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Didn’t Like the Book, But Looking Forward to the 50 Shades of Grey Movie

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in Celebrities


50 shades of Grey movie

I just watched the trailer for the 50 Shades of Grey movie, set to be released in February of 2015. Aside from the fact that I think it’s ridiculous that the trailer came out 7 months before the movie will actually be in theaters, I have to say, I thought the trailer was well done.

This is coming from someone who could not stand the book, and suffered through it because as I turned the pages, I kept waiting for it to wow me, based on it’s love affair with every women over 40 that I knew. Still, I am looking forward to seeing the movie and here’s why.

I am 100% sure the screenplay will be written better than the book. I mean, how much worse could the writing get? Sorry E.L. James, I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I admire the fact that you made millions from an e-book you posted on a whim. Your genius concept sent women all over the world into a wild and crazed infatuation and that is remarkable. But, your writing was just awful. Painful to get through. No offense. And actually, I am sure there are people out there who might say the same thing about the four novels I have published. So, I don’t mean to be rude, just honest. But regarding the film, I am confident that the writers hired by Focus Features and the other producers are top-notch, and will turn your outstanding concept into a memorable film.

First, let me say what I actually liked about 50 Shades of Grey. Again, the concept. The story of an innocent young girl meeting a wealthy, seemingly perfect, gorgeous man, and embarking on a Cinderella Prince Charming kind of relationship, only to find the guy is out there—I mean really out there–with his dark, deviant sexual expectations. The concept was fresh, exciting and very appealing. Then I read the actual book.

Here are my issues with 50 Shades of Grey, aside from the fact that it read like the journal of a fifth grader (minus the X-rated content).

  1. Christian Grey got to be unlikeable. Like every other woman on the planet, I developed a huge crush on Grey in the first 50 pages of the book. He really was Prince Charming. But, even taking away all of his freaky sex games, as the book progressed, he got to be very controlling and psychotic. When Ana went to visit her mother and he was upset, I wanted to shake her and say, “Please end it with this loser right this minute.” Any guy who gets upset with his girlfriend for visiting her mother is A. psychotic, and B., clueless about love, trust and loyalty.


  1. The book sent a bad message. 50 Shades of Grey reminded me a lot of the 1986 movie, 9 ½ Weeks, which I absolutely loved and still do. Here’s the difference between the two. At the end of 9 ½ Weeks, Kim Basinger, who had been a newly divorced, vulnerable woman, who had this crazy love affair with the same type of guy as Christian Grey, realizes that what they have is not love, and that he isn’t the type of person she wants to be with. She feels she deserves more. Mickey Rourke even tries to open up and start over, but it’s too late. Basinger’s character is strong and confident. It’s tangible evidence of her emotional growth. She looks back on the relationship as something that she’s happy she had, yet moving forward in her new, post-divorce life, she isn’t going to compromise her values. In 50 Shades of Grey, however, it almost seems as if this behavior is acceptable and normal. I think the book sends the message (which is scary) to women that even if a guy behaves this way, he could be a really nice, “normal” guy. It kind of makes me sick. Had Ana broken up with him for good, and just said, “You know, I’m glad I got to know you, but all that ‘stuff’ we did just isn’t normal and healthy, so I’m moving on,” I’d probably have a completely different attitude for the book. It just made me feel like E.L. James might have caused women to lower their standards and accept substandard behavior because passion matters more than morals.

Don’t get me wrong. I love sex. I love exciting, passionate sex. But ask yourself if you’d like your children to have sex the Christian Grey way when they grow up. I know I don’t.

My last hope for the 50 Shades of Grey movie: I sure hope they change the ending. Remember The Firm? That’s an example where producers and writers went with a different ending and it was so much better.

What did you think of 50 Shades of Grey, the book? the trailer?  and are you looking forward to the movie?


Are you Dating a Liar? Here are 11 Signs You Might Be

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

dating a liar        dating a liar

In my Love Essentially column, published today in Sun-Times Media, I answer a woman’s question regarding how to know if you are dating a liar. I offer 11 signs to look out for.

11 Signs The Person You’re Dating Is A Liar, by Jackie Pilossoph (Published in Sun-Times Media, July 24, 2014)

Jackie, I’m hoping to start dating again after few tough breakups, but I want to be sure that these men are being honest with me. Do you have some advice on how to spot a liar quickly and how to not get used by him?

