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Welcome to Ask Dr. Zoe, where you ask the questions, and Dr. Zoe gives the answers!

Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist, educated at UCLA and Pepperdine University. She has a private practice in sunny California and a virtual practice working with people all over the world! She is a motivational speaker, podcast host, life coach, and fitness fanatic.

Dr. Zoe is also a busy wife and mama of five, which fuels her desire to help women attain the elusive balance between work, life, self, and relationships through cultivating healthy minds and bodies. Her passion is to help women find their strength, embrace it, and share it with the world. But sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself along the way!

Do you have a burning question about yourself, your relationships, or your parenting? Send it in, and Dr. Zoe will give you spot-on advice as a life and relationship expert. But don’t worry, she’ll balance her honest answers with grit and grace.

Read other articles written by Dr. Zoe or to learn more visit drzoeshaw.com

Asked & Answered

'Yolanda' Asked: Do you have any tips on how to break gender roles. My husband and I both work yet he literally expects me to prepare 3 meals a day for him. If I don’t have dinner ready he is annoyed rude and disappointed. Although I am just as busy as

'Desiring Friendship and Ministry Partnership' Asked: I'm in my mid-60s and have been widowed for five years. I recently met a single Christian man who is a difference-maker. I have a deep respect for him, and admire his humility and work ethic. I'm not attracted to him but I'd love to

'Nikki' Asked: We moved to a new city 3 years ago for my fiancé’s career and I am not happy with the area. We are not near family or friends

'Pawan' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe I am having trouble with connecting with my 12yr old step daughter. I have 3 step kids. I don't have any kids of my own. Me and my husband are full time custodians and they see their mom every other weekend. I don't see we her respecting

'Wench' Asked: I have been married for 11 years to a man that appears to have narcissistic behavior. 5 years ago because my son was smoking pot, not at the house but away from the house my husband told me I had to choose between my son or him, I was

'Tat2nurse13' Asked: Why does being a strong independent woman scare off men? Dr. Zoe Answered: Oh, I love this question! But, your statement isn't completely true. Historically, it has been proven that the more successful and independent a woman is, the less likely it is that she will find a life partner, but

'Leaving the Past Behind' Asked: Last year was emotionally draining and I’m afraid I will "carry all the stress, anxiety and tension" into this year. Is there anything I can do to leave the past behind me and start fresh? Dr. Zoe Answered: Whenever someone says to me that they are worried, fearful

'Alisandra' Asked: How do you recover from divorce, breast cancer, loss of a job, and not seeing your child every day? Dr. Zoe Answered: My immediate visual after reading your experience is a warrior woman, still standing in the midst of the haze of battle. You may not visualize yourself in this way,

'Johanna' Asked: How do I work on my marriage when your husband tells you everything in his life is in the air right now OR tells you "I'm sorry I've been living your life. You wanted kids and to get married, not me!" We've been together for 17 years now. How

'Ginny Girl' Asked: My fiance told me a few things that hurt me really bad a few days after the engagement. I gave him a few weeks time, patiently tried to convince him in my way, even went on a day's trip to make him feel more relaxed thinking he's probably

'Tired of the Holiday Expectations' Asked: My parents put a lot of pressure on my siblings and my family to spend time together for the holidays, Christmas specifically. I love my parents and enjoy spending time with them, but their expectations of what they want Christmas to look and feel like

'Pregnancy Loss' Asked: I am currently dealing with a pregnancy loss. It is a blighted ovum and my body is just not catching up to what is happening. I am going back to the doctor to make final decisions at the end of the week. The problem is I still have

'Toxic Triangle' Asked: I often feel like my partner is not giving me my place in this toxic triangle of a relationship. I love him very much. I feel like he’s put up with his ex (mother of his children) for so long that he’s become accustomed to her BS and

'NotDaddysGirl' Asked: I grew up never knowing my biological dad and over the last few years, I've started to let myself feel the hurt and sadness that it caused me. I am now a single mom dating again and I want to be aware of the pitfalls that this absence might

'Jill' Asked: I have recently quit a job that I was very good at but I was working 90+ hours per week and living away from my husband. I have always wanted to start a business, so I figured now is the time. I am 53 years old and time is

"My Husband Wants a Divorce" Asked: My husband asked me for a divorce. I don't want one. I left the home, but I feel like I should fight for my marriage. What should I do? Dr. Zoe Answered: I am so very sorry. You must feel like you’ve been punched in the gut.

