Relationship Advice Online: 7 Top Websites to Help Make your Relationship Work

Getting relationship advice online is probably the best way to open your mind to possibilities you didn’t know existed – from the comfort of your own home. While a lot of relationship and dating experts offer such online services for lonely hearts, very few are based on real-world experience and evidence-based information. That’s why it’s important that you only get online relationship advice from sites you can trust. Here, we list 7 top websites that can give you valuable and personalized tips and techniques to make your relationship work, whether it’s a long-distance relationship (LDR) or a geographically close relationship (GCR.)

But first, a fun section about how this all got started in the first place!

A History of “Agony Aunt” Columns

If you’ve never heard of the term, an Agony Aunt column is a popular inclusion in print publications from the past. Appearing in journals, magazines, and even daily newspapers, it was essentially a collection of questions from readers who would write in, and corresponding responses from the resident expert at the publication. It wasn’t unusual for a newspaper or magazine to hire a psychologist or other sort of professional as the in-house columnist providing such advice.

As such, these agony aunt columns for different types of relationship advice were around as early as the 17th century. Look at this report about such a column, which appeared in a 1692 edition of the Athenian Mercury, a biweekly periodical:

Complaints in the Athenian Mercury about a ‘Knot of Apprentices’ misbehaving with a ‘Servant Maid, of no good Reputation’ were frequent. The Athenian Society warned apprentices that such behavior risked ‘scandal and danger‘ to their reputations. The termination of an indenture could be ruinous to a young man’s prospects, and such conduct threatened his ‘Fame, Estate, Body, and ’tis to be fear’d Soul and all’. (March, 1692)

The advice column format itself is said to be the creation of John Dunton, who was the editor-in-chief of the Athenian Mercury. Here’s how they solicited letters from their readers:

All Persons whatever may be resolved gratis in any Question that their own satisfaction or curiosity shall prompt ’em to, if they send their Questions by a Penny Post letter to Mr. Smith at his Coffee-house in Stocks Market in the Poultry, where orders are given for the reception of such Letters, and care shall be taken for their Resolution by the next Weekly Paper after their sending.

Although the advice column was originally a generic one for any type of query, it set the tone for agony aunt columns in the following centuries. At its peak, which is generally considered to be around the 1960s, there were literally dozens of newspapers, periodicals, and magazines that published their own versions of the expert advice column, and it eventually became more specialized into advice for relationships, personal finance, medical problems, work-related queries, and so on.

So, how has this phenomenon been around for so long and why is it more popular today than ever? That’s the next question we’ll try to answer before we get into our list.

Why Look for Relationship Advice Online?

One of the reasons these columns were so popular is obviously because of the level of demand they enjoyed. And that demand stemmed from the fact that even so-called modern societies tend to be highly repressed when it comes to matters of a personal nature. With these columns, an avenue was created for readers to ask questions that were important to them.

That’s also why professional and online forums get high traffic for relationship advice online – because we often find it hard to communicate our feelings to our closest family members. Sadly, this sentiment that has been around for centuries hasn’t changed a bit. That speaks poorly about our collective ability to communicate our real feelings in public, doesn’t it?

Moreover, not everyone has a cool sibling or an understanding aunt who is also a qualified relationship expert. For these reasons, relationship advice websites have flourished in the age of the Internet. Some of the best ones are listed below.

Top 7 Websites for Relationship Advice Online

Reddit

Surprisingly, Reddit has emerged as one of the leading forums for people to ask any kind of relationship question they’re looking for an answer to. The main benefit of this, however, is also its biggest weakness: not everything you read is from experts. However, there are some subreddits, such as r/relationship_advice, that offer genuine and serious solutions, tips, and techniques to complicated relationship problems. One key feature is that specific comments can be upvoted by other readers, giving the person posting the question some indication of popular consensus for different solutions.

Pros

  • Crowdsourced solutions to personal relationship problems
  • Free for everyone
  • Option to remain anonymous

Cons

  • Not necessarily expert advice in the traditional sense
  • Too many comments to go through
  • Chance of being trolled

Quora

Another popular crowd-sourcing platform for personal questions is Quora, a highly regarded site. As with Reddit, the upvoting feature allows the questioner to sift through loads of responses and tag one as the best possible answer. Moreover, people who regularly get their responses upvoted by readers are eventually considered “experts” in specific categories where they are most active.

