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

This week: Mending a long-term relationship, contacting an ex that bailed, and keeping secrets with a new partner.
Art & Culture
Advice From Paradise: Love Advice (and Music) from Nedelle Torrisi

This week: Mending a long-term relationship, contacting an ex that bailed, and keeping secrets with a new partner.

Words: Nedelle Torrisi

May 29, 2015

Advice From Paradise

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 [email protected] or ask anonymously at


I’ve been having issues with my relationship for a while. I don’t know what to do or where to start, but sometimes it feels hopeless, and other times it feels great. What can I do to mend a relationship (marriage, actually) that has such high highs and low lows, and it’s been like this for like ten years? Thank you. It’s been a weird night.

Hey there. Well, it sounds simple, but I’d like to reassure you that you’re not alone. All relationships are difficult. The idea of a long-term relationship is a bit absurd if you take a step back—you put two strangers in a room, sprinkle some love dust on them, and tell them to spend every second that they’re not at work together, for the rest of their lives. And never fight. But clearly there is something keeping you together all these years, and hopefully it’s not just the obligation that comes with a wedding ring. The key is to stop taking each other for granted, and find that magic love dust spark sprinkle connection that you had when you first decided to commit to a lifetime together. Where’d it go? Look in your closet and under the bed! Just kidding. It takes a lot of work to be your best self, so you better start working on it now! Good luck.

Song recommendation: “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson

Dear Advice From Paradise,

I have an ex who completely bailed on me a year ago. No explanation, she just moved out. Later, I found out she was cheating. Her birthday is coming up and I wondered, Has enough time passed that I should at least say happy birthday via text? It upsets me that we aren’t in contact anymore. It’s like she’s erased me from her memory out of guilt. Or something.

When people are mean and cruel—and, unfortunately, they are sometimes—you’ve got to get to the point where you think of the person and say, “Whatever.” It can take many months or even years to get to “whatever,” but that’s why they say “time heals all wounds”! Maybe I’m the mean one, but I think that she doesn’t deserve the gesture. It’s best to move on with your life and give heaps of love to people who love you back. If this lady burned you, I suggest you just shrug your shoulders and buy yourself a cake on her birthday.

Song recommendation: “Birthday Cake” by Rihanna


I have a new girlfriend. I’ve told her everything about me in the short time we’ve been together, but there are certain questions about her history that she doesn’t answer, by saying she doesn’t want to talk about it. Why is she so secretive and how should I respond to this weird aspect of our relationship?

The problem is not that she has secrets. I mean, everyone has a lot of their life confined in their head, like a Quasimodo castle of memories up there that no one will ever know about. The problem is that she told you she is keeping secrets from you. I operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to this sort of thing, but now it’s out in the open to nag and gnaw at you. The best thing for you to do is to be as understanding as possible, and then forget about it! I know that might seem difficult, but, really, you have to move past it or it’s going to cause problems. Also, it’s important to acknowledge that people deal with memories in different ways, and maybe she isn’t ready to let you in to that extent. Maybe she will in the future, but maybe not. That’s what I mean about being understanding. You have to accept her way of dealing with her past. Because it’s hers, after all.

Song recommendation: “I’ve Got a Secret” by Fred Neil