“I’m Miserable in My New Town. Should I Leave My Husband?”

I am a newly married 26-year-old. My husband and I have been living together since 2008. I moved five hours away from all my friends and family to be with him. Prior to moving here I lived in a small town and where we live now is much larger and very close to a big city. My problem is that I really do not like living here. Other than the fact that I miss my family and friends all the time, I also find the people here to be insufferable. Almost EVERYONE I come in contact with is demanding, demeaning, rude, and stuck up. It just seems to me that everyone only cares about themselves. At work I have to suck up to the clients and then take it as they insult my clothes, hair, accent, and intellect on a daily basis. On the roads I am white-knuckling the steering wheel because everyone drives like a maniac and I’m afraid of getting into a car accident. A lot of times when I get home I cry for a good hour and I vent a lot of my frustrations to my husband. He doesn’t like living here either but he has to stay for his job for AT LEAST two more years. Ever since we got back from our honeymoon we have been fighting all the time because I am constantly miserable. I hate leaving the house. I have gained quite a bit of weight and I am just depressed in general. I suggested that maybe I should move back to my home town and live with my parents for a while (like the next two years) and we can have a long distance marriage. He said he wasn’t excited about the idea but would support it if it meant I would be happier. He thinks the problem may be my job and wants me to try to find a new one, but this is my fourth job since I moved here and I have had the same problems at every job. I feel like it’s just the area we live in and the problem won’t be solved until we move. I feel pretty hopeless. Any suggestions? — Homesick and Depressed

Happiness is a choice, my dear. Contrary to what many people seem to think, it is not a passive lifestyle that just happens to people who are lucky. You have to actively work at creating a happy life for yourself. Yes, having a great job, living in a town you love, and meeting a special someone you click with certainly all help make you happy, but even those things rarely just happen to people. You have to apply yourself, and the best way to do that is to set a goal or an intention and start making steps to reach that goal.

Rather than throw away your marriage, which is essentially what you’d be doing if you moved far away from your husband for at least two years for no other reason than because you didn’t like the town where he worked, why not actually put some effort into creating a happy life for yourself closer to your husband’s job? If you live in a large town, I find it hard to believe that NO ONE there is likeable. And even if that truly is the case, you would have had to meet everyone who lives there to make that argument. I doubt you’ve really met everyone who lives there. I bet you haven’t even met a fraction of the town’s other residents. Nothing in your letter indicates you’ve made an active effort to do that yet. Have you joined clubs? Taken classes? Found a Meetup group you might enjoy? If not, you’re being lazy.

Going from job to job to job IS NOT the best way to make friends in a new place; being social and friendly is. So quit your whining and belly-aching and go out and be social and active. Instead of spending an hour each night crying to your husband about how miserable you are, why don’t you spend an hour going for evening walks together. You’ll reconnect, shed some of that weight you’ve packed on, and maybe even get to know some of your neighbors (especially if you smile, something that will not only make you feel better, but will go a long way in endearing people to you). You say that everyone in your new town only “cares about themselves,” but how are you any different? In your letter, you’ve mentioned nothing about caring for anyone else but yourself. If you want to find caring people, you have to be a caring person. Do something nice for someone else. Volunteer at an animal shelter, read to children at the local library, bake cookies for residents of a nursing home. Do something that breaks your non-stop self-pitying and gets you thinking about others for a change. It will give you a new perspective, help you feel good about yourself and introduce you to people who perhaps aren’t as self-centered as those you’ve encountered so far. If you’ve got an hour every day to cry and vent to your husband, you can find a couple hours a week to do something nice for someone else. Give yourself six months to see how these small steps change your life. I predict it will make a world of difference.

Another option to consider is instead of moving back to the comfort zone of your small town where you’ve probably never been forced to branch out and meet new people on your own — something that builds a lot of character and makes one a better, more compassionate person — think about moving to that big city you live “very close” to. If it’s close enough for your husband to commute to work, you could get a small place that would allow you to really expand your potential social circle. You could find a job in the city that may allow you to ditch your white-knuckling drives to work for a subway or bus ride instead. And there’s no way you can live in a big city and say with authority that EVERYONE sucks. There are way, way too many people in a big city to make a general claim like that, and if you do, the problem is clearly with you and not with the people you’re meeting.

Any of these suggestions are far better than your idea to move away from your new husband for at least two years. What kind of marriage is that? Where’s your commitment to your relationship? Didn’t you make a vow to stick together through good times and bad? Well, this is one of those challenging times that’s testing your word. Were you truthful when you said you’d stick things out or were you just making totally empty, meaningless promises? If you’re willing to walk away from your new husband now over something as benign as not loving your temporary place of residence, what does that say about the future of your relationship? Not much, I’ll tell you that. Not much at all. Moving home when the going gets tough is a weakling’s solution to trouble. Moving home before you’ve even made an effort to create the happy life you want is failing. It’s failing your marriage and it’s failing yourself. Don’t be a failure. At least try to make things work before you give up. You and your husband will thank you later for being tough.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


  1. “You only get what you give.”

  2. TheOtherMe says:

    I love Wendy’s advise, you CAN change some things to make yourself feel better. Focus on your marriage, two years is not so bad of a compromise if it later leads to a lifetime of happiness.

    I know that this is going to sound far fetched but, do you have a dog ? I say this only because since I have been walking my new puppy in the same neighborhood where I have lived for almost 7 years, people talk to me ALL the time. Super-friendly people ! we literally get stopped for a chat by strangers many times each time I am out for a walk with my pup.

