FOR MEN: 3 Tips When She Starts Complaining About Her Work or Her Family

Your girl is frustrated about a major life issue. It may be about her work or her family or it could be something completely different.

You want to help but you’re not quite sure how. Sometimes in the past, your “help” either made things worse or didn’t seem to make a difference.

You don’t need to let past scenarios define you today. Here are a few ways to help your partner when she’s complaining.

Listen. Listen. Listen!

Oh man, guys, this is so difficult—At least at first. As we shared in a previous post, most guys try to jump in right away and fix things instead of listening.

Listening is the safest and most productive first step.

In fact, you may do absolutely nothing besides actively listen, the rant will end and your partner will thank you for being there. You’ll be like, “What did I do?!”

But what you did was exactly what your girl needed. She just needed a listening ear.

Sometimes less is more. Listening often is something that seems like less but actually ends up being more.

She just needed to dump out a bunch of junk so she could move on.

Stay focused and really think about what your partner is saying. You can interject but only after listening.

A good rule of thumb is to listen until it “hurts.” Until there’s that awkward silence. If you cut off your partner in mid-sentence, that’s a good indicator that you need to just relax and listen.

Remember: Less is often more!

Maybe She Needs More: She Needs Your Advice

It’s not a bad idea to ask your girl if she just needs you to listen or needs advice, too.

You can also let this happen on its own if that’s more your style. If you listen until there’s nothing more to listen to, and your partner still wants more from you, that’s a good sign she needs advice.

A word of warning: If she starts complaining about her family, don’t jump on the bandwagon and say something like, “Yeah, I agree they are jerks!”

It may be ok for her to insult her family but not you. Doing so may create an unnecessary argument.

She’s trying to process things and may feel personally attacked if you also attack her family.

A Quick Word About Chronic Complaining

When your girl starts complaining and you think, “Boy, here we go again,” this could signal a bigger problem.

Depression could be disrupting your partner’s life, causing her to see everything in a negative light. Or it could be that she needs a major change like getting out of that toxic job that’s been slowly ruining her life for a long time.

This could be a good time to see a counselor to get some extra help. Constant complaining can badly diminish the quality of life of you and your family.

Get rid of the excessive complaining and things will quickly get better.

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Depression in Men Looks Like (and What to Do About It)

Most men experience significant roadblocks when it comes to treatment for depression. The greatest challenge is that men are more likely to mask their problems or not to talk about them as compared with women.

Depression statistics for men are pretty sobering. While women are twice as likely to experience clinical depression in their lifetimes, men are four times more likely to commit suicide because of it.

As a result, it is imperative for men to be properly diagnosed when clinically depressed and to receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

What Depression in Men Looks Like

While all men are a little different in how they exhibit depression, here are some tell-tale signs:

Physical pain: The saying that depression hurts is true of men. They may experience back pain, headaches, general body aches, digestive issues or sexual dysfunction. Men with depression who go to the doctor because of physical pain may become frustrated because there is no physical explanation for their health problem. These men also may receive medication to help the physical symptoms of depression instead of depression itself.

Self-Destructive Behavior: Many men try to make themselves feel better in unhealthy ways. They may self-medicate through an excessive pursuit of hobbies, substance abuse, alcoholism, or risky sexual encounters.

Hopelessness: Helpless or hopeless feelings are common and can lead to suicide without proper intervention.

Loss of Interest: Activities and relationships that once were fulfilling aren’t anymore.

Fatigue: Men may feel like they are way more tired than they should be for their age. This is another reason for a loss of interest in activities and friends. Some men are too tired to keep those things up even if they wanted to.

Sleep Disturbances: Men may either lose sleep due to high anxiety levels or sleep too much because of fatigue. Sometimes, they experience a combination of both in turns.

Anger: This doesn’t necessarily mean explosive anger or aggressiveness though it can. Sometimes it means a “slow burn” of consistent irritability and low-scale anger. Other times, it simply presents itself as the absence of happiness, inability to have a sense of humor or difficulty smiling.

