Butterfly Publication
Danielle Coulanges


Cads, Princes & Best Friends
 A Tale of Lust, Love & Redemption 

Any woman who’s dated or been involved in romantic relationships knows a cad or two – those men who only think of themselves (players). Every woman hopes to someday meet her very own prince or ideal man. But what a woman really needs is a best friend, the one who will love her unconditionally and who she can depend on.

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“A memorable journey told by an intelligent, strong and vulnerable woman!” – Caribbean Life


Danielle reads her daily meditation: "God answers prayers. Although God’s answer is immediate, the particular way it unfolds may take time." Nothing epitomized her life better than this nugget of faith. In this raw memoir, Danielle Coulanges evinces plentiful faith, drive, and determination.

A gorgeous woman of Haitian descent living in New York City, Danielle has creative, sensible, loving, and charitable qualities. But the voice in her head keeps asking, "What’s wrong with me?" Danielle picks through her childhood and past choices to uncover answers. Realizing that devaluing her self-worth has trapped her in a tumultuous business and love relationship she decides to walk away. Starting over will be a breeze, she thinks. Thirty-something, she just needs a new man, her own business, and lots of money to embark on a wonderful life.

Instead, she thrashes about in choppy and unfamiliar waters to survive. Her dreams continue to elude her. Juggling work, business, and dating pushes Danielle to exhaustion. Then unexpected, life-altering events force her to reexamine her values and beliefs. Through the process, she emerges with an unshakable faith, respect for herself, and attitudes that finally place her on the path that God intended for her all along.


Reader Reviews:

“Enlightening and Inspirational!”

“A great read!!!! A great ride!!!”








EXCERPTS from Part I


We all have our weaknesses—those little traits or human foibles that paralyze with fear when we should flee or cause us to jump up and do foolish things when we should instead sit down and assess our options.

Self-esteem issues, problems in relationships and the search for meaning in life are very popular topics in the advice columns of women magazines, in talk shows and reality shows. Many of us struggle with one or a variety of these issues. I chose to explore my personal battles on these subjects in this book.

My frailties affected my life in one form or another. Low self-esteem caused me to accept less as what I deserved. A relentless drive to get rich led me to lose perspective of my values. My complete and utter ignorance of what a “real man” should be guided me to the wrong choices.

These elements influenced my decisions and actions for a very long time, until one day I realized I didn’t like the places they took me to. Some of those were cast in shadows, others were unbearably dark.

My transformation didn’t happen overnight; rather there were plenty of “Aha” moments, followed by “Ouch!” episodes succeeded by other “Aha” in alternating progression until one day I stood victorious. I’d learned to live by faith.

This book is about that journey. It is a true and candid personal account of my life that focuses on a particular tumultuous decade. I share it with you in the hope that if you too face challenges similar to mine, you’ll find the courage to remove from your life those things that are destructive to your spirit in order to purposefully claim the life you want and deserve. However, unless you have the wisdom to do so, you will continue to dwell in places that will eventually cause your physical or spiritual demise.

I dedicate this book to all of the women—mothers, daughters, wives and sisters—who struggle with self-worth. The psalmist David tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are all priceless in the eyes of our Creator.

It is also for those of my sisters who consistently wish for a “nice” man yet relentlessly pursue the opposite by choosing style over substance when it comes to a man’s character.

Individually we go through situations that we mistakenly perceive as being unique, but human nature being what it is, they are not. We repeat the same experiences, only in different scenarios and with different people. That’s why it’s possible to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

My story bears witness that one can in fact alter the course of one’s life.

The intimate details included here are the kind one would only impart to a best friend. I bare it all as an invitation to you to be
my best friend. Please take this journey with me.

My prayer is that as you read through these pages you are inspired to make the necessary changes in your own life, to leave the dark places and let your spirit walk into the light that God has been patiently waiting to shine on you, his priceless masterpiece.
Step out on faith and claim your rightful place in the master designer’s spotlight, fully realized!


October 26, 2002

There I was on a Saturday night, alone and in a sour mood.

My plans for bigger and better were falling into place and the life I always wanted finally appeared within reach, when somehow, everything in motion was put on hold for reasons beyond my control.

Here we go again. Why do these things always happen to me? 

I walked around the house feeling morose and disenchanted.

Whenever I felt overly judgmental and unappreciative of my current circumstances, I tried to get a more objective perspective on things by comparing earlier periods of my life with where I was at a particular time. That night was one of those times when I hoped that exercise would help me shake the sense of disappointment that assailed me. I located my old diary, settled into bed and started leafing through it.

I read the date entered on the very first page—October 26, 1992—and gasped.
My God! It’s been exactly ten years.

How uncanny that I would decide to look at this diary that night of all times, exactly ten years to the date I started it.

As I read through the pages of my self-therapy sessions, often times scribbled in the middle of the night, the anger slowly melted away as it was replaced with relief and thanksgiving. How insignificant the current temporary setback appeared when compared to what laid before my eyes: the trauma of a separation, the struggle to keep financially afloat, the search for the self I no longer knew, and the loneliness, that sheer vacancy that kept me constant companionship…

Forgive me Lord God for being ungrateful. How dare I complain now that I’ve been given so much?

This was no coincidence. It was meant for me to see these events once more.

“Remember, remember them well, and see whence I brought you from!”


If Annie hadn’t come by when she did, I probably would have remained Joe’s woman for yet a few more months, maybe even a few more years, with no understanding of why I stayed with him through one crisis after another.