    It has made me see my neighborhood in a whole new light…

    1. yay for the dog! I was really lonely after my first year of grad school and I got a puppy. I loved having someone to come home to, you can meet people in your neighborhood or at doggy class, and they are just something great to focus on.

    2. WatersEdge says:

      My dog helps me meet people too, and she’s a easy thing to talk about!

    3. Ha that’s funny I just commented about getting a dog below without seeing your post. Puppies really do make the sun shine brighter!

    4. Excellent idea! I got a dog when I moved on my own for college. I live in a less than stellar neighborhood yet I managed to meet great people by taking my boy out to the dog parks and just having a great and happy time :]

    5. SherBear400 says:

      I live in a 48 story building in a large city and have met so many of my neighbors, including my boyfriend, at the local dog park. I don’t even have a dog myself but I do a lot of volunteer work at a local shelter so I fit in just fine 🙂

    6. Painted_lady says:

      One more vote for a mutt! It’s hard to stay stuck on the couch all night crying if you’ve got someone with a tail staring at you, clearly hoping for a walk. It’s also really hard to be in a bad mood with that much happy energy around.

    7. IcedVentiRedEyeGuy - in Chitown bay-bay! says:

      T.O.M., that is an excellent suggestion!

      1. TheOtherMe says:

        Hmmmm.. T.O.M. is usually used by TF readers …it’s all starting to come together now…

    8. applescruff says:

      My dog is a lifesaver. I’ve absolutely hated where I’ve lived the past year, and she, more than anything else, has kept me sane.

      1. here, here! I moved to a city 20 hours away from my friends and family to be with a boyfriend (we lived in chicago first then moved to florida)… then we split up. I got a dog the following month, and it’s been a landmark decision and has mde me hate this city LOTS less.

  3. LW, please take Wendy’s advice! This letter was really frustrating to me because it seems like the LW decided before she even moved “I’ve never lived in a big city, I’m going to hate it, and nothing is going to change my mind.” I had a roomate for the past two years who was from a small town. While she didn’t enjoy living in our big city (and ended up moving back to a more rural area afterwards), she had to do it for school and she found things to be happy about. Museums! Monuments! Nightlife! There are so many good things about living in a big city that you have to be able to find at least a couple of things you like doing. And through doing those things you will make friends. Not sure if the LW is religious or not, but you could try joining a church/temple/whatever where I’m sure not everyone is going to be self-serving. As an end-note, if you are truly depressed I would suggest seeing a counselor.

    1. I’m a small town girl myself – but I lived in a big city for a few years, and agree with kerrycontrary’s advice – enjoy the things you can’t get in a small town, like the museums, public transportation, and nightlife.

    2. i totally agree- she is missing all the things that make large cities great! there are positives and negatives to every situation, and it seems like the LW has only seen the negatives… she needs to branch out and find that cool stuff that you cant find anywhere else!

    3. Agree. I’ve lived in a major metropolitan city my whole life. I can’t imagine living in a small town, BUT there are many negatives to a big city that make me wonder sometimes. Traffic (all the time), overcrowding, very high priced real-estate, etc… But if she knew she was gonna hate it so much, & she can’t even be happy in her own marriage & put everything aside, she should’ve thought twice before marrying this guy.

      1. Temperance says:

        Small towns are really, really hard to live in unless you’ve grown up there. I can’t even stand weekends where I grew up anymore.

  4. artsygirl says:

    Man LW I know you are having a hard time but reading your letter was like being in a massive pity party. Seriously put on the big girl pants and try to make your life better – your husband, your co-workers, and even the other commuters you see everyday are NOT responsible for your happiness – YOU are.

  5. GertietheDino says:

    I completely agree with Wendy. You are 26 years old and married. Grow up, get out of your comfort zone and learn to be happy. If something else (other than job, city, etc), like your marriage or actual depression is making you feel this way – seek help!

  6. illini_gal says:

    WOW. All I heard in that letter was a massive amount of whining. Wendy’s advice is right on! Perhaps you should also see a therapist so you can come up with some coping strategies for your situation.

  7. WatersEdge says:

    Wendy, I 100% agree.

    LW, you sound very depressed. You’re seeing everything through those negative lenses, and you’re doing a lot of black-and white thinking. EVERYONE is self-centered, EVERYONE is a horrible driver, EVERYONE insults EVERYTHING about me, and NOBODY is nice here and EVERYTHING sucks. I really have to wonder how you are treating other people, that everyone you come in contact with is so rude to you. Either you’re being rude to them first, or you have unreasonable expectations of how much kindness strangers owe you (hint: they don’t owe you a huge smile and a sympathetic ear, they in fact owe you nothing at all). I know people on this site say we throw the therapy card around a lot here, but I think you’ve got some serious distortions going on for how you see the world, and you could probably use some help getting out of your rut with a trained professional who can help you challenge your perspective.

    Now for my personal experience. I moved from a big city to a small town last year, and now to a large suburb of a different big city, so I’ve had to start from scratch friend-wise twice in the past year. Smile! Be friendly to everyone, no matter how you’re feeling. If you meet someone with like interests, or maybe someone else from a small town, don’t be afraid to ask her to hang out. Tell her you’re new to the area and ask her if she’s in the market for new friends- I’ve never had one person tell me no in all the years I’ve used that line! It usually even gets a laugh.

    And the biggest thing I have to tell you is that all this moving around to different regions has absolutely made me into a better person. Pushing your personal boundaries is worth doing. Try to look at all types of people as interesting, with new perspectives and experiences to share with you. You can still talk to someone, even if you have nothing in common with them. Let people from different walks of life challenge your beliefs about how the world is.

