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We’ve been dating for about a year and a half. We’re in love, we talk about the future (marriage, kids) all of the time. Things are amazing. Except for one big thing. I have been honest about wanting out of here. I told him on our first date I wasn’t a fan of this place. He is not from here, but hehas lived here for a long time and is content here. He told me he understood and that, when the time for his job was right, we would move. Well, the time came recently. He started hating new changes at work. He applied to three jobs — one in NYC, one in New Orleans and one in San Diego. I was happy with all three cities. I was excited.
Well, he didn’t get any of them. He freaked out, felt inadequate and applied to business school, against my advice. We discussed it and I told him I would support whatever decision he made. I didn’t want to hold him back. He talked it over with mentors and colleagues and ultimately decided that, if he wanted to be marketable and competitive in bigger cities, he needed an MBA. Plus, his job is willing to pay for it, provided he stay with them while in school. This means two more years here.
We recently had a huge fight about this and now I am honestly questioning everything. I hate it here. I am miserable. But I love him and I know that I want to be with him for the rest of my life. He is sick of the fighting about this issue, sick of me complaining, and tired of me pressuring him to get out. Most of this doesn’t even matter now because it’s a done deal with business school. He started this week. In his defense and to be fair, he says he is doing this for us. He says that he needs the MBA to TO MOVE and that, if he were to stay here, he wouldn’t get the degree because he doesn’t need it here.
I feel trapped. I don’t know if I am being petty and need to just stick it out for the next two years or if this is something I can’t get around and should follow my desire to live in an amazing city. Shitty city with guy I love or start over and be lonely in amazing city? Both sound awful, the second sounds terrifying. I need some perspective! — Livin’ in a Shitty City
The two choices you’ve given yourself — stay in a shitty city with a guy you love or be lonely in an amazing city — sound so limiting and they don’t have to be. First of all, there are ways you can be happy despite living in a location you don’t love. You say you tried meeting people but nothing worked, and yet you managed to meet your boyfriend. Is he really the only person in the whole town you like? Or did you simply decide once you found him to quit looking for other people and activities to fulfill you? Second, if you did move on your own somewhere else, why do you just assume you’re going to be lonely? Isn’t one of the major attractions of moving some place like, say, New York, which you say is a city you’d be happy moving to, that there are SO MANY people to meet and SO MANY things to do? If you live in an awesome city and you’re lonely, that’s on YOU. And I can’t help but think that, if you live in less-than-stellar city but you’re with the person you say you want to spend your life with and you’re still miserable, then that’s on you, too.
Honestly, the biggest problem I can find in your situation isn’t that your boyfriend is committed to two more years in a town you hate; it’s that’s your attitude sucks. No wonder your boyfriend is sick of listening to you complain. This isn’t HIS problem. It’s yours and you need to fix it, or you’re going to not only lose your boyfriend but you’re also going to discover that it doesn’t matter where you live because you’re still going to be unhappy.
The fastest way to start changing your attitude and fixing your problem is to adjust the language you use to describe your situation and your choices. You are not “stuck,” so stop saying that. And you have a lot more than the two limiting and depressing choices you outlined. For example, you can choose to commit to two more years where you live while your boyfriend gets his MBA and you give yourself the challenge of making five good friends in those two years. You can also challenge yourself to pick up a new hobby and learn a new skill. And you can plan getaways — with your boyfriend or on your own — to cities where you think you might like to live so that you have trips to look forward to and a better idea what different cities have to offer.
Or you can choose to move but, instead of seeing it as an indefinite period of loneliness, you can choose to make the most out of a long- distance relationship. You can practice better communication with your boyfriend while you’re apart and think about how the skills of keeping in touch will serve you in the long-term. You can challenge yourself to make new friends in your new city and to learn a new hobby or skill (do you see a pattern here?).
There is so much more to life than whom you’re dating and what your zipcode is. Quit limiting yourself. Quit thinking inside a narrow box. Look for happiness and fulfillment outside your relationship and outside the immediacy of the streets and buildings around you. It takes extra effort to actually search for what isn’t immediately obvious, whether it’s potential friends or rewarding work or new interests, but the rewards can be so huge.
Take control of your life. Don’t hand over the wheel to someone else. YOU are in the driver’s seat here. You have lots of choices. And if you make one that doesn’t bring you happiness, take responsibility for it and invest some effort into making changes. This isn’t anyone else’s life but yours, so, if you don’t like something in it, it’s up to YOU to do something about it.
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theattack October 7, 2013, 9:12 am
WWS. I understand hating a city, but surely you can find things to make your time there at least a few steps up from miserable. Two years is a drop in the bucket if you’re in it for the long haul. People in love do much more than this to stay together. If he’s as amazing as you seem to feel he is, two years is easily worth it.
theattack October 7, 2013, 9:12 am
Crap, why can’t I edit my comment? Also, stop making him feel guilty for this.
LadyinPurpleNotRed October 7, 2013, 9:15 am
Yes! Guilt is deadly and not worth it.
LadyinPurpleNotRed October 7, 2013, 9:15 am
I’m in a city right now that I’m not loving. I’ve found things here that I appreciate and amazing friends (though I’m in grad school, so it’s easier for me…I get that, but still). My boyfriend is a plane ride away. We both agreed it wouldn’t make sense for him to move her. I plan on leaving once I’m done and so it made sense for him to set up where we wanted to be, not where I currently was. Long distance is hard, but our communication has gotten damn good and we appreciate our time together. It’s helped solidify our relationship. We want this. Two years isn’t that long–whether you stay there or are in a long distance relationship.
call-me-hobo October 7, 2013, 11:43 am
Plus, you might meet new friends on dw! Purple and I met thanks to this site, and we’ve actually formed a pretty fast friendship. But it never would have happened if she had just decided that there wasn’t anyone worth knowing in Tennessee…
Miel October 7, 2013, 12:50 pm
Wait… where are you ? Purple just described my exact situation, and I’m in Nashville.
theattack October 7, 2013, 1:23 pm
I think we all need a Nashville meetup!
LadyinPurpleNotRed October 7, 2013, 1:19 pm
Well you’re definitely worth knowing!
bethany October 7, 2013, 9:23 am
If you hate it so much, why don’t you move? Take your time and find a place you’ll like, look for a job there and move. Say you spend a year looking for a city you like, an apartment and a job, then you move there. Then you’re long distance for a year, and when your boyfriend is done with school he can easily move to where you are without the hassle of trying to find a place to live. He can apply to jobs while he’s still in school and interview when he comes to visit you.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 9:26 am
I think you & your guy have a problem with how you make decisions about your future together. It sounds to me like it wasn’t really openly discussed whether this decision was just HIS to make or a decision you two were supposed to make together. I think him studying for an MBA and then moving to a big city with you could be a really good solution if it was something you both decided upon together. But that wasn’t the case. First, you pressured him to find a job in a big city, then he decided against looking into that further (against your “advice”, which was probably more like against your “wishes”), and then you said you were OK with it because you don’t want to hold him back even though you’re clearly not OK with it. I suspect you’re at least as upset about the process of how this came about than about the outcome, because this process sounds super problematic. Please get clear about how committed you two are to be a team. Are you willing to be a team with him, even if that means staying some more time in a city you don’t love? Do you think he’s really willing to be team – do you believe he’s going to school in order to ultimately move with you or do you think it’s just a convenient excuse for doing something he would have done for himself?