Appetite Changes: Depressed men may either eat too much or too little. The result, not surprisingly, is either weight gain or loss. The fatigue factor already mentioned can contribute to weight gain as energy for exercise is in short supply.

Difficulty Concentrating: Some depressed men struggle with concentration, staying on task and overall productivity. Job performance may suffer as a result.

Negative Thoughts: This isn’t just the occasional negative thought. Negative thoughts often control depressed men, exacerbating their symptoms in many other ways. It becomes difficult to step back and objectively evaluate negative thoughts and find the truth anymore. These persistent thoughts high jack a previously healthy and well-balanced thought process.

How Depression in Men Can Improve

As already shared, men usually attempt to hide their depression whereas women are more likely to talk about it.

To a lot of men, it’s considered taboo or just not manly to open up about depression.

The opposite actually is true. It takes great courage for a sufferer to admit such a personal struggle.

That being said, the very first thing a male sufferer must do is admit they are depressed. Even if nearly everyone around realizes there is a problem, there is little help until this happens.

Once, arguably, the greatest barrier is scaled (awareness) men can start doing battle with the disease in pointed and intentional ways.

Here are a few things that are helpful:

Increased Social Support

Men, by and large, are not as verbal as women. They struggle more to be in touch with their emotions and identify pitfalls. Men also tend to have greater difficulty forging and maintaining deep friendships.

This is especially a problem when depression presents itself. The natural inclination to isolate or handle things by oneself is already present by nature. Add to that the greater desire to isolate because of the illness and it’s easy to see how quickly things can unravel.

Depressed men need added social support. The occasional banter at work or with a neighbor simply isn’t enough.

Men need to find several “safe” people to share their struggles with who won’t judge them.

Equally, men need to do what they can to avoid overly critical individuals who could create a toxic environment and thereby sabotage their treatment.

In our disconnected society, counseling can help men get their feelings out with less risk of their honest feelings and fears being used against them.

Counseling is also beneficial because deep friendships take time and many men don’t have the time or energy to forge those kinds of friendships (At least at first).

Physical Exercise and a Healthy Diet

In our sedentary culture, depression is far more prevalent. Too often, our bodies become obese and simply don’t work right.

The physical strain on the body can increase risk. Even small amounts of physical exercise can go a long way in improving your mood and making your body function correctly.

Men need not be “macho” and start out with an exercise routine that would scare away an Olympic athlete.

Small, daily consistency is far more important. You need something you can stick with for the long haul. In time, as your symptoms lessen, you’ll be able to increase your routine.

In addition, most men will greatly benefit from a diet free of processed foods. Sugar is also something to steer clear of as it can cause emotional highs and lows.

The best foods are fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid foods that would require a chemist to explain the ingredients to you!

Visit a Therapist

As already shared, therapy can go a long way in helping depressed men to open up about their struggles.

Sometimes just having a nonjudgmental, trustworthy person to listen improves quality of life significantly. Your therapist can also help you come up with a plan to help you fight depression in a variety of ways.

Although depression for men can seem like an insurmountable challenge, there is help and there is hope.

By taking consistent, small steps over time, the suffering of depressed men can decrease dramatically.

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Men: She Really Wants You to Listen More than Solve Her Problem

You’ve probably heard this one before, haven’t you?

But you find yourself, once again, reading on this topic to understand something you never will—at least not experientially.

She wants you to listen way more than “fix” the problem.

A Bit of a Disclaimer First

This is usually the case with men and women. Usually.

Women generally want to be listened to the most and men want to fix the most.

But there are definite exceptions. And this can easily happen without a loss of masculinity or femininity.

Some women are natural fixers. Some men become frustrated when fixers try to step in without listening.

A Very Common Conversation


“I’m concerned about Johnny (fourth-grade son). He’s come home from school in tears the past few days.”


“Well, ask him what’s bothering him. Then, schedule a time with his teacher and see if there’s anything else going on.”


“Uh….(pause) ok.