    One last thing: why is everyone insulting your clothes and hair on a daily basis? I’m sure it’s not everyone and it’s not daily, but maybe you should take a look at yourself and see if you could do anything to blend in more. Maybe a chic haircut and some cute new work clothes could be a mental boost for you to feel like you belong where you’re living.

    1. I resent the idea that she should have to change her clothes and hair to “fit in” in a snobby big city. I am a country girl who never, ever wants to live in a big city. If I did end up being forced into the urban jungle without a single tree in sight, and then found out I would never be accepted there unless I dressed the way all the “popular” people there did, I would be pretty pissed off too. I think the clothes you choose are an expression of your individuality, and I have never been one to pander to the crowd. The LW sounds pretty similar.

      I do agree that she should open herself up to new experiences, be nice to people (even if they seem horrible), and explore new hobbies. But it should never go as far as pretending to be somebody you are not just because you are a square peg who doesn’t fit in the round hole.

      1. But maybe what the LW thinks is work appropriate is not as far as hair and clothing go. Small town versus larger city sometimes there are a little different standards for work place dress. These could be suggestions she’s taken as insults considering her super negative world view.

      2. applescruff says:

        She doesn’t need to dress the way the popular people do, that’s not what I got from WatersEdge’s comment. But maybe if she got some new clothes and a new haircut that make HER feel good, she would feel better in general. That makes sense wherever you’re from, right?

      3. oh come on. There’s a scene in the Tutors where Anne Boleyn is going to France with King Henry, and she’s soo excited because she had all these dresses made “in the French fashion.” Does that mean she’s not expressing her individuality anymore?

        The ‘style’ from your home town does NOT make you who you are. You are you no matter what you are wearing, and different places have different fashions; it doesn’t mean one is ‘better’ than the other. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be stylish.

      4. katiebird says:

        thumbs up for the tudors reference!

    2. Yeh that’s the weird part of the letter…who has heard of a stranger outright insulting someone’s clothing/hair? especially in a business setting?

      1. WatersEdge says:

        It IS weird, which is why I addressed it. I thought that advice might be a bit controversial, but I’m really curious about this pattern of people reportedly openly picking on her appearance. She describes herself like the female Joe Dirt! Sorry, but if you’re going to work with a perm, feathered bangs, and denim overalls, things aren’t getting better for you any time soon.

        Anna: It’s not a question of “dressing like the popular girls”. I have to say, that’s a very immature way of looking at it. It’s common sense to assimilate within reason to a region if you’re openly being made fun of on a daily basis. When I lived in the south, I was invited to a dinner party and I dressed up like I thought I should, only to find the host in a t-shirt and bare feet. From then on I wore jeans and flip-flops to the nice restaurants even though it killed me because that’s what the locals did. Now that I’m back north, I dress up more again. I still wore what I thought looked nice and did what I liked with my hair, I just followed the local cues for what is appropriate dress. If it makes you happy, you can go around saying “THIS IS WHO I AM AND YOU ALL NEED TO LEARN TO LIKE IT”, but if you’re like the LW and you can’t quite find the strength to take that approach and the insults make you go home and cry…. maybe look around and see if you really are sticking out like a sore thumb. That’s all I’m saying.

      2. Quakergirl says:

        Exactly– I remember going to a restaurant in a new city in completely the wrong thing (flats and a dress) and feeling sooooo out of place when everyone else was in hockey jerseys. But in the city I’d just moved from, the dress/flats combo was the norm. I eventually learned to balance what I thought looked good with the appropriate style/level of casualness in the new city. The good news, though, is that I learned my lesson and now do some wardrobe/style related research before I travel to different countries, and I feel like I get a better sense of the local culture when I don’t come off as a tourist right away.

      3. If you ask me, it’s pretty immature for adults to make fun of other adults clothes and hair. I thought high school ended at age 18! I bet if I went to NYC right now people would laugh at my flare-leg jeans…would that make me go buy some skinnies? Not at all. I can’t stand that fashion trend. No amount of laughter would make me change my personal style that makes me happy. Likewise, if wearing a dress and heels to that party would make you happy then you should do it! If someone else remarks on your appearance, I say (in the words of my father) “Let it roll off like water down a duck’s ass!”

      4. Wow, way to peg us NYers into a tiny hole. Thanks.

      5. sarolabelle says:

        my thinking is she works in cosmotology. And complains about how she doesn’t like the city while she is doing her client’s hair. Rather than try to give her a pep talk these clients simply agree with her because it’s easier. They don’t know her so who are they do try to cheer her up? They came in to get a nice hairdo only.

      6. sarolabelle says:

        she probably then internalizes the agreement as them not liking her when in fact, they don’t know her. if someone said to you “I don’t like it here and I don’t fit in. I mean, I look at what everyone else is wearing with their Juicy Couture jeans and all and I’m just comfortable in my Levis”….They probably just say “yeah”

      7. I have heard people ‘poke fun’ at peoples accents or clothing that is different in a way they might not think was insulting, but pointing them out would make someone feel self-conscious. So the LW might be picking up on that. . .

    3. About the appearance thing – Depression can cause weight gain which makes you hate the way you look which makes you more depressed. Everyone has been there. Trying to find a few things that are stylish for your area (cute shoes, nice bag, etc) can really perk you up. Weight watchers meetings or a fitness class could help on multiple levels.

      I have a few responsibilities that require I interact with people out of my comfort zone and it was really hard for me. Partially because I wasn’t on the same page clothing/fashion wise. I didn’t change my style but I did invest in some things I liked – including this great bag! It isn’t a “name” anyone has ever heard of, totally me, and practical but it looks great. Funny thing because it is neat and different without being weird it is a great conversation starter.

