Marrying, becoming one and having separate finances

engaged couple holding on hands - view from backsideConfused in Emerald Hills doesn’t know if she should sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Her fiancé also wants to keep their finances apart. There are two different things here. First one: if you are single, never married and have no children and he wants to keep the accounts separate, he really doesn’t want to be married. Considering marriage by behaving like this, he considers himself an independent male adult.

He gets to sleep with you, but ultimately, he keeps his total financial independence from you. That’s not a guy who’s committed himself to you.  Before marrying, you will have to tell him “we either combine or we’ll not be married.”

According to what I read in your question, you may ask me: “If I am able to support myself, what’s the difference?” – Which I’ll answer: well, why get married then?  Then you’ll answer: “to have a loving partner.”

No, you don’t have a loving partner when you’re keeping your finances separate to make sure that neither one of you taps on each other’s things. That’s not a union of two people becoming one. That’s a business arrangement.

Now, the second rule: if you are divorced and have children or a child, you must keep what you had before marriage separate in order to protect your offspring. In the case of death, or another divorce, you don’t want the children (or child) of your prior relationship/marriage left unprotected. That is your first responsibility: your offspring then your beloved.

Your fiancé apparently is fully loaded (your words). Personally, if I were you, I would not marry him unless he put into writing (pre-nuptial agreement) exactly what you’d get if he decided one day that he had enough of you and wanted to trade you in for a much younger model. Guys who are fully loaded have a different mindset. Protect yourself and don’t be a sitting duck.

He’s getting a good deal: a hard body, beautiful, smart, accomplished and much younger woman. He should be so lucky. He has to give up something to protect the woman he loves. It is his obligation. Talk to him and let’s hope he will rise to the occasion, and if he doesn’t, were I you, I would reconsider your decision to marry him. Marrying on love alone is NOT enough.

The truth about “Sex Addicts”

he watching pornTo “Bewildered in Hollister”: There is no Sexual Addiction. There is screwing around because it makes one feel good and feel powerful. It is a bad behavior that becomes a pattern because one likes the high! There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. NO EXCUSES.

When he tells you he stopped the behavior, but you find out he is still doing it, his response to your question is always the same: “I fell off the wagon” and “it’s not my fault”. That shows intent – he doesn’t want to stop, and lack of maturity – he takes no responsibilities for his actions.

Does it hurt that he would rather watch porn or stare at the computer screen instead of making love to you? But of course, that’s why you need to pack up and leave immediately. Trying to make it work is a futile exercise. You are not his shrink and he should not put the onus on you to help him get through this.

Read this very carefully: I don’t care what he says to make you stay. DO NOT stay. Otherwise, seven years into this, and three children later, you will be in the same spot; however, by then, you will have no right to complain or leave the marriage and destroy your children’s home because you designed their lives this way. This is not a man committed to you, he doesn’t love you. He loves his porn more.

Love doesn’t hurt. Love is the most respectful. If it hurts, mentally or physically, you are in the wrong place. Please be good to yourself and muster the courage to leave. Good luck!

Tips to choose the love of your life wisely!!

pink, white and red candied heart spinkles on white backgroundWomen are the ones who set the tone on how society behaves. Men are very simple creatures. Women tell men their expectations and if their men like them, they do rise to the occasion.
If a man, who is in debt, asks a woman to move in with him or to marry him, he is being incredibly immature or manipulating of her in order to get her money. In sum, he is a jerk. A man who’s in debt takes care of his responsibilities first; then he can go after the woman he wants.
Do not let love trump your good sense. Exercise your inner strength. Inner strength is a muscle you build by not giving in to your urges.


1 - uselessI received a surprise text from a woman who became a client two years ago after she heard me speak at an event.  At the time I told her that she would be better off if she dumped her boyfriend. She didn’t hear me. Here’s her text: “again, he went to his family’s party and didn’t invite me. 3 years and I never met his family. what do I do now?”.  Here is her situation: dating this fella for 3 years, he never introduced her to his family or friends, and often go on family events and vacations without my former client. He has met all her friends but always has an excuse why he cannot attend her family events when she invites him. He posts all kinds of fun pictures on Facebook about the fun events and vacations he’s on with his family and friends but never once, posted a picture of them together. He will break up a date night with her to go hang with a friend or his family.

