04/21/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cult Recovery, Smug Marrieds, And Mommie Dearest Moments

Dear Dr. Belisa,

A friend of mine from college just got married and went from being a great basketball buddy to being annoying as hell. He says "my wife" as often as he can and is always talking in plural. Is this going to wear off or did some aliens come take his brain forever?


Dear Jerry,

This has been colloquially called "smug married" where all of the sudden you get the feeling a coupled friend now feels somehow accomplished having tied the knot (and you, single, are somehow pitied). If this doesn't wear off in a few weeks, I'd start by dropping a few hints so he gets the point that you don't necessarily think he should get a prize or just come straight out and tell him he's boring you to tears and needs to focus on his game.

Dear Dr.,

Are the girls that were taken from the polygamist cult going to be OK? I mean, they were totally sheltered and know nothing about the outside world, plus many of the teens were forced to marry and have kids. There's hundreds of them too! What are your thoughts?


Dear KR,

The life they experienced within the compound walls is another world compared to where they are going - they married and were expected to "produce" at puberty, were owned by their husbands (men significantly older or even related to them), were beaten into submission and considered property (check out Eve Ensler's work with women's rights world wide for international examples of similar situations). Much depends on their age and the sophistication of the family the state places them with. For some of the younger ones, it might be like visiting a different country and simply learning new rules; for older ones it will be about redefining themselves and their goals. I'm sure there will be memories and movies documenting the transition coming soon...

Dear Dr.,

This new woman I started dating seemed really normal until one day I offered to help her park her car (she was having trouble parallel parking) and she flipped out. Literally went from zero to 60 in a millisecond. Otherwise she's been fun, normal, and sane. What do you make of this?


Dear Carlos,

Did you ever hear the story about how Joan Crawford would throw a tantrum whenever her clothes were put on wire hangers? Only when people found out the story of why, were they more sensitive. It seems that she had lived in the back of a laundromat where she worked with her mom, putting clothes on wire hangers. They brought up terrible memories related to that time.

So, if this is the only time that your new woman has flared up, it sounds as if this is a sensitive topic. You can either take it in stride and avoid the topic, knowing that everyone has their sore spots, or when you've gained some trust, in a calm moment, ask her about it diplomatically.

Dear Doc,

I talk to my daughter about sex but want to give her some websites that have good information since she'll probably "listen" to them more. As a psychologist, which ones are your favorites for older teens/young adults?



Scarleteen, Go Ask Alice and National Institute on Drug and Alcohol Abuse are three of my favorites. I applaud your efforts to give her information in various mediums!

In addition, has excellent statistics and information to help YOU answer her harder questions.