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

This week: making out with your cousin's boyfriend and learning how to fall in love.

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.


I need advice badly! My cousin is out of town and I’m staying at her place that she shares with her boyfriend. He came home, we got into some wine, and he ended up pulling me into the bed they share. He started to pull my clothes off and I made a lame attempt to stop him. We made out (no sex) and I feel awful and disgusted at myself. It will never happen again. In the morning we promised to never speak of this again or tell her. They’ve been together for four years, he loves her, and he said it was the first time he cheated on her. Does she need to know? I don’t want to lose her. I just think no good will come for anyone if I tell her.

By the way, I’m single, so I didn’t cheat on anyone, and also I physically look a lot like my cousin.

That last sentence is making me seriously LOL. As if you can justify your way (or his way!) out of this mess. Points for trying, though. What we seem to have on our hands is a classic case of “loose morals.” As you’re describing this scenario, in which you know you know you did something wrong, you’re also adding details that might make it somehow forgivable. You can’t live on both sides of the fence. This thing looks bad. Real bad.

I do recommend telling her, because it’s too big of a secret to keep. This is way outside white lie territory.  What’s the opposite of a white lie? This is a big fat rainbow lie. If you try and keep it from her, she could find out somehow in a year, two years, who knows. Her boyfriend could tell her in the heat of an argument. The only thing you can do is tell her and grovel for her forgiveness. And you have to accept the consequences, because she might not forgive you now, and maybe not for a while. It’ll be tough, but doing the right thing is often tougher than the alternative. Another good thing about telling her is that you’re taking the first step in your effort to tighten up your morals. Yay! Furthermore, if they break up, then that’s probably for the best, because that guy is a real creep, too.

Song Recommendation: “Creep” by TLC

What’s the secret to finding and keeping true love?

Straight to the point! Respect. I’d say that the answer to both is the same—to become so happy with yourself and your life that you’re a magnet for other positive people. If you’ve ever observed someone who is deeply unhappy and/or self-loathing, you’ll notice that they can’t attract others. And if the person gets lucky enough to attract another doom-and-gloomer, they might not be able to keep the relationship.

So now that I’ve talked about attraction, I’ll talk about subtraction, which is a sort of inverse to the above. You should be so happy that someone who comes into your life is just a bonus (okay, easier said than done, but I’m describing an ideal). You don’t need the person, but they are a great addition to your life. If they leave, you are still doing your thing and they don’t leave a hole in your heart. Dependency and neediness are major no-no’s.

You might be saying to yourself, “Society stresses happiness so much, it really stresses me out. Am I happy enough? What if I’m a bummer? How do I become happier?” Well, as long as you’re trying your best, you’re doing good. Most of us don’t have the good fortune of saying “I’m so dang happy” every morning when we wake up. Here’s a tip—it won’t change your life but it might help in a tiny way—you can fake your way into changing your mind about things. Smile when you’re being negative. Replace a grunt with a laugh. Go out and be with people when you want to be alone. It tricks your brain. Good luck!

Song Recommendation: “You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac

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