When I was working with her she would make up all kinds of excuses for him and tried to convince me that contrary of his behavior, he loved her so much. After working with her unsuccessfully for 6 months I gave up. She wasn’t listening then and she won’t listen now but I texted her to look at my blog today, I would have an answer for her. She won’t listen but someone who is on the same situation, my answer may be helpful to them.



Being Happy!

minha casaI am the kind of person who is (as a friend succinctly put), “so damn happy all the time.” Not true. However, I would say 98% of the time I look for reasons to be happy. I like baking a cake for dear friends and inviting people over for dinner or lunch. Buying a sweet gift for a friend’s birthday and seeing the happiness in their face pleases me. Volunteering for something like serving lunch at a church to people whose meal may be the only one that day does so much for me because the gratification immediately shows the effect I have on people’s lives. I can also be happy by simply listening to happy music.

Yes, music is that powerful. Who can’t help but smile or feel like dancing when they listen to a happy tune? Today, I woke up to a dreary day outside. It was raining and the skies were gray; and even though we are in desperate need of rain in California, I didn’t care for the gray skies that accompanied it. The rain makes me feel sad and gloomy. Since I left the sunny skies in Brazil, the only time I feel gloomy is when I don’t see the sun. As I got up, I opened the curtains and saw that gray sky. I felt I needed a reason to be happy this day. There is no more screaming, laughter or squeals of delight in my house. The kids are long gone and celebrating their own happy life, and my grand puppy I babysat while my daughter was on her honeymoon is no longer here to greet me in the morning. Ugh!

Before doing anything, I plugged in my iPhone. In a few minutes the sound of Pharrel Wiliams’ Happy filled my house with cheerful sounds. It’s such a happy tune. It reminds me of when I was raising children because music always played in my house. I can remember my daughter and I dancing to different songs and being silly. I played this song over and over for one hour. During that time period, I opened all the curtains in the house, invited in whatever dim light was outside, I wrote two blog posts, made several phone calls, and got dressed. Now I’m ready to go out of the house and face the tasks that an adult must face everyday. In spite of the drab weather outside, there is sunshine inside myself. That’s how powerful music is.  Guess which music is going to be playing in my car today?

Here is Pharrel’s Happy. Enjoy it. Wishing you all a happy day!!


Are we erasing humanity? I hope not.

Image via iStockphoto 4I wrote this blog post last year when I watched the three time Oscar nominated film Her. Her is a film in which Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a shy and lonely man who, due to his impending divorce, purchases a computer with a  talking operating system (OS). The OS is equipped with artificial intelligence, designed to progressively become more human-like. As time progresses Theodore becomes mesmerized by the OS’s ability (who he has taken to calling Samantha) to mimic human behavior, to the point where the two have deep discussions about life. He and Samantha fall in love.  As the relationship progresses, both he and Samantha develop feelings beyond primary emotions—they experience jealousy, and Theodore at one point even becomes upset when she goes “offline” with another OS to be upgraded. Upon Samantha’s return, he learns that she is not only the OS for thousands of other people, but has also fallen in love with hundreds of other humans. In the end, she leaves him to do her own thing in cyberspace. Lonely and sad again, Theodore goes to his friend Amy’s apartment to talk to her and finds that she, too is upset as her own OS has left her as well. The movie ends with the two sitting together on the roof of the apartment, smiling at each other, getting closer, and admiring the city lights.

My curiosity with this movie was to see how the director would address this need for people today to replace real human interactions with technology. Like everything else, technology hast both positive and negative effects. Technology makes our lives easier—more effective and convenient—that much is true. But I believe it has no place in replacing human interactions and that’s where our society will be headed if we don’t start making changes real soon.

Her’s premise is reminiscent of Internet dating. There are certainly some success stories (I personally know three couples who met on dating websites and ended up happily married), but most of the time, it seems like a disaster. Everyone I personally know who posted Internet dating profiles told me stories that were sad and sometimes astonishing. Throughout the years, I have interviewed many people who were involved with Internet dating, and conducted an informal online survey regarding participant satisfaction with the medium. The results I gathered indicated that, overall, 85 percent of the people participating in online dating were dissatisfied, 10 percent were somewhat satisfied, and 3 percent were satisfied or happy with their experience. Though this survey was informal, the results are still pretty telling.

