Monthly archives: August, 2014

Why Are Women Frustrated with Dating?

Why Are Women Frustrated with Dating?

Are Dating Choices Narrowing for Women or is it Just a Sign of Changing Times?

Dating Men with Class

When it comes to dating and the modern woman, there seems to be two major classes of men for them to choose from: The men they’re biologically attracted to and the men who they are culturally attracted to. It all seems so simple, right? So why are women frustrated with dating?

Many women in the dating world say that they are often put in a position where they have to choose between “the bad boy” and “the safe guy.” Is there a happy medium?

While the “bad boy” may stir passion, he often lacks what’s needed for a committed relationship; and while the “safe guy” provides the stability and maturity needed in a lasting relationship he may not always stir the passion that a riskier, bad-boy encounter might. The part that’s got women so frustrated when it comes to dating is when they want the excitement and passion while also wanting the confidence of being in a good dating relationship.

Changing Times

A lot has changed since the days when our grandmothers or even mothers met Mr. Right, got married, had kids and live “happily” ever after.
In a strange turn of events, roles have in some ways changed. By embracing the sexual revolution of the 1960s the mindset of the hunter-gatherer has changed. As women became more independent and equal as a result, the unfortunate price was losing the hunter.

In my Los Angeles therapy practice I often hear women comment on the fact that they’re having trouble meeting emotionally-available men who are also commitment-minded. Women often are attracted to the physically exciting “bad boy” and then try turning him into the “safe guy.” That’s what women find so frustrating with dating.
While women may be fully independent and capable of having a full life on their own, they want the passion and the excitement too. Inevitably they find it in the bad boy. Then they express the desire for it to naturally turn into a relationship, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. But while women may be torn between their biological and their cultural beliefs, is that all that’s going on?

What’s a Woman to Do?

In both my private and couples therapy sessions, I really try to get people to own what they want and to admit it, without feeling shame or feeling like they’re setting the bar too high. If you want to know why women are often frustrated with dating, it’s because they often play down who they are, what they’ve accomplished and even what they’re really looking for in a dating partnership. I say, “Own it.”

This goes back to that whole sexual equality thing. Women who want a relationship sometimes feel that if they show they’re too self-sufficient that it won’t elicit the kind of romantic, knight- in-shining-armor side from their dating partner. I say the more honest we are about who we are and what we’re looking for, the less we’ll be left crying in our coffee when a dating relationship doesn’t work out. If we’re honest and it doesn’t work then we’ll know that it didn’t work because you weren’t incompatible instead of being left saying, “If only I did this (or that) …,” because you can’t just go back and undo what’s already been put out there.

If you’re having trouble relating to the dating scene or you’re just frustrated with dating altogether, I can help you. In this ever-changing world we live in, the rules of dating and the venues upon which we find a date can often be confusing. I can show you how to do it so you get what you’re really looking for in a dating relationship minus the frustration. Let me help you. Visit my Los Angeles or Encino Therapy office for a private, individual session. Learn more about my private sessions here.

5 More Secrets of Happy Couples

5 More Secrets of Happy Couples

Love, Happiness and Togetherness – The Attainable Goals

This post, is a follow up to “5 Secrets of Happy Couples” (read here), published on earlier, sharing more tips and insights on what really makes for a happy couple. Couples that are happy together may not have any big secrets to their success, but they do have important habits and practices that ensure a lasting and happy relationship.  Here are 5  more of those habits and practices, that really contribute to a happy relationship:

  • Common Interests.  It’s okay to have your own things that you like to do, but having common interests will guarantee that you spend time together and ensures that you always have something to share and look forward to. Find a hobby, (i.e. gym, tennis, painting) that you can both enjoy together. Then, make it a habit to do those activities together on a regular basis (once a week).

Whether having common interests was the thing that brought you two together in the first place or not, you can also develop new interests together over time as well.  Most happy couples have like minds, like hobbies or both.

  • Be Sympathetic.  Even happy couples can occasionally disagree.  It’s important to sympathize with your partner’s point of view in addition to having your own opinion. Try to see both sides.  More importantly don’t make an argument into a contest that you have to “win.”  Instead you should strive to come to some mutually-agreeable solution.

Fighting can often become a contest between couples – one habit of happy couples is having the ability to see the other’s point of view and having the willingness to compromise.

