Until You Vacation-Proof Your Relationship by Mandy Stadtmiller

“No matter who you are, the key is to not get insulting or defensive about expressing your needs.”

Convince Your Partner to Do Their Chores by Saying It’s Good for Your Sex Life by Gabriella Paiella

“Sexual frequency is linked to overall relationship satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction is highest when couples divide the housework evenly.”

Relationship advice for improving your sex life

relationship advice - improve sex life
Photo: Getty Images

The Great Spanx Sex Experiment by Julieanne Smolinski

“I now had in front of me a spandex sex Everest: a journalistic quest to prove that one actually could have sex in Spanx.”

Do Not Apologize for Having Loud Sex by Maureen O’Connor

“The whole point of being a wage-earning, home-owning (or -renting) adult is that you can do whatever you want to do in the privacy of your home. And noisy sex is fun.”

Can You Teach ‘Sexy’? I Took a Class to Find Out by Rose Surnow

“I always figured sexiness was like a sense of humor or diabetes, either you got it or you don’t. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.”

When Women Pursue Sex, Even Men Don’t Get It by Ann Friedman

“We’ve already established that females of all species are interested in sex for pleasure. But in the human realm, that simple, fundamental motivation is all too easily labeled as ‘sluttiness,’ or some sort of deep desperation wrought by singledom.”

There’s Nothing Sexy About Emoji Sexting by Gabriella Paiella

“The whole sexting process is pretty straightforward: You say your thing, they say their thing, maybe you exchange some photos, everyone has a nice time and hopefully an orgasm or two.”

How to Sound Sexy, According to the Women Who Narrate Audiobook Erotica by Grace Bello

“If you’re going to talk dirty with your partner, try to figure out ahead of time what each of you wants to hear in bed; make sure that you’re both comfortable with the fantasy that will unfold.”

Everything You Need to Know About Ghost Sex by Jessica Roy

“For as long as humans have been conscious of a spiritual realm, humans have dreamed, fantasized, and (some claim) experienced doing it with ghosts.”

Dating a Perfectionist Is Terrible for Your Sex Life by Lisa Ryan

“Women who believe their partner is imposing impossible standards on them are prone to sexual dysfunction.”

Warning: A Column on Butt Play by Maureen O’Connor

“Even as anal play becomes a common extension of genital play, nobody seems comfortable discussing it publicly — even though we seem to love talking about every other taboo we bust just as soon as we bust it.”

Relationship advice for braving the dating game

relationship advice - dating
Photo: Getty Images

Can I Sleep With My BFF’s Ex? by The Cut

“Two pairs of female BFFs discuss their overlapping love lives; what to do when you catch someone else’s partner cheating; and how to stay friends with a friend who falls in love with your ex (or a friend who’s just banging your ex).”

Sneaking In (or Out) a Relationship’s Backdoor by Maureen O’Connor

“Dating technology did not invent the backdoor DTR. (You could argue that shotgun weddings are a form of backdoor DTR.) But as the Information Age expands the forms of communication available to suitors, it also offers parallel possibilities for miscommunication — both accidental and willful.”

What an Arranged Marriage Taught My Mom About Dating by Beejoli Shah

“Between elementary-school swooning and post-college relationships, something unexpected happened. My apparently non-romantic mother, a woman who’s never been on a date, became the best dating guru I’ve ever met.”

Fifty Shades of Grey Is a Great Dating Guide by Maureen O’Connor

“As a portrayal of the hesitations and anxieties of dating, Fifty Shades is genuinely engrossing.”

Why None of Your Friends Can Name the Guy You’re Seeing by Priscilla Pine

“Why are we all telling each other about going to a cocktail bar with Floppy-Hair Dude instead of saying we’ve been on three dates with a guy named Adam who seems cool?”

Ask Polly: What Am I Doing Wrong With Men? by Heather Havrilesky

“How could I have misread the situation this much? I thought this was going to be different from all the other guys and relationships. I thought I was doing everything right.”

Why I Quit Online Dating by Rebecca Schiff

“What happened was that I had stopped being able to fake it, to push my way through to intimacy with strangers.”

The Secret to a Good Date: Have Sex First by Priscilla Pine

“If you’re going out with someone you’ve already had sex with and don’t need to evaluate in public for reasons of safety or suitability, then please, for the love of god, fuck first.”