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 9:32 am
I’ll add there’s probably a reason you feel “stuck” and you should try to find out why that is. You think it’s just the city you live in, but there may be more to it. For some reason, you feel limited, when in reality you’re a free person who can do anything she wants. You CAN give up on this relationship and move to a new city if that’s what you want. Maybe that’s what your subconscious is telling you to do.
theattack October 7, 2013, 9:35 am
What’s the problem with him deciding on his own that he wants to get his MBA in the city he’s already in? I’m failing to see how that makes him less of a team player than the LW who wants him to move. They’ve been together a year and a half, which is enough time to form a team together, yes, but I’m not sure that it’s enough time to sacrifice education and the prospect to grow in a career just because the other one wants to move NOW NOW NOW.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 9:39 am
Well, there is a problem between them because she’s now thinking about breaking up with him. Doesn’t mean he’s done anything wrong but obviously something went wrong in the relationship. And my diagnosis is that the cause is that they disagree on how much input she should have had in this process.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 9:48 am
As a personal example: My bf and I are both in careers that will require us to work abroad for some time. We’re trying to coordinate that so that we don’t have to be apart for too long but it’s not that easy. So we’ll have to find a compromise. Now if he just said one day “hey, I’ve found a job in X city and I’m moving there”, that would endanger our relationship. Because I’m expecting to have input on that decision IF we’re supposed to be together longterm, which is what I want. If he didn’t ask my input, and would give it some weight in the decision, I would think he wasn’t a good team player.
theattack October 7, 2013, 10:03 am
Gotcha. So not that he shouldn’t be making this decision without her approval, but that they should agree on how much input she has. At the same time, just about everyone has that problem in certain scenarios.
katie October 7, 2013, 10:21 am
yea, to me it just shows how not on the same page they are…. none of the possible decisions here are inherently bad, but it just seems like they are operating completely differently and with completely different mindsets, and then fighting about the opposing viewpoints, bla bla bla… and that is never good.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 11:55 am
It doesn’t sound to me like they are on different pages really. He needs a better job, she said she would support him in doing that (AFTER he told her about MBA thing), and in 2 years, he will have hopefully completed this which will allow him to (hopefully) move to where she wants them to live.
theattack October 7, 2013, 1:25 pm
wlbhs. There’s no indication to think that he’s not actually on the same page with her. They’re just on different timelines, but his is realistic, and she’s being a little impatient about it.
Fabelle October 7, 2013, 9:27 am
You know that clichè, “wherever you go, there you are?” Yeah, I think that applies here.
I realize throwing out that old line is kind of dismissive, but honestly— a new city won’t magically fix your attitude. And your attitude, like Wendy said, seems to be the biggest issue here. You are placing all of the responsibility for change & happiness on your boyfriend, first of all (discouraging him from getting an MBA—fully paid!—just so you two can move sometimes before the next 2 years?)
And what of your job? Half the letter is you talking about how your boyfriend’s plans are ruining your fantasy of escape. Wouldn’t you ~also~ need to find a new job? Were YOU applying to any jobs in the cities you were so excited to have your boyfriend apply to? Maybe it was edited out (?) but I find it odd that you mention nothing of your own plans (apart from “stay miserable here for true love” or “be lonely in an amazing city”)
Anyway, WWS for the rest of it.
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 9:32 am
Yeah I was wondering the same thing, why is it all on him to decide where her happiness is. And can she just move without a job? And how quickly does she think a move will actually happen.
And since she says she doesn’t have any friends? Or maybe she does now but that was left out too? You have to wonder if the boyfriend feels like he’s solely responsible for her happiness, that can be very suffocating.
eljay October 7, 2013, 12:03 pm
Bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 9:32 am
LW – The worst mistake people make is believing they will be happy if only one thing changed. Sometimes it is harder than others but you need to find joy in your life where it is. I have moved my whole life and you need to be active in making a life for yourself. I believe you are choosing to hate your city and are only looking for things that prove you right. If it was me, I would set a goal to do new things twice a week. I have found there are classes in most community centers that are really inexpensive. Try a hobby that you have always wanted to attempt. For example – Painting or sewing. Take a dance class or continuing education at the local community college. Find events that are fun for you – fairs, beer fests, local orchestras. sign up for a 5k training group. The other thing that I believe is when you meet someone you like, ask them to do something specific like happy hour next Tuesday. If you say “Lets get together sometime” that is something that will never happen.
Fabelle October 7, 2013, 9:38 am
“The worst mistake people make is believing they will be happy if only one thing changed” <– yes, yes, yes. That's why I'm skeptical that this city she lives in is SO horrible— I think it's more like a scapegoat for some other misery she can't name.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 9:51 am
On the other hand, people with a bad attitude are often people who don’t dare to go for what they really want. It might just be “this one thing”, who knows, she can only find out by actually trying it out.
Bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 10:30 am
But usually the only way to achieve your goals is to first be stable in where you are. Especially when what she hates is so abstract. Like ” a city”. It isn’t that she misses her family desperately or she is suffering from SAD because there is no sun. If she is in a city, I believe it is hard to find something it doesn’t offer you. Like no matter where you live there are two or more political parties. You can find cultural events anywhere or out door sports. You just have to make the effort to do it.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 10:40 am
I’m starting to think it really matters how big this city she’s living in really is. As a “big city” person I 100% understand wanting to get out of a small city. Not that I would die in a small city, but it was definitely one of my life plans to live in a bigger city.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 10:43 am
Also, I think this is life phase dependent. The more you’re already settled in life, the more important it is to be and remain happy where you are. But someone who hasn’t settled down can uproot their life and shouldn’t be afraid to do so.
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 11:51 am
But she is 28 not 21. I think she has a good career and a man she loves. Why would she give all of that up for a city? I feel like she is cutting off her nose to spite her face.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 12:13 pm
if she were happy with her situation she probably wouldn’t have written that letter. she wouldn’t even think about moving to another city. it’s certainly POSSIBLE that she’s just too stupid to know that she’s really happy with the whole thing… but not very likely.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 12:17 pm
21 in the country is like 28 in a big city
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 1:25 pm
I think this sounds like a rut and someone who has committed to being unhappy. She wants a change and is looking to any other city out there to force her to change rather than just getting up and starting to change now. I think she is one foot out the door so she has decided not to try and make friends because there seems to be no point. Fighting a rut is something that everyone does and they normally do it several times in their lives. I certainly didn’t say she was stupid but I don’t think she is trying.
Marina October 7, 2013, 11:51 am
Honestly, though, some cities just match you more than others. I had an insanely difficult time in New York, because my industry is so minimal out there. It was hard to be able to go out and do things, because I was rarely working, and New York is so expensive (and don’t get me started on finding “free” things to do – it’s really difficult there, especially as even transportation is costly, and everyone always wants to meet for $15 drinks or. $12 coffee). When I moved to a city that’s an industry hub for me, my life opened up. Now, she doesn’t indicate a financial strain, but, for me, that was hugely impactful. Additionaly, for instance, it’s easier to be gay in San Francisco than in Nashville. Different cities offer different things. It’s just how it is.
Lindsay October 7, 2013, 3:19 pm
Eek. I’m glad I never encountered a $12 coffee. I would have freaked out because I hate spending money! An $18 3-D movie was my shock.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 3:23 pm
I think 3D movies by me are $25…once had a $17 martini in the city too. Crazy!
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 3:49 pm
I just spent $40 for my husband and I to see Gravity this weekend. It was IMAX 3d and a great movie but seriously that seemed CRAZY to me.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 3:10 pm
$15 drinks? $12 coffee?!
I don’t even believe that. I get grumpy when a beer costs $5 in our city, a craft beer at that!
kerrycontrary October 7, 2013, 10:07 am
WBS. “if only I was married I’d be happy” “if only I had a different job I’d be happy” “If only I owned a house”. NO, the only thing stopping you from being happy right this second is yourself.
ktfran October 7, 2013, 10:29 am
Choose happiness. That’s my motto. And it’s working for me. If I’m feeling down, I occasionally let myself wallow, then I quickly get over it, pick myself up, and figure what I need to do to be happy. Sometimes it’s as simple as a walk, or dinner with my sister. Other times, I’ll pick up a new activity. But IT IS A CHOICE!
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 10:36 am
You are right, everyone has downtimes and set backs. You can have bad days or weeks, but it is focusing on the daily things you can control. It is fighting the urge to just sit on the couch and watch t.v. It is making the best of it while you feel like your are waiting for life to get moving again.
gatecrashergirl October 7, 2013, 12:48 pm
I agree with that to a point. Sometimes you know yourself well enough to know that if that thing changes, life will actually get better. I was stuck in a horrible job that I started right as the economy collapsed in 2008. Even though I was looking for jobs the entire time, I couldn’t find anything. That was the “one thing” that was the line between my happiness and the hell of a soul sucking job. I’m naturally an upbeat, positive person but there was no amount of positivity that would make things OK as long as I was there. It weighed me down and was just an overall horrible experience. As soon as I was out, all of my friends said that they hadn’t seen me so happy and relaxed in years. . . So I totally get where she’s coming from with her city being a drag to her happiness. My only thought of encouragement is to start planning where she wants to be. Looking into the city and the neighborhoods and the living situations etc. That will be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for her.
