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Erectile Dysfunction: A Relationship Issue No One Wants to Talk About

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in Marriage advice, relationships after divorce, Second marriage, Sex

erectile dysfunction     erectile dysfunction

In this week’s Love Essentially column, published today in Sun-Times Media local publications, I decided to address a sensitive topic: Erectile Dysfunction. Why am I posting it on a divorce website? One, for those currently in a relationship or in a second marriage, or perhaps for men and women to reflect back on an issue in their marriage that might have been smaller had they gotten help.

A Relationship Issue No One Wants to Talk About by Jackie Pilossoph

A typical girl’s night out consists of wine, appetizers and lots of talk about dating, relationships and yes, sex. As for what goes on when guys get together to watch football or play poker, I can’t say firsthand.

What I can guarantee is this: There is a subject that neither group dares to discuss, yet it’s an issue that studies show one in two men will experience in their 50s and 60s, which affects spouses as well — erectile dysfunction.

Upon deciding to write about this delicate issue, I reached out to Jeffrey Albaugh, Ph.D. and advanced practice registered nurse, who is the director of sexual health for NorthShore University HealthSystem. Albaugh said despite the common occurrence of ED, no one wants to talk about it.

Sex is everywhere, but sexual dysfunction is something that is embarrassing, upsetting and devastating,” said Albaugh, who has worked with patients suffering from sexual dysfunction for more than 20 years. “There’s so much stigma attached to it, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be according to the media.”

Albaugh said erectile dysfunction usually begins when men start to age, and it is commonly a comorbid condition caused by diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other issues that impact blood flow or nerve condition.

He said oftentimes, the reason couples don’t seek medical help for ED is because of embarrassment.

“Many patients break into tears in my office because they are so relieved there are treatment options and that they are finally going to get help,” Albaugh said.

Albaugh explained that possible treatments include PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, but it’s not as simple as popping a pill. He said patients need to be educated on using the medication to maximize its potential and minimize risks.

Other erectile dysfunction treatment options include Korean Red Ginseng, vacuum constriction devices, urethral suppositories, penile injection therapy or surgery.

Albaugh said 80 percent to 90 percent of patients experiencing ED have an underlying physical cause, which means overall better health can prevent or improve the condition.

“Lifestyle choices and living really healthy in terms of diet, exercise, weight control, nonsmoking, minimizing alcohol are all essential,” he said. “If you think about it, cardiovascular health is all about blood flow, which is required for an erection.”

Here’s where things get complicated. Click here to read the rest of the article in Sun-Times Media local.



Divorce Advice: Common Mistakes People Make

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


Divorce Advice

Andrea Muchin, Divorce Attorney and Partner at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck

Divorce Attorney, Andrea Muchin has seen a lot in the world of divorce, which isn’t surprising, given the fact she’s been in the field for 25 years!

I sat down with Muchin and asked her for divorce advice for my readers, specifically wanting to know, “What mistakes do you see clients make?”

Here is Muchin’s helpful guest post.

Mistakes People Make While Going Through Divorce by Andrea Muchin


Having practiced divorce law for approximately 25 years I feel I have a perspective on the issues that many people face while going through a divorce. Although each person’s case is unique, there are certain mistakes I see people make over and over again. While these seem obvious to me, most people going through a divorce for the first time do not have any perspective on why certain things may be problematic.

The following is my list of some common mistakes I see people make while going through the process and why:

1. Using your divorce attorney as a therapist.

First, this is very expensive. Most divorce lawyers charge hourly for their time and it adds up very quickly. Moreover, while I may have been personally drawn to becoming a divorce lawyer because of the therapist type relationship some attorneys have with their clients, I have no formal training and I am likely not the most qualified person to get my clients through this very emotional time. Therefore, I encourage almost every client I have to find a good therapist. Not only does it help them get through this difficult period, but usually it is cost effective.

2. Overusing written communications.

Today, emails and texts are they way many people communicate with each other. When a spouse (or soon to be former spouse) asks for something, it is much easier to instantly respond, which is oftentimes preferable to having a live conversation. Unfortunately, however, these communications can read and sound different than they were intended, and are sometimes misinterpreted or taken out of context.

First, people going through a divorce must realize that any written communication between parties can be attached to a pleading or document. Although when it was written it may not have seemed like a big deal, when attached to a pleading or read out loud to you while on the witness stand, all of a sudden the seemingly innocuous text or email is now a big deal.

In any case where there is a disputed issue concerning children, I strongly suggest that people refrain from texting and emailing except when absolutely necessary. I frequently ask my clients to send me their emails first, both because I can offer an outside perspective as to how the written communication may be perceived and because with the inherent delay, they may no longer feel the urge to send it.

