Ask Dr. Zoe

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.

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Can You Get Past a Betrayal in Marriage?

‘Loving Wife’ Asked: How do you get past a betrayal in 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 the marriage covenant has been broken, you have two choices—stay and deal or leave and heal. Staying also requires a significant amount of healing if you’re going to do it in a healthy way. In staying, you have an amazing opportunity to heal together. The betrayed isn’t the only one hurt and damaged, so is the betrayer. Many people stay in a marriage after a big betrayal, but instead […]

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Ask Dr. Zoe – I Have Low Sex Drive—What’s Wrong?

‘Sexless in Seattle’ Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe, For most of my adult life I’ve struggled with not being interested in sex having a low sex drive. 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 kill myself if I didn’t like sex.” I’ve been with my husband for seven years (married for almost two), and he is so patient and kind with me. I wish it could be enjoyable, but I don’t know what to do! Help! Dr. Zoe Answered: You are not alone. Despite our sex-crazed culture, there are others who struggle with low sex drive as well. It

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Is He Unhappy in Marriage or Mid-Life Crisis?

‘Johanna’ Asked: How do I work on my marriage when my husband tells me everything in his life is in the air right now , he’s unhappy in marriage 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 can I move on from that? I’m hurting right now. Dr. Zoe Answered: Your husband is going through something right now that’s making him question all of his choices in life. Unfortunately, that includes you and the kids, too. Maybe it’s true that he felt pressured to get married and have children. Maybe it’s actually that he’s unhappy in marriage, with how his life is turning

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Ask Dr. Zoe – How and When Do I Tell My Man I Have an STI?

‘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 from my past, including a sexually transmitted disease. One of my biggest fears about this is that I just got into a relationship with someone I’m really excited about, but we’ve only been dating for a couple of months. Although we are not sexually active and hold similar beliefs on wanting to save that for marriage now, I do think it’s something that I need to share with him, but

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Ask Dr. Zoe – How to Approach a Disconnected Husband

‘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 about it and says he just doesn’t want to be around people or talk about it. I need help on how to address this without pushing him away further! Loving and Worried Midwest Wife Dr. Zoe Answered: Hi Dealing With My Disconnected Husband, When your spouse is disconnected from you, it can feel like you are lost in a desert with no hope of water. You said that he doesn’t want

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Should I Maintain a Friendship With Someone Who Keeps Pulling Away?

‘Frosty in Fort Worth’ Asked How to Maintain a Friendship: Hi Dr. Zoe, I have a cousin who is just over a year younger than me whom I have been close with since childhood. She was the person I would tell everything to, and I thought I was the same for her. Looking back now maybe it wasn’t quiet that balanced. As adults, we have the same friend group, go to the same church, and lived in the same house for some time. When I went through a difficult time emotionally and became very depressed, feelings were hurt, and we withdrew from each other. We didn’t speak to each other, except for the obligatory “hi” at family functions for two years, even

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Can I Progress in My Relationship From Girlfriend to Wife?

‘Nurse Lauren’ Asked: Hello, I found the article you wrote about wanting a proposal and not getting it and how you shouldn’t feel bad about it just because you want to be married was really wonderful. There’s so much out there about oh you can’t make someone do something and you know you should just decide if you want them in your life and accept it and I just don’t think that’s really very fair. My specific question is regarding the four levels I’m just wanting to make sure that I’m not doing wifey things when I’m still in girlfriend status can you help me learn more about that. Dr. Zoe Answered: Women who find themselves stuck in a relationship phase are

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Why Can’t I Please My Mother-in-Law?

‘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 follow her instructions to the letter, we’ve done it wrong! “What are you doing?” “Why did you do that?” Or my favorite, “You’re doing it wrong.” Not to mention, she is the queen of clutter. If the others of us attempt to tidy up (even just straighten stacks without moving anything) she becomes defensive and angry. The result is that the house is cluttered and dirty and nothing can be done

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Ask Dr. Zoe – I Want My Husband to Be an Involved Dad

‘Fed up in Maryland’ Asked: Hi, Do you have any suggestions on how to get my husband more involved with our boys? He is great at playing video games with them and taking them to the latest movie but he does not do anything else with them without me initiating or suggesting it. He is a sports fanatic and they play a different sport every season but other than taking them to practice When I need him to he doesn’t play with them. It’s been this way basically since they were born. I thought it would get better once they were older but it hasn’t. He didn’t have a father when he was younger and then had a neglectful step father. When

