Dating In SF: How to Find True Love...Not Just Sex

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It’s no secret that dating from San Francisco to Silicon Valley can be quite a challenge.

Forget running into a special someone at the grocery store or meeting in line at a coffee shop. Everyone out here is busy swiping left and right on Tinder, Bumble or The League!

Your parents’ generation may have kept things strictly monogamous. But don’t be surprised if you meet quite a few people in the Bay Area who would rather keep their relationships open.

Think children might be in your future? Well, if you’re seeking a family-oriented partner, you might feel like you’re always missing the mark. The fast-paced lifestyle and high costs of living in the San Francisco area often mean that you’re more likely to meet child-free people who would rather adopt a dog than have kids.

Don’t get too discouraged, though. You’re not on a hopeless quest. Dating in the Bay Area might be tough, but the right one is out there.

Here’s how to find true love in SF, Silicon Valley and anywhere in between (not just sex).

Get Clear on What You Want

If you genuinely want to find love in SF, you can’t just get out there and hope you’ll stumble on it somehow. You need to have a game plan. That starts with getting clear on what you really want.

When you take some time alone to clarify what you’re really looking for in a relationship, you won’t get bogged down by going on dates with people who are all wrong for you. You’ll be able to be completely honest with potential partners.

Be Intentional

Dating with intention means taking things slow, being real with yourself and the people you meet, and not being afraid to fly solo if red flags start popping up.

If your intention is to find love, not just a hookup, you need to keep moving forward with the goal of fulfilling that intention. Pinning your hopes on people who just aren’t on the same page as you will only serve to distract you from your real intentions.

Distinguish Your Fantasies From Real Romance

Sometimes, we don’t realize that the reason we can’t find a partner who meets our expectations is that our expectations are way too high for anyone to meet. Remember, being with a loving partner won’t solve all of your problems. It might create some additional ones.

Don’t look for someone to complete you. Look for someone to complement you! The best relationships occur when two people who were happy as individuals come together.

Love Yourself First

When you’re dating in a tough “market” like…well anywhere from The City to The Town to The Peninsula, you definitely need to have some solid self-love practices down. When you truly love yourself, people can tell. It shines through in your words and your actions.

Yes, it takes work. And it goes so much deeper than simply thinking positive thoughts and repeating affirmations.

Take good care of yourself, focus on your own physical and mental health, and spend plenty of quality time with your loved ones. Save some energy for yourself, and don’t get too caught up in the dating scene!

Talk It Out

Have you been trying for ages to find the right person for you? But no matter what you try, you still feel like you’re not any closer to meeting them than you were a year ago?

There’s no shame in talking to a professional who specializes in relationship therapy. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how we might be self-sabotaging in our journeys to find love. Getting some feedback from a neutral third party can be life-changing.

If you’re hoping to find real love in or around The Bay, but you’re tired of dating apps and mind games, I want to help. Relationship therapy can turn your love life around and help you approach dating in a whole new way.

Contact me today to find out more about how my approach to relationship and dating therapy can help. Feel free to leave a comment below, drop me an email, or if you want some help changing how you relate and create the love you want in your life - feel free to use the contact form to request a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am San Francisco’s resident relationship therapist helping successful couples and singles create the love and life that they want!

Information-Age Dating App Irriatations: Consider the Pros and Cons

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Dating App Pros + Cons

Online dating used to be seen as taboo. But, nowadays, telling someone that you met your sweetie or your spouse on a dating app doesn’t feel like such a big deal.

Everyone seems to have Tinder and Bumble on their phones, and it’s not just for college students who don’t want to be alone on Saturday night. Today, plenty of adults use these apps to find casual flings or pursue serious relationships.

Sure, dating apps are convenient. But, sometimes, it seems like these apps can make the modern dating scene even more complicated.

Are you thinking about downloading a few dating apps and trying your luck? Wondering whether or not you’ll find love? Or are you already familiar with the drill?

Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of dating apps.

Pro: Easy for Introverts

Meeting people in social settings can be tough for introverts. But when you’re using a dating app, you don’t have to come up with an awkward pickup line on the spot. You won’t waste time eyeing someone up and hoping you’ll get a chance to talk to them. And if you’re not feeling the convo on an app, you don’t have to come up with an excuse to leave. You can simply say goodbye and move on.

You have the opportunity to connect with plenty of people without forcing yourself to go to a party or a crowded bar full of strangers. For introverts, the idea of finding a partner from the comfort of your own home can seem like a dream come true.