'Stepmom Wanting to Do the Best for Her Crew' Asked: I find, like most siblings, that in a family that has children from two households, there is a love-hate between them. However, I have noticed jealousy in the child that is not with us full time. I am sympathetic to the

'Deb' Asked: As I listened to Julie Graham’s story, I look back at how I prayed for her as she walked through Paul’s death. Little did I know that a week later, I would be walking through my own shock and grief when my 36-year-old daughter died suddenly. Then less than

'Sleepless Beauty' Asked: I have suffered from fear at night my whole life. I love sleeping, but falling asleep is the worst part for me. I’m always nervous that there is someone in my house, or will break in when I am sleeping. This has never actually happened to me in

'Balancing Busy Mama' Asked: I'm a single mom who works nearly full-time. I love my son, and I love my work, but sometimes it feels impossible to do it all. I find it hard to admit this to friends who don't work because they often want to answer it by saying

'Carol' Asked: I burned out and am changing careers mid-life. How can I assess my personality and joys to find a fulfilling new path? Dr. Zoe Answered: Carol, Good for you! You are doing what so many women dream of and regret not doing when they are older. It’s great that you are looking

'Faith Over Fear' Asked: I have been asked by several of my girlfriends who have watched me struggle, and somehow survive, “How do you deal with disappointment?” I don’t have the answers. And if I did, I would be selling it online in mass quantities for all my fellow stressed out warrior

'Potential Worry-Wart' Asked:  What is "normal" anxiety and what crosses over into clinical? In my mid-20s, I experienced panic attacks and a couple years of moderate to severe anxiety and depression. Before then, I did not experience any of those things and believe I had “normal” mental health. There were life circumstances

'Mama Llama' Asked: My 12-year-old male middle child gets very angry. He is belligerent and moody and verbally unkind to his immediate family. What are some ways to handle this aggressive behavior? Dr. Zoe Answered: I have been a mama of a 12-year-old three times so far, and I know how very difficult

‘Rudderless After A Relationship’ Asked: I have been in a long term relationship with my fiance'. He proved himself unable to commit and now I am trying to move on. I want him to realize how he much he hurt me and cost me but he refuses to. He thinks saying

‘Troubled Wife’ Asked: I continue to have heated exchanges with my spouse. I am finally realizing that it’s about a lack of trust. Dr. Zoe, when the trust is gone from a relationship, is it truly over or is there any way to salvage it? Dr. Zoe Answered: Not necessarily. Trust can be

'Curious' Asked: I grew up as a missionary kid and was abused by my missionary father. Emotional, spiritual, physical. Every girl friend of mine had been sexually or physically abused. I've heard it all. Seen it all. I was depressed for years. I dealt with my pain. I've healed and forgiven.

‘Stuck in the Middle’ Asked: I have four children from a previous marriage and I recently got married to a wonderful man with no children. He’s very strict with my kids. They liked him at first, but now that we’re married and have been living together for 4 months, they don’t

'Alissa' Asked: After 5 years of staying home with my babies (now 5 and 2), I find myself constantly struggling between continuing to stay home and going back to work. I feel selfish that I miss my career so much but I am so afraid I won't be able to give

'Alexis' Asked: How do you love your foster child’s parents well even when you feel like they aren’t trying? Dr. Zoe Answered: When I am struggling with my feelings about someone’s behavior, I often remind myself that all behavior makes sense in its context. Just because I don’t understand why someone is behaving

'Running Turtle' Asked: My marriage broke up about 7 months ago. In the last few days, we’ve been seriously discussing divorce. I’ve been grieving the last 7 months, but these conversations have brought on new, almost overwhelming waves of grief, how do I cope? Dr. Zoe Answered: Dear Running Turtle, I'm glad you used

‘Motivated Mama’ Asked: School is just about to start here in our neck of the woods. My anxiety level is slowly growing each day because I am a motivated mama who likes the kids to be prepared for the transition. We have four school-aged children (ages 5, 9, 12 and 16)

'Frazzled Florida Friend' Asked: Friends come and go and we all know that, but, how do I know when it's time for me to let a friend go? What are my signs that this may be a toxic friendship that I need to let go of? Should I just let us

'Mom of Three Boys' Asked: As a mom with three boys (12-year-old twins, 9-year-old), how do I deal with the tween separation that boys do without taking it personally? And allow them their space after being super close with them. They used to be so chatty and fun and now they