I will state right now that I never particularly cared for Internet dating. I feel it erases humanity. I’m all for face-to-face contact. We live in an age where people have forgotten how to relate to each other, especially with this juvenile, texting crap. Everyone is wired to their iPhone®, Android®, or other device and it seems they can’t go anywhere without constantly peeking at it during meals, personal conversations, even while out on dates. So annoying! People are unable to resist checking in at the trendiest locations in town, or looking at their device to see if any new email has arrived or if anyone has responded to their Facebook® or Twitter® status. People are personally disconnected despite being electronically over-connected. It also seems as if there are more posers, players, and liars.  People on dating sites lie about everything: age, weight, location, even their profession. Or they massage it to make themselves look better. People also lie about their life in an attempt to create a certain impression. They’re all creating a world behind that computer wall where they have the original starring role and are mostly a façade.  There are even professional profile writers (like Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore) who will make sure that your profile makes you sound like someone everyone will want to meet.

I hear complaints from some women in my talks that men they are interested in no longer call—they text. The men also have their own complaints about finding it hard to get some women to commit to a real conversation. It can be challenging. It’s all about emails or texting. Then there are the people who say they’re “too busy”, so texting is convenient. If you’re answering the text then you’re not that busy and it doesn’t take too many seconds to pick up the phone to make a phone call and leave a message. Later on, the person on the other end can return the call. Since when have we become a society that can’t wait a few hours to have a phone call returned? What’s up with all this anxiety that needs an immediate response? In the olden days, people would leave a message at the person’s home answering machine and later in the day when that person arrived home, that’s when all the phone calls were returned.

Let’s rediscover the beauty of human interactions; let’s stop with all this fakery and hiding behind a technological wall. Let’s get back to basics and re-start truly reconnecting and behaving like the wonderful human beings we are supposed to be. Eye contact, face-to-face dialogue, exchanging of ideas in real time—these are all supremely important to human connections. Let’s nurture that and translate it into our romantic lives. I like to think that when Amy laid her head on Theodore’s shoulder in the film as they both admired the view, they finally realized that they were happy that they found each other: two human beings.



Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

iStock_000001097386SmallOn this Valentine’s day I would like to remind you of 6 important points when in a relationship with your beloved:

1 – Remember to always tell your beloved what you most appreciate about him/her, no matter how small. Sometimes it is the small things that matter most.

2 – When your beloved is talking to you, stop what you’re doing and make eye contact. You will be less likely to say later on “Oh, you didn’t tell me that,” because when we make eye contact while the other person is speaking, we are less likely to forget what was said to us. It also shows you care.

3 – Men whose women give them kudos – some women describe that as stroking their ego – I call it “giving them affirmation” –  that they are appreciated, respected and loved, are more likely to describe their couple life as happy. We women get affirmation very often from girlfriends and even strangers who compliment us on what we’re wearing, how beautiful we’re looking that day, how we are having a great hair day, etc., but men don’t have that and as human beings, they need that too. The only people who give it to them are their mothers and their women, so don’t be shy about your compliments if your man deserves them. Dish them out.

4 – One very important point: don’t believe that a woman needs to keep an air of mistery to keep things alive and interesting. What hogwash! Trying to guess what the other person is thinking is annoying and tiresome. Communicate explicity what you’re thinking – no need for a heavy talk, but tell him what you need from him and you’ll find out that you’re doing yourself and your relationship a favor. You will have a happier man who will give you what you need by eliminating the guesswork, and you’ll be happier and won’t have to pout because he didn’t do something you wanted.

5 – Touch and touch often. Touching causes our bodies to produce a hormone called oxytocin (the feel-good hormone), and it promotes a desire to touch and be touched. It will make you both feel good about each other, causing you to bond to each other even more.

6 – Communicate! Express! Touch!

Have a great Valentine’s Day!!



Have a nice Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank with gift giving!

Valentine's DayValentine’s Day is galloping towards us and some people, particularly men, start getting nervous thinking about what to give that special woman in their life. Women are no different. They think men are hard to please on Valentine’s Day … not so fast.

