What’s the worst advice Jackie Pilossoph received when she was getting divorced?
“Don’t date right away. Just take some time for yourself.”
Our new podcast, “The Advice Show,” features guests talking about the best and worst advice they’ve ever been given. For Pilossoph, this was well-intentioned bad advice.
“They do not understand that when you get divorced, you’ve already been alone,” Pilossoph says. “… when someone moves out, it is a relief, and so you should go out there and meet people and just develop friendships, whatever those turn into. Just don’t get married too soon.”
In this, our inaugural episode of “The Advice Show,” Glenview resident Pilossoph offers up divorce advice and talks about her new novel “Divorced Girl Smiling” — which is also the name of her blog and Twitter handle (@divorcedgirlJP). Pilossoph also writes Help Squad, the consumer advocacy column for Sun-Times Media Local.
Q: Has being known as “Divorced Girl Smiling” complicated your love life?
Pilossoph: Very much. Someone said to me, “Nobody’s going to want to date you, knowing you are a divorce blogger.” So there are a few things.
Personally, my ex-husband was not a fan, at first. He was extremely upset, and I don’t blame him. If I found out that my ex had started a divorce blog, I would think I was going to be the star of it and be on it every minute. But I think as he started to read the blogs and see that this is not about he and I. This is about divorce in general and helping other people. And that it wasn’t so specific and that he is not mentioned in it very much at all. I think he is OK with it now.
Q: Is he showing up to your party?
Pilossoph: He is. He actually is bringing my kids there and they’re going to help out. And he is going to take them home. You know, he and I are in a great place. We weren’t always that way. But now we are co-parenting in a really productive way and it is working wonderfully.
Q: Why did you choose to define yourself by this event in your life? Taking divorce and turning it into a personal brand?
Pilossoph: I don’t like to define my being as the “Divorced Girl Smiling.” That is only part of my life. But for me the amount of emails and responses I get from people every day saying, “I read your blog. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much you are helping me.” I read it all the time. That is amazing way to live your life. So this isn’t really about my divorce anymore. It started out that way, but this is now about helping other people get through that.
Q: Would you end up destroying your brand, if you got married again?
Pilossoph: If I get married, I will always be a divorced person. So I can always write about this. I’ll probably change the focus a little bit to maybe a woman in her 40s or second marriages. But I will always be divorced, and I will always understand all those feelings that start at the beginning of a divorce and develop, even years later.
Q: What is the best advice you received about getting divorced?
Pilossoph: Let God take the wheel. Isn’t that great? There is a song, “Let Jesus Take the Wheel,” but I want to put this for all religions. So, let God drive, let God take the wheel.
So much is out of our control. You know how your ex acts is completely out of your control. What is 100 percent in your control is how you act.
All you can do is try to take the high road and be the best person you possibly can, regardless of what that person says or does to you. My sister used to say this to me all the time: “Just be nice.” Because did anybody ever say, “Oh, I wish I wouldn’t have been nice”? Nobody ever says that.
Q: Has being “Divorced Girl Smiling” made you approach love differently?
Pilossoph: I am a completely different person. I look for different things now. … So, I have been with the same person for five years. I always tell him this to his face: “I wouldn’t have even looked at him when I was younger, because I was stupid.”
I look for different things now. I look for loyalty. I look for somebody who makes me a better person. I look for humor. I always look for humor. I think that is a huge plus in someone. Because when you have tough times, if you can laugh, you are so helping your relationship. And I just look for a different kind of person: Somebody who is going to be my friend, someone who has my back. And I am not saying my ex-husband didn’t have these things, and I want to say that. But I am saying that when you are older, you look for different things. And you are just much smarter. It is probably the only benefit of getting older.