Con: Ghosting

Let’s face it, the “ghosting” phenomenon didn’t exist for previous generations. When you meet someone on an app, they might not feel like they have an obligation to let you know that they’re not interested in talking to you anymore. Instead of being honest about their intentions, it’s not uncommon for people to simply cut things off with no explanation and disappear. And you’re left wondering what on earth went wrong.

Why does ghosting seem to come without warning? One reason is that when you’re chatting with someone over an app, you can’t read their body language to get an idea of how they really feel—but so much of human communication is nonverbal. Therefore, it feels like their disinterest comes out of the blue.

Pro: Cut to the Chase

When you meet someone on a dating app, you might feel more comfortable being open about exactly what you’re looking for from the start. In person, it’s easy to feel pressured into saying what your date wants you to hear. You might worry about their reaction too much to be honest. But when you’re using an app, you may feel like you can be a little bolder. After all, what do you have to lose?

If the person isn’t picking up what you’re putting down, meeting someone new can be as simple as swiping right. You can be frank with people and let them know that the ball is in their court, rather than getting attached, dragging things out, and then disappointing each other when you realize that your expectations don’t match up.

Con: Catfishing

Another problem that your parents’ generation didn’t have to deal with: Catfishing! When you meet someone on an app, you never know if they are who they say they are. Do they look like their picture? Do they actually like the hobbies they talk about in their bio? Or will you be sorely disappointed when you two finally meet in person?

Talking to someone on an app and building up their image in your mind can leave you feeling crushed if they’re different in person. No one wants to deal with the shocking reality that their dream partner isn’t so great after all.

Wondering how to navigate the world of dating apps without getting your heart broken? Therapy can help you figure it out.

Contact me today to find out more about how my approach to relationship and dating therapy can help. Feel free to leave a comment below, drop me an email, or if you want some help changing how you relate and create the love you want in your life - feel free to use the contact form to request a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am San Francisco’s resident relationship therapist helping successful couples and singles create the love and life that they want!


Dating As a Career-Driven Professional – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Career-Driven

&

Single in SF?

The Good, BAD + Ugly

Being a career-driven person might make you feel like you have to choose between your job and your love life.

Long hours at the office can pose an obstacle to planning romantic evenings. And you might find that potential partners don’t always understand your commitment to your work. When you love your job, but you’re also actively dating, you can sometimes feel like you’re always caught up in an internal struggle.

You don’t want to give up your professional ambitions, but you also don’t want to lose out on your shot at finding “the one.” What you do want is plenty of time to dedicate to your career and navigating the dating scene.

If you’re in this scenario, you have a few clear advantages and disadvantages when it comes to finding love.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of modern romance for career-driven professionals.

The Good

Having Appeal

Your passion and drive are intriguing to others. No one wants to date somebody without passion, and you’ve got it in spades. You’re proud of what you do, you have a solid work ethic, and you’re always looking to improve yourself. That’s super attractive!

Yes, most of your stories and anecdotes will relate back to your job. But when you truly love what you do, it shines through when you talk about it. Someone who just knows what they’re meant to do and goes for it without hesitation will never have trouble connecting with others.

Stability

When you’re young and carefree, you might equate the word “stability” to “boredom.” But as an adult, you begin to understand the value of stability. And when you’re a career-driven professional, potential partners can see that you have your life together.

The people you’ll attract will be those who prioritize the same things you do. And they’ll appreciate all the effort you’ve put in to build a comfortable life for yourself. It might not sound super exciting on paper, but being in a relationship where both partners are responsible, mature, and trustworthy is incredibly rewarding.

The Bad

Time

Let’s face it: you’re extremely busy. For you, work rarely stops when you leave the office, and sometimes, you feel like you’re never really “off the clock.” You check your email and LinkedIn while you sip your morning coffee. You go out for drinks with coworkers at the end of the day because you value networking opportunities. And you spend your lunch hours having meetings with important clients.

For all those reasons, you might not have much time to socialize with people outside of work. And thus, your circle primarily consists of other people who are employed in your industry.

With everything you have going on, it’s very hard for you to find the time to meet people whose professional paths don’t cross yours. And, of course, carving out the time for a date can be quite tricky. Spontaneity may seem romantic, but it’s usually off the table. And part of you feels a little guilty when you dedicate your precious time to a date that might not work out.