In this time of economic woes, not everyone has money to spare and may not wish to spend too much money on this day. Well, help is on the way. Here is a list of things you can buy, or do yourself, that will make the day memorable but won’t break your bank. You don’t have to go big to have a sweet Valentine’s Day.

1 – Flowers: Instead of the costly roses, choose a beautiful bouquet for her with a variety of colors and flowers. Please make sure there are no carnations anywhere in the bouquet, however. Carnations are best left for funerals.

2 – Chocolate: Unless you know your woman or man likes chocolates, skip this one; but if you must, don’t get the pre-packaged chocolates you get at a supermarket. Next time you are at the mall, go to the local chocolate store and choose 6 of those delicious real chocolate pieces they have on display. Then, they’ll place them in a cute box and you’re ready to go. You may think it’s expensive chocolate, but they’re worth the money and will ensure that he or she will actually eat it and not simply eat one or two and throw the rest away. When the chocolate is good, you don’t need to have an entire box of chocolate. A few morsels of high-quality chocolate is good enough to enjoy.

3 – Dinner: You don’t have to go to the most famous restaurant in your town to enjoy a good dinner. Do both of you enjoy ethnic food? Usually, Thai food is pretty tasty and gentle on your wallet. Don’t like ethnic food? No problem. Don’t go out to dinner. Make him/her a lovely dinner in your home. It will cost you a lot less, and it will be appreciated because it was made by you. Don’t forget to add to the mood: soft music and candlelight are always sure to be winners.

4 – Picnic: Who doesn’t like a picnic? If it’s cold where you are, you have to be creative. Choose a place in your living room and place a tablecloth on the floor, preferably in front of a lit fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, then add music and candle lights. If you live in a place where the sun will be shining, lucky you. Go to a pretty park you enjoy and lay the tablecloth on the ground. Open your picnic basket and take out the goodies you both like.

5 – Perfume: Unless you know what your beloved likes, skip this one. If you must give something that has a scent to it, make sure the scent is very faint and clean. Not everyone appreciates strong and sharp scents. By keeping clean and faint, you make sure that the gift will be appreciated.  To ensure the perfume is not going to be re-gifted, try these suggestions: for a man, a nice balm or aftershave (with no alcohol in it) is nice to give. For a woman, if you are not going to give perfume, a lotion or cream will be a winner. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t like hand cream; and remember, subtle scent.

6 – Clothes: There is a lot of good clothing that can be bought for a very reasonable amount of money. If you must buy clothes, choose something that you think your beloved would look good in it and will feel comfortable wearing. Don’t do like my friend’s boyfriend who bought her a garment; and upon opening the package, she was very happy that he gave her “such a beautiful shirt.” Only later was she told that it was … err, a dress. Needless to say, she never wore it. No need to go overboard either. A beautiful shirt for a man can be very reasonable at J.Crew, for example. And one can buy a gorgeous scarf for woman for a reasonable amount as well.

If you have any personal ideas that you know for sure your beloved will like, then implement them and remember that not everyone can celebrate Valentine’s Day on the exact day. If Valentine’s Day falls during the week, make an agreement that you will celebrate either the weekend before or after. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate a few days before or after, as long as you celebrate. Not everyone has the luxury to celebrate on the exact day. My girlfriend is dating a divorced doctor who has children. Consequently, during the week is very busy for him especially if he has the children that particular day. Therefore, since they started dating, they celebrate Valentine’s Day the following weekend after he doesn’t have the children. It works. Good luck and Happy Valentine’s to you all.

Bring back JUDGE! SHAME! and SHUN!

Since Woody Allen’s daughter Dylan has written an open letter to The New York Times confirming that he did assault her at age 7, I thought it would be appropriate to rerun this column I wrote back in 2012. That’s how evil continues to be perpetrated, because people don’t stand up for what’s right. In order to understand what I’m trying to say, it’s helpful if this blog post is read in its entirety and not just in parts.


Bring back JUDGE! SHAME! and SHUN!

That’s correct, you read it right. I said it!! Last week, an acquaintance called to ask if I would be willing to meet at the last minute with five of her friends to give them a lecture about dating relationships. I agreed and we met at one of her friends’ apartments in Emeryville.

