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Why Rushing Into Relationships Might be a Bad Idea

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

rushing into relationships   rushing into relationships

In my Love Essentially column that came out today in Sun-Times Media Local, I talk about reasons why men and women rush into relationships, and why rushing into relationships isn’t always wise. What baffles my mind, even more than single people rushing into a relationship is when divorced people do it. I really just don’t understand. It’s sort of like having a broken leg and cutting off your own cast before the doctor does because you just don’t want to wear it anymore: in other words, you just don’t want to be single!

6 Reasons People Rush into Relationships and Why it’s a Bad Idea, by Jackie Pilossoph, published today in Sun-Times Media local

I can’t even count the number of times I hear that someone is getting divorced, and no more than a year or two later, that same person is getting remarried. What’s so baffling to me is why people jump back into a serious relationship and then a marriage so quickly, without really taking the time to heal, rediscover themselves, build a life that makes them happy, and most importantly, learn how to be alone.

However, it’s not only certain divorced people who treat relationships like the 50-yard dash. Young, single people do it too. Here are six reasons people sprint to “I love you,” and even, “I do.”

1. The clock is ticking. I find that when a woman hits 30, she begins to panic if she is single. No matter how successful women are professionally, the urge to be a Mrs. and have babies is still very much like the 1950s, and the thought of getting too old to have children often provokes women into thinking they are in love, when in fact what they really are is desperate.

2. All of their friends are in relationships. It’s no fun to sit home on the weekends because all your friends are out on dates or double dates with their boyfriends/girlfriends. So, I think many men and women decide to jump into a relationship for guaranteed plans every weekend. It’s also nice to have someone to take to all the weddings you start attending.

3. Their ex is in a serious relationship. I could site specific examples of men and women whose spouse’s left them for someone else and got married, who then dove into a serious relationship. I almost see it as a need to “catch up” to their ex, or prove to the world and to themselves that they are doing just fine because they are happily in love.

Click here to read the rest of the article in Sun-Times Media local. #’s 5 and 6 really are the biggest reasons in my opinion. Plus, why I think it’s a bad idea to rush and what the benefits are of taking things slow.

PS. If you have a question you’d like to ask me about dating or relationships, or a great story that you don’t mind being printed in Sun-Times Media local (totally anonymous, by the way) please email me: jackie@loveessentially.com

 

One Big Reason Why Marriages Fail

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in Marriage advice, Thinking of separating

Why marriages fail why marriages fail

In my Love Essentially column that was published in Sun-Times Media on July 17th, titled, “21 tips I wish I could have shared with my 21 year-old self,” #14 was: If you don’t like yourself, your relationship will suffer.” I felt like #14 deserved its own article because so many unhappy couples and/or divorced people, or even people contemplating a second marriage want to know why marriages fail, and I feel like #14 is a huge part of that answer.

This might sound trite, but a common cliché is “you have to be happy with yourself before you are going to be happy with someone else.” Yes, that is true, but what happens when two people were happy, they got married, and then some life change causes one of the people to be unhappy, spiral downward, cheat, perhaps, or develop some kind of addiction, ultimately causing an unhappy marriage, followed by divorce?

It’s impossible for people not to change as they grow and as time goes by. I was a completely different person at 21 (hence, the Love Essentially column idea) than I am now in my 40’s. So, let’s say you got married when you were 28 and you’re now 45. Your spouse is probably really different in some ways than when the two of you were first married, but the same in a lot of ways, too. I believe the core of who we are really never changes. If you have a heart of gold as a kid, you have a heart of gold as an old woman. But, change is absolutely inevitable, and it can sometimes break a marriage, if it’s negative change.

There are many feelings associated with change. Some are good and some are bad. Here are some examples:

 

Change: A family member becomes ill or dies.

Feelings: Sadness and fear.

 

Change: A person loses his/her job

Feelings: lowers self-esteem, gives the person low self worth. Anger, fear, anxiety.

 

Change: Having kids

Feelings: makes people more selfless, happy, responsible.

 

Change: physical, the way we look, aging

Feelings: Insecurity, unhappiness

 

Change: financial—a bad investment or business deal, losing a significant amount of money

Feelings: anger, bitterness, jealous of those who have more money.

 

Changes are endless and they never stop. It’s the changes that make people unhappy with themselves that become the reason marriages fail.

If you are happy and your spouse is unhappy, here are some things that could happen:

The unhappy person

 

  1. The unhappy person could become jealous of the happy person, and start to resent him/her.
  2. The unhappy person could blame the happy person for his/her unhappiness, think he/she is the problem. Cheating is possible in this scenario.
  3. The unhappy person could turn to alcohol, drugs or another addiction to try to soothe the unhappiness.
  4. The unhappy person could start nit picking when it comes to the happy person, expecting that person to be perfect.
  5. The unhappy person could start to talk about the past with the happy person and blame them for things that happened a long time ago, saying things like, “you ruined my life.”

 

 

The happy person

 

  1. The happy person might feel helpless and frustrated because he/she can’t help the unhappy person.
  2. The happy person might feel guilty for being so happy when the one he/she loves isn’t.
  3. The happy person might get desperate to make the unhappy person happy, make compromises and then resent the unhappy person later.
  4. The happy person might get angry at the unhappy person, or feel disappointed in the person for not taking steps to become happy.

 

 

I have two examples of couples where one person is happy and one is not. The first is a friend of mine who in the past few years has become very professionally successful. Her husband is successful, as well, but because of the change, the notoriety and the money his wife is making, he is having a hard time. It’s very obvious that he has become jealous. He is mean to her in front of their kids and he never wants to talk about her job. Her words, “I’m irritated with him. No one said he wasn’t allowed to try to achieve this, too.”

The second example is a woman who lost her job a few years ago, and is now working in a job she is clearly overqualified for. She hates going to work. The job is mindless and a bit demeaning to her. About a year ago, she began accusing her husband (very successful professionally and couldn’t be happier at work) of cheating on her. She gets crazy, screaming at him and saying she knows he’s sleeping with other women. The guy has never cheated and thinks “she is crazy and needs to get a life.”

These are examples of how inevitable change can affect the love people have for themselves, which can cause their relationship to suffer, which is a huge reason why marriages fail.

Here’s my advice for:

The unhappy person:

Figure out if it’s the marriage, or if you are unhappy with yourself and have the courage to admit if it’s YOU. People can be unhappy about ANYTHING, from a scarred childhood to a job they hate to being 30 pounds overweight and unable to lose it. Let your happy spouse stay happy! He/she didn’t do anything wrong because they are happy. If you truly love him/her, you should focus on fixing yourself and be happy for that other person.

In other words, before you start saying “I need to get divorced, then I’ll be happy,” start with yourself. How can you get happy? What can you do? Who can help you? In addition to professionals, maybe the help you need getting happy is sitting right in your family room: the man or woman you married two decades ago. Maybe HE/SHE isn’t the problem. Maybe YOU are.

The happy person:

There is nothing you can do to make the other person happy. He/she has to do it themselves. All you can do is communicate and offer support. You are helpless to someone else’s unhappiness. So, keep being happy!! Enjoy your job, your kids, your social life, everything that makes you happy! You aren’t doing anything wrong by being happy!

 

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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?
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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 http://drsarahallen.com/weight-eating-issues/.

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 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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