First of all, I’m sorry about your tough breakups. I know how painful a series of failed relationships can be, and how all the disappointments can make you feel weary, and like the wish to meet the right person might seem hopeless.

If you are asking for advice on about how to spot a liar then I have to guess one or more of your breakups had to do with men who were less than honest or forthcoming in your relationships.

Having just attended the absolutely amazing Billy Joel concert last Friday night at Wrigley Field, I can’t resist quoting the Piano Man’s 1979 song, “Honesty,” as part of the answer to your question.

Joel writes (and sings), “If you search for tenderness, it isn’t hard to find. You can have the love you need to live. But if you search for truthfulness you might just as well be blind, it always seems to be so hard to give.”

Joel describes honesty as “such a lonely word,” and “hardly ever heard,” which is a testament to the fact that most likely you are not alone in your difficult quest to find pure honesty in a relationship.

In my own experiences, I have dated lots of liars. My favorite example goes back quite a few years and involves a guy I was dating who told me he had to cancel our date on a Sunday afternoon to have lunch with his mom. Adoring his love for his mother, I happily understood and decided to head to a Cubs game with one of my girlfriends. During the seventh inning stretch, I stood up to sing “Take me out to the ballgame” sporting a huge grin on my face and enjoying the well-loved Harry Carey’s voice, that is until I glanced over to the next section and saw my boyfriend kissing another woman that did not resemble someone who could be his mother.

Finding out the person you are dating is a liar can be shocking, and can also involve beating yourself up because you feel foolish for not seeing it. I do truly believe that so often, love is blind.

The realization that the man or woman you love is a liar is also disappointing, gut-wrenchingly sad, and can cause a person to look at relationships in an untrusting, angry way.

There is no guaranteed, fool proof way of knowing if the one you love is a liar, but here are 11 red flags that might make you realize that in your relationship, “honesty is such a lonely word.”

1. You hear his or her phone, indicating a text late at night.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Sun-Times. #’s 5 and 9 are pretty powerful!

Divorce and Binge Eating: I Get It

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in coping with divorce, Health


divorce and binge eating


Divorce and binge eating is something I am personally familiar with. Years ago, when I was getting divorced, I can remember being so stressed (a combination of anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness) that at times I used food to cope. More than just a few times I would stand in front of my freezer shoveling spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry’s down as I thought about the unbelievable horrific nightmare my life had become. 

People getting divorced cope in lots of different ways. Some are good ways and some are bad. I’ve written quite a bit about the power of addiction and how newly separated people are particularly susceptible to drinking, drugs, sex and other things that can become addictive. But, I’ve never really addressed eating, which is a very powerful addiction that can become harmful and affect physical health.

So, when I saw this post, “Are you Eating Your Emotions?” on Dr. Sarah Allen’s blog, I asked her if I could repost it because I think it can help men and women who are using food to cope with all of their divorce emotions.


Are You Eating Your Emotions? by Dr. Sarah Allen 

Let’s face it, going through a divorce is probably the most (or at least one of the most) stressful things that you have ever had to go through. How are you dealing with the stress? Probably some days are better than others? Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the fridge searching for just the right something, even though you are not hungry? Are you crunching your way through a whole bag of chips because you are really angry? Perhaps your emotions have changed your relationship with food.

The occasional soothing of emotions by comfort eating is fine but when it becomes a regular thing or when you can’t stop eating until you feel so uncomfortably full, we need to change your relationship with food. This is a time to work on building up your self-confidence so you can go out in to the world on your own again, but that is difficult if you are cycling between struggling not to overeat, failing and then feeling guilty afterwards. We need to find a healthier way of soothing yourself when your day/week/month has been really tough!

Here’s three ways to get started.

1. Learn The Difference Between Emotional Hunger & Physical Hunger

Before you can break free of emotional eating you have to learn how to tell the difference between your emotional and physical hunger. This can be really difficult if you regularly use food to deal with your emotions. Here’s how to tell the difference between Emotional vs Physical Hunger.