I worked for three hours, and at the end we all decided to go to the theatre and watch a movie. On the way there, they changed their minds and decided that they wanted to watch a different film than what we had originally agreed on: Woody Allen’s To Rome, With Love. I didn’t want to pay to see a film made by a child molester no matter how good it was supposed to be. I told them I would pass and told them the reason why I would opt out of this one. That’s when things turned ugly. Three of them immediately jumped on me and told me to stop being so judgmental—who was I to judge? They told me not to be a hater and learn to love everybody.

Who was I to judge? Love everybody? If I didn’t know better, I would think these women were on crack. I’m not a hater. I’m quite sweet to the people I love and like; but this guy is a pedophile who betrayed his woman and the mother of his children in the most despicable way. Mia Farrow discovered Woody’s affair with her daughter when she found nude pictures taken by him, of her then teenage daughter, with whom he had a paternal relationship. Shame on him!  His excuse to prey on a teenage girl 35 years younger than him was, “the heart wants what it wants”. What a scumbag. I will not pay to watch his films EVER, I wouldn’t give him the sweat off my balls, if I had any. I have a daughter, and it simply enrages me to think that someone could have done that to her when she was a teenager.

When people excuse this behavior, it makes them just as culpable, because they are too spineless to say anything about it under the guise of “being nice.” They are not “being nice,” they are being weak for not standing up for what’s right.

In my view, this is what’s wrong with the American society today. People don’t use their brains. Instead, they use this “you have to love everybody,” “who are you to judge” horse manure. We make judgments everyday on whom we become friends with, which would be the better job for us, what kind of men we date, what risks to take or not to take, etc. When society behaves in an “everything-goes-don’t judge” or “let-everybody-do-their-own-thing” even if it’s evil, it crumbles. If we don’t make judgments, that’s when the young, the weak, and the vulnerable suffer; I believe all of us as a society have an obligation to protect each other; and by not using our judgment, we are failing each other miserably.

Let me be clear about one thing though: I am not talking about judging someone based on a lifestyle choice that hurts no one else. I’m not talking about judging someone who is gay, bisexual, or transgender. They don’t judge me because I’m straight, so why would I judge them because they’re not? I’m not talking about people who sleep around. I’m not talking about a prostitute or escort who sell his or her goods to any John or Jane who’s willing to buy. It’s their bodies; and as far as I’m concerned, they should be able to use it, offer it, sell it, enjoy it, and basically do whatever they want with it. That’s nobody’s business but their own. I’m not talking about people’s personal decisions about their lives, that’s between them and their God, if they have one.

I believe in judging, shaming, and shunning deserving people who do society wrong; people who take advantage of the weak and vulnerable. Especially kids. Am I not supposed to judge my former friend who was dating a man with two children and a pregnant wife? We all knew she was wasting her time with a married man (but that was her time and her problem); but the epitome of cruelty was when she told me that after having an affair with this man for one year, she decided that she was in love with him and was going to let the wife know in order to force his hand and make him leave his wife. I asked her not to do that because it would destroy the wife and his children’s lives. My former friend called me later from Kentucky to tell me that after she told the wife about her husband’s affair, her lover’s wife had given birth prematurely that same evening; and later on, upon returning home and leaving the baby in the hospital, she killed herself. She said she was sorry.


I shamed her and I shunned her. I don’t want to be friends with someone who caused the misery of another human being. And I told her that, too. She said I lacked compassion. That’s right. I lacked compassion for HER. My compassion lied with the children who were left motherless and not with this woman who, for selfish reasons, did what she did because she wanted a man who was not even worth having.

Now, are we not supposed to JUDGE Roman Polanski, who drugged and gave alcohol to a 13-year-old CHILD so he could rape and sodomize her? A vulnerable child! Some Hollywood types said “it was in the past,” “he’s a brilliant director”. SHAME on these people who didn’t judge him and conveniently forgot that he hurt a child just because “he is a brilliant director” and that is supposed to trump being a decent human being? Not in my eyes. He wasn’t even man enough to stay and face the consequences. He fled like the rat that he is. I wonder how would he react if the same thing happened to the young daughter he has now.

