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Co-Parenting Tips: The Way You Talk to Your Ex Could Make a Difference

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in co-parenting advice

co-parenting tips

 

Ask any divorced man or woman, “Do you get along with your ex?” and you will probably get that familiar eye roll. It’s sad, but the reality is, most divorced couples struggle when it comes to communicating. Here are nine tips for talking to your ex that might improve your co-parenting relationship.

1. Never say the words “It’s your fault.”

Suppose your child forgot his or her school project at your ex’s and came home to your house after school and cried about it. If you call your ex and say, “It’s your fault,” will that really solve anything? Maybe it is his or her fault, but does it help to point that out? People who are told “It’s your fault” tend to get defensive and angry Besides the fact that the statement doesn’t change what happened, it also weakens your ability to co-parent in a productive way. If something bad happens, forget whose fault it is and focus on how to fix it or minimize the damage.

2. Think before you speak

Men and women tend to get very emotional when talking to their ex, probably because there’s a certain level of resentment that is always lurking in the back of a divorcee’s mind — things that could stem from years and years ago. If your ex says something that makes you want to shout, “Are you crazy?!” take a deep breath before you respond and think about two things: the impact it will have on what’s going to happen next, and the effect that statement could ultimately have on your children. It helps to write your feelings down in a journal or tell a friend.

3. Leave the past in the past

When having a discussion about your children or your divorce, it does not help in the least to bring up things from the past. For example, if your ex is asking for more custody than you feel comfortable with, don’t say something like, “You never spent time with the kids when we were married! Why do you want more time with them now?!” Drudging up the past is unproductive and will cause your relationship with your ex to unravel. You got divorced because of the past. It’s over. Neither of you need to recap it.

Click here to read the rest of the article, which was published today in Sun-times Media. You really need to read numbers 7 and 8!!

Know an Amazing Single Mom? Enter her in “The Sweetest Mom” Contest!

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in Single mom

 

single mom

With Mother’s Day coming up, this is a great time to show our appreciation for moms and single moms. Here is part of a piece I wrote last year for the local paper, The Northbrook Tower, about moms.

She can put a Band-Aid on a skinned knee better than anyone else.   The brown bagged lunch she packs tastes like home. Her voice is the warmest, most comforting and most loving voice you’ve ever heard. And the huge smile she gives you from across the soccer field after you just scored a goal makes your heart soar.

 That’s my description of a mom. A mother is a creator. She is also a protector. She is a tender caregiver, a friend, a teacher and a mentor.  She is a gift. She is you!

 You are a mom, and that is the most difficult and the most rewarding job you will ever have. You don’t get a salary to teach your beloved children right from wrong. You don’t get paid overtime when you’re up all night because you’re daughter has the stomach flu, and you don’t get to take a sick day when you get the flu.

 What you do get are the benefits that go far beyond 401K contributions, dental insurance and yearly cash bonuses. You get the hugs and kisses that take your breath away, the call from the teacher praising your child’s admirable behavior, the funny little comments that fill you with laughter, and the “I love you, Mom,” that makes everything you do worth it, and that gives your life meaning.

 I reposted this to motivate you to nominate a mom or a single mom for “The Sweetest Mom” contest.

“The Sweetest Mom” contest is being held by Carol and Jeff Goldman of Carol’s Cookies, in honor of the company’s 35th anniversary, along with Mother’s Day. The above photo is Carol, by the way, founder of Carol’s Cookies, who is both an amazing businesswoman and mom.

 ”The Sweetest Mom” contest, which takes less than 2 minutes to enter is a great way to honor, thank and show appreciation to a mom, whether she’s your mom, your aunt, your grandma, your mother-in-law (although that’s probably rare LOL), your best friend,  just a mom you know, or a single mom, of course.

Carol’s Cookies is giving away 35 prizes for the best entries, first prize being a year’s worth of cookies, and then 34 prizes, which are a dozen cookies sent to your home.

Let me say this about Carol’s Cookies. If you’ve ever tried one, you are probably already on the link entering the contest! Yes, they are that good. They are seriously THE BEST cookies on the market. They are all natural, and hand baked fresh daily by the company, with the basic ingredients being sugar, flour, butter, eggs and vanilla and that’s it!

Even if you don’t win the contest, you get a $5 coupon just for entering!

Here is the link to the contest page. I just entered my mom!

Enter a great mom or single mom right now! And spread the word! The contest ends on Mother’s Day, by the way.

https://www.facebook.com/CarolsCookies/app_448952861833126

 

 

 

Divorce Advice and Tough Love for Woman with Lack of Self-Love

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in divorce advice

 

divorce advice

I received a comment from a blog post I wrote a long time ago called “Anger is for losers,” and I have to say, the comment broke my heart. Wait till you read this, and wait till you hear the divorce advice I have for this woman, who fortunately isn’t angry anymore, but whose low self-esteem and utter lack of self-love is so very sad, I wanted to cry.