  • Emotional hunger urges you to satisfy it instantly. Physical hunger can wait.
  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. Physical hunger comes on gradually.
  • Emotional hunger craves specific options that you consider comfort foods. Physical hunger is open to a wide range of options–lots of things sound good.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied, even when your stomach is full. Physical hunger stops when you’re full.
  • Emotional eating triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shame. Eating to satisfy physical hunger doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.

2. Identify Your Emotions Before You Eat

Emotional eating tends to be automatic and virtually mindless. Before you even realize what you’re doing, you’ve reached for the bag of chips and polished off half of it. By learning to stop and check in with yourself you give yourself the opportunity to make a different decision.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I hungry?
2. Do I really need more food in my stomach?
3. If I am not hungry, which one of my triggers is pushing me to want food?
4. What are my feelings now I have recognized this?

3. Learn To Accept Your Feelings—Even The Bad Ones

While it may seem that your problem is that you’re powerless over food, emotional eating actually comes from feeling powerless over emotions. If you deal with feelings by numbing or soothing yourself with food, you stop feeling capable of dealing with your feelings.

Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandora’s Box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become aware and learn how to stay connected to your emotions.

To find out more about emotional eating and to download my free booklet Simple Steps To Overcome Emotional Eating (which includes questionnaires to find out what if you are an emotional eater and if yes, type of emotional eater you are) go to

Thanks Sarah! I have met Sarah several times as I’ve interviewed her for articles for the Sun-Times. She is an amazing therapist who I would personally recommend highly.

Although the subject of binge eating is no laughing matter, I can’t resist leaving you with a giggle and smile, so I thought I’d bring up a really funny example of binge eating from my all time favorite show, Sex and the City. Remember when Miranda’s boyfriend brought a huge cookie over to her house that said I love you on it? The next day, Carrie asks Miranda how she dealt with him saying I love you on a cookie and Miranda tells her she dealt with it by eating the whole cookie! I’m bringing that up because I think that to a certain extent, everyone uses food to cope with stress  from time to time. But, know when to seek help.

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 for more blog posts on a variety of issues relevant to women. She can also be reached at (847) 791-7722.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Man Thinking of Separating Wants to Know

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in cheating and divorce, Thinking of separating


thinking of separating


I wrote a blog post awhile back called “The Two Hardest Decisions You’ll Ever Make,” and received this e-mail a few days ago in response. I truly feel for this man who is thinking of separating, because it really is a tormenting decision to have to make.


 A few months ago I found out my wife was cheating on me and now I’ve been left with the decision to stay or go. She says she has broken it off with the man she was with but at the same rate I do not know because it was someone she works with.

 To make matters worse we have a 3 year old (soon to be 4) daughter. We’ve been married almost 10 years and I find myself struggling to make a commitment one way or the other. I feel like I am standing at the fork in the road but instead of seeing two roads I see two cliffs. Both are scary and both are undefined.

 I know if I stay with my wife, I know what to expect but at the same rate I don’t like what she’s done and how she treats me. If I get divorced, there is the unknown of going off on my own. But that isn’t the worst of it in my mind. The worst is how my daughter fairs through all of this. If we stay together and she sees us constantly fighting she is going to grow up thinking that is normal and treat who ever she meets the same way thinking that is the right thing to do. If we get divorced then it’ll be who’s staying with today and where is she going to school?

 If it were just deciding for myself I would have left not long after I found out about my wife’s infidelity. Only because we had drifted so far apart that the cheating is a complete deal breaker. Going off and being alone doesn’t scare me. But the uncertainties for my daughter and myself.   That scares me…


 First of all, I am so sorry you are facing such a tough time. I’m sure it is gut-wrenchingly painful.

You’ve obviously e-mailed me for advice and you are probably asking friends and family what to do, as well. The sad thing is, no one, not even an experienced therapist can tell you what the right decision is.

That said, it might make you feel better to know that whatever decision you make will be the right one. But, only if you take the steps and do the work to make the life for yourself the one you really want.

If you stay:

 If you stay with your wife, the two of you really need to get help to repair the damage of the bad path your marriage has gone down. Here’s the thing about cheating. If your wife wants the marriage to work out, and she is making a commitment not to cheat (in other words, she isn’t continuing the relationship with her coworker) then you have two choices: forgive her and move on or leave.

