02/03/2009 05:30 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Bonding When Things Go Bad

February 25, 2009 Update

See the recent post on the Newsweek blog, which suggests that the DABA girls may have "exaggerated" the nature of their group to the New York Times.

Whether the "excuse" is a book group, cooking club, or knitting circle -- women characteristically gravitate towards one another not only to share interests but also to share joys, sorrows and hopes. The economic downslide has spawned a new and curious women's get-together, a group called Dating a Banker Anonymous (DABA). The group meets once or twice a week, over brunch or cocktails, so its members can commiserate about boyfriends whose moods are fluctuating as erratically as the tumultuous market conditions.

According to the New York Times, DABA was started by two best friends, Laney Crowell and Megan Petrus, young professionals who were each involved in a relationship with a man working in the financial sector when things began spiraling downward -- both in terms of the economy and in their relationships. While DABA's blog and the Times report are infused with tongue-in-cheek humor, the topic merits serious attention.

When men lose their jobs and/or their money, they're prone to depression, anxiety and loss of self-esteem, which can wreak havoc on their relationships. In fact, women are often the first to recognize the signs that a significant other is coming unglued. Whether it takes the form of an ongoing circle of friends, a loosely organized sisterhood like DABA, or an informal chat over a cup of coffee, girlfriends can provide emotional support that makes it easier to cope with today's economic and relationship realities.

P. S. Now that the DABA girls have a book deal in the wings, time rather than money may be more of an issue in their relationships.

Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author. She holds an appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and is working on a book about female friendships, Best Friends Forever: Surviving the Myth, that will be published by Overlook Press in September, 2009 and recently co-authored Schizophrenia for Dummies (Wiley, 2008). She also blogs about female friendships at The Friendship Blog.