Finally, never read an email as an isolated event. Keep in mind that there is usually a prior and subsequent email and unless you have read the whole trail, the communication may be a misrepresentation. Even when the issue is seemingly simple, people in the midst of a dispute should be extremely cautious when emailing and texting.

3. Making decisions when angry

Many people are angry when they begin the divorce process. While there may not be a right time, this is absolutely the wrong time to make a long term decision. For instance, even though your spouse may infuriate you, withholding parenting time is not necessarily a good decision for you or your children. Moreover, once the anger subsides, having a night or weekend off may be a plus. Another example might occur when you feel the urge to air your spouse’s dirty laundry to his or her co-workers. At the time, it may seem like a good way to let off steam or get back at them. However, this could have a negative impact on their professional status and, in the long run, could adversely affect their ability to earn an income. When people are angry, I encourage them to slow down and not make any life changing decisions. Divorce is a process and once you are not embroiled in anger, better decisions are made that will last for the long term.

4. Not doing something merely because it may be bad for the divorce

A classic example of this situation occurs when the standard advice told to a parent going through a divorce is not to move out of the marital home under any circumstances. However, if the home is filled with tension and hostility, this advice is not necessarily good for the parent or their children. When people ask me whether or not they should move out, assuming they can afford to do so, I often inquire whether or not it will be personally good for them or their family. If the answer to either is yes, I sometimes encourage it.

Another classic example is when a non-income earning spouse is told not to look for or accept a job during the divorce because it may hurt their support chances. Sometimes, however, the perfect job opportunity arises. When this occurs, I ask them if this opportunity will make them feel better or get them out of their rut. If so, I sometimes advise people to go for it. In most instances, the good outweighs the risk and the price may well be worth it.

5. Getting remarried without a prenup

When I first started practicing in this area, I thought many people did not need a prenup and a good estate plan could protect them. While that may still be the case, in second marriages I usually think it is helpful to have a prenup. After surviving a divorce, the last thing you need to worry about when you remarry is having to repeat the process. Unfortunately, some people look at the prenup as a way to take advantage of their spouse, which I do not endorse. Assuming that is not the case, however, a thoughtful prenup, designed to protect and not penalize and looked at with an eye towards both parties, is usually a benefit. This way, both parties can start their new marriage with an open mind and educated slate.

Andrea Muchin is a Partner at the law firm, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, where she has worked for over two decades. A graduate of Boston University Law School, Muchin resolves cases both through settlement and litigation. Muchin also specializes in pre and post nuptial agreements. Learn more:

Divorced Woman Seeking Breakup Advice says “It’s Hard To Breathe”

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in breakup advice, relationship advice, relationships after divorce



breakup advice

It’s kind of ironic. You get divorced and you don’t think anything can be worse. Until…the heartbreak of your next relationship. Read this woman’s email to me, followed by my breakup advice for her.


I’m a 35 year old mother of two. I was married for 15 years and have recently (as of January) divorced. I am over the grief period and have moved on with my life. My ex and I have a good relationship now and are more like brother and sister at this point.


I’m not writing about divorce, I’m writing about dealing with a breakup after divorce. I had all the thoughts of not finding anyone, of thinking no one would want to date a single mother, etc. In April I met an amazing guy. He is sweet and caring, patient and laid-back. He accepted my boys, loved me when I didn’t think I could be loved, and didn’t let me push him away.


He isn’t from the town that we live in and my fear was always that he’d relocate since he was only here for his job. He assured me over and over that he had no intentions of leaving. He looked at houses here; we made plans for a future together.


Last week he told me that he is moving to another city half way across the country to be near his family (whom he doesn’t really have a close relationship with). I was completely blindsided and shocked. He was crying and very emotional when he told me. He said that he still loves me and meant everything that he said, but something is telling him that he needs to leave. He can’t explain it to himself and is hurting too.


He doesn’t want to stay together until he leaves because he said it will be harder in the long run. And he doesn’t want to do long distance because he’s done that and knows how awful it is. I am so confused, shocked, hurt and heartbroken. The night that he told me, he got a tattoo that we had designed together and he unexpectedly added a piece to represent me…which only adds to my confusion.


It is hard to breathe and I have to force myself to get through the day. I’m trying to focus on the day ahead of me, instead of thinking too far into the future. If not I get overwhelmed and am flooded with memories of being alone after my divorce. My boyfriend is 33, has never been married. He has never lived in the same town as his girlfriend…has only done long distance. My therapist thinks that he is scared of commitment since this is so opposite of his normal behavior. She said that he is ending things so abruptly in order to try to avoid the heartbreak. I have asked him if commitment is the problem and he said no. It has nothing to do with me…that he loves me and was happy with me.


