Advice From Paradise: Love Advice (and Music) from Nedelle Torrisi

This week: misreading the signs, mixed messages, and overcoming personality differences.

Hi, my name is Nedelle.

I’m a musician who started playing the violin and singing in musicals at age seven. I come from a Sicilian–American family; I’m the daughter of an ex-nun and an ex-priest who ended up working at a prison. My brother is a neuroscientist and will probably discover something really awesome someday. We’re all musicians, too.

I’ve put out a bunch of albums on different labels and under different monikers: Nedelle, Nedelle and Thom, and Cryptacize. The most recent one just came out on Ethereal Sequence/Drag City under my full name, Nedelle Torrisi, called Advice from Paradise.

I also began giving out love advice semi-professionally on my Tumblr a couple of years ago, after doing it unprofessionally for friends for years before that.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ask me anything at advicefromparadise@gmail.com or ask anonymously at advicefromparadise.tumblr.com.


Dear Advice From Paradise, 

Long story short: I developed feelings for a coworker recently. We talked about our lives, our troubles, our families. We never kissed, and of course work complicated things, so I never felt comfortable making a move or discussing these feelings with him.

He’d said many times he was so messed up from his recent breakup and would say things to me that made me feel like he felt something, too. 

Then, suddenly, I found out from another coworker that he had fallen in love and was engaged. Within weeks. And now we work right next to each other, but he treats me like a stranger.

So I’m asking, simply put, how can I get through this? How do I feel purely happy for him as he plans his wedding? Do I have the right to be upset? 

Sounds to me like you need to have a succinct, matter-of-fact, to-the-point heart-to-heart with this guy. I’m really mad at him for not pulling you aside and telling you about his new fiancé. No matter if he thought about you as a friend or a potential girlfriend, either way he owed you one simple conversation. The silent treatment is a bizarre and immature way to act towards you. You have every right not to be stoked about their wedding. You need to clear the air before throwing rice into it. Send him a meeting request in Outlook or corner him at the water cooler, and get some answers! Good luck.

Song recommendation: “Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis

Last year, I started to have an affair with a woman. We had been very good friends for over eight years and I thought that we would finally act upon our mutual feelings for each other. The issue was that she was still in a relationship at the time.

Cue to the fall of last year, and she finally makes good on her goal to move to Paris. She and her boyfriend have since broken up, but when I visited her about a month ago it was very awkward. She said she didn’t feel the same way that she did last year, which still feels like a shock to me considering how loving she was. I think our affair reminds her of how she wronged her ex-boyfriend.

I’ve begun to heal, but I still think about her a lot. There’s still a side of me that thinks that there’s still hope for us. How do I cope with this? Am I being too hard on myself, and why do I feel so pathetic for still loving her even when I know that she acted very selfish? Thanks!

That’s the problem with people. We’re selfish, fickle creatures, and we always put our whims first even when it’s irresponsible towards another person. For whatever myriad of reasons, this woman became French and ran out of your life. When fickleness rears its head in the realm of love, it almost always shocks the other person. How could the person change his/her mind so suddenly? Didn’t it mean anything? Maybe he/she was faking it all along. Simply put, when we are in a relationship, we’re crossing our fingers that the other person’s feelings stay put, but there’s never any guarantee. I’m sorry if this answer reeks of “tough love,” but I speak from experience! I know you’ll get through it if you just stay busy, stay positive, and keep loving yourself and believing that there’s a better person out there for you.

Song recommendation: “All in Love Is Fair” by Stevie Wonder

Dear Nedelle,

I have this sinking feeling that there is a fundamental difference between my boyfriend and me, involving our egos and self-perceptions. He has no qualms about saying he is “the best” at his work, and talking in a way that seems very braggy to me. It’s a turn-off because I was taught to value a good work ethic and good measure of humility. I understand that maybe too much humility can be as damaging as an inflated ego. I’m not saying that I’m right, but it is a complex issue and he’s often hurt that I don’t blindly agree with him. It keeps coming up and is causing some friction in our relationship. How to navigate this?

He shouldn’t take it personally that you don’t live with a trumpet in your pocket, ready to toot his horn whenever the need arises. It’s not a question of his talent, but a preference in personality. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. Like you said, you grew up valuing different attitudes in this area. Let’s say you’re in your late twenties—that’s twenty years spent becoming your individual selves, so who could expect everything to be perfectly in sync from the beginning? It’s common for relationships to start tumultuously for that very reason. You have this person suddenly scrunched in your world and it’s like, woah. You might need to rethink some things that you held to be true. Maybe you both need to whittle down your egos a bit in order to be able to communicate in a way that doesn’t offend either one of you. It might take many discussions to find the good zone, but if you think what you have is worth fighting for, then I encourage you to put some back into it!

Song recommendation: “Hang On To Your Ego” by The Beach Boys


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