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 1:30 pm
So, I think a bad job is a very real, very relavant thing. It is something you actively do for most of your day. Something like “A city” is very abstract. Just like you said, a city can completely change depending on the neighborhood you are in. You can find a place within a city and have a choice on how you interact in a city. But in a job, that is very small and you can’t control it very well.
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 9:33 am
I’m confused about this city you hate. If you’d be happy with moving to NYC, New Orleans, and San Diego (three VERY different cities – I’d say those cities are opposities in every possible way), I am at a loss with what city you’re in. The only thing they have in common is they are larger cities, so your city must be a small one, but it can’t be *that* small if you both have professional jobs. And even small cities have things like ethnic restaurants and cultural events and meetup groups and trails and parks and bars and movie theaters and maybe a campus nearby with events and sports and … I mean, what does one need from her city to be happy – and for only pfff two more years? I don’t get it. Unless maybe you live on Guam. I’ve been there and it does not have a lot going for it.
I tend to agree with Wendy; if you can’t figure out how to fix your attitude and find things you enjoy to make yourself happy, it won’t matter where you live. But if it really is that bad, you have choices.
But really, what city is it? Can you tell me? Just whisper it to me.
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 9:45 am
I think I know who this is!
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 9:47 am
Or not. I dunno. I like to guess.
QaraKoz October 7, 2013, 10:26 am
I wonder if the LW is just lacking community. I know that this is a problem for quite a few of my friends who were brought up in really close knit ethnic communities and even though their new city is technically diverse they don’t have a thriving community of South Asians or Korean-Americans or whatever the person’s background is.
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 1:59 pm
That’s a good point. My SIL has a tight-knit community of Lithuanian friends in Minneapolis and I think she’d be miserable in any other city b/c she’s is very dependent on them. But my SIL sucks so there you go. (I’m kidding – officially I’m kidding.)
But seriously, that’s a good point and I could see that being the case here.
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 9:46 am
Haha! I kind of want to know too!
But, also I agree with the attitude thing a lot. And yes, small cities do have some things but I’d argue you have to really search for them in some cases (thinking about where I live now, you have to be proactive or you would get bored real quick). And if you decided almost immediately that you hated it (less than 5 months!) then I’m going to guess the searching for fun things to do wasn’t a priority anymore. And like Wendy said she probably started relying on her bf as her source of all things fun.
Imsostartled October 7, 2013, 12:26 pm
Maybe it’s Chicago… 😛
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 1:53 pm
Then my advice would be to go check into an insane asylum because everybody knows CHICAGO RULES ALL! Mwhahahahahaaha.
kerrycontrary October 7, 2013, 10:04 am
So I’m going to quote Pretty Woman: “that’s just geography”.
WWS. The city isn’t your problem, your attitude is. Unless you are in detroit. In which case, the city might be the problem.
So I could see if your issue was that you don’t want to live in a city at all. Like you want to live in a more rural area, or more suburban area, or a small city/large town. But you say you want to live in a city, just not this city. Why?
TheOtherOtherMe October 7, 2013, 10:08 am
I have disagree with other commenters that she’s not trying hard enough to make friends. I lived on a small island in the Caribbean for two years and I made ONE friend the whole time I was there, despite joining clubs, going out constantly, and being very friendly/outgoing. The culture and people were so different there, and I really didn’t meet anyone with my interests/mindset. So I can see how maybe LW is just not finding a niche where she lives because maybe there really AREN’T like-minded people. I could be wrong, of course, but it’s possible that this scenario is true.
Also, what’s with the boyfriend giving up his job hunt after THREE rejections? Hello, it takes more than three tries to get a new job! Sounds like he really doesn’t want to leave his town that bad. Also, getting an MBA is no guarantee that he will get a better job in future. Sounds like he could be using the MBA as a delaying tactic.
To me, this is where the real problem in their relationship lies. She may be sensing that they are at odds about their long-term future — he may be comfortable where he is, and afraid to be honest with her. And she may be terrified of staying in this town, if that’s the price of being with him.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 10:13 am
I got the same vibe from this letter. I think if a person is considering a break up, there’s always more to it than just having a bad attitude. There’s a reason for that (maybe not a good reason per se, but a reason). Either she’s not really as into him as she thinks she is or she is sensing that he’s not as into her as he claims to be. Or even both of those.
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 10:23 am
I see your point, and being on a small island could be limiting. But they can’t be in a similar boat. I mean, they’re in a city that at least offers an MBA program, so there must be a college/university there. And someone who would be happy in San Diego or New York can’t possibly be having an issue with trouble finding like-minded people. I mean, San Diego, to me, is full of conservative-military types, to generalize a bit, plus a mix of laid back sun-lovers. New York is, well, the opposite. So if LW would be happy in both places, I can’t help but think she’d be able to connect with many walks of life. … I’m leaning toward making a rule where if both San Diego and New York City can make you happy, then ANYTHING can make you happy.
katie October 7, 2013, 10:26 am
honestly, she probably doesnt know a ton about any of the cities she wants to live in- its probably more like her just wanting out and wanting anywhere else, and so sure, NYC sounds great, and san diego- everyone loves san diego! its big and wonderful and ill find all the friends and finally be happy there.
gatecrashergirl October 7, 2013, 12:50 pm
Ha. That’s definitely not San Diego. Yes there are some military guys but the city overall is pretty liberal, is super laid back and is pretty much paradise. That’s why I moved here from New York 😉
Addie Pray October 7, 2013, 1:56 pm
No you’re wrong, everyone is military and conservative. (Kidding.) But Coronado Bay feels like it!
Kate B. October 7, 2013, 12:13 pm
I need to come to the bf’s defense on the three rejection thing. I can see how it would take three rejections for someone to think they may not be qualified for the job they are seeking. What is the magic number? The job market is very competitve, you need to jump on it. Why waste time?
TheOtherOtherMe October 7, 2013, 1:55 pm
In this job market it could be 300. Welcome to the recession.
muchachaenlaventana October 7, 2013, 2:46 pm
ha yea 3 rejections. i had about double that per day in the height of my job searching.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 10:12 am
“I told him I would support whatever decision he made.”
Clearly those words had no truth behind them. Idk, if you are as in love as you claim to be, and actually mean you want to spend the rest of your life with this guy, how does TWO MEASLY YEARS make you rethink everything? If you can’t handle 2 years of something as not-so-bad as living in an undesirable city, you are gonna have a rough life. I have sympathy for your boyfriend who is doing everything in his power to succeed in life and in his relationship. He’s in school so you can move. Isn’t that what you want? You realize life doesn’t hand you everything you want the instant you want it, right? 2 years of working toward a goal is pretty easy, or should be.
katie October 7, 2013, 10:18 am
this is a wonderful example that a relationship can not be the end all to life- this relationship isnt enough to fulfill all of the LW’s wants/dreams/desires/whatever and so she is STILL miserable, even with an apparently wonderful relationship headed to marriage and babies.
LW, you have to make happiness wherever you are, and with whatever circumstances you find yourself in, period. you are in this city, and your circumstance is that you want to stay with your boyfriend (which you dont have to do, remember. you could leave tomorrow, you are a free person!). so make some happiness out of it. your whole letter is just one long miserable character flaw. fix it!
and also, WEES about putting all your happiness in your boyfriend’s hands. first off, thats not healthy to do, but secondly, if you really are committed to a life with him, that will include stuff like this, where you might have to do or live places or accept things you dont like. thats the way it is, and if i was your boyfriend, i would really pause at your reaction to all this… you dont seem ready to have a real partnership, one that comes with compromises and sacrifices and sometimes not getting your way for the betterment of the partnership.