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Anonymity maintained
  • Upvoting offers a sort of filter to help sift through dozens of answers

Cons

  • Wide variations in the quality of answers offered
  • Not a forum for true experts on the subject
  • Wrong advice might end up getting upvoted

April Masini

Relationship expert April Masini has been covered by top media names such as The New York Times and Men’s Health magazine. Her approach is warm but she’s known for her directness and no-nonsense style. Her blog, AskApril.com, offers Relationship Advice, Relationship Issues, and various other categories where you can get answers to a wide range of relationship questions. For personalized answers, you’ll need to go to her Advice Forum on AprilMasini.com.

Pros

  • Expert advice
  • Well-known author and relationship expert

Cons

  • Ms. Masini has recently begun another project and may not be actively responding

Love is Respect

The loveisrespect.org website is an initiative started by the National Domestic Violence Hotline and focuses on violence in dating and relationships. It is primarily focused on teens and young adults who face physical, emotional, and other types of violence. The benefit here is the live 24/7 support for any related advice and the additional information for involving law enforcement officials if the situation warrants it. The site itself covers a wide range of topics such as consent, conflict resolution, setting boundaries, types of abuse, etc. that are important to the younger generation.

Pros

  • Expert advice with 24/7 live support
  • Rich with useful resources
  • Highly informational
  • Highlights awareness and provides education for others involved in the relationship, such as family and friends

Cons

  • Skews toward young adults and teens
  • Primarily focused on abuse in a relationship

BetterHelp

This site takes a different approach and focuses on relationship therapy. It offers personalized advice from licensed and registered therapists and support staff. It’s not free but is advertised as being affordable and convenient. Per the website: “The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly). You can cancel your membership at any time for any reason.”

Pros

  • Guaranteed expert advice
  • Wide range of issues covered for relationships, including marriage
  • Various options to connect – phone, chat, video, and texting

Cons

  • Need to pay before being connected with a therapist
  • No definite time-frame will be provided for resolution, which means paying weekly until you cancel

GayForum

A relatively mature site that’s been around for a few years, gayforum.org offers relationship advice for same-sex couples. You can post a new thread or have a discussion about your own issues in a related thread, and community members will chip in with their thoughts and advice.

Pros

  • Comments are given +1s so you can see if others agree with the advice given
  • Good site for same-sex couples to get advice on specific relationship topics
  • Decent range of issues covered

Cons

  • Not very well known or highly promoted
  • No expert advice available

eNotAlone

This is a lot like Quora and Reddit but not as popular. Still, it covers a lot of useful areas for various types of relationships, such as those with family members. It even offers community-based advice on personal growth and fulfillment, divorce, and other topics that are hard to talk about with people you know.

Pros

  • Free for everyone
  • Advice from a good range of age groups
  • Anonymous platform

Cons

  • No expert advice available

The Importance of Seeking Relationship Advice Online or Offline

We’ve covered several aspects of relationship advice online and where to get it. One key factor we’ve yet to discuss is the reason for seeking such advice. When we try to “fix” problems ourselves, we often tend to make them even more complicated. Even worse, getting the wrong sort of advice can hurt or even end a close relationship. That’s why getting advice from the right source is often critical to making a relationship work or saving it.

But getting relationship advice online is certainly not the only avenue open to you. Sometimes, there can be no replacement for formal therapy sessions with a licensed practitioner. However, it can be prohibitively expensive in most cases. That’s why people search for more affordable and even free avenues to ask the questions they wouldn’t dare ask a close friend or a family member.