Are we not supposed to JUDGE the Texan mother who left her 6-week-old baby in the car to fry his brains out? She was on her way out of the house and was supposed to drop the baby off at the day care center. A business call distracted her and she drove straight to work, got her briefcase out of the car and her BLACKBERRY, but didn’t realize the baby was still strapped to the car seat. Really? That’s how important her human baby was to her. In one of the hottest day in Dallas, she left her baby there to fry his tiny little brain – painfully and slowly. When it hit the newspapers, some people were saying that she should not go to jail because she was suffering enough already and that we should not judge her, but have compassion. That word again: compassion. How? Please, someone, explain how she was suffering. Compassion? I think that baby whose little brain fried very slowly and painfully in the car suffered a whole lot more; and he, the victim, is the one deserving of compassion here. Compassion for her is totally misplaced. How do you forget a human being (that came out of your body) in the car? She should go to jail and pay for what she’s done.

If we are supposed to love everybody and not judge anybody when they do wrong, then there are no lines drawn for what’s wrong or right; therefore we can’t judge Hitler – who ordered the genocide of millions. We can’t judge Ted Bundy – a necrophile- who killed, tortured, and raped more than 30 women and girls. We can’t judge the Menendez brothers  – who both killed their parents in order to get to their money faster. Talk about having a sense of entitlement! Both brothers found killer groupies with no judgment whatsoever; who thought it was a great idea to marry convicted murderers while they were in prison and would never get out. Lucky brides! At least they won’t have to worry about being asleep and be awaken with the barrel of a shot gun closer to their nose, like the fate their husbands’ parents suffered.

We can’t judge Jerry Sandusky either – a pedophile and convicted child rapist – who was protected by people who had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They didn’t want to judge him and thought it was a good idea to just “chat” about it with him. Their good idea hurt many children who will be adults, scarred for life. Lastly, let’s not judge Ricardo “Richard” Ramirez – the night stalker/serial killer, who terrorized, assaulted, beat, maimed, and robbed several people in California. Before his trial, a serial killer groupie, who has no judgment whatsoever, started writing dozens of letters to Ramirez; and in 1996 she happily married him in San Quentin prison. This groupie believed Ramirez is innocent of all the crimes he had been convicted of and has vowed that the day her husband is executed, she’ll commit suicide. Peachy!!

I have a daughter and I’m no longer a fan of Woody Allen. If I ever saw him, I would spit on his shoe. I would look at him with total and utter disgust. I also have a son, and if a Sandusky-type damaged my boy like Sandusky did to those young boys, I would have loved to be able to pull his fingernails off with pliers… one by one.

So, to all the bleeding hearts out there, who think nobody should be judged, please save it. Don’t tell me not to judge. I will. Not everybody is nice; and when I see that people have done evil, as a person who has a conscience, I will not be embarrassed or ashamed to judge, shame, and shun.

All I want for Christmas is that you put your cellphone down!

Copyright SFONDI

With Christmas around the corner and the new year not far behind, getting together with family and friends are a given. Unless you’re a doctor on call, once you get together with your loved ones, make a conscious decision to take a digital holiday. Put the cellphone away and don’t bring it to the table.

If you are a parent, especially to teenage children, be a role model for them: tell them to put the cell phone away. Don’t be afraid your children won’t like you. If they decide to stay sulking in a corner like a lump on a log because they’re bored, that’s the land of “too bad”. Tell them to interact with family. Tell them to talk to their elders and ask questions about their past. Tell your teenage children to talk to others in the room and tell them what they did in school, instead of burying their noses in their smart phones or in whatever the  game du jour is.

Resist the urge to glance at your phone at every vibration or ring to see who is liking your picture or comments on Facebook. Forget taking selfies, forget recording every little movement you make just for that moment. Enjoy your friends and family. You may not get along with every relative (your uncle Frank is annoying and aunt Sally may be insufferable), but that’s ok. It’s called FAMILY. Not everyone is perfect.

If you have a beloved, pay more attention to him or her. Look more at his/her face adoringly instead of trying to check yours or your friends’ status on Facebook or who just twitted 140 nonsense words. By the end of this get-together, you will be surprised at how much more loving you’ll be feeling towards them.

In sum, have real human interactions instead of having your nose buried on the cellphone the entire time. Spend more time with your human counterparts than with your gadgets. Show the people you’re interacting with all of you, that you care about them more than constantly texting and paying half-attention to what they’re saying or what’s going on around you. Take a digital holiday!

Merry Christmas! Love and cheers from my family to yours!!!  Cristina