    4. Quakergirl says:

      Agreed! Find someone like yourself if you’re looking for some sense of your old “normal”– they’re there no matter where you are! I moved after college and jumped into a field where I thought no one would be like me. As it turns out, there were TONS of people like me, but I just needed to be open to them. I now have a really good friend with whom I have a lot in common, as well as some friends with whom I have very little in common. The friend who’s a lot like me and I went to events together, met new folks together, and just got out there together. I met some of her new acquaintances, she met some of mine, and our little circle grew.

      And I’m actually with you on the clothes/hair. I’m not saying conform or else the popular kids will never like you– this isn’t the high school cafeteria– but feeling like you stick out definitely isn’t going to improve your mood. I moved around a lot as a kid, and sort of as an adult, and I know for me, I always felt like I stuck out. I said the wrong word for soda (pop? coke? I dunno I still say soda), I had an accent, I dressed too edgy, too small town, too whatever. All I’m saying is there are ways to adapt your personal style so that you don’t feel isolated by your clothes. It’s just an awkward feeling, and if you feel awkward and alone, you’re definitely not putting good vibes out there.

      1. WatersEdge says:

        Thanks, that’s what I was trying to say. If your look makes you feel out of place, modify your look a little! You are not your t-shirt, you are you!

    5. Britannia says:

      I think it’s unfair to say that this LW needs therapy because she has “distortions” about how she sees the world. She’s from a small, rural town, where people generally have a different set of standards for social niceties when encountering strangers. She grew up in a very different world than the city has, and I think that she’s probably just very sensitive to negatively-tinged commentary that “big city people” don’t think is rude or critical at all. She does need to adjust to the way people interact with strangers if she wants to survive in her town, but to say that she needs therapy simply because she was raised in a different environment is rather unnecessary.

      1. SpyGlassez says:

        I don’t think she needs therapy because of distortions. I think she might need therapy because she seems to be severely depressed.

      2. I agree that she may not necessarily need therapy. I’m usually all for that suggestion, but having trouble adjusting to a new place, especially one that’s so different, is pretty normal and to be expected. I think Wendy’s advice that she get involved in activities and make new friends is perfect. I had my own crisis moving from a big city in the South to a small-ish town in the Midwest. People were rude and unfriendly, because in the South the norms about interacting with strangers are just different. I had to adjust to that, and she will have to do the same. What kept me sane is finding a group of friends–it was awkward and a slow process (like middle school all over again), but they have been my lifeline for the past four years. So have hope!

      3. Yes! And I agree with Christy a couple of replies away: This is classic culture shock. Social norms where LW comes from are clearly very different from where she is now. Just like Wendy’s tone in this particular heart-to-heart is very different from the one an adviser/counselor would take from my corner of the South. I’m originally from Douglasville, GA which is about 20 minutes west of the state capitol (Atlanta). There’s a heavier focus there on politeness, consideration, and tact in the vein of political correctness and avoiding offending someone (as opposed to “telling it straight”, candor, and fixing the problem, which is arguably more helpful when looking for results rather than sympathy)–I am NOT critiquing Wendy, her approach is better for action, and action is what will ultimately fix the problem.

        I am only saying the tone was very different, which is why my initial reaction was that Wendy was being insensitive. I’m 25 and newly married. I moved from Douglasville Ga to Austin TX, and the homesickness is a BEAR, let me tell you. Just, the transition is awful, not because the people are awful, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by awesome people. I love my job, I love my in-laws, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But I just miss home. I found this site because I’d been looking for stuff on being newlywed and homesick, and kept finding these stupid little motivational posters that said “Home is two eyes and a heartbeat.”

        Blech. No. No. That is not what I was looking for. The two eyes and a heart beat are here, HOME is a place 20 minutes west of Atlanta, I want to know what to do about that! ;P

        My family back home is in a state of transition. Up until a month before the wedding, I was living on my sister’s couch, acting as live-in nanny for my two adorable nephews while she borrowed my car. When I was sleeping in my bed at home, I was helping my mom babysit said nephews, or helping her go through my grandpa’s stuff, since he’d recently passed. I’d watch the nephews when mom took my aunt to the hospital for her labs and everything, she was my grandpa’s caretaker and her health has taken a nose dive since he passed. I was freaking out because of wedding stress and moving stress, and I couldn’t work on the finer points of the wedding and invitations or anything because my 2 year old nephew would get into it. He drowned my phone. My phone survived 6 years in the Army Reserves, and he drowned it. So I worked on a lengthy fanfiction to cope with the stress…admittedly not very time-efficient, but I’m only human. I had almost no time to put my wedding together, and I still had to pack all of my stuff up so I could move clear to Texas right after the wedding.

        I didn’t want to move. I had a screaming match with Aaron in the Walmart parking lot about it, and I absolutely HATE a public scene, I was raised much better than that. I was needed in Georgia, everything I knew was in Georgia, I’d lived in the same house my whole life, how could he possibly expect me to move to Texas?! He’s a military kid, the idea of moving being extremely, debilitatingly stressful is very foreign to him because he got used to it growing up. But moving to Texas made sense, because he’s a physicist, and all of the jobs in that field are way out here. So he came out here to live with his parents and get a job in his field, or a part-time job so he could build a nest egg like the one I’d accumulated, and I’d join him after the wedding.

        He didn’t get the job. Or a part time job. I now have 2 part time jobs and support him all the way out in TX, where we moved, I might add, because the jobs are in his field out here, not mine. We live paycheck to paycheck, his parents help out with groceries, and to top it all off, my car (named Barristan) has recently died. If we were in Georgia, my dad could work a miracle on him over a Saturday afternoon, but we’re not in Georgia.