 

Comment in response to my blog post, “Anger is for losers:”

 

Anger isn’t for losers. Acting out–stalking, harassing and other illegal stuff is for losers. Anger is simply an emotional response to hurt. It’s okay to be angry. Some people take longer for the hurt to heal than others–and that’s okay too. It helps if you have good friends and family to help you through it. What also helps? Having open and honest communication with the person who hurt you.

Also, I have let go of my anger and I can tell you that my life did not get better. It seems to get worse and worse. I feel trapped… like maybe I deserve to be mistreated by everyone around me.

Being picked up and then thrown down has damaged my ability to trust men. My self-worth and esteem has been taken to astounding lows. I feel like no one could ever love someone like me. I still hurt even as the anger has subsided. I guess some wounds can’t be healed or soothed.

 

Let me start by saying I agree with your statement, “Anger isn’t for losers.” I wrote the blog, “Anger is for Losers” a long time ago, and what I realize is, it should have been called “Not letting go of Anger is for Losers.”

It is normal, actually healthy to be angry over a divorce. But, losers, in my opinion, are people who can never let that anger go, even years after the divorce. They hold onto it forever. It defines them. The guy who can’t say hello to his ex-wife several years after the divorce, the woman who still talks ill of her ex-husband to her children a decade later. It drives me nuts.

All that said, the part of what you wrote that was so upsetting to me (the heartbreak) was the rest of your comment, beginning with “my life did not get better.”

First of all, please ask yourself why, because you must know why. What or who is preventing your life from getting better?

My next question is, why do you feel like you deserve to be mistreated by everyone around you? Who has done this to your self-esteem? Surely you aren’t going to let ONE person (who I’m assuming, though I could be wrong–left you and divorced you) cause you to think you don’t deserve to be treated well by others, right? He’s ONE man. ONE man.

I am urging you to start loving yourself. Don’t you deserve to be loved? Of course you do! No one is perfect and if you happen to be looking back at your relationship and blaming yourself for things, STOP! Of course you probably did some things you wish you could take back, or you wish you’d have treated your ex differently at times. We all feel that way. But no one is perfect and to be healthy and happy, we need to forgive ourselves. All we can do is strive to be better in the future and not make the same mistake.

Self-love is probably the most important aspect of having a better life after divorce. So, engage in behaviors that facilitate self love. If you have kids, be the best mother you can be. If you have a job, don’t just do it, do it really, really well. If you have a passion, a hobby, enjoy it! And lastly, engage in acts of giving and kindness. In addition to the beneficiary, kind acts always make us feel better about ourselves. That’s the gift we are get for ourselves by helping others.

Self love is also gained by surrounding yourself with good, kind people; those you want to be like. Disassociate yourself from people who make you feel bad about yourself. Go to therapy. Talk to your family or your best friend and try to figure out why you are letting ONE MAN define who you are.

It’s great that your anger has subsided, but be smart now. Get to the root of why your self-esteem and self worth are at “astounding lows.” It takes courage to let yourself see it and to change it. It’s not easy, but it’s time to get tough.

“I guess some wounds can’t be healed or soothed,” you say. I disagree. YOU have the power to heal and soothe them in certain ways. No one else does. Time helps, but you have to help yourself, too. Get up off the ground and start living your life!!! What are you waiting for? There are millions and millions of opportunities out there.

The thing is, I got a comment from you probably during a really, really low moment in your life. I know nothing about you, what your situation is, and what happened in your past. Whatever it was, I’m sure it is gut-wrenchingly sad and difficult and I’m sorry for that.

What I do know is, there are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t. Don’t worry about the latter. Focus on changes you can make to be happier, move on from the past, and go out and grab the life you really want, and the life that makes you happy!

This takes guts. Cry at times if you want to, and grieve when you need to, but please, please, please, start living and enjoying your life! So many people have been where you are. Some end up happy and some can’t let go of mistakes and the past, and therefore really are never happy again. The choice is in your power!

I am wishing you all the best and big hugs.

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How to be Happy After Divorce: A Simple Exercise that Might Help!

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in divorce advice, newly separated

 

how to be happy after divorce

I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago called “How to get from Hopelessness to Happiness after Divorce,” and it got probably the most views of any blog post I’ve written. Why? I think because separated or divorced men and women are always looking for ways, solutions, ANYTHING to solve that problem of how to be happy after divorce. 

Let’s be honest, there really is no “solution” to being happy, everyone has to get their on his or her own. But in my opinion, it’s the choices, the actions that people take that can make a difference both in becoming a happier person, or unfortunately making things worse and becoming unhappier.

Some men and women try to get happy through a new relationship. They jump in quickly and hope that love will make them happy. That is Jackie’s least favorite way to find happiness after divorce, and don’t get me wrong, there is no bigger fan of romance than me. It’s just that I hate when people use a relationship to mask all of their issues, instead of fixing the issues in more head-on, honest ways, like therapy, faith, exercise, and time.

Additionally, men and woman sometimes take to alcohol, drugs, sex or other addictions to make them happy. But we all know how temporary and potentially deadly that solution is. 

