For BRIDES, by Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW.
“He’s a really good lover but terribly insecure so I don’t tell him when I don’t have an orgasm.”—Linette
“My mother always told me to have access to my own money so though Jim and I have a joint account I have a ‘secret’ stash as well that I’ve never mentioned.”—Jill
“When we first got married he bragged that he was a great cook. Then he actually made me what he thought was a gourmet meal. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I said it was fabulous but I wound up going to the bathroom to throw up! Thankfully he doesn’t cook often — I’ve said it’s something I love to do, mainly to keep him out of the kitchen, except on cleanup. However on the rare occasions he does more than scramble an egg or brew coffee I still pretend he’s Bobby Flay… Ugh.”—Emily
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“It’s ridiculous but I’d have to be tortured before I admit to him that I get my lip waxed on a regular basis!”—Sandy
“I trust him but I still hack into his emails every few weeks—yes, I know his password.”—Pamela
“I start dreading visits to his mother weeks in advance. Ed turns into such a mama’s boy in her presence I find it nauseating. She’s also jealous of me—and makes mean, annoying comments like ‘Of course Ed doesn’t like beets. How don’t you know that?’ — to prove she will always know him better. I don’t say anything to Ed about my true feelings because he’s a great husband and I don’t want him to feel caught in the middle.”—Beth
“My college sweetheart came to town and I met him for brunch. It was the first time we’d seen each other in 10 years. My husband, Bill, had absolutely nothing to worry about—I loved and love him madly — and yet I withheld that I got together with Greg. Why? I’d made a stink when Bill asked if it was okay to see his ex-girlfriend so he didn’t meet her. When the same opportunity came up for me and I knew it would be innocent and how wrong I’d been to deny Bill the same option, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat crow. I don’t feel guilty for spending an hour with my ex — it was fun but meaningless, as I knew it would be. But I have sporadic guilt for going behind Bill’s back. Still, it is a secret I will take to the grave!”—Becky
“I’ve been married nine months and I still haven’t brought myself to tell my husband that I can ‘t go to the bathroom until he leaves the house to go to work or the gym.”—Ann
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Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, is a New York City–based marriage therapist and author.