The Ugly

Finding Someone Who “Gets It”

You probably want to be with someone who understands your packed schedule. Someone who gets why you do what you do, and why you’re so motivated to succeed in your field. Ideally, you’d like to meet someone with similar ambitions.

Perhaps you’re also a bit picky because you have high personal standards for yourself. You want to be with someone who sets themselves apart, and you genuinely need a partner.

But here’s the problem: naturally, your “type” is likely to be quite busy as well! This makes it extremely hard to meet like-minded people. After all, the other like-minded people are going to be staying late at the office, just like you.

Obviously, there are many facets to being a career-driven professional who is looking for love. Making the good work for you and finding ways to deal with the bad and the ugly isn’t easy. But with the help of an objective observer who can provide guidance and options, it’s possible.

If you want to learn how to balance your busy work schedule and your love life, relationship therapy can help. Contact me today to find out more about how my approach to relationship and dating therapy can help. Feel free to leave a comment below, drop me an email, or if you want some help changing how you relate and create the love you want in your life - feel free to call me for a free 15 minute phone consultation at (415) 797-8297.  I am San Francisco’s resident relationship therapist helping successful couples and singles create the love and life that they want!


The Reality of Dating in San Francisco: Why Is It So Annoyingly Hard?!

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Why is Dating in SF So Damn Hard?!

Dating and meeting new potential partners can be fun. But let’s be honest—it’s often quite stressful!

No matter how hard you try, it can be challenging to find people you really click with. You might have to endure some awkward dinners. And, at times, you’ll find that someone you’re really into doesn’t feel the same way about you, or vice versa.

Dating is tougher in some cities than others. If you’ve ever complained about the San Francisco dating scene, you’re not alone!

Some people might assume that finding “the one” in such a large, progressive city would be a piece of cake. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Here’s what makes dating in San Francisco so uniquely frustrating.

Dating Apps

This is San Francisco, where it seems like everyone is a tech whiz. Naturally, most people are using some kind of dating app to connect with each other. Welcome to Silicon Valley!

Out here, it’s all about Tinder, Bumble, and other popular apps. You might prefer meeting people face to face, but if you want to get in on the action, you’ll have to download these apps. That fact alone can be frustrating, and really making their services work for you can add to that.

Transplants

Lots of people move to San Francisco from all over the world to work at startups and new tech companies. But that also means they’re more likely to travel elsewhere when they have time off rather than hang around for dating and socializing. After all, many of their loved ones will be living far away.

And if the startup flops? Well, it’s time for them to pack up and leave. Short-lived residency can easily mean short-lived romance.

Sky-High Rent

It’s tough to raise a family in San Francisco these days. The cost of rent is ranked as the highest out of any American city.

This means that a family-oriented partner may not want to settle down here in the future. People who want to start families often look elsewhere when it’s time to buy a property. And that can be an obstacle for single people who are looking for love and want to have children.

Busy Schedules

Long hours at work, the struggle to make enough and save enough to pay rent and still have a safety net, commuting long distances to work because of the crazy rents in the city—well, it all adds up to San Franciscans having packed schedules.

Naturally, this means people can be flakey, and it’s hard to schedule a real date. Majorly frustrating!

Skewed Ratio

According to some statistics, there are way more single guys in San Francisco than single women. This means that, while women may have it a bit easier when looking to date men, males seeking romance with females may have some extra competition.

Hence, it can be frustrating being a young, single guy in San Francisco. For every woman out there, a few other men are vying for her affections.

Relationship Preferences

There’s nothing wrong with people who choose not to be monogamous. Unless, of course, you’re looking for someone who strictly wants to date you—and they would rather keep their options open.

This is fairly common in San Francisco. So, while that might be a perk for polyamorous folks, monogamists may find themselves disappointed.

Financial Stress

Managed to actually lock someone down in San Francisco? Good for you! Just be prepared for the possibility of some serious pressure to move in together early on.

Those increasing rent prices we’ve talked about previously make moving in together a pretty smart financial idea. However, living together also means tackling all of the challenges that come along with it. This can easily make or break a fairly new relationship as rushing to move in together can be very stressful.

The Outlier - “Relationship Baggage”

If you have tended to repeatedly end up in disappointing romantic situations there is likely also a more personal factor. Call it “relationship baggage”. For some people relationships seem to happen easily, for others it’s more complicated.

We can’t control for many of the challenges of dating in San Francisco and her surrounding communities, and they DO affect our dating lives and relationships. However, if you’ve fallen into a pattern of repeatedly frustrating relationship dysfunctions or dynamics, this may be one area where you CAN assert your influence and get control of your relationships.