  • Forgiveness.  This can be closely related being sympathetic to your partner’s point of view as well as having good communication skills.  Once you forgive someone of doing something, it’s no longer fair game to bring up at a future date. Don’t keep opening up old wounds or you will scar your relationship. Leave past actions in the past.
  • Rituals.  This can be anything from taking a nightly walk in the park to making your romantic partner breakfast in bed on Sundays.  Having some small ritual that only the two of you share can be comforting, reassuring and it will certainly reinforce the bond between you. This ties in closely with developing common interest, and actually doing them together. Spending time with your partner is important to keep your bond strong.
  • Spontaneity.  Being spontaneous is the icing on the cake.  Leave a love note in their briefcase, take a detour from the “usual” and shake things up a bit. Spending date night doing something different than just dinner, can even shake things up. Go to the skating ring, watch a play, or play miniature gold. Be spontaneous and a little silly.  This breeds excitement and wonder and it also tells your partner that you took the time to do something that you knew would make them smile.

There are tons things that can be classified as habits of happy couples.  The overall message is to be mindful of your relationship and to not take it for granted.  Like a beautiful garden that comes back each year, a relationship needs to be cultivated and cared for.

Are you communicating like a happy couple?  If you think you and your partner could benefit from couples therapy, contact my Los Angeles Couples Therapy office to arrange for an appointment.  It’s never too late for love.


Is My Child Depressed?

Robin William’s death is a reminder to us all of how serious depression can be. Early detection and treatment is key to combat its devastating effects. For parents it is especially important to be aware of signs of depression. Until recently it was thought that young kids were immune to becoming depressed, however we now know that this is a myth and kids as young as 3 or 4 can exhibit signs of depression. Younger children may have some similar symptoms as adults, yet they may display their depression in a very different manner and it is critical for parents to know the signs.

Physical symptoms

Children may complain of stomachaches or headaches on a regular basis. They are also more apt to be tired and fatigue easier than their peers. Some parents may have even thought of their child as lazy. It is important to rule out any medical problems first that may present with these symptoms such as anemia.

Preoccupation with death

These children tend to be hyper aware of issues related to death and dying and may ask many questions about death. As one of the parents I worked with said “it is hard to get through a story at bedtime with out my daughter asking about whether the characters are dead or alive.”

Prone to accidents

Our child may appear to be clumsy or have many browses as a result of falls.

Negative towards self

Aside from having a general negative outlook. The child may use negative self talk such as “I am stupid” or I hate myself.”

Sleep problems

You may notice your child having difficulty sleeping and a great deal of anxiety around nighttime and the dark.

Depression is a chronic illness and does not go away on it’s own A professional can help your child with a variety of treatments to address these issues. They can also assist the parents in becoming aware of the under lying causes and receive support.

 If you have questions about depression, signs and symptoms in particular, contact me, Fatemeh Farahan-Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, for an assessment. Call my Los Angeles Psychotherapy office at (310) 535- 1398.

Robin Williams and The Dark Secret of Depression

The shocking and saddening suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams reminds us all about the dangers of the silent disease from which he suffered. Behind his manic comedic style, Williams’ struggle with depression led him repeatedly through bouts of drug and alcohol addiction.

While most of us can feel sad or lonely for short periods, clinical depression can be a debilitating and chronic illness, accompanied by physical symptoms, that is unlikely to improve without treatment. Depression can have a devastating effect on your relationship with your partner, family, and friends. Symptoms can include: difficulty concentrating or remembering, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or “emptiness,” insomnia, irritability, loss of interest in activities once pleasurable, overeating or not eating enough, persistent aches and pains, persistent sad or anxious feelings, and thoughts of suicide or even suicide attempts.

Due to the stigma associated with mental illness, many people who suffer from this disease feel the need to hide their pain. Because of the fear of being found out and labeled, many do not seek help. This is especially the case with men, and may be the reason why men accounted for nearly 80% of all suicides in 2011, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In addition to the risk of suicide, leaving this illness untreated can lead to drug or alcohol addiction, interfere with important relationships, and cause individuals problems at work. People with this disease are also more likely to develop other health problems, such as heart disease.

Without treatment, the prognosis is poor and mental and physical health will likely deteriorate. Treating this illness means we first have to talk about our pain. If you or a loved one show signs, seek help from a therapist. Contact this Los Angeles Depression Therapist for more information. Treatment generally includes multiple elements, including prescription drugs and regular psychotherapy.