(Conversation ends at this point.)

Inside the Brain of Someone Who’s Not a “Fixer”

The man leaves that conversation feeling pretty darn good. He’s the fixer, after all, and that’s just what he did. He got out his handy, dandy duct tape and covered everything in sight with the grey, shiny adhesive.

The woman leaves with her head down. She may feel discouraged. She may feel angry. She may feel ignored.

But, there’s one common denominator.

She doesn’t feel like you care.

At this point, you may object to her feelings.

“But I’m “Duct-Tape Man,” you say.

That you are and that’s a good thing. The world would literally come to a standstill without people like you.

Most of the time, the woman you care about isn’t asking for a quick fix. She’s inviting you into an intimate relationship.

Johnny’s problems perplex her but, more than anything, she’s inviting you to experience life together.

She wants to talk about the problem. She wants you to listen. She wants you to understand how she feels.

She wants to be vulnerable with you. She needs to be vulnerable with you—because she craves a relationship with depth.

And, yes, that involves way more than what happens in the bedroom.

Part of the solution for her is to air out the problem. Sometimes that alone is what she needs most.

After all, your woman isn’t a dimwit. She understands life quite well and makes you look good in the process.

What she needs is to let out words. It’s her release valve.

And allowing her the ability to do so is often all the “fixing” that’s required! If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Stay-At-Home Dads–What to Say When Well-Meaning People Say Dumb Things to You

If so, you know all too well that people can say some pretty insensitive things. Most aren’t intentionally trying to hurt you. Still, you leave many conversations scratching your head and feeling misunderstood.

What do you say when people say dumb things to you about your unorthodox occupation? Here are some ideas.

Educate People When They Something Dumb

There are a lot of misconceptions about your role in our culture. You can help dispel the myths and make it easier on all stay-at-home days by teaching people the truth.

You only need to share as much about your personal life as you want. There’s no need to feel like you’re on the defensive.

Based on your personality, you can let people see into your life and understand why the stay-at-home-dad thing makes the most sense for your family.

Maybe your spouse can bring in a better income than you but two incomes don’t make sense due to daycare costs. It’s ok to say that.

Or maybe you just prefer working at home more than your spouse does. That’s ok, too.

You can also showcase that side business you do along with all your other responsibilities as a stay-at-home dad.

Let people see for themselves that your role makes the best sense for many families including yours.

Stay-At-Home Dads: Say Something Clever

Think of the most common questions you get asked and think of fun, clever things to say in response.

Maybe you don’t want to educate others so they say less dumb things to people like you.

That’s ok. Why not try this instead.

Here’s a textbook question you can have more than enough fun with:

“So…..(longer than necessary pause) What do you do all day?”

You saw that question coming from a mile away didn’t you?

Why not go on the offensive instead of the defensive?

Try something like this:

Smile and chuckle at this question (like, boy, that’s a funny one!).

“Maybe a better question is what don’t I do? My house would literally cave in if I wasn’t there to make everything work.”

Or how about this one:

“What I do all day? Let’s see…Laundry, doctor’s appointments, taking care of puking kids, kids’ homework, school/sports taxi, paying bills, cooking meals, cleaning toilets, fixing cars, yardwork, a side business and a million other things…

I’m not sure what to do all day! Do you have any suggestions?”

Unfortunately, you already know the dumb questions will probably keep coming. But you also know that your family desperately needs you.

That can give you the confidence to stick up for yourself and your family! If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

The Pressure to Be “Manly”—How that Affects Our Relationships

What should you do with our culture’s pressure to be manly? The first step is to decide what really is manly instead of things we’re only told are so.

Manliness is the best thing for our relationships. True manliness, that is.

The problem is that much of what is packaged as manliness has nothing to do with what it means to be a real man.

Let’s look at a few examples of what has nothing to do with being a real man. Then, we’ll follow up with thoughts of what a real man looks like.

Manly? Uh, Maybe Not…

If you judge manliness by superficial things, you’ll strike out every time in coming up with the real thing.