'Dawn' Asked: After my boyfriend and I had been together a year, one night while we were spending alone time together he looked at me and asked: "Will you marry me"? There was no ring, just the question. I asked "Are you really proposing?" and he said "Just answer the question

'Exhausted Juggler' Asked: I have frequent days that I feel as if I'm center stage juggling family, work, home life, the needs of every human in my life all dependent upon my next move with the entire audience waiting for me to drop the ball. I want to prove them wrong,

'Nicole' Asked: I have a 10-year-old daughter and my mother lives next door. My mom has stated that she feels her current purpose in life is to help me with my family. When I make a decision for my child or family, it is sometimes overrun by mom. For instance, if

'Dreading This Scary Conversation' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe, I recently found out that I have an STI, and I am devastated. I made decisions in the past that I am not proud of, but over the past couple of years, I’ve changed my lifestyle dramatically. Unfortunately, there have been some lingering effects

'Caregiver' Asked: I have an older relative who is becoming more and more forgetful. She'll misplace items, forget what she was doing, forget conversations. Added to this there may be a hearing decline because the TV is getting louder and "What?" is a common question. How should I handle the situation

'Coping With Anxiety' Asked: I recently realized the extent to which I have struggled with anxiety all my life. What are some healthy, Biblical coping mechanisms I can use when anxiety and panic set in? Dr. Zoe Answered: Dear Coping With Anxiety, [caption id="attachment_30523" align="alignleft" width="333"] Follow us on Instagram![/caption] What I love about Cognitive

'Confused Fiance' Asked: How do I go about repairing the relationship with the mother of my fiance’s children? I don’t like her, I think she is a very childish and spiteful person, but there should be some sort of casual friendship between us, for the sake of the children. She doesn’t

'Florida Girl' Asked: My husband and I are temporarily living with my mother-in-law, in her house, and at her request. We often ask her if we can help, to do our part, and she will assign us a task (cooking, cleaning, whatever) and give instructions for the job. Even if we

'Tired Friend' Asked: How do you deal with a friend with a mental illness? I have a friend with anxiety who really grinds my gears. At this point, I just want to walk away from the friendship. It just takes too much work. Too much biting of my tongue and I'm

'Confused' Asked: I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a long time now, and every time we fight I never get angry with him. I only blame myself and put all of our issues on me. I never get angry or upset with him, just with myself. I just

'Sammi' Asked: How do I help my child wean themselves away from screens? It’s only a few hours a day but she feels entitled to it and gets hostile once I ask for it back or tell her to turn it off. Dr. Zoe Answered: The problem isn't the screen time (although the

'Samantha' Asked: I don’t feel like I’m living the life I want to be. I work during the week (and I love my job so I’m not trying to find an alternative to a 9-5) but on my days off (weekends) I end up running errands and doing household chores. How

'Jan' Asked: As a stepmom to a 15-year-old, how do I even begin to connect with her? She is disrespectful to her mom and me

'Loving Wife' Asked: How do you get past a betrayal in your marriage? Dr. Zoe Answered: You didn’t specify what type of betrayal this is, so I’m going to guess that it's probably one of the big ones—otherwise, you wouldn't have asked the question. When the trust in your marriage has been destroyed, when

'Honestly Unable' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe: I fell in love with someone as a very young girl. Truly in love. My mother interfered and separated us keeping me in the dark. I cannot seem to stop thinking of how it could have been especially because my marriage has been difficult and

'In Waiting' Asked: As my husband and I dive deep into our 6th year of infertility we continue to struggle with an insensitive, narcissistic mother/mother-in-law. Going forward how do we not only manage our heartbreak, but our broken relationship with her as well? Dr. Zoe Answered: These are two very big issues! Your

'Meg' Asked: There has been a mixture of all kinds of hurt in a long term dating relationship and trying to extend grace and to have true forgiveness after the hurt. What are some good ways to do that in a healthy way without being walked all over? Dr. Zoe Answered: You may

'Just Thinking' Asked: How do you analyze past relationships in which you’ve been hurt a lot, but analyze them to see if you actually had a part or caused some of the issues? It’s hard to get past your personal bias, how can you do that? Dr. Zoe Answered: Most people never do

'Hoping to get Healthy' Asked: Lately, I've come to terms with the fact that I struggle with codependency. I still have some shame associated with that title but I'm ready to embrace it so I can overcome it! I had a very difficult childhood, and I don't know my Dad and