        It could be much worse, though. Like I just said, my awesome in-laws help us with groceries. My mother in law actually put in a good word for me and we’re both proofreaders at the same company. In fact, we have the same schedule. Best of all, she bought me plane tickets back home for Thanksgiving!!!

        I am super lucky, guys. And I’m very happy, I love my coworkers, I love my in laws, I love my jobs, and I absolutely love my husband. But given how tight money is, and the fact that we came here for a job Aaron doesn’t have, and how much I was needed in GA, where I grew up and everything is familiar, I do sometimes get very, very resentful about moving here. Because I miss home, and it was a lot of (possibly wasted) money to move here, and because I miss home, darn it.

        So when I read LW’s post, I really felt for her. Because I am her, but way, way luckier, and without the possibly clinical depression and weight gain. And then I read Wendy’s response, and saw her call LW a whiner and lazy, and I just balked, like How Dare You? You know? Because I know we’re not getting the whole picture. You haven’t gotten the whole picture from me, either, just the parts I’m comfortable sharing.

        I’m not telling you about the intimacy issues I had to overcome, and about being a virgin when I got married like a good unicorn, and how inadequate all of that made me feel. I’m not telling you about dealing with Aaron in the kitchen, because he wants a souschef every time he cooks, and how I had to relearn everything I grew up learning about cooking, because Aaron grew up differently and expects me to know, and to read his mind. I’m not even telling you about how hard I had to fight to get some Lawry’s Seasoning Salt in the house (because apparently, it’s poison) so I could make my mom’s fried taters and stave off the nostalgia. I’m not getting into all of that.

        Suffice it to say, I changed everything for this man. I moved away from everything familiar, and then had to change the things that *were* familiar all for him, and on a weak day, if I didn’t have the awesome support system to whine to that I have, I’d whine to somebody like Wendy. And I’d bring up moving back home, with or without Aaron. And if Wendy had told me to just stop whining and choose to be happy, and that I wasn’t a caring person, and that the people who had somehow facilitated me feeling this way were actually the victims of my selfish bad attitude, and that my wedding vows had been basically meaningless (seriously?!), I’d be pissed. And I do not normally cuss, I was raised better than that.

        I have two part time jobs, and I can’t reach the pedals on my husband’s car. Before some wise person tells me to adjust the seat, I would, but it’s stuck like that. I tried that. I tried getting Aaron to adjust it for me. I would go out and do stuff, like museums together, and we do…when it’s free. It’s just that lots of the finer points of living in Austin cost money that I’d rather put toward rent, utilities, internet, student loans, and food. But any time our apartment complex has a do, or there’s dogs in the park, we join in. We take long, romantic strolls to the recycling bin, and the mailbox, and he makes me jump the creek, rather than take the bridge, even in heels, because it’s a more direct route or some brew-hockey. I’ve since stopped wearing heels on these excursions. My sneakers will just look gross under my skirt and it will be, therefore, slightly less romantic, whatever. His loss.

        We watch sermons online because the church we like makes me homesick when I’m there. It’s everything I liked about my old church, minus the sundayschool class (which was the best part), because for some reason, there is no sunday school in TX. I can’t make it through the worship songs without bursting into tears, and there’s no quiet out of the way corners to cry in because churches in Texas are really efficient in their architecture, which is cool and all, but there’s nowhere discreet to cry at, and that’s a problem. And believe me, I’d love to just choose to be happy and stop burdening everyone with my homesickness in that moment, but it’s just not possible. So we don’t go, we watch online.

        I like dogs, but I am actually a cat person. When we can afford the pet fee, and the pet rent, we will definitely be getting a cat. Until then, I will continue to request pictures of our cats from back home (Cinder and Sir Cuddles). I’m doing all of the things you’re supposed to do, I have a good attitude, I am a caring person, and I cannot stress enough how awesome my support system is…it just doesn’t always work.

        So to Wendy’s candid action plan, I add these reassuring practices:

        1) Find people with dogs. They’re out there, and they’re usually nice, and they’re probably trying to socialize their pooch, so they’ll let you pet if you ask. Petting animals helps the stress, and the stress is what makes you miss home.

        2) Spend time with your husband. He loves you, and he wants to make you happy.

        3) Skype and phones and social media are like a thing that exists. Talk to your family and they won’t seem so far away.

        4) Find a dollar theater and plan a movie date. They are out there, and they are awesome.

        5) Make a point of taking your husband out for walks, in lieu of a dog. Hold his hand so he doesn’t chase cars or whatever. Just take him recycling, or to the mailbox, or the leasing office. Find a park. Take your husband for walks.

        Also, for cat people, pet your husband. Just put on some Netflix, lay his head in your lap, and pet his hair. It sounds weird, but it’s better than hopelessly missing your cat.

        6) If you’re going to cry, let it out. Just don’t wallow in it. The first time you start to pull yourself together, pat your face with cold water, drink a glass of cold water (cold water is very important, unless you live somewhere cold, then hot tea or hot chocolate might be better), and take your husband for a walk. Being out where people can see you bolsters composure.

        7) If you can’t do the normal/familiar/fun things–if church makes you homesick, for instance–compromise. Do the thing as much as you’re able. You’re only human, humans are creatures of habit and creatures of comfort. Work your way up to your new comfort level, then make it a habit.

      4. Ummmm I don’t know if that’s you overcoming as you uprooting your whole life for a guy that didn’t even have a job to move to. Where in any of that did you get a real say? Changing everything for one person only makes sense if you’re both moving upwards together, now it sounds like you barely get a say in the damn kitchen.

