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Which is Worse? Ending a Marriage Or Ending a Serious Relationship

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in breakup advice, newly separated, Thinking of separating



ending a marriage

Ending a marriage is never easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things I have ever been through in my life. But, if you can believe it, I think that ending a serious relationship could be even more painful.

Hear me out before you say, “What the heck is she talking about?!”

I have a friend, who several years ago got divorced because her husband was cheating. After several months, she began dating a guy who she spent the next two years with. When the relationship ended, she said to me, “Honestly, this is worse than the divorce.”

Her words stuck with me as I went through a divorce five years after that, and couldn’t believe how ANYTHING could be worse than what I was going through.


There are two main reasons why I think a breakup might be worse than a divorce.



Reason #1


During divorce, I remember feeling like I was in panic mode for several months. My thoughts on my ending marriage weren’t about breaking up with the man I vowed to spend the rest of my life with. My thoughts were completely occupied with my children, first off. What was I doing to them? How were they going to handle this? How would they turn out? I was also thinking about finances. I knew I had to go back to work, and since I hadn’t been employed for so long, I was scared, insecure about my professional abilities, and wondering how I was going to juggle work and kids. Then there was the divorce, itself. I was totally focused on attorney’s fees, court dates, judge’s rulings, and if the decree I was going to sign was right for me and my kids.


Because I was so focused on all those other things, I never had a chance to mourn the relationship part of the divorce. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, I miss his soft hair or how we’d laugh together, or burying my face in his neck and breathing in the smell of his skin, ” Instead, I was all about survival: financially and emotionally, and about the well being of my children. There was no room for sadness over my ex. That part somehow got squeezed out.


A breakup–where there are no legal issues to fight about, no children involved, and not even a home where someone needs to move out–allows the couple to give 100% of their attention to the breakup itself, and that is what I think my friend meant all those years ago.


Reason #2


Ever read the book Crazy Time? Author Abigail Trafford talks about how when your first real relationship after your divorce ends, it brings back the loss you felt from your divorce. You relive that memory of losing something, no matter how many years later. So, you get a double dose of your pain. You mourn both guys (according to Trafford.)

Also very important: Trafford implies that the reason there are so many second marriages that don’t work out is because one or both of the people have never mourned the emotional loss of their first marriage. And, she says that when they get divorced for the second time, they often mourn the loss from the first marriage at that time. In other words, people try to mask the pain of their divorce by marrying someone else, and when that doesn’t work out, again, they mourn both loses.


The thing is, I don’t want to minimize the pain of a divorce. Trust me, those were dark days (months) and some of the lowest, most painful times I can ever remember. But I have to believe that a long term breakup can be brutal, and gut wrenchingly sad.


The best way to put it is that neither divorce nor a breakup of a long term relationship is worse or better. They’re both awful and each is unique.


But when I recall my divorced friend sitting on my couch sobbing about her 2 year relationship ended, and telling me how guilty she felt that she was so much more devastated than she was by the end her marriage, I think I can understand how she felt back then. The good news is, my friend ended up getting remarried, has two kids and is very happy.


In closing, I think that the lesson here might be the importance of letting yourself mourn the relationship part of your divorce. On your terms, of course, and only when you are ready.


It seems almost impossible to mourn when you have anger and resentment, as well as the fears of your life ahead. But try to go to that place where you were once in love. Remember the reasons you married the person, the happy times, and his or her good qualities, and allow yourself a good cry over the fact that that time is in the past (even if in some ways you are relieved and happy that it is.) I think doing that leaves a person open to finding love again, not as a Band-Aid, but love that is genuine, and for all the right reasons.


Ending this on a good note, the best part (maybe the only good thing) about the breakup of a long-term relationship? You don’t have to go through another divorce.



Good Sex in a Relationship: Why it Really Matters

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

sex in a relationship

Demi Moore and Rob Lowe in “About Last Night”

     sex in a relationship

In my “Love Essentially” column, published on September 11, 2014 in Sun-Times Media local, I talk about the importance of good sex in a relationship. Also part of the column, advice from Jessica Waxman, a great therapist and marriage counselor.

The Real Reason Good sex is important in a Relationship by Jackie Pilossoph

I bet if someone did a poll asking men and women to rank the importance of good sex in a relationship on a scale of 1 to 10, most people would give it at least an 8.

Remember the movie, “About Last Night?” There’s a scene where Jim Belushi and Rob Lowe are on the El, and Belushi says to Lowe, “So, you’re getting serious.”

Lowe sort of nods his head yes, as if he’s afraid to admit that to his buddy that he’s falling in love. Belushi then asks, “So, how’s the sex?”

Why was that Belushi’s first question? Why didn’t he ask the real questions, like “Does she make you happy?” “Does she bring out your best qualities?” “Is she kind?” “Is she considerate?” “Is she communicative?” “Does she tell you what she needs?”