Some men think being a complete jerk makes them manly. The art of being a jerk is the umbrella that virtually all fake manliness falls under.

There’s a saying that suits this occasion quite well:

“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”

Cut-throat business deals, the flaunting of wealth, verbal abuse, sleeping around on your mate and similar things don’t make you a man.

They actually erode true manliness. Little by little, you become less of what you were meant to be.

If you spend any time in thought, there’s something in your heart you want to rebel against.

The superficial measuring stick of outward success, having the prettiest girl, or being physically tough isn’t really doing it for you.

If you’re feeling the pressure to be the sort of man described in this section, just walk the other way. That’s the kind of stuff that gives men a bad name.

My guess is that if you’ve read this far, you’re after more than being a jerk or superficial success.

You want something more and so do those around you.

People don’t want the Hollywood version of manliness. They want something that works in real life.

If you attempt the fake version, your relationships will struggle and it’s no small wonder why.

The Pursuit of True Manliness

Ready for a shocker? The truest form of a man has nothing to do with how fancy your car or house is or how “perfect” your family is.

If all those things were taken from you in a moment, what is left would either prove or disprove your manliness.

True manliness is strong, yes, but at its base, it boils down to a loving person fused with that toughness.

True manliness is character—something that couldn’t be taken from you even if you were locked in a concentration camp.

It’s the active love for humanity that lives in your soul. It is something you can continually grow and improve upon.

True manliness is visiting your mom in the nursing home when you’re busy, having integrity in business deals even when you lose money and staying faithful to your mate even when badly tempted not to be.

If you exercise true manliness, your relationships will grow.

Best of all, no one and nothing can take true manliness from you.

In Conclusion

If the pressure to be a man is grounded in reality, listen to that pressure. Don’t let it weigh you down. Just take small steps towards the goal.

If the pressures to be manly are rooted in fake manliness, take that junk and throw it in the dumpster. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

3 Signs Your Woman Is Just Not that Into You

If you’re drawn to this article title, you’re not alone. Many partners have lurking doubts and questions about whether their woman is still interested in them or ever really was in the first place.

Sometimes, even the most committed relationships experience these fleeting fears. When these doubts persist, though, there could be a problem.

If you’re fearing the worst, here are some signs that your girl isn’t interested.

She Isn’t Laughing

This may sound superficial and it’s understandable why you may think so. But it goes deeper than that.

If your woman isn’t into you, she won’t find you funny anymore. She might not even smile when you do things that most others would find funny. These are signs that something could wrong.

It could be that the benefit scale of continuing the relationship is tipping the opposite way from what you want.

You may be doing everything right and treating her like a queen but that may not be enough. The mysterious chemistry of love just isn’t there.

If she doesn’t feel better with you, then she likely won’t be with you for long.

Lots of Excuses

If your girl is busy every time you ask to hang out, this is a tell-tale sign she’s not interested. There are exceptions but few.

Some exceptions may be that your woman is going through a short burst of busyness such as studying for finals, overwhelmed by her job or feeling depressed. She still may love you but is just maxed out.

Most of the time, though, if there are constant excuses why she can’t get together, that’s a not-so-subtle hint. If she was interested, she’d make time for you. In fact, she wouldn’t be able to help herself.

Some women will let you know very clearly if they’re not interested. Others won’t. They’re afraid to hurt your feelings so they make excuses to avoid time with you instead of being direct.

Your girl may need to vacuum her car, go shopping alone (again) or visit a family member she has never mentioned before.

The excuse possibilities are endless but one thing remains the same–She does her best to avoid you because she’s not into you anymore. The opposite would be true if your woman was interested

Trust Your Gut

Most of the time, you instinctively know there’s a problem before your “come-to-Jesus moment”.

As difficult as this realization is, it’s the best thing in the long run. If you get serious with the woman of your dreams but you’re not the one she dreams about, things will be miserable.

If you’re still unsure where your woman stands, work up the guts to come out and ask her. You can also ask your closest friends and family about what’s they’ve observed.