For nearly fifteen years of my life, Joe manipulated me like a puppet. He could coerce me into accepting stuff any coherent woman would object to with absolute certainty.

For several weeks I’d been trying to make up my mind.

Should I break up with him for good or should I give him another chance?

We talked about ending the relationship on a number of occasions, but I couldn’t bring myself to let go.

Maybe if I give him time, he’ll see that we have too much invested in each other to end it,
I thought. I secretly wished that he would change his ways, stop this current affair that was killing me softly, and we wouldn’t have to part.

I waited; then waited some more. Nothing happened. Joe didn’t make any attempts to correct the situation.

I had to make a decision, however painful it might be and slowly began to pull away. I went out with friends, trying to cut the ties. Joe and I no longer slept in the same bed and if he stayed at the house, I was at the apartment or vice versa.

Under the circumstances I was glad we had two places to call home, although that same set up caused me grief on numerous occasions.

At the time I met Joe and eventually moved in with him, he lived in a well appointed high rise building in downtown Jersey City, a waterfront area right across the river from Manhattan. Jersey City was in the early stages of a massive urban development and its proximity to New York made it ideal for anyone who worked or conducted business in the city.

In addition to keeping regular jobs, Joe and I worked together on several fashion-related business ventures and when the building went co-op, we had enough money set aside from our existing business to buy the apartment. At that time, we operated a specialty apparel company from a showroom on Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan—the hub of the fashion industry—and kept a design workshop in a loft in the Chelsea area, further downtown. We eventually closed the workshop when the rent became too expensive and instead used an area of the apartment as a design studio.

The apartment became crowded with machines, fabrics and other tools of the trade and over time started to feel less like a home and more like a workspace. I wanted a place where I could entertain and a home big enough to accommodate my sister Bee who I hoped would return to New York after her tour with the U. S. army. At my urging, four years before our relationship reached the final crisis, we’d bought a beautiful condominium townhouse in Jersey City as well, blocks away from the apartment.

For the first year or so after we bought the condo, things were wonderful between Joe and me. We engaged in the bonding ritual of making a home, shopping for furniture and accessories and decorating the house together to make it our own. We both loved the house and Joe in particular took great pride in showing it off. We often entertained family and friends and were known in our circle for throwing some fabulous parties. But most of all, the house was supposed to be our very own retreat where we spent time together to regroup.

I spent most of my time at the house and made it my primary residence. Joe, however, never completely moved over as he assured me he would. Most of his clothes and personal stuff remained at the apartment. As time went on, his presence at the house became more erratic and on most occasions I was there alone. Times when I expected him to join me there, especially on weekends, there was always some work that he needed to do at the apartment.

I later found out the place was a den of lust for him and the conquest of the moment that traipsed through when I wasn’t around. ...

... When I finally emerged from the bedroom, famished, I raided the refrigerator in search of food. Joe and I took turns feeding each other alternate bites of a cold pork chop and fresh grapes. By the time he was ready to head to our store in Manhattan I’d prepared a quick dinner and packed him a meal to take along.

It was just like old times.

The doorbell rang. The peep hole framed a mop of jet black silky curls topping exotic features that were now contorted in a bugged-eye funny face.

It’s Annie and her goofy self.

I opened the door for her, still naked under the towel wrapped around me.

Annie lived one floor down in the building and constantly ran up and down to borrow one thing or another that single and busy young people don’t bother to buy for their apartments. She was returning some household utensils that she’d taken earlier that day—she was a literal example of the neighbor who asks to borrow a cup of sugar.

Joe was on his way out. He kissed me goodbye and left. I put on some clothes and came back to the dining table to finish my dinner.

“Huh, Ahem!” Annie cleared her throat while giving me a quizzical look. “What’s going on Dani?” she asked.

“Well, you know …” I trailed off, not sure how to explain what happened.

“Dani?” she pressed on.

“I don’t know what I’m doing. I am not sure what to do,” I confessed.

“I know it’s hard for you but you have to make up your mind,” she said. “He’s not doing anything to correct the situation with Samantha.”

Annie started out as Joe’s friend and for a while worked with us in the store. The two of us hit it off and over time developed a friendship. She was aware of my turmoil; I had shared with her my thus far unsuccessful attempts to break off from Joe.

When I confided in her that Joe was having an affair, she conducted her own investigation and approached Samantha, Joe’s new flame, who bragged to her that she was indeed involved with him. Joe was his usual callous self when Annie tried to confirm this with him.

“Do you remember what I told you happened when I confronted Joe about his affair?” she said.

“What?” I asked, my mind now mired in my own confusion. “Oh! Yeah …”

“Let me remind you Dani,” she continued, attempting to bring me back to reality. “I said to him, ‘Joe if you are involved with Samantha; what about Danielle? How does she feel about all this?’ He wasn’t concerned about you. He dismissed the issue with a comment that you knew about the whole thing and you were cool with it.”

“The sick pig! How could I be cool with that?” I said, anger raising my voice a few decibels.

“Dani, Joe is a master manipulator and the only person he really cares about is himself. He. Is. Not. Going. To. Change!” She enunciated each word with the emphasis used to teach a complex theory. “You have to leave Dani, for your own good.”

I knew the scenario displayed before her when she walked in minutes earlier proved her point. I cupped my forehead in my right palm, defeated.

“Oh my God, how am I going to do this?” I said in a weak voice.

She stood up and put her arms around me in a bear hug.

“You have to be strong,” she pleaded. “The only way to do it is to make a clean break.” ...

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