Recognizing the signs of this disease in yourself or a loved one is an important step towards healing. While the signs can be subtle, you can note whether the person is behaving in new and different ways over a period of time. For example, social withdrawal is a common sign. If someone you know hasn’t been showing up anymore at social or family gatherings, this could be a cause for concern. Other indicators include ruminating on negative events or worries, over-indulging in alcohol (“self-medicating”), losing interest in taking care of one’s health or fitness, and binging on sugary treats.

Luckily, even when one feels hopeless, help is out there. Contact my Los Angeles Depression Therapy office for an appointment, and begin the journey towards health and happiness.

Can Depression Destroy Your Marriage?

Does it really matter if one partner is depressed?

Yes, depression in a marriage is the source of distress. To understand why, let’s look at some research on the effects of depression on partners within troubled relationships. Few people would be surprised to hear that couples in troubled relationships can also be depressed.

Frequently, the conflict in these relationships and distress that results can become so overwhelming that any other problems, like depression, are typically hidden from view. A couple I’m presently treating, Phil and Helen (not they’re real names), are engrained in an attack-withdrawal routine (i.e., she criticizes him and then he avoids her and doesn’t talk to her for days). This pattern is common in troubled relationships, but their hostility masks, to all but the trained eye, depression’s underlying influence.

Researchers have found through more than two-dozen studies that relationship dissatisfaction accounts for 44% of a depressed partner’s symptoms1 (such as loss of interest and motivation, hopelessness, changes in appetite and sleep). Shockingly or not, partners in distressed relationships experience a 10-fold increase in risk of depression.2

In a recent study, researchers examined couples in troubled relationships where one partner was depressed. They wanted to find out if depressed individuals and their partners differ in their behavior toward each other compared to those without a depressed partner.3

Not surprisingly, the study shows that relationship distress is associated with increased interpersonal hostility — such as a husband telling his wife, “You never do anything right.” interpersonal hostility is defined in two ways, as either other-focused or self-focused. Other-focused hostility is aimed at the partner and takes the form of actions like blaming, attacking, or ignoring; while self-focused hostility is a reaction response, such as sulking, withdrawing, or shutting down.

The researchers found that relationship distress produces interpersonal and other-focused hostility in all couples (depressed and non-depressed). However, the partners of these depressed individuals displayed more partner-directed hostility (e.g., a wife telling her depressed husband, “If you don’t shape up right now, I’m leaving you.”)

Given these findings about partner hostility toward a depressed partner, it should not be surprising that the couple I described earlier initially came to see me because of Helen’s desire to “fix” Phil’s anger toward her. Men’s anger is often a symptom of underlying depression.4 Just like this couple, many distressed couples enter treatment mistakenly focused on one partner and one issue (i.e. Phil’s anger), while ignoring other problems (i.e. Phil gets some anger management tools, but still has an anger management problem because his depression and interactions with Helen were not addressed). Fortunately, in therapy many of these couples begin to learn how complicated and interconnected their relationship problems actually are.

Some of the layers of interconnected problems within this couple’s relationship are Phil’s anger problem, which partly originates from his depression, but also out of his interactions with Helen. The couple’s communication routinely involves her demining him and his withdrawing.5 His withdrawal, both driven as a way to cope with her demands and by his depression, makes her feel that he “shuts me down” and thus fuels her attacking him even more. Helen’s poor view of herself complicates things further. She soothes these feelings by blaming Phil for parts of herself she is unwilling to accept, such as her own perceived anger and feelings of worthlessness.

Depression in distressed couples really matters because relationship problems are never as simple as just one partner or one issue. For therapists this means examining and simultaneously addressing how partners interact in order to effectively treat the original problem, but must also explore other potential coexisting problems. For couples to improve either depression or their relationship, and hopefully both, they must be willing to examine the whole relationship context with an open mind to the possibility that there is more than one problem coming from a single partner.

If you have questions about depression and marriage, and whether your partner is suffering from depression, contact me at my Los Angeles Couples Therapy office at (310) 535-1398.

1Whisman, M. A. (2001). The association between depression and marital dissatisfaction. In S. H. R. Beach (Ed.) Marital and family processes in depression: A scientific foundation for clinical practice (pp. 3-24). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

2O’Leary, K. D., Christian, J. L., & Mendell, N. R. (1994). A closer look at the link between marital discord and depressive symptomatology. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13, 33-41.

3Knobloch-Fedders, L.M., Knobloch, L.K., Durbin, C.E., Rosen, A., & Critchfield, K.L. (2013). Comparing the interpersonal behavior of distressed couples with and without depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(12), 1250-1268.

4American Psychological Association. Men: A different depression. Website retrieved June 30, 2014: Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.