If your woman’s not into you, there is someone out there who will find you irresistible. It’s not the end of the road. Instead, it’s the beginning of a new and better road. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.


We Aren’t Connecting—3 Things Women Want from Their Partners

You aren’t connecting with your girl like you know you should. Now you’re wondering what she wants and why you’re not enough.

Oh, boy. Where do we start?

That could be what you’re thinking because women can be complicated. But they also are easy to figure out on a certain level.

After all, economics is a complicated subject but it’s also simple—Just make more than you spend.

For most men, the problem isn’t in understanding what to do. It’s actively doing what they already understand. Let’s give you the simple version of what your woman wants from you.

To Feel Safe

Your woman needs you to be her protector. This has nothing to do with your girl being weak. As you already know, that isn’t the case.

But your girl needs you to hold her hand when she loses a loved one, stick up for her when others don’t and hold her when she’s crying (even if you don’t understand).

She needs you to be her calm during the storm instead of adding to the turbulence.

The Most Beautiful

Beauty means a lot of different things to people. Everyone can look at a sunset and agree that it’s beautiful. And the reasons people find sunsets beautiful would be pretty much the same.

But there are way more complexities in determining the beauty of a woman. Yes, a segment of our culture would have you believe that beauty is only how hot a woman looks in a bikini.

Physical attraction is important but there are plenty of more enduring qualities that make your woman beautiful. Physical beauty wanes and quite quickly in more than enough cases.

So, given that fact, here’s a good question to ask:

If my woman lost her physical beauty, what about her would still be beautiful?

Those other positive qualities you come up with make up the entire beauty of your girl. Those traits you came up with were always there. They’re just easy to take for granted.

By making a conscious effort to appreciate the full beauty of your woman, you’ll see that she’s far more beautiful than you give her credit for.

At this point, it’s time to tell her she’s the most beautiful. Besides her physical traits, she may have a great sense of humor, be self-sacrificing, intelligent and generous among other things.

Guys, the most beautiful thing about your woman is that she’s willing to put up with someone like you. No matter how much of a stud you think you are, not many women would be willing to do that!

If you treat your wife like the most beautiful woman in the world, the funny thing is she’ll become exactly that. If you try to do it the opposite way, things won’t go well. You can’t build someone up by running them down.

A Marathon Runner

Yep. Sprinters need not apply. Your woman needs you there for the long haul.

Your woman needs someone to grow old with. Someone who resolves never to leave her even when times become absurdly difficult.

It isn’t so bad giving the most beautiful woman in the world what she wants. Trust me. You’ll be handsomely rewarded and your difficulty connecting with her will quickly become less of a problem. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How Relationships Are Like Sports

Relationships are like sports. Image of sports balls.

Ever been on a sports team?

Did you know that your experience on a sports team can teach you a lot about how relationships work?

Here are some similarities between sports and relationships to consider.

Not a One-Man Show

Did you ever have someone on your team who thought they were the most important player? That they were better than others or privileged?

If you did, you probably weren’t full of happy thoughts towards them.

If you were the self-centered player, you may have wondered why people got frustrated and angry with you so much.

The tension happened because a sports team’s effectiveness breaks down when one person makes it all about them. Morale begins to really sag. People feel like quitting.

The same thing happens in relationships. When one person makes the relationship all about them, they consistently make selfish decisions.

They also make decisions that they think are in their best interest instead of the “team’s”. In your relationship, you really are a team.

You’ll need to put your ego and selfish desires aside even though it’s not easy. Instead, do what’s best for everyone. By doing so, you’ll do what’s best for you, too, though it may not always feel like it at the time.

You Face Many Opponents

Just like in sports, you face many opponents in relationships. In sports, a new “enemy” is always out there in a different-colored uniform from another town or city trying to conquer you. To make you lose.

Your adversaries in sports cause tension. They bring on struggle. But, with your team, you overcome them.

In your relationships, there are many rivals, too. They take more-complicated forms, though.