So, how to be happy after divorce?  I asked Dr. Sarah Allen, a therapist who holds a Ph.D,  if she would let me post a blog she recently wrote on the subject. She didn’t just write this for divorced people, but for anyone who wants to be happier.

The reason I loved it so much is that she offers an easy solution to being happier, something you can try that doesn’t take a lot of time (5 minutes a day), but that might make you realize after a couple weeks of doing it that it’s really helping! Try it! You have nothing to lose!

 

How to be Happy, by Dr. Sarah Allen, Ph.D

One of the most successful techniques to come out of the Positive Psychology movement (Seligman) is the task of keeping a daily journal where you write down three positive things that have happened during your day. It doesn’t need a lot of journaling if that’s not your thing. It’s simple, list three things that have made you feel happy.

Why does this work? Well, if we know we have to write something in the evening, we keep our eyes open during the day and therefore are more likely to notice and pay a little bit more attention to positive events. Quite simply, noticing something positive and noting how it makes us feel happy makes our brain increase serotonin. If we do this regularly, over time we increase our happiness.

I have tweaked it a little bit and have divided this daily task into two sections; things that we just observe and things that we made happen.   It only takes a couple of minutes to write down three examples of each.

Three Things That Made You Smile/Feel Good

Write down three positive things that you noticed today.

“I saw the daffodils were poking through the soil next to my garage and it made me smile that Spring is finally on its way”.

“My son came through the door and gave me a big hug hello”.

“I looked at a cartoon on Facebook and thought it was so funny I laughed out loud”.

When we are feeling down we tend to just focus on the negative and ignore the positive. Part of therapy is to widen your focus to include things that went well and that you enjoyed, not just what irritated you. The act of noticing and paying attention to the experience makes the brain take more notice and therefore feel more pleasure. This is the opposite of being on automatic pilot as you go through your day.

Three Things That You Had A Part In Making It Positive

Jot down three things that went well for you today. Why did it happen, what role did you play?

“I began the morning in a relaxed way by lying in bed cuddling with my kitty cat – because I set the alarm to go off ten minutes earlier than I needed to get up I still had plenty of time to get ready”.

“I felt very connected to my child because I put down my phone and really listened to how his day at school had gone”.

“I had a lot of work to get done but I made myself take a break and take my friend up on her offer of going for a walk. Afterwards I felt more refreshed and was able to be more productive”.

Just as we tend to ignore the positive and notice the bad things that have happened, we also tend to ignore the positive influence we have over things and events. I think it is so important to recognize not only what was good, but how you came to make it happen so you can hopefully repeat it in the future.

The same with negative things – if you have the attitude that things just happen rather than recognizing what you did or didn’t do to effect the outcome – it makes events feel out of your control and we humans are happiest when we feel some sense of control.

Thank you, Sarah! By the way, I have been in Sarah’s office to interview her for articles for the Sun-Times and I have to say, if you want to be happy, just walk in there! It’s a wonderful, warm, cozy environment, and I would recommend Sarah as a therapist a million times over!

Sarah’s Bio and contact info:

Dr. Sarah Allen is a psychologist who specializes in empowering women to live the life they want. She sees clients in her Northbrook office or via telephone or Skype sessions. Visit www.drsarahallen.com for more blog posts on a variety of issues relevant to women. She can also be reached at (847) 791-7722

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How Dating and Sex After Divorce Is Different

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in dating after divorce, Sex

 

 

 

dating and sex after divorce

One of the biggest fears for divorced men and women is getting back into the dating scene and having sex. If you think about it, a recently divorced person hasn’t been on a first date in years — maybe even decades. Here are four ways dating and sex after divorce is different than before you were married.

1. You no longer look for a mate, you look for a soul mate

As a young person dating, I remember looking for that perfect mate, the one who was going to make a great dad, who would be a good co-provider financially, a person who was looking to embark on the same life journey as I was, and someone who would grow old with me. Now that that plan was shot to hell, what’s plan B?

I find that most divorced people are just looking for someone they like and nothing more. They’ve been so unhappy in their marriage for so long that just spending time with someone who makes them laugh, or who challenges them intellectually, or who makes them feel good about themselves is all they really want. There’s no clock ticking and no pressure to have children, and so there’s no rush to get married.

Many divorced people just enjoy that refreshing feeling of being happy, really connecting with someone, and perhaps, falling madly in love without worrying about how perfect or not perfect the person is for them.

2. You now have other people to consider: your kids

When people are young and single, the only responsibility they have is to get to their jobs every morning — and for even the hardest of workers, that still leaves time for socializing and dating. After a divorce, however, many people have a job and kids, which sometimes feels like there are no more slices in your pie for anything else. You can’t spend hours and hours on a date because you might have a babysitter at home, you can’t talk on the phone every night, and get-togethers are limited.

Also, kids can make or break a post-divorce romantic relationship. If your kids like your new boyfriend (or girlfriend), everything is wonderful. If they don’t, feelings get hurt and things can get complicated.

Click here to read the rest of the article, published in the Sun-Times. You really need to read #3 and you really, really, really need to read #4!

 

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