  8. Wendy’s advice is spot on as usual. LW, if you don’t already have a hobby that you love, I suggest experimenting until you find one. Whether it’s tending to a garden, knitting, biking, etc. it will at least give you something to look forward to on a regular basis. Also, get a pet! Even a fish can provide a sense of companionship (if your residence does not permit dogs or cats).

    1. agreed! do this before you have kids especially! it is much harder afterwards (for me, anyways)
      another suggestion, go to the makeup counter in a dept store in that big city you live beside and get a free makeover. ask the person to comment on your current look honestly so you’ll know exactly what they all think and it wont be a mystery anymore. i think this could be freeing although it may be uncomfortable at the moment it would eventually sink in and you will get over it because as another commenter said, *you* are not your hair, clothes, or makeup. either change or accept that they think you look funny because of your fashion choices. bear in mind that some people say all sorts of rude things when they are clients and think they have the right to comment. if you are visibly pregnant one day at work you will go through it again! they might not have much social interaction outside of being a client (depending on your job, i am going on my experience at banks and the suggestion that you work in beauty) i guess not in your town before but in larger places there are more likely to be crazy people and rude people, also because its large some people might lack the fear of being ostracised/kicked out of an establishment for their rudeness. (they have many more to choose from)

      i;ve actually been through this (culture shock) before, i moved to paris, france from a small hippy island when i was 19! it took me about 6 months to not be annoyed at people (strangers) making suggestions and comments left and right about my choices (how i dress, if i walk too fast or run when i shouldnt, that french ppl would never eat a chocolate bar on the subway a la moi, etc). oh, and in china it is even worse because comments and questions about your appearance and apparel (nice compliments or not so flattering *suggestions*) are perfectly fitting for social interaction with a stranger (maybe not for higher class people nowadays but market people, definitely). however at that point i could recognize that it was a culture shock situation and giggle about it. hope you feel better and leave an update

  9. Your life really does sound challenging–moving to a new city with only one person you know is indeed tough, especially if it’s not your first choice. However, you even admit yourself that you’re depressed, and I agree. A lot of what your describe–crying every day, not wanting to leave home, gaining weight–are signs of depression if they continue long enough. If you’re really unhappy, you’ll only see what you expect to see: mean people, crazy drivers, a terrible city. The challenge of depression is that it creates inertia against the very things that might make us feel better: leaving the house, trying to meet new people, working hard to claim our own happiness.

    You might really benefit from some light counseling. If you can’t afford it, there are plenty of low-cost or sliding-scale options in most communities. You may not need serious therapy or medication, but it does sound like you need another person to listen, encourage, and coach. When I’ve experienced mild depression, short-term counseling really helped me get a grip and figure out how to find my way back to wellness.

    Your husband is not responsible for your happiness and he can not be your sole support. Asking him to do so is sending your relationship into a danger zone. He should support and encourage you, soothe your tears, and help you find your way, yes. But you are ultimately responsible for your own well-being. Take charge by finding a helpful counselor and focusing on what you can change in your life. Join a fitness group or sports team. Treat yourself to a massage. Take a class (try community education) or explore a hobby. Visit a museum, concert venue, or whatever cool places your city might hold. You may never love your town or its culture, but you don’t really have a choice right now, so make the best of it. Leaving is only running away from the problem, whereas facing it will make you a stronger person more able to cope with the next tough time in life.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh, because I say it with all compassion. I really do feel your pain and misery, but I have faith that you can turn things around for the sake of your happiness and your marriage.

    1. The signs you mentioned are also symptions of Thyroid Disease. Maybe she should get her thryoid checked out. Before I went on my thyroid meds I was having the same issues, depression, weight gain, and within a month of being on the meds everything changed and I went back to normal, well as normal as I usually am. 🙂

      1. ForeverYoung says:

        I am not sure why anytime someone gains weight people pull out the thyroid card. I realize this is a medical issue for some people, but I think it is hugely overused.

      2. moonflowers says:

        I think “anytime” is a bit strong here. Thyroid disease is often under-diagnosed, which is why people keep reminding folks to check for it. The current criteria for thyroid hormone minimum levels is still so high that people sometimes have to go for years without treatment because the official tests don’t show they have thyroid problems.

      3. ForeverYoung says:

        Which is why I acknowledged that it IS a medical issue for SOME. The thing that bothers me is that absolutely nothing in her letter indicates that she has a thyroid issue. The only medical issue that seems like it could lead to her weight gain here is depression. Her letter isn’t really focused too much on her weight gain either, it’s mostly on her unhappiness.

        If she had wrote in saying she was gaining weight and had no idea why, I would definitely say she should look into it just to rule it out. But it seems pretty clear (at least to me) why she’s gaining weight. She admits to having an unbearable commute (sedentary), she spends at least an hour a day crying, i’m assuming she’s working full time as I have been given no indication it is part time, and even states, “I have been gaining weight and am just depressed in general”. She herself even seems to acknowledge the connection between her weight gain and depression, so I don’t think thyroid needs to be brought up.

        I just think in a society that is more unhealthy by the day, the last thing people struggling with weight issues need is another reason to excuse it. She seems like she wants to be happy and admits her weight gain is part of her unhappiness. She doesn’t need an excuse to remain unhealthy, she needs some encouragement to change her lifestyle that is making her gain weight.