Feel like you need a little help navigating the San Francisco dating scene? If you’d like to know how my approach to relationship and dating therapy can help you, let’s connect. Feel free to leave a comment below, drop me an email, or if you want to some help changing how you relate and are creating the love you want in your life - feel free to call me for a free 15 minute phone consultation at (415) 797-8297.  I am San Francisco’s resident relationship therapist helping successful couples and singles create the love and life that they want!


The Right Way to Say, “I’m Sorry.”

I am a relationship therapist in San Francisco. I know relationships. And I have something important to tell you about dating, marriage, and relationships:

Conflict Is Inevitable

In relationship it’s inevitable that we’ll step on each other’s toes and have different needs that conflict.  And it’s likely we’ll want or need different things at the same time.  When this happens, the situation is ripe for conflict, hurt and disappointment.

5 Questions That Create Happy Relationships

In case you didn’t get the memo, communication is the thing that makes relationships click.  Well, its one of the things.  Maybe one of the most important things.  Intimacy, vulnerability and expression of care are also huge, but they all rest on the basic skill of communication.

Not everyone is super skilled or comfortable with “real” communication.  But since you’ve decided you like this person so much, why not talk to them?  And why not really talk.  Practice it, grow, stretch a little if these kinds of questions are a stretch.  They’ll feel better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be investing in your mutual long-term happiness.

5 Ways to Soothe Dating Anxiety

Dating Can Be Crazy-Making!

I recently had a client who was struggling with the all too familiar experience of dating anxiety or what we often call attachment anxiety. We had had a fairly productive session helping her re-regulate her nervous system, but I knew she was still leaving with some angst and discomfort given the unpredictable nature of dating. 

I wanted to be helpful outside of the session by sending her some tools and tips for dealing with anxiety and insecurity. I was looking for a quick blog with some tips that I could send her that could help her in between our sessions, but didn't find something that I liked so I decided to write my own, both for her and for you.

Heal From Your Breakup: How Neuroscience Can Help

Breaking Up Sucks!  Your heart aches, your thoughts spiral, you don’t want to eat, leave your darkened room or do many of the things you need to do just to get through your day and keep from losing your livelihood. 

We all know breaking up sucks just from having been through it, but neuroscience has recently given us a leg-up on recovering from the heart-sickness that comes from losing someone you love and have been attached to.  I’ve written a guest blog-post on Medium with other breakup advice, but keep reading for my latest thoughts.

Social Anxiety and West Coast Culture: How does it relate to my dating life?

Could West Coast culture be affecting my dating life?

I’ve long had a fascination with understanding the differences between East and West Coast culture in the US.  I’m going to take this chance to share some of my thoughts about the Coast Cultures and how it relates to social insecurities and what I’ll call “hiding”, particularly on the West Coast.  The caveat is that these are generalizations and may not apply to everyone. 

Having said that, part of my own personal working hypothesis is that on the West Coast people tend to be more private, tentative and get preoccupied with what others are thinking.  Many of us grew up with the saying,

Can I Have A Great Relationship Even If I Didn't See One Growing Up?

I was sitting at a coffee shop in warm and sunny Walnut Creek, California several weeks ago escaping the June Gloom of San Francisco, which was bleeding deep into July. As I was sipping my tropical tea, letting myself slowly arrive and adjust to working on some writing projects, I noticed a warm grandfatherly gentleman just outside the window in front of me sitting with what must have been his sweet, little blond-headed 4-year-old grandson.

Part III: 3 Tips to Get Them to Swipe Right + Rewire Your Brain for Love

Part III:  3 Tips to Get Them to Swipe Right + Rewire Your Brain to Attract Love

This is Part 3 of a mini-blog on getting more profile perusers to “swipe right” on your profile by rewiring your brain and upping the frequency you’re vibing on.

In Part 1 of this mini-blog we saw how confidence is attractive and how to build that sense of confidence by slowing down, tuning in and focusing on the good that’s already there in you!  You-liking-you is numero uno in enhancing genuine self-confidence.

Part II: 3 Tips to Get Them to Swipe Right + Rewire Your Brain for Love

This is Part II of a blog series on getting more profile perusers to swipe right on your profile by rewiring your brain and upping the vibe you’re sending out.