Know why? Because aside from the fact that “About Last Night” is a romantic comedy and not a therapist, most people don’t understand that there is a connection between those questions and good sex.

“Good sex is an indication that you and your partner are attuned to each other’s needs and that you are willing to fulfill them,” said Jessica Waxman, a Northbrook-based licensed marital and family therapist. “Sex provides a connection that fosters companionship, attachment, commitment and support.”

Waxman, who has been in private practice for more than 10 years told me that 100 percent of the couples who go to see her have issues with sex in their relationship.

“One person doesn’t feel like the sex is frequent enough, or they aren’t having sex at all. It’s not what is used to be, or they feel like their partner thinks it’s a chore,” she said.

I’m not a therapist, but here’s what I can say about good sex in a relationship. It brings couples closer together, it connects two people in a way that not even the best platonic friendships are capable of doing.

Think about it. How amazing does it feel to be out in public with your spouse, look around, and realize that not a soul besides the two of you has any idea of the sparks and electricity that took place in your bedroom last night? I think good sex in a relationship is an added layer that makes you love someone at a more intense level, which strengthens the bond you already have.

So, if you don’t have good sex in your relationship, how do you obtain it?

Here are Waxman’s tips: Click here to read the rest of the article in Sun-Times Media local!

Divorce Advice We Can Take Away from Ray Rice

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in Celebrities, divorce advice


divorce advice

I don’t think there is anyone on this earth whose jaw wasn’t on the ground after seeing yesterday’s newly released video of Ray Rice punching his then fiancé (now wife) Janay in the face in an Atlantic City Elevator last February. But for me, even more shocking is learning that Janay married Rice AFTER that happened. That’s why I decided to write a blog post giving divorce advice in regards to physical violence in a relationship.


The first and probably biggest point I want to make is that physical violence is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Even one time. I don’t care if he has issues from his past. I don’t care that his job is stressful. I don’t care that he didn’t mean it and said he’d never do it again. And I don’t care how much he begs and pleads and tells you how sorry he is and that he has problems. Hear what I am saying: physical violence even one time, one punch, one kick, one push, one grab and shake, is NOT OK. EVER.


DO NOT try to rationalize it because there is no rationalization and no excuse that warrants this type of behavior. Maybe your dad hit your mom, or maybe you had big brothers who hit you as a kid. Maybe you feel guilty about something you did, or even as sick as it sounds, you feel you deserved it. WRONG! It is UNacceptable for your man to lay a hand on you.


Now, does that mean you have to immediately get divorced if your spouse hit you? No. But, what you immediately should do is address it. You can’t throw it under the table and hope it doesn’t happen again.


Why? Because if you do nothing, it WILL happen again. Almost undoubtedly.


What CAN you do?


You can encourage your spouse to go get help. You can help your spouse get help by finding resources, even names and phone numbers of therapists or a program that might benefit your spouse.


I think that the most upsetting part for me about this whole story is Janay. That she STILL married him after that punch. Why wouldn’t she delay the wedding and address the problem first? Imagine standing there in your wedding dress exchanging vows, knowing in the back of your mind that you are entering a marriage where your new husband punched you.  Does Janay deep down think she deserved it?! Do YOU think you deserved it?


Let me be clear on this: NO ONE deserves to be physically harmed by their spouse, no matter what they did.


And then Janay’s message today:


divorce advice


Shouldn’t the morning Janay woke up feeling like she had a horrible nightmare have been the morning her fiancé decked her in the face?


“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific”?!


What about what HE took away from YOU? Your dignity, self-esteem, he made you afraid. He hurt you, both physically and mentally. The fact that you don’t see it that way (or maybe you do) sickens and saddens me deeply. Everybody works their ass off and they don’t have the opportunity or the wealth that Ray had/has, AND most don’t punch their wives.


In closing, please remember that I am not a therapist, I’m just a writer who is trying to give the best divorce advice I can. So, if you think you need to talk to a therapist about physical violence going on in your home, I would highly encourage it. This is your life, and the lives of your children!! Physical violence is NOT ACCEPTABLE!!


Remember that the best choices we make are usually the hardest to deal with, but they pay off the most in the long run.


Lastly, I have nothing against Ray or Janay Rice and don’t know anything about them other than what I see in the news and on the football field. But I will wish this for the Rice’s: I hope they both get the help they need, and I know that the public loves to forgive, so I hope for a comeback for them. I really really do.


Divorce Advice for Woman Whose Husband Left Her for Her Sister!

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in divorce advice


divorce advice

Jackie, I am a single mom of a 16 year old and a 2 year old looking for divorce advice. My 16 year old is from my first husband and we have a great relationship. My 2 year-old’s father and I broke up a week before our son turned a year old. About 6 weeks after we split I found out he was having an affair with my younger sister. They are still together and it has pretty much shattered my self-confidence as far as dating. I had my youngest a week before I turned 40 and I had gained 60 pounds, mostly due to being high risk and not being able to work out. Now I am 42 and single and have no time to work out and I am completely intimidated about dating. On the up side I have a great job and I totally financially secure! Own my own home and take great care of my kids. Any advice?