Lyra October 7, 2013, 10:26 am
Last year I lived in a small town of 800 that I hated. I had moved for a guy, we broke up (thank goodness), and I was damn lonely. I didn’t get out, I didn’t meet new people, and I didn’t really make the best of the situation. I threw myself into work and then I found a rebound guy who — in hindsight — I relied on for my happiness. It really wasn’t healthy because I was just so glad a guy was giving me attention again. Things didn’t work with him either (thank goodness), but I wish now I had made the most out of my situation when I was living in that town. I spent my time and energy blaming my ex for the fact that I hated my job and I hated the area. I moved much closer to home this year and I’ve been SO MUCH happier because I’m finding I’m getting out, meeting new people, trying new things, and I actually want to live here.
I guess my point in all this is that you really can control your happiness. If you stay there with how things are, you will come to resent your boyfriend, I can guarantee that. If you stay there and meet new people, try new things, explore new places, and make the best of your situation, the two years will fly by. Be open and honest with your boyfriend and work with him to come up with a plan. It sounds like he’s focused on the future and taking advantage of a free MBA program. Choose an end date to your time in the city and stick to it. In the meantime, take control of your own happiness.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:49 am
800 people yessssss…. My town has 12,000 people and it feels way too large. 5,000 people plus being near to a small city would be perfect for me.
Lyra October 7, 2013, 12:50 pm
I love space and ideally would like to live in the country again since I grew up in the country, but it’s nice to be close to things too. With 800 people, EVERYONE knew what was going on in my life and it was incredibly uncomfortable.
Northern Mermaid October 7, 2013, 1:22 pm
Alice—you need to come move to Alaska and we can go live in the valley and have a tiny farm.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 1:34 pm
I was this close to interning on a (the only?) musk ox farm in Alaska. I had the application all filled out and submitted but then I ended up getting into veterinary school so I couldn’t go. 🙁
It sounds like a good idea to me, we can can things and pet baby animals and frolic in meadows and stuff.
Northern Mermaid October 7, 2013, 2:18 pm
OMG THE MUSK OX FARM IS THE BEST! My friend volunteers there and she literally pets baby musk oxen and spins their wool into yarn while she volunteers.
sophronisba October 7, 2013, 10:44 am
It’s easy to put the onus of your unhappiness “out there” – in this case on a city – so you don’t have to look at yourself and what the real problem is. To even contemplate breaking up with a good man you claim to love and who is taking concrete, short-term steps to successfully move to a more congenial place :: FOR YOU:: signals that there is more going on than geographical dissatisfaction. Suggest you find a counselor, who can be the one you rant to (sparing your boyfriend from hearing any more of it) and who can guide you in finding out what is at the root of your unhappiness.
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 10:52 am
I’d separate your two issues. One, are you and your boyfriend on the same page or do you think you’re move invested in the relationship and it’s ties to your happiness. And then secondly the city you live in.
Did you move to your current city sight unseen? If not what about it made you think you would be happy? What about the other cities you’ve listed in comparison make you think you’d be happy there? When you moved to your current location were you happy where you were before?
And then your bf. Did you give up looking for a community/friends after you met him? Will you fall in to that same trap when you move?
And also have you guys actually sat down and PLANNED a move? Or are you just yay he’s applying to jobs, let’s move, who needs a plan! Have you applied for jobs? Have you looked in to housing in potential cities? Or are you all for just moving to the first place that isn’t there that you have no plan? Because if it’s the latter then you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. Have one more conversation with your bf, ask him what his thoughts are for life after his MBA. Is there a specific city you both want to live in/focus on? Do you know if you can find a job there? And maybe you just didn’t have enough space to discuss this in the letter and you have a plan like this. But, I feel like you’re just in such a rush to get out that you haven’t really thought about what happens if you’re miserable in the next place.
Lyra October 7, 2013, 10:55 am
That’s a really good point regarding the LW and the boyfriend being on the same page. It sounds like at this point she’s been controlling how things are going to end up.
sarolabelle October 7, 2013, 10:54 am
all cities have the same things….a grocery, museums, library, restaurants, doctors, and perhaps a Hobby Lobby (not sure about NYC on that)…..what more can you want?
othy October 7, 2013, 11:15 am
I’d need a Micheals or JoAnns instead of a Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby has strange views on politics, and I’d rather give my money to someone who wasn’t crazy 🙂
katie October 7, 2013, 11:27 am
did you hear they are going to shut down all of their stores rather then follow the obamacare mandates?
othy October 7, 2013, 11:32 am
I hadn’t heard, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
theattack October 7, 2013, 1:50 pm
Are you serious? That sucks! I hate their politics too, but it’s the only craft store within 50 miles.
Imsostartled October 7, 2013, 12:21 pm
There is a Hobby Lobby going up near me and I was soooo excited! Then my husband was like they’re really weird and there is a lot of controversy going on in the news. I was like NOOOOOOoooo. Ugh, I’m just really sick of all these companies taking stances I mean, why alienate a large section of your customers? It just makes no sense to me, why not just keep your mouth shut. Blah. I wanted a new crafting store.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:01 am
Bahahaha, this is my train of thought on this. Maybe I’m just way too good at entertaining myself using whatever I have plus the internet?
You Go Girl October 7, 2013, 11:03 am
The LW could adjust her attitude and work hard to make new friends and develop new hobbies, but even after this effort she may still dislike the city where she is living. This letter suggests that she is also upset because of problems in her relationship with her boyfriend. Without consulting her, he decided to apply for MBA school and stay at his present job instead of applying for jobs in other cities. After he graduates, I am not at all convinced that he will consider moving. Instead he may decide to accept a promotion at his present job, or accept another offer in the same city.
katie October 7, 2013, 11:05 am
oh, related to this- can he even leave his job after they pay for his new degree? i know that my company’s policy is that you have to stay with them for like 6 years if they give you tuition help…
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 11:08 am
in the letter she said the stipulation was he stay with them while in school. so i’m assuming from that it means no, he can leave after.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 11:10 am
“He freaked out, felt inadequate and applied to business school, against my advice. We discussed it and I told him I would support whatever decision he made. I didn’t want to hold him back. ”
I noticed a few commenters said he didn’t consult with her about the MBA. Sounds like he did and she said she would support his decision (which was a smart one, imo).
iwannatalktosampson October 7, 2013, 11:16 am
Do you have to consult a girlfriend about stuff like this? I would never tell my friends to get approval from a significant other to better their career.
theattack October 7, 2013, 11:21 am
For real. Not for a year and a half long relationship. You have to prioritize yourself in those scenarios, and hopefully your SO will understand those big important things rather than guilt trip you for not moving with her immediately. IMO, this is on the LW for not supporting his career – NOT on the bf for not supporting her desire to move right away.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 11:30 am
The thing is, something’s gotta give, right? Unless they are both fine with her moving away and him staying there? Otherwise one of them is giving up something for the other, it’s either her or him.
I think you can only say this because you assume that her desire to move away must be a stupid desire or somehow caused by her having problems being happy anywhere. I disagree. Her unhappiness could really be about her wanting to move to a different place. And even if it’s a stupid desire – the advice to just become happy with the place she’s at now is just never going to work. It’s already clear she’s resenting him for it.
theattack October 7, 2013, 1:41 pm
No, I don’t assume that it’s stupid to hate where she lives. I’ve been miserable somewhere before, and I get it. I do think it’s stupid to give up the prospect of happiness with this man for the rest of her life over two years though. Something has to give, and I do think that in most cases, education and a career outweigh location, at least temporarily. If she can’t handle it, they could try an LDR, but I think it’s awful for her to guilt-trip him over making a good short-term career decision for himself that will allow him to move with her in the long term. It’s like she wants everything right this second, which is inconsiderate of her boyfriend and unrealistic if he’s supposed to work in the new city.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 1:57 pm
She definitely shouldn’t guilt trip him. If she really can’t be happy staying there for 2 years, she should MOA, because the decision for him to go to business school is now a done deal. I guess what I’m getting at is that they could have discussed various options together, and really made a decision as a couple. The feeling that the decision was something both had input to can be really important if one of the two people in a couple has to be a little patient and wait for their dreams to come true. If you feel like it was a unilateral decision, it’s harder suck it up and be patient. (I do think though, that this happening was very much her fault, because she wasn’t upfront with him).
theattack October 7, 2013, 2:03 pm
That’s true. I definitely agree. And really I agree that it’s better for them to talk about it beforehand if they’ve decided together that they’re in it for the long haul, but I don’t think he has to ask her permission or whatever.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 2:14 pm
He doesn’t have to ask permission for his decision. She should let him know (honestly!) what effect his decision will have on their relationship, so he can make an informed decision. Or she should have let him know earlier, because now it’s probably much too late.
theattack October 7, 2013, 2:15 pm
Agreed. It sounds like she told him she was okay with it but that wasn’t actually true, so she’s angry at him for not reading her mind I guess.
katie October 7, 2013, 11:25 am
it just depends, i guess. if you and a girlfriend/boyfriend are planning on a big move in the near future, id say yes, because that directly gets in the way of said big move. but otherwise… not really, i dont think.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 11:57 am
Well if they are planning a life together, it makes sense to me to consult with your SO before signing on to something that keeps you living in a certain place for 2 years.