In Part 1 of this mini-blog we saw how confidence is attractive and how to build that sense of confidence by slowing down, tuning in and focusing on the good that’s already there in you!  You-liking-you is numero uno in enhancing genuine self-confidence

3 Tips to Get Them to Swipe Right + Rewire Your Brain for Love

How do I meet someone so I can get off these damn dating apps?

“I just want to meet someone great, so I can get the ‘EFF’ off this app!”  As a Relationship Therapist specializing in Dating Therapy it’s a complaint I hear often enough.  Some of the habitual swiping going on these days can be mildly entertaining, and slightly more than mildly addictive.  Even so, many who are using the latest dating apps are SRSLY ready to get off of them and get on with living, loving and relating.

Are You Feeling Hopeless About Your Relationship? 3 Ways to Start Feeling Better.

Are You Feeling Hopeless About Your Relationship?  3 Ways to Start Feeling Better.

Does feeling hopeless mean it is, or is there still a way to fix things?

You’re feeling hopeless about your relationship, but does that mean you’re doomed?  Or is there still hope in spite of that sinking feeling?

Well, hopelessness usually comes awhile after the point where your relationship struggles and red flags started showing up.  Hopeless feelings are likely an indication that overwhelm has been taking its toll on you, not just emotionally, but also on your nervous system, physically.   When that happens your body’s ability to regulate which is essential to healthy, sustainable functioning is severely compromised and parts of you start shutting down to regulate and regain your grasp on things. 

Stop Telling Yourself That BS Story About Being Single

Stop Telling Yourself That BS Story About Being Single

Being in a relationship is AMAZING and PERFECT!

Of course it feels good to be in love or in a good relationship…at least it does until you and your new sweetie start arguing about your differences or the shine otherwise starts to wear off of the romance.  But, yeah it feels good. 

Everything about being single SUCKS!

Conversely, it TOTALLY SUCKS to be single and alone.  Or at least that’s what many people tell themselves.

What is the truth about your single life?

Why Am I Still Single?

When Everything’s Clicking

You like their profile pic.  They like you back. 👍 They send a flirtatious message.  You respond. 😊 There’s good banter.  You feel hopeful. 😄 They suggest a meet-up, at one of SoMa’s coolest new bars you’ve been looking forward to trying.  👌 🍸 Everything’s clicking. 💑

What comes next is anyone’s guess. Dating in San Francisco (or the Bay Area...or anywhere nowadays) is a brave new world of marginally controlled chaos and it is so easy to get hurt.  Chemistry could fall flat, you could get ghosted, they could ACTUALLY text you, yet say they’re going to keep looking: any number of flakey or foul things could happen.

Premarital Counseling in San Francisco: Why bother...?

Premarital Counseling in San Francisco:  Why bother...?

You live in San Francisco, one of the toughest dating scenes, this side of say...the Hudson River and Manhattan and...well, you're killing it!  You've met your match and life-partner, you're making an honest living, and living the life!  I'd say you've done pretty darn well!  Just ask one of your single friends who's still living with 3 roommates in the Outer Sunset.  So why bother with premarital counseling when life is so good?  Well, for starters, how about protecting that most precious asset that no bull market or real estate investment could bring back to you--your relationship, and that other lovely person you're in it with.

3 Things You Should Expect from (Good) Couples Therapy

Knowing you want help and need help with your relationship is the easy part.  You’re feeling unseen, unappreciated, repeatedly disappointed and pretty damn unsatisfied with him or her.  Now what?

It’s kind of a daunting question and adventure…looking for a GOOD couples therapist.  What does that mean anyway?  What is a good couples therapist going to do and how is it going to help?  And how do I know if I’ve found someone that will actually help us to feel better and want to be together again?

Do I Need a Dating Coach or a Therapist?

Thousands every day are asking the question, "Do I need a Dating Coach or a Therapist to help me get out of this frustrating pattern of dating, disappointment, and disillusionment?"  Ok, I’m not sure about those numbers, it may be less than thousands every day, but it’s still a big question for singles.  And you’re here so it’s an even better question for me to answer for YOU.

3 Fears Blocking Love From Your Life

You may have seen the clever, insightful diagram (“re-purposed” above) educating us about the discrepancy between what we want or say we want, and what we actually feel comfortable with letting ourselves experience. 

Even if it’s a tiny bit simplistic, I think it’s a helpful description of how we inadvertently get blocked from real love and partnership because of deeply hidden and largely unconscious fears and resistance to love that keep us in a “comfort zone” of aloneness.