Other Options for the Best Relationship Advice

Apart from these and other similar websites, there are also other avenues for you to explore:

  • Group therapy with a support group is a good alternative if you don’t mind the traditional “offline” method.
  • There are also several chat forums for relationship advice online where someone is usually available right through the day and night.
  • Social media. This might not be for everyone because it throws open your private life to practically everyone you’re connected to online. However, you can make your post private or just invite a few close friends and have a discussion about your relationship issue. Warning: Not every friend on social media is a real friend. You need to earn those, not just accept friend requests!
  • Some sites offer virtual or physical Meetup sessions with people in your area, which are similar to group therapy sessions but for very specific relationship issues.
  • You can also search for relationship quotes from famous personalities. A lot of websites aggregate and organize such quotes so you can search with specific keywords. Something might set off a spark in your brain that eventually solves your problem.
  • Podcasts are another way to get expert relationship advice. One such channel is Dr. Brian Rzepczynski’s The Gay Love Coach podcast, which you can find on Apple iTunes or the new Apple Podcasts app, which was introduced when iTunes was deprecated in macOS Catalina.
  • Internet radio is another place for great relationship advice, and you can privately listen to your favorite channels with Bluetooth earplugs so nobody knows what you’re listening to.
  • Talk to a friend or family member. You might not feel comfortable at first, but try broaching the subject with a close confidant or family member you’re especially close to. Sometimes, the best relationship advice comes from the people who know and understand you better than a complete stranger.
  • Talk to your partner. This is actually the first thing you should do before seeking any sort of relationship advice, especially if it’s something that’s been bothering you for a while. Open and honest communication are the hallmarks of any great relationship, and you’ll only get there if you start to make the effort.

Getting relationship advice online or offline is great when it’s from an expert or even a group of people with similar experiences, but two-way communication is always a better option. That way, you can get into details of your issue and dig deeper until you find the solution. If you want to know the recipe for a healthy relationship, we suggest you read this article as well.

Friendship Lamps to Strengthen a Long-distance Relationship – Check it Out!

Relationship Killers: Japan’s Thriving “Breakup Service” Exposed

We’ve all heard of private investigators being hired to spy on cheating spouses, but have you ever heard of a private agent that you can hire to seduce your partner and help you break off a relationship or file for divorce? Such services have been available in Japan for more than two decades now. People can engage a ‘wakaresaseya’ to woo their partners, seduce them, and have a colleague take compromising pictures to make a case to file for a divorce. And that’s the best-case scenario, where a simple threat of exposure can often get the job done. But not in every case.

The wakaresaseya network (the word literally means “break-uppers”) became globally newsworthy when one of its members ended up killing the woman he was hired to seduce. Takeshi Kuwabara was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of Rie Isohata, whose husband had hired Kuwabara to deliberately entrap his wife in a compromising situation. Photographs were taken and were to be used to file for divorce. Unfortunately, things never got that far.

The death of Isohata had opened a can of worms, and the wakaresaseya networks had to face a slew of regulatory restrictions and the consequences of having their operational methods thrown wide open for everyone to see. The public became warier after this and the network struggled to carry out their operations. They almost became obsolete at that point. But only almost.

This was back in 2010. A decade down the road, such networks are once again surfacing. One count suggests that there are at least 270 such “agencies” who offer their services online to niche customers. The practice itself is naturally considered to be less-than-honorable by most people in Japan, but there are still those who engage the services of these unscrupulous operators for their own benefit.

And the service is not cheap, as you can imagine. Some of the more seasoned operators can charge as much as $5,000 for a “regular” case. Special cases are often charged to the tune of $150,000 or more.

There are even consultancies that guide clients to different agencies, collecting a commission from them for each signed-up client.

Contrary to what might seem obvious to most of us – that most people hire a wakaresaseya to break up their marriage – the fact is that many clients actually do this to try and break up an affair they suspect their spouse is having with someone else. The process is very complex and involves three or four other agents, all of whom have a specific role to play.

It begins with someone hiring a wakaresaseya to spy on their spouse to confirm the affair. Once confirmed, a colleague of the wakaresaseya befriends the target, and another colleague befriends the target’s lover. After months of painstaking efforts to coordinate movements and plans, a dinner party is arranged, where the target and the lover are invited by the people who befriended them. A fourth colleague now enters the scene to seduce the lover away from the target. The job is complete when the affair breaks up, but sources say the client often comes back because their spouse is having another affair with someone else, and the cycle starts all over again.