This breakup is so much worse than my divorce. With my boyfriend, we were truly best friends and lovers. Losing both at the same time is excruciating…especially when there was no fight, no growing apart. I guess I’m hoping you might have some words of wisdom or a different perspective to offer. I am trying to take this as a lesson…to figure out what it has to teach me. But I can’t see anything but heartbreak.


Wow. This truly sounds heartbreaking and so disappointing. I am very sorry you are going through this.

You might not like some of my breakup advice, but I’m going to be totally honest. Something doesn’t seem right and I see a few red flags. Here are the reasons why I feel this way.


  1. He’s moving across the country without a job?
  2. He doesn’t want to stay together until he leaves?
  3. He has never been in a relationship that wasn’t long distance?




This man has a choice. He is making a choice to move away from you. That is completely out of your control. It’s nothing you did, nothing you said, has nothing to do with the way you acted. This is about him and his issues.

If this man wanted (or wants) to be with you, he would be. It doesn’t seem like there were issues in the relationship. It sounds like it was kind of blissful. He is creating issues. And he either is running from commitment or there is something he isn’t telling you.

I would definitely give this man space. Do not call, text or email him. Do return his texts, calls or emails. Give him the distance he needs to figure it out.

If he really truly loves you, he will let you know. If he doesn’t chase you, you have your answer. Either way, you will know the truth in time.

Remember this. I’m sure this isn’t easy for him either. He is probably devastated just as much as you are. Let him figure things out. But, if you are in his face, he cannot do that.

I would go out with my girlfriends if I were you, I would flirt with guys, I would even go out on other dates if you feel like it. I would totally live like this guy is not coming back. But trust me, he isn’t finished yet. He will be back. And, if he isn’t, again, you have your answer.

Listen, I know this is hard. I have a dear friend who got divorced several years ago and then met this guy she dated for two years. When he ended the relationship (abruptly) she was so devastated, she lost 10 pounds, cried all the time, and told me it was 100 times worse than her divorce.

Part of what is happening to you is that you are reliving the pain of the breakup you had with your husband. It is opening up your wounds from your past. It’s like when a scab opens. I get it. I really do.

Be strong. Focus on your children. Your career. Your passion—hobby, volunteer work—whatever makes you happy. Live your life everyday with the thought it mind, “How can I make either my life or someone I love’s life better today? And, how can I enjoy my life today?”

I don’t know you personally and can only answer this based on your letter, so I hope you aren’t offended, but I want to say something else. You got married at 20, and then got involved shortly after your divorce. Do you know how to be alone? Please learn!! Because it will give you self-confidence and peace you never knew existed. Give yourself a little time to learn how to enjoy not being someone’s girlfriend or wife. Independence is really really empowering. It makes you strong and healthy and wise and more interesting. I’m not saying you aren’t those things now, but being alone makes you these things even more.

Remember that you can only control what YOU do, not what HE does. Please keep me updated, because I am pretty sure you are going to tell me he wants to get back together at some point. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my guess. In the meantime, don’t wait around.

By the way, my friend met this other guy and has been happily married to him for 10 years! How’s that for a hopeful ending?! Good luck with everything. xoxo



Relationship Advice: 15 Ways to Be Sweet that Don’t Cost Anything!

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in dating, dating after divorce, Marriage advice, relationship advice, relationships after divorce, Second marriage

relationship advice

relationship advice

In my “Love Essentially” column, published yesterday in Sun-Times Media local, I offer relationship advice as it pertains the upcoming “Sweetest Day” (which is tomorrow.) Not particularly a fan of Sweetest Day, here are some really “sweet” things you can do for your spouse that don’t involve sugar, and that won’t cost you a dime!

15 Ways to be Sweet that Won’t Cost you a Dime by Jackie Pilossoph


Like most people I know, I sort of roll my eyes when I notice on my calendar that “Sweetest Day” is coming up. I’ve never really understood the purpose of it. Isn’t Sweetest Day the same exact thing as Valentine’s Day? I decided to Google it.

According to Wikipedia, Sweetest Day, which takes place annually on the third Saturday of October (and happens to be this Saturday), is a holiday celebrated only in the Midwest and in parts of the Northeast. Sweetest Day, which first took place on Oct. 8, 1921 in Cleveland, Ohio, was started by a group of 12 confectioners who distributed 20,000 boxes of candy to poor people.

Since that seems like a really “sweet” gesture, and actually makes me a fan of Sweetest Day, I have to wonder how the holiday evolved into what I and millions of others view as just another Hallmark holiday, where men and women feel obligated to buy their spouse a card and a gift.

