Relationship Advice: A Key Word In Being Happy Together

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

relationship advice

All couples fight. That’s a fact. But there is one word that separates those who can work out their conflicts versus those who end up with unresolved issues: Accountability. In this week’s Love Essentially, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I offer relationship advice as it pertains to accountability.


Relationships Hinge on Accountability  by Jackie Pilossoph

Remember that scene in the movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” when Sally tells her girlfriends she and Joe broke up, and Carrie Fisher’s character’s gut reaction is, “You mean Joe’s available?” I had that same instinct when I heard about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting divorced. Well, not really. Maybe for a fleeting second.

My real reaction to the news of the Hollywood power couple calling it quits was sadness and surprise. To most, it’s hard to imagine what problems they could possibly have had. Ben and Jennifer have all the money they need, both are thriving and seemingly fulfilled in their careers, and both appear to be smart, positive individuals with pretty good dispositions.

Did you just roll your eyes? I get it. What does Jackie know about the Affleck-Garner family? Do I know them personally? Have I been in their home? No. My assumptions are based on what I see in the news, in the movies and what I feel in my gut.

There are rumors that Affleck’s drinking and gambling were issues in the couple’s marriage. Trust me when I tell you, those are no small issues. But whatever the problems were that led to the couple’s demise, their inability to work them out was a huge factor. In other words, there were arguments that occurred which ultimately couldn’t be effectively solved.
Every couple fights. I assure you that is a fact. Some argue all the time, some have big blowouts infrequently, and some will say “We never, ever fight,” which I don’t buy. But the distinguishing factor between working it out together versus calling it quits comes down to one word: accountability.

There is nothing more frustrating than being in a relationship with someone who refuses to take accountability for his or her actions. In his or her mind, whatever happens is either someone else’s fault or bad luck. Almost like a toddler, the person refuses to take responsibility for anything, no matter what. In their mind, they are the victim. They rationalize things in any way possible to avoid taking ownership or any type of fault. In other words, they have no ability whatsoever to say the words, “It’s my fault,” “I caused this,” “I take full responsibility” or “I’m sorry.”

People who can’t or won’t take accountability lack self-awareness, humility, maturity and courage. Often times, men and women with addictions have this mentality, making excuses for every action. “I drink because you are causing me stress,” they might say, instead of realizing no one else is putting the rim of the glass up to their mouth and forcing them to imbibe 12 drinks in an hour.

In no way am I implying that neither Affleck nor Garner are addicts, or that they don’t take accountability for their actions. Also, I am a divorced person (aka someone who failed at marriage) offering advice on how to solve arguments. It’s ironic, but perhaps what makes me an expert.

Taking accountability isn’t easy. It takes… Click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.

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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

    3 Responses to “Relationship Advice: A Key Word In Being Happy Together”

    1. Natalia

      I am disappointed in the way your affiliation with the Chicago Tribune has locked-out fans of your blog since before it became affiliated. I am happy for you because you have been able to monetize your blog and reap the benefits. I truly mean that. However, I do not want to subscribe to the Tribune, and am disappointed that I don’t have access to the entirety of your posts.

      I began reading your blog about a year ago, and it helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. I was so very grateful for the advice and insight. I have referred many of my peers to your sight. I don’t feel that I can do that anymore.

      • Jackie Pilossoph


        I’m really sorry about your frustration with the Tribune. That is something that is beyond my control. I hope you won’t hold that against me.


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