      4. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease — Hashimoto’s — two weeks ago. I’ve had symptoms for years and never knew there was a “real” reason for them other than getting older, etc. Had I not been getting my blood tested so much now that I’m pregnant, I wouldn’t have known that my thyroid levels were dangerously high and I wouldn’t have been referred to a specialist for further testing. I’m now taking medication and it seems to be helping, though I probably won’t truly know how much it’s helping until I deliver the baby and my hormones balance out a bit. Thyroid disease is definitely under-diagnosed (half those who have it don’t know they have it) and many people suffer from uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms for years because, like me, they don’t realize they’re related and they don’t realize there’s a medical reason for them. It’s easy to treat, and from what I understand, a simple pill like the one I’m taking now can really change a person’s life. If you have symptoms, get tested!! And don’t just have your TSH levels tested — make sure your antibodies are tested, too. Sometimes a person can suffer from Hashimotos disease (where the antibodies attack the thyroid) and have perfectly normal TSH levels.

      5. Agreed about the testing. I have an uderactive thyroid and for years the doctors kept telling me my TSH levels were normal but I knew something was wrong (thyroid disease runs in my family). I finally found a doctor who tested my T3 and T4 levels and – viola! – they were very, very low. But the TSH showed normal. Started taking bioidentical T3/T4 and within about a month or so the depression lifted and I was able to lose weight, among other improvements. I always tell women friends to get their T3/T4 tested and do not rely solely on the TSH results.

      6. I think my women friends are quickly going to be very sick of my talking about this — in the last two weeks I’ve urged just about every female friend I have — and know to by symptomatic — to get tested.

      7. moonflowers says:

        Seconding dobby on the T3/T4 testing. My sister had a lot of hypothyroid symptoms (often cold, depressed), and mentioned that to a nurse at the school clinic, but when her TSH came back fine, the nurse dismissed her concerns. My sister even found a medical journal paper about the shortcomings of TSH testing, but they blew her off. It wasn’t until two years later when our family doctor tested her again, this time with T3/T4, and diagnosed her as hypothyroid. She went untreated for two whole years because they didn’t test T3/T4.

  10. ForeverYoung says:

    LW – your letter screams depression to me. I also grew up in a relatively small town, and although I moved to a big city and loved it, I had many friends that left and hated it. I find most people either love their small town and never leave, leave just to say they did and spend the time counting down until they move back, or leave and never look back.

    Your happiness is not caused by the things around you, but the things within you. I know it’s easy to blame your surroundings, but playing the blame game is not helping.

    I like Wendy’s advice that you need to stop being so self absorbed. But if this is too difficult, start being self absorbed in a healthy way. Do something to change your life. You are clearly unhappy with yourself. Start working out. Start eating better. I know this is hard when you’re depressed, but fake it till you feel it. Join a gym – you will meet people while you better yourself. Even if you don’t lose weight, endorphins will do wonders for you.

    This doesn’t need pointing out, but you just got back from your honeymoon and you’re already thinking of moving away from your husband?? I have a sneaky suspicion your depressions started before you got married, and your current living situation just makes it easier for you to have a concrete situation to blame your depression on. I am not judging you, I don’t handle big life changes either. But I think you need to stop being so whiny. See a therapist, get on some medication, and start making healthy changes instead of looking for the easy way out.

    1. Starfish13 says:

      I totally agree that this part of the letter stood out for me the most: “Ever since we got back from our honeymoon we have been fighting all the time because I am constantly miserable.” Perhaps there is something going on with your marriage beyond just the location?

    2. evanscr05 says:

      Another thought about the depression could be a little bit contributed to post-wedding blues (which is a horrible term as it can really be more than just that). Most women feel “let down” after they get married. I am in no way saying this is this absolute reason, but more so that it could be a contributing factor. You put so much time, energy, and thought into your big day and then it just flies by. After the honeymoon is over, all that excitement that built up for a year (or more) just drops off completely. It’s normal to get a little depressed afterwards. Like other people have mentioned, she needs to find an outlet or a hobby that she enjoys. You cannot make your husband your sole support and interest. Plan a vacation. Plan a day trip in your new city to explore the sights. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but definitely find something to get excited about again. When you have something to look forward to, it helps bring your spirits up.

  11. I agree with Wendy, happiness is something you have to cultivate for yourself. If you give in to your feelings of helplessness, things will get worse and worse. Try to put yourself in a more positive mood, because the saying “no one knows you when your down and out” is true. It sucks, but it’s true. Feeling bad for yourself is just going to put you on a downward spiral. Making friends as an adult is a delicate art. Friends don’t automatically insinuate themselves into your life like they did in high school and/or college. And if you’ve relied on old networks of friends in your hometown as an adult it makes sense that losing those connections would be hard on you. I’ve made a few big moves in my life and the things that helped me assimilate were to 1.taking classes at the local community college/gym in something new-dance, art, Spanish, etc. Finding something novel that you love to do is energizing, and it will help connect you with other people who are interested in the same things. And if the new thing is a physical activity then you get the extra bonus of losing that extra weight 2. If you can afford to do so find yourself a job that puts you in contact with ALOT of people- it could be part time or volunteer. The work I do is mostly solitary, but when I first moved to my current city I got a job on the side at the local farmers market. I only worked it for 5 months, but at the end of that time I felt like I knew half the city. It changed my entire outlook on the place because I moved here knowing nobody and everybody gave me the impression that people here were hard to get to know. Turns out it’s not that hard. 3. Puppies make you popular. That’s not really legitimate advice, but having a puppy with you while your walking down the street will make you feel like you live in a Disney toon village no matter where you are. Everyone smiles and waves hello. Anyway, try to take it easy on your Husband because there’s nothing he can really say or do to make you feel better, and your distress is probably starting to make him feel a bit helpless as well. Moves are tough on pretty much all relationships. So keep that in mind as you move forward.