I did a Facebook poll, asking people to give their opinion of Sweetest Day. Responses included, “Stupid,” “Honestly, the worst idea ever,” “Dumb,” “Another gimmick created by retail and restaurants,” and “I got married on that day and then divorced, so it doesn’t rank high on my list.”

Two responses were particularly notable. The first: “Why can’t every day be Sweetest Day? I don’t need an excuse to adore someone.

My response to this man is, “Yes, I will marry you today. Seriously.”

The other response I found intriguing was, “I prefer random acts of romance,” which was written by a woman.

These comments were my inspiration in coming up with 15 ways to turn this potentially sugar binging holiday into a meaningful one that you and your honey won’t soon forget.

None of these “15 ways to be sweet” will cost you a dime, and additionally, you won’t be left with that sugar crash and those extra two pounds on Monday morning!

1. Wash his or her car (inside and out).

2. Arrange a surprise girl’s night out for her and best friend, and babysit the kids.

3. Write him or her a romantic love letter using a pen.

4. Give him or her a 30-minute back rub (and don’t keep stopping when you get distracted or tired.)

5. Put up a bunch of post-it notes around the house that explain the reasons you love him or her.

6. Ladies, put the kids to bed, and then put on your sexiest piece of lingerie and model it for him.

Click here to read the rest of the article in Sun-Times Media local!



“I Am Working On Myself:” The Best Thing a Newly Separated Person Can Say!

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


newly separated

I seriously want to hug the woman who sent me the e-mail below! Like almost every newly separated person, she is fearful of the unknown, sad, and lonely. But, she ends her e-mail with, “I am working on myself,” which is really the best thing she can say and do right now. Here is her e-mail:


Newly separated about 10 weeks I left our home of 25 plus years. feel
really panicked at times to go home. Was married 30 yrs. I am living with
my mother and it a big house I’m ok with it, I just need to get some of my
furniture, bed, and I am working on it.

My feelings are over the top with all the unknown. how will it all turn
out in court? Am I doing everything right, am I going to be taken
advantage of. it’s so many emotions.

I am involved with much volunteer work at my church. it helps a lot.
I am lonely for male companionship and am concerned that I will ever meet
someone where I am located.  I am not into dating sites or anything like

I am working on myself. Any suggestions?


My reply:

Do you realize the power of “I am working on myself?” You are so ahead of the game! I cannot count the number of newly separated men and women who either go into victim mode and blame everyone else for their problems, or rush into another relationship to try to put a Band-Aid and fix everything with romance and sex.


So, GOOD FOR YOU for being so insightful and strong! I would love to hear what you are doing for yourself, besides volunteering at your church (which I admire tremendously!!) My suggestions for “working on myself” include things like focusing and enjoying your kids (if you have them), yoga, therapy, faith, exercise, leaning on good friends and family, and taking life day by day.


A couple more things.


Living with your mom


I have no idea what your relationship is like with your mother, but I hope it’s a good one! Enjoy her and take advantage of it. I’m sure you won’t be there for long, so treasure this time with her. If your relationship is strong, you need her now.


The unknowns


Yes, these are very hard to deal with. Being in unfamiliar territory (the divorce process) is scary. It’s a lot of ups and downs and unexpected things (both bad and good.) Try to look at it as a journey, and try to make sound, ethical, UNEMOTIONAL decisions. If you make decisions based on logic instead of anger or bitterness, you will spend less money on your attorneys and be a happier person, in general.


I’m not into dating sites


My suggestion is to make yourself get into dating sites. How about this. Try dipping your toe in the water. What I’m saying is, no need to go crazy and put pressure on yourself to go on 5 dates a week. Start with one. Drive your own car, do not tell the guy where you live, don’t have more than one cocktail (if you go to a bar or restaurant) and see what happens. If you hate it, don’t do it again for a couple months and then try again.


Also, it sounds like you live in a small town and I just want to tell you that there are single people EVERYWHERE. Divorce doesn’t only happen in New York City or LA or Chicago.


Another great way to meet people is to make new friends. Platonic friends. Ask your friends if they know any single people and just go out as friends. I love my guy friends, just as I love my girlfriends. Just be upfront and make sure the guys know it’s platonic (if that’s all you want.) What could end up happening is you could fall into a group of single people and have plans whenever you want. It’s really nice to have that. Plus, you never know who they might know which could lead to a romantic relationship for you.


You sound great! Just keep “working on yourself,” as you said. A big part of the hardest part is over for you: your unhappy marriage. You are on your way to a happier, better place!




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