CatsMeow October 7, 2013, 12:02 pm
BUT it sounds like he’s doing it just for her! He said he wouldn’t bother if he was staying put in his current town. So he’s doing it in order to be able to move because that’s what she wants, and she’s still upset about it. What gives?
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 12:38 pm
She might just not be as invested in the relationship as she thought. I mean, moving to the city WITH him would have been the best combination of things. As long as she thought he would move with her she couldn’t really see how important it would still be to her to move even if he didn’t come along. But now she does.
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 12:02 pm
GGuy applied to and decided what graduate program with out consulting me. The process started before we where “official” and the decision was made, at about 6 months of dating, for him to move to FL for grad school with out my input. I don’t think I should have had an input at that point in our relationship. About 2 years ago he started applying to PhD programs and I had a lot of input in that process, but we were 4 years into dating and I had just moved across the country for him. So I guess my point is every relationship is different and there are lots of different stages.
Kate B. October 7, 2013, 12:09 pm
I think after a year and a half, yeah you do. There’s a year and a half of investment in the relationship, I would expect to be consulted. I wouldn’t stand in the way of someone bettering their career either, even if it meant breaking up. And if someone tried to get in my way, I’d probably break up with him.
Kate B. October 7, 2013, 12:35 pm
I feel I need to elaborate. What I mean is, after a year and a half, I would expect to be consulted about anything that affects us as a couple. For example, suppose we were thinking of relocating and he felt he needed to get an MBA. That could affect whether we move or not. Are there schools in the city we plan to live in or does he want to stay where we are? Do I? Suppose we are saving up to buy a house or get married. MBAs cost money. Any money put towards the degree is not getting put towards the house or anything. How would I feel about this? Can I make up the slack? Would I be willing to wait the additional time? If he got relocated because of his job, would I want to go with him? I am a person who has very definite preferences about where to live. Moving might be better for his job, but not necessarily for me. All these things affect us and I would expect to be consulted. If, after a year and a half, we disagree on whether these things affect us, then maybe I would MOA, since we are probably not on the same page.
katie October 7, 2013, 11:14 am
i guess so, but i would be surprised if a company would be totally cool with paying for an MBA and then the employee just quitting. unless he is trying to get a transfer, i guess…
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 11:18 am
my husband’s comapny does that, you have to stay with them while in school but after you finish you’re not required to stay. but, it differs from company to company so it’s definitely worth making sure that’s true of his before making any assumptions.
CatsMeow October 7, 2013, 12:10 pm
I did it at my last job knowing full well that I was leaving. Of course, I was only doing prereqs at a community college and they only contributed, like… $1500 per year?
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 10:11 am
As someone in a semi-rural area commuting to a small city, I totally do not understand how you can hate an entire city. And love an entire different city (like New York). Have you been to these cities and spent a ton of time there? What makes someone “love” a city or not? I can understand saying that you prefer living in the city vs suburbs vs rural… but when it comes to cities I think you could find an area that you enjoy or things to do that you enjoy.
The only way I can see this not being the case, is if you are one of those totally locked-in, narrow-minded people. You could be a hipster who feels super misunderstood surrounded by “normal people.” You could be a fancy-pants professional who feels like everyone around her is beneath her. But like jeez, stop worrying about everything that’s going on around you and just do you. You will gravitate towards people you can get along with if you just do things that feel authentic to you. Ugh.
QaraKoz October 7, 2013, 10:45 am
I feel like this came across as really condescending and I wanted to point out that there are tons of factors that shape any city and all city’s really aren’t equal.
Anything from Seasonal Affective Disorder to the ethnic communities present in a city to the political culture and values of most people in the city to the nightlife to horrible traffic and lack of public transit can be a factor taking away from the LW’s happiness. It’s not always possible to just “do you”.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 10:58 am
I’m sorry if it came off as condescending, but I honest to god do NOT understand how a specific city can make you unhappy. I can’t. I can see how you can not prefer the city, or that you may prefer another city. But unless she has a specific reason for moving somewhere (certain friends, certain families, a particular job) it seems like you are just trading one set of pros and cons for another.
All of our examples, to me, can’t explain how she would choose to prefer 3 completely different cities like San Diego and New York and New Orleans Sooo much better than wherever she is. I guess I should have rephrased to say that she can totally feel however she feels about her city, but I 100% cannot relate to this concept.
Nightlife, horrible traffic, lack of public transit. Maybe because I live in a rural area I just can’t understand how this could be so impinging upon your happiness? And maybe because I am forced to entertain myself rather than experience nightlife I just can’t understand? I didn’t mean to come off as condescending, maybe other city-dwelling people can articulate it better.
Marina October 7, 2013, 12:01 pm
Oh, it totally can. I moved from a college town which was incredibly gay-friendly (let’s play the “which town has the most lesbians per capita” guessing game), to New York where I was regularly harassed on the street for my visible gayness. But, New York had great public transportation, and I was always 20 minutes from work by bus or subway. Then I moved to LA, where I wasn’t harassed anymore, ever, in 6 years – but work was always 45 minutes away in bumper-to-bumper traffic.All three cities had multiple ethnic cuisines, which is a priority for me – I have to be within 3 miles of at least 5 different cuisnes – I’m a foodie, and I need different meal options to be happy. Additionally, I love the arts: theatre, museums, and especially indie/foreign film have to be easily accessible. I visited Nashville recently, and hated it. While driving was easier (less traffic) you needed to take 4 freeways to get anywhere. Food was miserably bad, compared to all 3 cities above. And don’t get me started on minimal gay-friendly options (heck, it’s the south, I knew what to expect). So – different cities, different profiles.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 12:19 pm
Thanks, maybe it’s just having never lived in a big city that makes it so incomprehensible to me. I have to commute over an hour to school every day now which sucks, but doesn’t push me into “this makes me unhappy” territory which I guess it could for someone else.
I find your “foodie” comment also the weirdest thing of all to me (not wrong, just totally different than my perspective). I consider myself a dyed in the wool “foodie” but having restaurants around is totally irrelevant to my foodie status. I love trying different foods and different cuisines, but I tend to do it on my own through my own cooking. I can get a hold of most ingredients I need in a city of 200,000 people, and anything I can’t get I just order online. Which maybe my own cooking with my own vegetables of ethnic cuisines may not be “authentic” but I definitely think it makes me a foodie.
I also have never really been exposed to/enjoyed what is typically viewed as the arts so maybe that plays into it as well. Museums and film festivals have never stirred my soul. Perhaps the LW is more like you Marina, and needs those things to feel happy.
starpattern October 7, 2013, 12:02 pm
I don’t think what you said was condescending, but then again I’m in the same boat as you. I grew up rural and now I live in sort of a rural ‘burb of a small city.