It’s almost like a spy movie where the enemy is infiltrated and then sabotaged from the inside. But in this case, hearts are broken and relationships ruined.

The industry itself is quite large in Japan and has been around since long before the Kuwabara-Isohata case. As early as in 2020, The Los Angeles Times did a report on such agencies where it was reported that a handful of agencies operating in Tokyo could be making tens of millions of dollars in revenue with hundreds of clients. And some of these agencies say that even though breaking up a couple is a tough challenge, they are able to boast of success rates of up to 90% in many cases.

Legitimate agencies claim that their agents are well-versed in Japanese law and never break them in the course of their work. That’s possibly why the Kuwabara case received so much attention. It led to the worst crime of all. Murder. However, it is not entirely unknown for an agency to blackmail a target, threatening to expose sensitive information if they objected to the divorce or threatened action against the agency. It works because Japanese culture places great importance on modesty and honor, especially where women are concerned but it is equally true for men, albeit in lesser measure.

In one particular case, an accountant husband was the target of a wife who wanted to be with her old college lover. The strategy was to lead the husband to be infected with an embarrassing venereal disease and then blackmail him to voluntarily divorce her by threatening to release his medical records to his company. Such cases are not unusual and clearly show that not everything is above board in this industry despite what the agencies claim.

Today, the industry is thriving like it was before the gruesome incident in 2010. And the James Bond-like excitement of the job profile attracts many well-to-do professionals who want to work as agents because they’re bored with their lives. It’s not unusual to see resumes and applications from lawyers, stockbrokers, doctors, and other professionals, according to reports from agencies offering this service.

There’s a huge market in Japan – and even other countries – for companies offering “relationship services” like this one. It is possibly one of the most dishonorable extensions to already-seedy reputations that private investigators have. Whatever happened to simply spying on someone to catch them in an act of infidelity? Sigh, I miss the good old days.

Are You in a Healthy Relationship? 4 Pillars to Strengthen Any Relationship

Relationships are hard – blood or otherwise. But the hardest relationships are often the ones we choose to get into, not the ones we’re born into. Perhaps it’s because we tend to take our blood relationships for granted, or because we give a lot of leeway and discounts to family members; or perhaps it’s because there’s an unbreakable bond even between estranged members of the same family that we can never really shake off or leave behind. The real challenge is in keeping a healthy relationship with people that we’re not obligated to. That means friends, lovers, spouses, life partners, and soulmates.

Now, obviously, we’re not talking about relationships like those between an employer and a worker or a business owner and their customer. Those aren’t relationships; they’re merely functional units of society that we need for baser purposes, like putting food on the table or paying the light bill. Even a nurse-patient or doctor-patient relationship is not part of the category of relationships that we cover here. Those, too, are social interdependencies rather than true relationships. However, they are broadly called relationships because they involve some sort of interaction between two or more parties.

Back to our point, most of us go through life just ‘maintaining’ relationships instead of nurturing them and caring for them. Like delicate saplings, relationships, too, need their own versions of food, water, sunlight, and space to grow. That brings us to the four pillars of a healthy relationship and how to strengthen and fortify them so the relationship grows stronger, not weaker, with time.

The Four Pillars of a Healthy Relationship

The First Pillar: Love, the Basic Food of Every Relationship

Love in its many shapes forms the foundation of any relationship. Unfortunately, the word has been so abused over the years that it has lost its true meaning. Love is not about physical intimacy or even being on the same mental wavelength. It goes beyond that, into the realm where ‘the self’ is forgotten and a deeper connection between souls is established. The physical part of love is what’s being focused on now because of Hollywood and its version of “what people want.”

In truth, love begins in a realm where souls are inexplicably connected to each other by a bond that goes beyond blood, beyond similar backgrounds, and beyond any physical aspect. There can be true love between friends of the same sex with no hint of sexuality, which is antithetical to what is usually depicted in movies and other forms of media entertainment. Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s ‘bromance’, for one. The point is, love is the basis of any relationship. Everything else – respect, admiration, sacrifice, even obsession, is born from love.

