I read that there is a halacha not to speak in the bathroom/toilet. This presents a big problem to me as follows;
1. I have irritable bowel syndrome and I spend an hour per day and sometimes more in the bathroom. I work whilst in there on the telephone and on my iPad/iPhone, and I write and respond to work emails and work texts.
2. Given that my wife and I are baalei teshuva and the toilet is in the bathroom, neither of us lock the door and we are frequently in the bathroom at the same time and we talk there.
3. I would have a shalom bayit problem if I did not talk to my wife whilst we are both in the bathroom, and also when she speaks to me from outside the bathroom whilst I am in there, and vice versa. Bear in mind that because of my irritable bowel I am in the bathroom for a long time.
Are there any lenient opinions about this matter, and if so what is the most lenient position? I guess that in the time of the Shulchan Aruch, and even seventy five years ago, at least outside the U.S., most people had a toilet outside the house somewhere in the garden. Does that make a difference?
I would be grateful if you could check on this as this is very important to me.
You can be lenient and speak in the bathroom, without concern.
According to the Talmudic halachah, it is not permitted to speak in a bathroom.
See Berachos 62a and Rashi, and see Rambam, Hilchos De’os 5:6 and Rema 3:2, and numerous other poskim (see Be’er Heitev 2; Levush 2; Mishnah Berurah 3:4).
However, for a need, it is permitted to speak (Torah Lishmah 24), and this is particularly true concerning the bathrooms of today, which are possibly different from bathrooms of old (the Chazon Ish writes that he has a safek concerning the status of today’s bathrooms), and the more so for bathrooms that are used for other purposes as well as the toilet.
In the circumstances of the question, which are clearly extenuating, one can therefore speak without concern.