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Getting Over My Long-Lost Love

‘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 my husband is distant and aloof. How do I stop thinking of what could have been, getting over a long-lost love? Please help me. Dr. Zoe Answered: I hear the pain, sadness, and loss in your voice. I’m grieved that you have gone so many years ruminating over this lost relationship. We often glorify things from our past. That relationship in your mind is untouched by the reality of life. Your

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Coping With Anxiety Biblically

‘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,   What I love about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that it is completely Biblical. The Bible says, and modern CBT research has proven, that getting control over your thoughts is the best and most efficacious treatment for anxiety (and depression). The Bible tells us whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about those things and the God of peace will be with you

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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Can I Prepare My Kids for Back to School?

‘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) all of whom seem to be clinging to summer and uninterested in going back to school. What are some of your best tips for making the transition from summer vacation to back to school with your children? Dr. Zoe Answered: Can you really blame your kids? Long, lazy summer days, no school work… Summer was made to cherish! But school time is quickly zooming here, and it’s time to get prepared.

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Ask Dr. Zoe - Can I Detach from My Aggressive, Disrespectful Teenage Son?

Ask Dr. Zoe – Can I Detach from My Aggressive, Disrespectful Teenage Son?

‘Mamma b’ Asked: My son’s dad is a malignant narcissist and has been a terrible co-parent. […] Before puberty we were so close, then I had four years of heartbreak. My mum abandoned me (also a narcissist). I thought if I got away from the toxic situation as a baby but still allowed him to see his dad, then he would be okay. But for the past year he has been triggering my PTSD from a lifetime of narcissistic abuse. I felt like I was back with his dad: the lying, the manipulation, the complete lack of empathy even though I’ve taught him ? It could just be a teenage thing; he’s 15 and I think he has daddy issues. I had

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Ask Dr. Zoe – What Steps Can I Take to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed?

‘Over Feeling Overwhelmed’ Asked: Dr. Zoe, Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just want to give up. There have been things in my life (like chronic illness) that have helped me develop more grit. I now know that I can keep going if I have to, but my first reaction to feeling overwhelmed is usually wanting to quit (if possible). It’s like I just want to escape. I have learned a couple things, like telling myself if I have gotten through the things I’ve gotten through, then I can do this, too. Also, reminding myself to chunk things down into smaller steps helps. I think I see the big, overwhelming thing and feel like it’s impossible to figure out… so just doing one

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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Can I Connect More With My Teen Stepdaughter?

‘Jan’ Asked: How do I even begin to connect with my teen stepdaughter? She is 15-years-old and disrespectful to her mom and me… Having already raised five of my own, I don’t have much patience for her entitlement and laziness. She is involved in many activities like show choir and cheerleading but truly her attitude is horrid… I understand life is not easy and she wants to fit in… The only time she is nice is when she wants me to buy her something. Her mom doesn’t know what to do with her and often gives in because she doesn’t want to fight. My husband has severe health issues and is firm, but quiet… So then she just stays in her room.

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Ask Dr. Zoe – How Can I Find Time to Enjoy Life?

‘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 do I live a more fulfilled life while still working a traditional job? Dr. Zoe Answered: The only way to live the life you want is intentionally. Your work is not your life. It’s the thing you do to pay for your life. Hopefully, you are passionate about your work. Even so, it’s important for you to separate the two and intentionally live out your other passions. As a busy, working

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Ask Dr. Zoe - Should I Stay in My Marriage at the Cost of My Happiness?

Ask Dr. Zoe – Should I Stay in My Marriage at the Cost of My Happiness?

‘Languishing in London’ asked: Hi Dr. Zoe, I am currently in an unfortunate (self-induced) situation and am in need of clarity. I have a difficult decision I must make, one in which will affect several people’s lives in a hurtful way— regardless which path I take. With that, I will dive in. I have been in the same committed relationship practically my entire adult life. We have two children together and the youngest will be 19 this year. The word committed is used loosely here. We have not been good to each other in different ways. I have been unfaithful and he is unwilling to meet me halfway in terms of our financial wellbeing. I remain fiscally responsible for the lion’s share

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