As such, love is the first pillar of any relationship. Indeed, we can go so far as to say that no relationship can exist without love.

The Second Pillar: Trust, the Water of a Relationship

Trust is the water that carries the essential nutrients to feed a healthy relationship. Without love, there is no trust; and without trust, there is nothing else. Communication arises from trust – or, at least, the hope of trusting and being trusted. Communication itself cannot exist if there is no trust. That’s what happened in the Cold War Era between the Western and Eastern Bloc nations post World War II. Neither side was able to trust the other, so communication eventually deteriorated into a situation where espionage was the only way to get any reliable information about what was going on on the other side.

Relationships are like that as well. If there is no trust, there can be no meaningful communication. That’s why we invented small talk! It allows us to socially engage with people we barely know and still remain civil. In a relationship of any kind, the element of trust allows us to let down our guard and reveal our true selves, just like water nourishes a sapling and allows it to spread its leaves and gather the sun’s rays rather than shrink and wither away into nothingness.

Trust is much more important than you might think it is. Just like love, it is one of the four pillars that keep a relationship upright and growing. And, just like that plant, if a relationship isn’t growing, it’s dying. There’s no such thing as a relationship that has already achieved its highest purpose; it is an evolutionary process that is ongoing. Therefore, love and trust are the food and water of any healthy relationship. And these form the first two pillars of a healthy relationship.

The Third Pillar: Acknowledgment, the Sunlight that Enriches a Relationship

Call it what you will: recognition, respect, admiration, adulation, appreciation, etc. The fact remains that healthy relationships need both parties to acknowledge the value that each brings to the relationship. It can take different forms, but what it is is a recognition of what the other person is contributing toward making the relationship work.

The interesting part is, this acknowledgment needs to be explicit, not implicit. In many relationships, one or the other partner tends to take the position of ‘he knows I respect him’ or ‘she knows I value her opinions.’ Unfortunately, the other person seldom knows. That’s why it is important to make your respect or admiration known to the other person. It can be directed to that person or even alluded to in a conversation with someone else. The point is, it must come through in a perceptible form.

In a recent article we wrote about celebrities who have successfully navigated the murky waters of long-distance relationships, we noted that respect for the other person was amply visible in their behavior and their words. In several interviews and conversations, Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick clearly complemented each other’s positive traits. That’s what couples, friends, and family members in any healthy relationship do. They ‘edify’ each other regardless of whether the other person is present to witness it or not. This is the third pillar of a healthy relationship.

The Fourth Pillar: Independence, the Space to Grow

Even with love, trust, and acknowledgment, a relationship is like a wobbly three-legged stool. In order to achieve greater stability, there must also be independence and space for the relationship to grow even stronger. Many relationships we know, or are a part of, have the first three pillars figured out, but the relationship still struggles because we stifle each other, not allowing each other the space to stretch and explore new avenues without us.

Love, trust, and acknowledgment are not enough without giving each other room to experience new possibilities and pursuits. Most of us tend to stay within our comfort zones because of the fear that the other person won’t give their blessings or approval, or even acceptance. It is often the missing piece of the puzzle in a relationship where everything else seems to be in place but it doesn’t appear to form a whole picture.

If you think about it, this aspect is missing in most of our relationships. Maybe that’s why it’s called a bond – because it’s like being tied to something. If we can recognize and overcome this fear that giving the other person the freedom to explore their surroundings will somehow make us lose them, it will go a long way in strengthening the relationship. Remember that beautiful saying: “if you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it never was”? Remember that one? That’s exactly what the fourth pillar of a healthy relationship is about. It’s about having the faith to let go, and the confidence in the strength of the relationship. And that confidence can only come when the first three pillars are firmly in place.

In conclusion, every relationship that is founded on these four pillars eventually becomes a thing of beauty. Just like that little sapling that you watered, nourished, planted under ample sunlight, and gave adequate space to grow ultimately became a towering structure that benefited the environment around it in a myriad of ways, your relationship will eventually turn into a healthy one that others will admire and, hopefully, try to emulate in their own lives.

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