Your opponents may be poverty, health problems, a toxic job, the temptation to remain faithful, the death of a friend or sleeplessness. Or they may take a thousand other forms.

But one thing will always be the same. You must work together to beat back the challenger.

You must resolve to fight together. No, not fight with each other. But fight as one against anyone and anything that threatens to bring harm to your relationship.

Your Teammates Can Be Difficult

Yep. This one’s already been hit on some but is worth looking at a little closer.

As you work in the trenches on a team, at times, you grow frustrated with each other. That’s perfectly normal as tensions can be very high during stressful situations.

In your relationships, you won’t always think the other person is the best person in the world. You’ll likely even go through times you don’t want to love them.

But, eventually, you triumph over these disagreements because you’re on the same team.

It’s All Worth It in the End!

You work together to overcome difficult situations in sports. You do the same in relationships.

And as you work together in that relationship, you eventually discover something wonderful.

You find the hard times that could’ve torn you apart, instead, brought you closer together.

That a lifelong friend was the result. And that a satisfying journey was shared together. And all that happened was worth it in the end!

Are you looking to improve your relationship? Or have you struggled recently with a breakup? We’d like to help. Schedule your appointment for either couples counseling or men’s counseling using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Breadwinner Dads—How to Handle the Stress

This a timely topic as the American middle class continues to disappear from the economic landscape. There are plenty of jobs out there but a full-time one is less likely to support a family.

A multitude of dads are really having a tough time. If you can relate, you may feel worthless, like a failure, depressed and angry. There’s the temptation to disconnect from your family and even engage in risky behavior to escape your crummy situation.

Your job may be the best out there but if you can’t provide for your family with it, eventually, you’ll struggle to maintain quality work. There’ll be too many financial stressors that overshadow doing a great job.

This is the most stressed breadwinner dads have been for generations. But what can be done?

Here are a few ideas but don’t stop there. You owe it to yourself and your family to do what it takes.

Cut Your Commute

Even a twenty-minute commute to work each way adds up to over a solid month of 40-hour work weeks where you’re doing nothing but driving!

That’s on top of the solid year of work you’ll already be doing.

That’s not all, though. You’ll also spend thousands of dollars in gas and auto repairs. The money you spend on your commute is immediately subtracted from your income along with taxes, lessening your earning potential.

Unless you work an unusually hazardous job, this is also the most dangerous part of your day. You are far more likely to be injured on the way to and from work than at your job.

Are you driving far away for a higher paying job that stresses you out like crazy? Do the math and decide if you’re better off with a lower-paid job closer to home.

The results of your quick study may shock you. Cut down on your commute and you’ll save money, time and be safer. This adds up to less stress and more positive family influence.

Work Remotely

There’s a huge shift in the job world that simply wasn’t possible before the internet age.
The number of dads (and moms) who work from home continues to increase.

This is a great thing for many dads. You completely cut out the time and expenses of a commute.

Your day also becomes more than punching a clock or mandatory overtime. Instead, you’re focused solely on the quality of hours you work.

This means you work when you’re most productive and that you can pick your own hours.

Doctors appointments, illness and unforeseen life events can be worked through without so much fear that you’ll lose your job by taking too much time off.

You’ll also get much more interaction with your spouse and children.

Is this lifestyle a cakewalk? Hardly.

Still, many dads find remote work to be more of a dance than a 9-to-5 dirge.

Create A Job

Does your pay stink? Do you dread long hours in a toxic environment?

Maybe you look at the job listings in despair finding nothing that suits you. It could be time to create your own job.

Again, this isn’t easy but more dads are finding freedom by creating a job that isn’t at the mercy of micromanagement and corporate cuts. Perhaps you could start a business that involves remote work.

Summing It Up

Other ways to reduce your stress should be considered, too. Some include consistent physical exercise and sleep, a healthy hobby and a good support system.

Know that you’re not alone in your struggle, men. Keep trying until you find what works best to ease your stress. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.