'Taylor' Asked: How do you make friends as an adult? Dr. Zoe Answered: No one tells us that it's so much harder to make friends as an adult than when you were a kid. Rest assured, you and a trillion other adults have the same problem. In adulthood, friendships tend to be pocketed, consisting

'Blessed at the Beach' Asked: I have been in counseling for postpartum depression and anxiety for about 9 months. I see myself making improvements in many areas, but I still struggle with anger when I am feeling especially anxious. I know that addressing the anxiety is the ultimate solution, but do

'Puzzled' Asked: I've become increasingly unhappy in my workplace (but not my position) due to a seriously unkind and hostile coworker. I've been pondering whether I should make a change but don't have another job secured as yet. Is it faith or foolishness to leave a job when one doesn't have

'Betrayed' Asked: I found out last year my husband of 25 years had been having an affair. He was a pastor when we first got married and we were teaching a Sunday-school class at the time he was having the affair. I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with

'Minny Mama' Asked: I have two friends in my mom group that are bickering/gossiping about each other to another friend in our group. I don’t like to get involved in gossip or other women’s drama. However, I feel that these women will each say I am not being a loyal friend.

'Want a Promotion' Asked: One of my goals for 2019 is to get a promotion. What’s the number one thing I can do to get noticed at work and prove to my boss he should promote me? I hate talking about myself but I know I’m good at my job and

'Starting Over' Asked: After several years I realized I had surrendered myself to a man who was not committed to me. We never married, we have a child together whom I love dearly, but I finally came to understand that I was carrying the entire weight of keeping the family together. I

'Needing Girl Time' Asked: I want to make more time for friendships this year but I feel guilty leaving my husband and kids to do so—is it wrong to make regular girl time happen? How can I explain that I need it to my family without making them feel neglected? Dr. Zoe

'Sexless in Seattle' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe, For most of my adult life I’ve struggled with not being interested in sex. I’m not a victim of sexual assault or abuse, I’ve just never had much interest. This is a struggle I’ve kept to myself due to hearing comments from people like “I’d

'Weighed Down Wife' Asked: How do you converse with your husband about an invasive mother? I found her one day in our bedroom changing our sheets, she has “cleaned” our bedroom without being asked, and puts things in our house where she feels they need to be. When brought up to

'Emotionally Charged' Asked: Is there such thing as being overly emotional? I hear this all the time by family members. I cry when I’m happy, anxious, scared, angry. I don’t have any explanation for why this is the emotion I am most prone to. Can you explain this? Dr. Zoe Answered: Emotionally Charged, We

'Turmoil in Texas' Asked: My husband and I were married for 12 years. He cheated and we have been separated for the last four years and are now getting a divorce. I was very angry at him the first two years after we separated. Then, when my anger subsided and I

'In Love With a Narcissist' Asked: How long do I stay in a marriage with a narcissist who continually emotionally and verbally abuses me? Can he be treated/healed through counseling? I love this man with all my heart and have since middle school. (I’m in my mid-forties.) I left and divorced

'Worship Band' Asked: I sing in the worship band at my church. I was convinced to join by a friend who noticed me confidently singing all the words at practice. The leader agreed that I was a good fit. Fast forward two years and I'm still singing about once per month

'Dating a Recovering Addict' Asked: I have a friend who is getting serious with someone who’s a former addict. He has been through rehab more than once, but this last time seems to have been successful. He’s healthy and dedicated to his long-term recovery. I want to be supportive of my

'Dealing With My Disconnected Husband' Asked: How do you approach your husband when he seems completely disconnected and like he has checked out? I have tried bringing it up in casual conversation with him so it doesn’t seem as though I am accusing or nagging, but he literally just ignores talking

'A Mom Trying to Figure It Out' Asked: Blended Family Rules I seem to have a mess of questions lately. Most all revolve around my blended family where children are raised in two households. I would like to know how to thrive not only survive (surviving seems to be the best I

'Stuck in the Middle' Asked: How do my husband and I practically set boundaries with our parents who are each going through a separation/divorce? Both sets of parents are going through a break in their marriage and all four of them come to us to talk. It's affecting our mood, emotional

Are you struggling with a lingering issue or life problem for which you can't seem to find an answer? Maybe it's something you're unsure of, and you're afraid to talk to your friends about it. Or, you've tried several ways to manage an issue, yet you're still stuck. You are not

Are you struggling with a lingering issue or life problem for which you can't seem to find an answer? Maybe you're confused about one of your relationships or perhaps it's a personal problem you're afraid to talk to your friends about. You are not alone. It's OK to seek advice, and

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