Dating Advice: Open and Honest is the Way to Go!

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in dating, dating after divorce, Dating over 50, divorce advice


dating advice






In this week’s Love Essentially, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I give dating advice to a woman worried about telling her dates she has an autistic child living with her.


dating advice

The Benefits of Being Open and Honest With Your Dates  by Jackie Pilossoph


Jackie, at what point in dating do you tell the other person you have an adult autistic child at home living with you?

One of the many stressful aspects of dating is the thought of sharing things we think others might find unappealing. Maybe you’re divorced and embarrassed about it. Perhaps you have a disability or an illness that you don’t want your date to see. Even telling someone your age might be stressful.

I’ve always been of the opinion that getting everything out on the table immediately is wise. Why wait? I say show your authentic self and if the person has an issue with it, they have two choices: embrace you unconditionally or walk away. It might seem scary to share, but the bottom line is, if you hold something back, the person will eventually find out anyhow, so why delay being open and honest?

I checked in with dating expert Barbie Adler, founder and president of Chicago-based matchmaking firm Selective Search to hear her thoughts on the topic of sharing. She agreed that being truthful and upfront with your dates sooner than later is wise.

“Why pretend to be perfect?” said Adler, who started Selective Search 15 years ago. “Whatever the situation is – whether you are a recovering alcoholic or you’re temporarily unemployed or you have an autistic child, everyone knows that life is complex and that everyone comes with challenges.”

Adler said the key to how your date will respond is in the way you present what you share. In other words, doom and gloom is unattractive. Finding and sharing the silver lining is appealing.

“It shouldn’t be the ‘I am a victim,‘ mentality, but rather ‘I have an autistic child who is beautiful and who has taught me the brilliance of patience and given me an appreciation for the little things in life. I’m so proud and I feel privileged to be her mom,'” Adler said.

Adler and I agree that men and women on dates don’t want to talk about the past but instead the present, and that dates shouldn’t be confused with therapy sessions or venting sessions with your friends and family.

“You’re sitting across from someone who you might want in your life and this person is connecting the dots, verbally and non-verbally,” Adler said. “As you’re peeling back the onion, it’s your job to position yourself as positive.

What people are not OK with is if you lie or hold something back. Because, when they eventually find out – whether it’s through sharing later in the relationship or through friends and family, they will wonder what else you aren’t telling them.

Lastly, Adler recommended the possibility of bringing humor into sharing, keeping things light and funny.

“No one should be embarrassed about their blemishes. They are the things that make you you,” she said. “It’s all how you frame it. It’s how you work through the rain in your life.”

In closing, I want to give specific advice to my reader who is living with her autistic child… Click here to read the rest of the column, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. Includes Barbie’s list of behaviors that WON’T get you a second date!


A Huge Factor in Moving On After Divorce

Written by Jackie Pilossoph. Posted in coping with divorce, divorce advice, life after divorce


moving on after divorce






When two people get divorced, both hopefully spend some time reflecting on the mistakes they made, which I believe is really healthy in the healing process, and crucial in moving on after divorce.  I’ll even go so far as to say that people who don’t acknowledge and don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes can’t heal. But, when is enough enough? When do you accept the mistakes you made, forgive yourself, learn from them and then move on? The following is a great guest post by psychologist and life coach, Lisa Kaplin, who tells her clients, “What’s done is done!”


What’s Done is Done by Lisa Kaplin

Recently I gave one of my clients the assignment of repeating again and again, “What’s done is done.” Based on her scowling face, I’m pretty sure she didn’t like that assignment. Like many of my clients she seemed to relish the opportunity to beat on herself over things that she’d done in the past. Why is it that we are so willing to hang onto so called mistakes from our past and use them to make ourselves miserable in the present?


Do we get some kind of reward for getting down on ourselves and rehashing the past? And how does it serve us to keep reminding ourselves about our rotten mistakes from the past? Can we change the past if we make ourselves miserable enough? Trust me, we can’t. The past is done and we need to take what we can from it and then move the hell on. Anything else is simply torture.


If you find yourself obsessing about some real or perceived mistake from your past, start by asking yourself if you can change what’s done. Then ask yourself if you can learn something from it? If the answer is yes, then decide what you want to learn and what you want to change for the future. Finally, ask yourself how holding onto this issue from the past is serving you? Is it keeping you from moving forward in some way? Is it allowing you to spend time feeling sorry for yourself? Is that what you want?


Here’s a wild idea, what if there are no mistakes? What if we need to be exactly where we are right now and we got here from things that happened in the past? What if there is something to learn from the past or something about it that led to positive change in our lives? Rarely have I looked back on past “mistakes” and not realized how they have led me to big changes and ultimately a better situation.


Maybe I’ve snapped at one of my children, saw the hurt in their eyes, and realized that I need to change how I talk to them. I apologize sincerely and quickly, pledge new behavior, and then practice putting that behavior into action. That “mistake” led to insight and a change in behavior that makes me and my children feel better. If I sat and mulled over what I’d done, nothing would have been gained from my poor behavior.


We all make mistakes and do things that we regret. Welcome to being a human! Find a way to understand why you did what you did, how you can do it differently next time, and what you will need to change in order to stop that behavior. Obsessing over it won’t help you, those you love, or your ability to change for the future. So it’s time to say, “What’s done is done,” and move on!


Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at Smart Women Inspired Lives. She helps women get happy, get motivated, and get moving in ways they hadn’t thought possible. Lisa is a nationally recognized professional speaker on topics such as stress management, parenting, healthy communication, wellness, and women’s leadership. She is also a blogger and has been featured on Yahoo, Thought Catalog, MSN, Lifetime Moms, Your Tango, and Psychology Today. Lisa is a married mother of three and a joyful dog owner. You can find her at or

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