I also get what QaraKoz is saying about specific things that the LW wants in a place she lives, but because the LW didn’t name it, I sort of think those specific reasons might not exist. I mean, New Orleans, NYC, and San Diego are incredibly different, with much different climates and atmospheres, right? So the only common thread I am seeing is that these are big cities and hers is presumably much smaller, and she wants to live in a big, busy place. Some people really prioritize that and it is totally fine, but I don’t know why she is panicking at the prospect of spending just two years in the place she is in – it sounds like there is nothing specific and pressing about her reasons to get out, and she moved there willingly in the first place. I really think she just needs to take a deep breath, reset her expectations a little bit, and develop a concrete plan with her boyfriend on their timeline to move.
bunnycsp October 7, 2013, 12:15 pm
You are right that there could be a cultural community issue at play here but she didn’t say that. Like if she was a minority religion, this could be tough. But she didn’t say that. I am guessing that this woman doesn’t have the skills to make friends. If you have never been away from home, then it is something that was never needed.
gatecrashergirl October 7, 2013, 12:53 pm
I totally get it. I grew up in a smaller midwest city and I felt so suffocated living there. The weather sucked too, which didn’t help the situation. Even though I had friends I never felt truly at home living there. Some people are just better off in bigger cities.
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 11:15 am
I really want to know what city this is and what is so freaking bad about it.
I love in a small town in north central Florida for my husbands career. I don’t like it here, but I refuse to let something so insignificant as geography make me miserable. I have health, great family, a super fat cat, great friends (even if they live states away)…those things define my happiness. Not how many Tai restaurants or how cool the nightlife is. LW, listen to Wendy. The problem is you, not your city.
Married By Elvis October 7, 2013, 11:19 am
I wonder if his job has a requirement that you stay a certain length of time after you finish the degree they paid for or you have to pay the money back. The LW makes it sound like he can leave free and clear after he finishes his degree and that would really surprise me.
Sunshine Brite October 7, 2013, 11:41 am
I agree, I feel like it’s usually another 2 years after the mba’s complete
Kate B. October 7, 2013, 11:33 am
LW, it sounds like you’ve got a decision to make: which is more important, your boyfriend or the city you live in, because the way you’ve structured things, you can’t have both, at least not now. Your boyfriend is doing what he needs to do to compete in a VERY competitive job market. And he’s getting a very generous deal from his employer. (Most employers would make him stay for a while after getting his degree.). Frankly, he’d be a fool not to take advantage of it. You are, as Wendy pointed out, making a lot of assumptions about how your life would be if you moved without him. You’d be lonely? I’m a loner and an introvert and even I have friends. Unless you’re way more antisocial than I am, you’ll be fine. Your penultimate sentence says it all: you are scared. Big decisions can be scary, but they almost always pay off in the end.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:09 am
…Still slightly befuddled about this whole thing. I feel like I can usually empathize with LWs but for some reason this is really stumping me. Maybe this is an introvert/extrovert thing? Like, I feel like I derive most of my happiness from more internal factors (reaching goals, creative outlets) vs outer goals (activities, entertainment, physical items). Please no one jump on me and say I think the LW is materialistic, that’s not where I am going. Just maybe some people derive pleasure from external-physical circumstances rather internal-mental circumstances?
And so therefore things that they don’t like about their external world has a greater impact on their mood?
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 11:20 am
I definitely think that there are people who just prefer living in bigger cities. There are subcultures that only exist in big cities, for example. That can be a reason. But it’s also the general environment for sure. I can guarantee you that I would be unhappy living in a small town atmosphere. It’s just a different set of preferences. I think oftentimes people just fail to realize that others may have a different set of preferences that are nevertheless legitimate.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:42 am
Thank you, SasLinna. I don’t think I necessarily didn’t believe they were legitimate, I just don’t get it. At all. Still. But regardless, I think if something is really important to you, and infringing on your quality of life the best plan is to communicate that with your partner and come up with a compromise. So I guess LW, that is my official advice to you.
People have different priorities of how they want to live/what is the most important. Maybe your BF and yourself get along really well but those value and judgement calls don’t mesh as well? So that would be something to discuss and consider as well. If you are both highly sensitive to your social environment, and you hate this place and he loves this place then you are going to have to have a few talks about it.
SasLinna October 7, 2013, 11:49 am
I 100% agree with the advice that she should communicate to him what’s important to her. It’s really problematic that she basically lied to him when she said “oh, it’s OK, I don’t want to hold you back”. Because, well, she may not want to hold him back from getting this degree but in reality it IS something she didn’t want to happen because in her mind it can’t coexist with her desire to move.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:47 am
Okay still thinking about this. But maybe it’s like how I love living in the country with open air, my own land, few neighbors, etc. BUT, I really don’t think I would like living in rural mountainous areas as compared to rolling hills/cornfields/prairie like I do now. Partially because it’s what I’m not used to, and partially because it just feels claustrophobic and not right. So I guess it would be safe to assume different cities have different social ecosystems that can feel more or less right to certain people?
In THAT case, my advice to the LW would be to spend the next two years really, really, REALLY researching all these cities to pick out the best “social ecosystem” for her. And maybe go visit your top 2 or something to decide between them.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 11:50 am
But I still think it wouldn’t bother me to the point where I had to leave.
muchachaenlaventana October 7, 2013, 12:26 pm
Alice yes! I have been following your posts ha and honestly I have been in a situation where I hated the city I was living in. Traffic, the culture of the city, etc. I had a boyfriend and all of my best friends live there and my family but it just was not right for me. I made the best of it, but was still pretty miserable. I am a person who values a lot where they live, to the point where if I love the place I am living, the other things aren’t as important. For example I could never live in prairie/ rolling hills (for too long/permanently) because I need the mountains like I need air 🙂 I have done it and it was doable but not something I would choose long-term if that makes sense, because I know that for me mountains=happiness. If there is no live music scene, a local food scene, art scene, mountains, outdoor activities etc I’m not crying into my pillow ever night, but I won’t love where I am living or be as happy as I could be. For some people this stuff is not as important, and for others it is hugely important. I think attitude plays a part, but honestly even if you have the greatest attitude but are a person who derives a lot of happiness from where you live and what you can do there, if you are somewhere you hate and that you don’t fit in or that doesn’t feel right for you, you are still going to be unhappy even with the greatest attitude.
But that was just to offer a quasi explanation for her possible feelings. I think there is a lot more going on contributing to the LW’s unhappiness than just the place she is living. It can serve as a scapegoat. I think when I hated where I was living it was a genuine dislike of the area, but also a combo of things that came out as “I HATE IT HERE”. So I think a lot of contributing factors to this could be things going on in her relationship, its out of the honeymoon stage and she is realizing a little more perhaps that she doesn’t like where she lives as much because she hasn’t built the community there and now that her bf is making more plans to stay there longer its throwing her off. She does need to communicate to her bf what she wants and what her/their long-term goals are and see if they come together on this though. Everything is about communication. Maybe the problem isn’t that she has relied on her boyfriend for her happiness but that she has tried every other outlet and her bf is the only person she has been able to connect with, and she feels isolated because of that? Idk just another perspective. Either way I think they need to have a put up or shut up talk and really figure things out.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 12:44 pm
This. This makes sense. All of it. 100 times.
JK October 7, 2013, 11:49 am
I think you may be right, this letter really made me realize I´ve never thought about where I live. I mean there have been things I didn´t like in the different places I have lived, but I´ve never been upset about it, no place is going to be perfect, everything depends on the attitude you have!
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 11:55 am
JK, I completely agree. I’ve lived in several different states and they all have their issues. No place will ever be the root of my happiness.
bethany October 7, 2013, 12:00 pm
I agree with this to an extent… I think you make your happiness, the place you live doesn’t. BUT– I refuse to ever move further north than where I live now. I cannot handle the cold. Not at all. It makes me mad and sad, and I hate my life when it’s cold.
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 12:07 pm
I have an outline I gave GGuy since he’s starting to look for teaching appointments- Nothing north of Philly, South of Tampa, west of the Mississippi. I’ll live anywhere in that box. If he wants to go out of that box we’ll have to negotiate.
CatsMeow October 7, 2013, 12:12 pm
I vote for St. Louis. It’s only *slightly* west of the Mississippi. We have a buncha schools, sports for y’all, and great beer!
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 12:14 pm
If there is great beer it might be negotiable!
CatsMeow October 7, 2013, 12:20 pm
And then we can hang out and take our cats for walks in the park. Haha.
GatorGirl October 7, 2013, 1:04 pm
I’ve honestly been thinking about getting my cat a leash. I’m pretty sure he will hate me forever but I might do it anyways.