Relationship advice for living the single life

relationship advice - single
Photo: Getty Images

How to Have a Relationship With Yourself by Ann Friedman

“There’s a short, strange history of single women marrying themselves, an over-the-top act that’s been met with plenty of skepticism. Although it’s tempting to write it off as a tulle-draped stunt, there’s something meaningful in the underlying idea of committing to yourself.”

Stop Telling Single Women How to Find a Man by Alana Massey

“All of the suggestions lobbed at single women may seem like helpful attempts to improve their prospects, but at their heart is a belief that single women are problems to be solved rather than individuals in need of a little empathy.”

How to Ruin Your Social Life With Dating Apps (It’s Fun) by Maureen O’Connor

“As the novelty wears off and swipe-right dating apps become fully integrated into the social landscape, they have developed their own fatigues and faux pas.”

Relying on Friendship in a World Made for Couples by Briallen Hopper

“When friendships are your primary relationships, friendship isn’t just important: It’s existential.”

Alone at 37, I’m Learning to Love the ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ by Shauna Miller

“There are no guarantees, especially involving people. You’ve gotta save your own life. Over and over. You’re the only one invested in it to the degree that you deserve.”

Feeling Lonely When You’re Single Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak by Alana Massey

“As members of a generation raised on the virtues of self-esteem and self-reliance, confessing that we are lonely is to admit we’ve failed to sufficiently absorb the personal motto we were assigned from birth: ‘I am enough.’”

I Feel Destined to Be Single, and That’s Okay by Anna Holmes

“I savored the company of friends and family and considered myself extremely intuitive and emotionally open, but I had to admit that other folks sometimes got in the way of my keeping my own great company.”

Relationship advice for dealing with breakups

relationship advice - going through a breakup
Photo: Getty Images

30 Famous Women on Heartbreak by Julie Ma

“Even Jesus bitched about his suffering, and if we read him right, he suffered our agonies too. No one leaves this planet without having plenty of heartbreak.” —Mary Karr

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Breakup by Jen Doll

“At some point, even that LDR high couldn’t keep up with the actual absence I had begun to feel, almost as though this boyfriend who had never fully been there geographically in the first place was slipping away.”

I Tried Hypnotherapy to Get Over My Breakup by Julieanne Smolinski

“Whether you’re in the plangent throes of rejection or just light crotch-grief, the idea of erasing someone who hurt you is deeply tantalizing.”

Winning the Breakup in the Age of Instagram by Maureen O’Connor

“The winner is the ex whose career skyrockets after the split; whose new wife is a ­supermodel; who looks better; who dates better; who has bouncier hair. It’s getting over your ex before she gets over you and leading a demonstratively successful life without her — but doing so in ways that at least look casual, just for yourself, definitely not just to rub it in her face, because you’re so over her, remember?”

Both Side of a Breakup: She Moved Out and Their Dogs Suffered the Most by the Cut

“Chris, a 31-year-old actor, and Sasha, a 26-year-old event planner, spent five (often sexless) years together — until he found a suspicious text, and she found the strength to finally let him go.”

13 Breakup Stories Way Worse Than Yours by the Cut

“No matter how bad it was (or how many times you texted), your behavior was nowhere near as bad as any of the people in Jennifer Wright’s book, It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History.”

Relationship advice for having problems with your partner

relationship advice - unhappy with partner
Photo: Getty Images

Ask Polly: How Do I Know If I’m Settling? by Heather Havrilesky

“I find myself bouncing back and forth between blissful happiness, sure that this is it for me, and stomachache-inducing stress that he isn’t what I want.”

‘Are We Broken?’: 15 Couples on Not Having Sex by Meaghan Winter

“Not everyone wants sex all the time — we know that. But it’s hard not to feel rejected when the person you’re supposedly sleeping with starts going straight to sleep.”

Walking Away From My Soul Mate Was the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done by Maria Venegas

“Our lives were unfolding in different directions, taking us on different paths — choices had to be made.”

Trump Is Tearing My Marriage Apart by Mandy Stadtmiller

“My name is Mandy, and my husband is a Donald Trump supporter. When we got married in November, I never would have dreamed Trump could be an issue. But now our very young marriage is facing a relationship crucible: our first election year.”

Your Ultimate Guide to Relationship Advice