This is a horrifying scenario, and I am so sorry it happened to you. The biggest sorrow in this comes from your sister. What an unspeakable thing to do to your own flesh and blood. If that happened to me, I would be much more devastated over the utter betrayal and disrespect from my own sister! Aren’t our sisters supposed to be our best friends? Ugh. I’m sick over that.


“They are still together and it has pretty much shattered my self-confidence”


Let me explain something to you about YOUR self-confidence. How can your cheating, lying, unethical, heartless sister and ex-husband make YOU feel less self-confident?! Aren’t THEY the ones whose self-confidence should be in the toilet?


The thing is, for your ex to cheat, you probably didn’t have the best marriage. But for the two of them to choose to cheat is despicable. It is the worst possible choice they could have made. So, YOUR self-confidence should only get better and better, while they are in for a tough future ahead. Trust me on this one. It isn’t blissful over at their house. In their minds, they know deep down that they betrayed a person they both love deeply, and that guilt and bad karma will eventually creep up on them and ruin their lust-based relationship.


Whenever someone asks them, “How’d you guys meet?” what do you think they say? They probably cringe and secretly hate themselves.


“I have no time to work out”


What?! I am not buying that for a second! Do you work full time? So do I, and I work out. No one says you have to work out every day. Even 3 times a week is better than nothing. One idea I have for you is, can you work out during your lunch hour? I know lots of women who do yoga during their lunch hour, and what’s great about it is, you don’t have to shower again because you don’t sweat.


I don’t really know what makes me think this, but I bet you are beautiful. I just have a feeling. So you’re overweight? So do something about it. Don’t use your sister and your ex as your excuse to play the victim and give up!


I’m not saying it’s easy to find the time, and I’m not saying it’s easy to eat healthy. It’s not. It’s really really hard. But you have to do it. You owe it to not only your self-esteem, but to your health.


You said you have a great financial situation and great kids. That means you have everything you need!! Think about if you were struggling financially or if God forbid you didn’t have healthy kids.


In closing, it sounds like you just need some tough love, and you need to realize that your ex and your sister have serious character flaws. YOU DON’T !! Ok, you might not have been the perfect wife, but if you don’t start having some self-love, you will never get past this. It sounds like you really want to move on or you wouldn’t have reached out to me.

Go get the body you want. Go get the life you want. And, enjoy the ride. What are you waiting for?! You deserve to date people and find a man who really loves you, and who WON’T cheat. But YOU have to believe you deserve it, and that means stop dwelling on the two people who hurt you deeply, and start focusing on YOU and your kids and the life you want.


Best wishes. I hope I wasn’t too tough. I say it all with love.




Dating Advice on Avoiding Losers and Attracting the One

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

dating advice  dating advice

In this week’s “Love Essentially,” (published yesterday in Sun-Times Media local papers–first print edition, by the way!!) I give dating advice on things you can do to avoid losers and attract “the one.”


What do you think we should do for ourselves to draw a healthy, stable, loving relationship into our life?

Is it me, or is this a nicer way of asking, “How can I avoid picking complete losers and meet someone who is normal and who treats me well?”

In answer to this question, I first I want to ask: Why is it that when we go into one of those self-serve frozen yogurt places, like Menchie’s or Cocomero or Pinkberry that we sample different flavors before choosing the ones we want in our cup? We then peruse the fruits and the sauces and the candies before we “commit” to topping off our treat. Why? Because we want the perfect desert. So, why can’t we act the same when it comes to choosing Mr. or Ms. Right? In other words, why do people lower their standards and accept men and women who aren’t the yogurt flavors and toppings they really want?

Here’s why:

1. They have low self-confidence and think they are lucky that someone actually likes them.

2. They lack self-love and feel that this is the way they deserve to be treated.

3. They are afraid to be alone.

I will never forget the time I was at a restaurant and began talking to a woman who said her boyfriend was outside getting the car. As women tend to do, she and I began chatting non-stop, only to be interrupted by a very rude guy standing in the doorway with an angry face, shouting, “Let’s go, woman! Do you want a ride or not?”

Those were his exact words.

The woman, who instantly transformed from relaxed and happy to tense and worried, started to say good-bye when I asked her if she’d like to stay here with me, along with the girlfriend I was meeting. I told her we would drive her home.

She declined, at which point I said, “No offense, but why are you with that guy?”

The woman replied, “Because I’m in the my 50s and I don’t want to be single.”

As she walked off, the guy shot me a dirty look and then began yelling at her. I sat there with a look on my face probably resembling a little kid whose parents just told him there’s no Santa Claus.

Here are four tips that could take you from dating losers to a healthy, stable, loving relationship:

Click here to read the rest of the article in Sun-Times Media local. You’ll be really glad you clicked!





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