CatsMeow October 7, 2013, 12:15 pm
Actually, reading this is making me realize how much I love St. Louis. A year ago, I was thinking of other places to move, and now it makes me sad to think about leaving. I guess I’m a weirdo because objectively St. Louis kinda sucks, but I for real loooove it. I guess some towns/cities just are good fits for some people.
JK October 7, 2013, 12:21 pm
Well I guess the climate thing makes sense, but I don´t get how LW gave no specific examples of what she hates. I don´t do well with the cold, so I wouldnt choose to live down south here, but if I had to for whatever reason I´m sure I´d be able to see the positive sides: snow! penguins! whales! delicious artisanal chocolates!
jlyfsh October 7, 2013, 12:24 pm
penguins!! come on who could be unhappy if they could go to the beach and see penguins. i would pee my pants if i got to see one in the wild.
JK October 7, 2013, 12:30 pm
IKR? It was amazing enough seeing sealions last summer.
I did see a penguin in the wild once, in NZ one had gotten lost for some reson and ended up at the pier, poor thing.
Moneypenny October 7, 2013, 12:57 pm
Zomg, penguins? Whales? Artesinal Chocolate?! Sign me up!! I’d loooove to see some penguins and whales out in the wild, that would be so cool!
Sue Jones October 7, 2013, 1:40 pm
I live in a super cool city, but I never go out at night because I have a kid and eating out at the cool Thai restaurants gets expensive. At a certain point in life, if you have hobbies that you like and a few friends and a good relationship, the extra stuff becomes frivolous. But I can see when you are in your 20-30’s this stuff matters more. The most important things for me now are mountains, natural food stores and a good public school system. I couldn’t care less about the restaurants because I rarely eat out at this stage of my life.
AliceInDairyland October 7, 2013, 3:09 pm
I may get TOTALLY burned on this (which, is fine and people are fine to disagree with me) but it seems like most of this not-liking-a-certain-city thing is really an affluent problem. I mean not having restaurants around is a non-issue because I can’t afford to really go out to eat. Art showings, concerts, going to sporting events regularly are all pretty outside my budget for now and the forseeable future so it doesn’t matter how many of them are around me. Anything that I am specifically REALLY passionate about I am willing to travel for but it is a luxury.
This has been really eye-opening though, to see everyone’s perspectives. 🙂
katie October 7, 2013, 3:19 pm
i completely agree, and thats part of the reason i have no sympathy for people who have this issue.
and even more for this lady, who has the ability/money to move if she wanted to, but is choosing not to.
lets_be_honest October 7, 2013, 3:32 pm
Hmm, I don’t disagree. Good point. I feel like I lucked out in where I live. I’m a very short drive to the city and a very short drive in the other direction to the “country.”
theattack October 7, 2013, 3:37 pm
At the same time though Alice, I think it goes the other way too. If there aren’t enough free things to do in a city, it’s not going to be enjoyable for someone who can’t afford anything either. In the country you can make your own things to do more easily than in a city, IMO. In a city you either have to have money to pay for those things, like you said, or the city has to have free things to do, like street festivals or free concerts in the square or free showings of old movies downtown or decent parks or whatever. That’s partially why I hated Nashville when I lived there for a while as a broke college student.
muchachaenlaventana October 7, 2013, 4:23 pm
bah I don’t know. I am literally broke as shit, and can still see having this problem. Luckily I like where I live enough to not actively hate it, but I think it depends on the reasons for not liking the place you are at. If its something like not enough restaurants, then yes–>rich person problem most likely. But a lot of art galleries are free or pretty cheap (we do lots of art walks where I live), there is live free music or very cheap free music (under $5 and still really good), hiking is free (or cheap to get day entrance, like $5) I mean there is so much that goes in to liking a place that doesn’t depend on money or make it definitely a rich person problem. If my city didn’t have access to these things at a cheaper price or free I might really dislike it here because I wouldn’t have anything to do. Idk I think it is more likely informed by socio-economic standing, but not dependent upon it. I come from an UMC family but at this time in my life am barely above the poverty line (and receive no financial support from my parents) so maybe if I wasn’t college educated or coming from a very white-collar background these things wouldn’t bother me as much, but hm its an interesting point. Also some cities just have the culture of those things that really makes the city a cooler place to live than somewhere that doesn’t, regardless of what you can afford or not. Just being around those things makes me happy even if I can’t afford to go. I don’t know if that makes sense but I think its just a different perspective thing.
Doodles October 7, 2013, 1:45 pm
First of all, Wendy’s advice was dead on. You need to make changes to make yourself happy. And stop trying to control your boyfriend. He is doing something that is for the benefit of BOTH of your futures together. You should be grateful for that. Relationships are about give and take, comprising, and supporting each other. Not about just making one person happy. If I was your boyfriend, I would be fed up with your nonstop complaints and bitching. Think of the future. He is bettering himself so the two of you will have a happy and financially good future. Maybe you can look into something that might benifit the both of you as well. Maybe further your education to find a job you really want and like. Or maybe take cooking classes to become an amazing chef or baker at home. Figure out what your interest are and find something to fulfill them. Look around you, there are amazing things all around you, and all you have to do is open your eyes to see and experience them. Two years is not a long time in the overall scheme of things, and you can make the best of it if you just try and change your attitude, even just a little bit.
Portia October 7, 2013, 1:52 pm
So, I see where Wendy and the commenters are coming from, that this LW would be miserable anywhere and she should find ways to be happy where she is, but I have to disagree that this is for sure the case. I went to grad school in a big east coast city where I knew no one and for the first 6 months I was miserable and hated it. However, I got lucky and made friends in my program and found things about the city after that time that made it one of my favorite places. However, without the grad students I met and the community there, I’m sure I would have remained miserable and probably left a year in. So, the community can have a huge difference
At the same time, I agree that it’s not a done deal that the LW will be happy just moving somewhere else like she thinks. I chose my current city and love it so much. I’m planning to live here as long as I can. But during that first year I wasn’t making any friends and felt miserable. Moving would not have helped and deep down I knew that, but the only thing that made things manageable was the fact that I loved the city. And for a while after moving, my boyfriend continued to remind me that moving back would only be a temporary fix, as all my now-friends are going to be gone in a few years.
But if she’s truly unhappy there and has taken legitimate steps towards making friend with no result, I honestly don’t think she should stick it out for two more years. Maybe 6 months to a year. Imagine if this was a good relationship with something bad about it that needed to change – would you tell her to wait it out for two years before MOA? I think she needs to be more honest with herself and make a better judgement of how much work she’s put into this and if she still needs to get out, maybe pick another city that she knows more people in and could have a friend base to start out, if this is the major problem.
mylaray October 7, 2013, 2:14 pm
This reminds me a lot of my fiancé and I. He grew up here, has never left, and hates it here. When we met, he was planning to leave. I can’t say I love it here all the time but it is my home for now. My fiancé’s attitude sucked at first. He would always put it on other people and other things why he hated it here so much. It was never his fault for why he didn’t like it. And I get it, I mean he grew up in a rural, conservative part of the deep south and he couldn’t be further from that. He was really depressed and unhappy at the time. I let him go because I didn’t believe hating an area and wanting to leave at all costs was really the whole story. I’ve lived all over the place and I know I get an itching feeling to suddenly leave and go somewhere new again. And loving the place I live in is really important to me. But it’s also up to the individual to make it happen. Even if it’s only temporary. It’s up to you to make some friends, find activities or events that you enjoy, and anything to make it bearable. Change whatever makes you unhappy about the area specifically.
For me, we just bought a condo in the city and he is so much happier getting out of the rural area and away from ignorant people, even though it’s only an hour difference. We’ve made some new friends in the area too. Both of us still want to leave eventually, but even if we end up staying 5 for more years, it’s still a drop in the bucket. He’s made this sacrifice for me because he loves me, and I’ve made the sacrifice of leaving sooner than I would otherwise.
It’s really about making sacrifices for someone you love. If it’s temporary, enjoy the time you have here now as much as you can. Because your attitude does need to change. I’ve lived in places I hate and I still look back on them fondly because there was something I enjoyed, whether it was the friends I had, the places I went to, the restaurants or shops, the weather, whatever it is, find something you can enjoy. It’s good you recognize you want to leave and it’s good to set your goals toward that, but a negative attitude isn’t going to get you far.