I know a man whose wife cheated and he just couldn’t get past it. He tried for months to forgive and trust her and just could not get there. I also know someone whose marriage survived cheating. But, it took a lot of work, patience and courage by the person who got cheated on to forgive, forget and trust. It also took a lot of reassurance from the cheater, along with patience.

I have to be honest, I’m not sure I could take back my spouse if he cheated. But that’s just the way I feel. I’m not saying it’s wrong to forgive and forget.

There’s also different kinds of cheating. If someone cheats and is in love, that’s a lot bigger of a deal than someone who slept with someone one time and regretted it immediately.

In your case, there’s also the fact that they work together. If I was your wife and I wanted you back, I would offer to look for a new job. That said, I have no idea what kind of job she has and if that’s even an option. Then again, maybe it’s a great job that can’t be replicated at any other firm. It would just be hard knowing she is going into the office everyday and seeing that person.

However, the bottom line is, you either trust her or you don’t. You probably don’t right now, but do you think you could ever get there? It would involve a lot of therapy and open communication between the two of you. And, it would involve her sincerity of proving she wants the marriage to work, along with your forgiveness. If you hold a grudge, your marriage has a zero chance of working out.

If you leave:

The unknown is very very scary. But, I will never forget when I was separated, a friend of mine (a guy friend) said, “If you stay, you know what you are going to get. If you leave, you don’t know. The question is, which is more appealing? The known or the unknown?”

Being alone can feel isolating and hopeless, and you might feel like you might never meet anyone or feel like a family again. That’s the risk you are taking.

But, I believe that when people make good choices, like focusing on their children and their job and enjoying each day, and having faith, and taking care of their physical selves, their discipline, integrity and faith in themselves pays off in the future.

Mr. or Ms. Right sometimes takes a long time to show up, but I’m a firm believer that they do always arrive.

Your daughter:

Regarding your little girl, you asked which decision will hurt her less. My answer is, either decision can either help or hurt her depending how you and your wife handle things.

If you end up separating and divorcing and things get really really bad between you two, and your daughter is stressed by the bad relationship you have, that will hurt her. If you continue to try to work things out, you have to make a conscious choice not to fight in front of her and show each other kindness and respect. That is how she will grow up with love in her heart and choose a good partner.

Think of it this way. Whatever man she ends up with, have the relationship with your wife that you want her to have with her husband. Does that make sense? And if you divorce, have a kind, respectful relationship without badmouthing her. Kids learn from their parents, married or divorced.

Hope that helps!



21 Dating Tips I wish I could Have Shared With My 21 year-old Self

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in dating, dating after divorce, Over 40, relationship advice

dating tips

dating tips

In my “Love Essentially” column, published today in Sun-Times Media, I offer dating tips by way of wishing I could travel back to the year 1987 when I was 21 years old and give them to me! Enjoy the column!

21  Tips I Wish I could Have Shared With My 21 Year-Old Self

Ever wish you could travel back to the past, say when you were about 21 years old, walk up to yourself and give you some really, really good, smart advice?

If that was possible, think about how many less mistakes you’d have made, how much better some of your life decisions would have been, and for the purposes of this column, how much happier you’d have been in your romantic relationships.

Here are 21 tips I wish I could have shared with my 21 year-old self about dating, relationships and marriage:

1. Don’t make a decision on whether or not you like him in the first two minutes of the date. Talk to him with an open mind.

2. Every relationship is bliss for at least the first year. I call it “the courtesy phase.” After the courtesy phase is when two people get to know each other’s true personality.

3. Arguing is normal in every relationship. Instead of getting upset and crying, learn how to communicate with each other more effectively.

4. You either trust him or you don’t. There’s no in between.

5. It’s never too late to break it off, even if the invitations have already gone out.

6. Trust your friends and family’s opinion. They know you and have your best interest at heart.

7. Don’t be afraid to be alone, and figure out how to be happy alone. Falling in love should be a want, not a need.

8. Don’t pressure your guy to get serious. Let him get there himself.

9. There’s a fine line when it comes to why you might not want to get married to the person you are in a relationship with. Be honest with yourself. Is it normal fear or is he not the one?

Click here to read the rest of the 21 tips in my “Love Essentially” column in Sun-Times Media! #’s 10, 11, 14, 15, 17 and 20 are my favorites!


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