Lindsay October 7, 2013, 2:51 pm
I moved to NYC and hated it for the first year or so. Sure, there were things I liked, but I desperately wanted to move. It took about a year and a half for me to start having really good friends and to have things that I liked and did often. I think that you gave up too soon. I may have also hated my new city, but I didn’t decide I was going to continue hating it. I never ended up LOVING it, but I was slightly sad to leave. I wonder if you’re being so negative that you wouldn’t even be willing to be happy if you found yourself enjoying your life there?
Also, you can’t look at going out and doing things solely as you “trying to make friends” or as something that can succeed or fail. I guess I don’t know what you mean when you say the things didn’t work. You just didn’t make friends, or you just didn’t like the classes or activities? I was part of a book club for a year before I made close friends, so I’m not sure that I’d ever say an activity “failed” within five months.
Anyway, you talk about making a choice between two external options, when in reality, it’s two internal options. You can either decide that you’re not capable of enjoying your life there and move, or you can decide to enjoy it. I’m also wondering why you’re so sure that you’d like those other cities, but not the one you’re in. I mean, NYC is not super easy to make friends in.
Above all, stop bitching about it to your boyfriend. Part of what makes adults adults is that we have a filter and you don’t have to say everything that you’re thinking. It’s not his fault that you’re in the city, and if you willingly choose to stay, that’s not going to be his fault either.
Milla October 7, 2013, 4:53 pm
LW, I think you’re EXTREMELY lucky to even have those cities as possibilities for you. In my field (yay academia!) everyone wants to move to places like San Diego, New Orleans, New York, so the nigh-impossible job search becomes the actual impossible job search. (I know, that’s not helpful to you. But I had to vent for a sec).
One thing that people have always talked about in my field is making your own happiness wherever you are. If the only job you can find is in South Dakota, you take that job and you make happiness there. If there’s not much to do there, save for great vacations. If you have a partner that’s willing to go with you and experience life, that’s even better. Think of building a home together, finding a community, learning new hobbies, having pets / kids / cacti. Geography ultimately doesn’t matter that much. And you never know what places might surprise you— I live in a city that doesn’t sound great on the map, but most people here are really pretty happy with it.
GatorGirl October 8, 2013, 9:14 am
Milla, my husband and I where talking about this last night! He is finishing up his PhD and starting to apply for his first jobs in academia. The places we might end up living, well we are going to have to make our own happiness there! (and he is going to have to buy me some new boots) But at least there are jobs opening up.
Sobriquet October 7, 2013, 6:21 pm
Do you and your boyfriend make an effort to go out and do new things in your city? I have a few different perspectives on this. I moved to a smaller city last summer for school and I was miserable there. I hated the house I was living in, there were smoky bars and I swear people were TRYING to run me over. I didn’t click with anyone there, but my boyfriend made the 30 minute drive from Austin occasionally to visit me and we would go out. We went to the river, we researched dive bars. And we had fun! We laughed about all the things I hated about the city. I moved back to Austin after 6 months, but I would live there again if my now fiancé came with me.
At the 1.5 year point after talking about marriage and kids, you should be really happy in your relationship, right? The thought of living far away from each other should be a really shitty thought. You know at the end of Breaking Bad when Walt was isolated in that cabin? I could be happy in that cabin as long as I was with my fiancé. Not forever, but 2 years? I could be happy there for 2 years. I could not have said that in my last relationship. Maybe that’s the problem.
If things are all good on the relationship front, then it has to be your attitude. Your perspective. I’ll use another example. My fiancé and his brother (and then his brother’s now-wife) moved to Austin almost 2 years ago. They went to all the touristy spots, but didn’t really get to know the real Austin until I introduced it to them. My fiancé has done a great job integrating himself into the city. His brother and SIL? Not at all. They haven’t tried. His brother goes rock climbing and then complains about the geography. I don’t know, they just have a negative attitude about it. Neither of them have made any new friends. It’s an attitude thing. You told your boyfriend early on that you didn’t like the city. Did you give others the same vibe? No one likes a pessimist and absolutely NO one likes hearing that you don’t like their city (unless they agree).
There’s also a lot of stress involved in uprooting your life and moving to a brand new place, so even though you had a hard time making friends and enjoying yourself at first, maybe you’ll have better luck now.
Lucy October 7, 2013, 9:33 pm
LW – unlike some commenters, I can easily imagine living in a particular city being intolerable. So I’m not going to tell you that enjoying your city is all about having the right attitude. But! It doesn’t sound like you have anything like a real self-determined plan for leaving your current city. It sounds like you’re waiting for your bf to find a new job, somewhere, anywhere, and then you’ll tag along. You’ve surrendered all your agency to him, and now you’re blaming him for not making you happy. That’s not cool..
You have to make the decisions that are right for you. If you are miserable, you need to make a plan to fix that. If your bf doesn’t want to work with you on that, then you may have to leave him behind. But you should at least try to act constructively first and see what happens.
applescruffs October 9, 2013, 4:20 pm
I’m late to the party on this, but I totally get how living in a certain city can make you miserable. At 25, I moved to a small town in Utah for a year. I’m liberal, single, and Jewish. There was a college in the town, which created some opportunities to socialize, but as an employee of the college those were limited for me because the students were either my patients or my students. I got a dog and took her to training classes, I hiked when the weather allowed, I tried to experience the area, I even found a tiny little Jewish community where there was no one under the age of 40 or over b’nei mitzvah age. It would have been very, very difficult for me to fathom staying in that town for someone, even someone I loved very much. Objectively, it’s not a bad place, but I certainly did not fit there. I am so much happier since I’ve moved. I suppose I don’t have a lot of advice for you, other than to see if your boyfriend is really, truly serious about moving after his MBA and then making your decision from there. You haven’t found your fit yet, and that DOES matter – I just wanted to offer my empathy on that.
Laura January 25, 2018, 8:52 pm
I’m in an identical situation, with a slight variation; I’m living in my hometown, where I had a traumatic childhood, and have disliked the town my entire life. I find it challenging to build a future on a weak foundation.
I think it is a legitimate complaint, the city you live in, is not just location or activities, it’s the people. I’m in a liberal in a conservative place and can’t meet members of my tribe here.
I think the response was a bit dismissive and blaming someone for having ambition, beyond a relationship. Also, why should she stay with him, when her being her is a concession, not a compromise. Why is it reasonable for him to stay in his rut. He’s being passive-aggressive with the business school stuff, he knew it would force him to stay here, and I think it is manipulative. Don’t feel guilty for asserting what you want from life. We’re not meant to settle down and do the suburban american B.S. Find your own path.
Cameila March 16, 2018, 9:15 am
Help! All I’ve ever wanted, my entire life is to live in a city. I live in a small town in the US and there are really limited jobs and I just want to move away to a city so I don’t have to worry about whether I can find a job or not. Also I really want to go to college, and my family has money for me to do so. My boyfriend of three years knows all this, but all he wants is to live farther out in the middle of nowhere, and he’s not worried about finding a job because he works construction and there is plenty of manual labor jobs everywhere, but not so much for a young woman like myself with tattoos and piercings. I feel like my mental health is suffering from being in this small town, living in my boyfriends parents house. I just really feel like I need to start my life. But neither of us can seem to compromise because we feel like we will kind of be unhappy if we aren’t where we knows we want to be. I love him so much, and he loves me. And everything about our relationship is amazing. But this has caused much strain on it, and I don’t know what to do. It’s getting to the point where we both are sad and think splitting up would be easier but neither of us want it. Help
StorySearcher March 9, 2019, 1:03 pm
Wow that’s a terrible response to this woman’s story and advice seeking.
Your attitudes sucks?
You put yourself in a limited box?
That entire response felt dismissive and downnosed. Definitely not coming back to this site
Responsibility November 27, 2019, 3:36 pm
Yet you are responsible for your own individual happiness. She has limited herself, and needs to work on her own individuality in order to achieve some personal happiness. Otherwise that relationship will develop in to a codependent/toxic nightmare.