  12. Turtledove says:

    I’m in a situation similar to the LW, except I lived in a moderately sized city in the southeast and moved to Boston for my husband’s new job. It’s been a massive shock to my system. I’m not going to lie, I don’t really care for living here, but I firmly believe that one can live anywhere for 3 years (which is the length of his contract and the amount of time we had planned to stay). Here’s what I have been doing to make the situation bearable for myself.

    1) recognize that it’s going to be a shock and an adjustment and give yourself 6 months to get used to it without expectations of happiness. During that time, it’s wise to find a new doctor to be monitored since big life changes can trigger depression.

    2) find an online support group as well as making special effort to reach out to distant family and friends so you have a support system while you get your life transferred over to the new place. You don’t instantly make friends in a new place, and life doesn’t instantly become comfortable.

    3) spend some time doing all the touristy stuff in your new city. Go to the monuments, museums, concerts, etc. In large cities, there are a lot of free things to do and see and you would be remiss if you didn’t try everything once (with the firm concept in mind that you are GOING to have fun whether you want to or not)

    4) join a gym, take a class, volunteer… find an interest and pursue it. You will make new friends with similar interests who will introduce you to their friends. Exercise is key, you’ll lose weight and it will help fight depression.

    5) do something small every day that is geared towards creating a new situation for yourself that will make you happy. What’s on your bucket list? For instance, I am working diligently on starting my own business. Thinking about it and working on it gives me hope and is a step towards creating the future I want even if the present isn’t ideal. Perhaps you want to learn to fly or to sew or to switch careers (it doesn’t sound like yours is making you particularly happy) Take one step every day to cross something off your bucket list– if you do you’ll be looking forward to what you can accomplish instead of back to what you lost.

    You need to make a decision to stop wallowing over what you lost– you can’t stay a kid and live at home forever. Every place has redeeming qualities, find yours. Large cities mean more opportunities, find some.

    1. I definitely feel your pain Turtledove! My husband’s job moved me to a town in the middle of nowhere for three years and now outside of Boston too. Small world lol Each transition was hard, even when I was excited about the move. I can be super shy when meeting people but you need to do it. The people at my current job are pretty shallow and gossipy but my neighbors seem friendly and had us over already for a cookout. Try something silly with your husband like a bowling league or trivia night, you’re bound to meet some people. You’re in this together LA. I would not move away from your husband.

    2. Britannia says:

      I definitely agree with the suggestion that she try out a class! Yoga, spinning, heck, even meditation or dance! There will always be at least some people there who want to get to know you, and the regular social interaction, coupled with learning something new and being physically active, will do wonders for her depression.

  13. spanishdoll says:

    LW, I think most of us can related to your situation. It’s so hard to move away from your support network and into a new place where you feel like a fish out of water.

    It helped me when I realized *everyone I know* has gone through this. Anybody who has ever taken a leap for college, employment, adventure, love, has moved away from their comfy little bubble and had to face being uncomfortable, lonely, and often depressed in their new town. I wish more people talked about how goddamn tough post-college life is…

    The thing is, it takes time to build up a great life in a new place. I moved to a new place 2 years ago, and it’s taken me this long to really feel secure and happy. I was depressed and lonely just like you, and I blamed a lot of other people for my problems.

    But if you want to be happy, you gotta let your anger go, and instead figure out which problems are in your power to change, and which ones you will have to live with. For the sake of your marriage, it sounds like you’ll have to live in this town…but so many other things are in your control, like your attitude, your health and the effort you put in to making friends!

    Good luck!

  14. I definitely disagree with Wendy’s suggestion to move to the city. The LW clearly is not a city person, and that would probably just make the situation worse. I am a small town country girl myself, so I completely understand. My suggestion would be to think about the kinds of people and activities you enjoyed when you were in your hometown, then find those kinds of people/activities in your new area. You don’t have to give up who you are for some stupid city just because thousands of other people have. For example, I am a gun enthusiast and I love offroading. If I moved to a different area, I would search online for the nearest offroading club (even if it meant driving an hour or two out to the country) and attend their events on the weekends, still go camping and shooting. I would still do the things that make me ME.

    1. WatersEdge says:

      There’s nothing wrong with being a country person, but I have to say, your hatred of all things suburban/urban is a bit offensive. There’s something to be said for embracing other people’s cultures, especially if it’s only for a short time. If I can go to a gun show (twice!), then a country lover can try out a museum! Where’s the personal growth?

      1. Yeah, I agree. I didn’t see anybody on here telling the LW to put her overalls away and give up her past in the stupid country (not how I feel just an example of how ridiculous she sounds). Some people like living in the city, and everyone who moves to a big city isn’t a mindless drone who changes who they are just to please everyone else. Also the LW never said she was a country girl she just said she lived in a small town. So maybe she doesn’t want to shoot guns, and go offroading either, sounds like she just misses her family, and friends, and is unwilling to make new ones so blames it all on her surroundings instead of making things better. Life isn’t always that hard if you try at it.

      2. I never said I hate everything urban, just that I would never want to live in a place like that. I do live about an hour outside of Cleveland, and if I want to go to a nice restaurant or the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame I can drive there. Sometimes I do. Museums are very cool also, thanks for assuming I am completely uncultured and unintelligent. But after a couple hours, I am very happy to drive back out to the country and smell the fresh air and hear the crickets.

        I also never said she has to have the same hobbies as I do. What I said is you can probably find people in your new area who enjoy your old hometown hobbies and have similar personalities. I just used my hobbies as an example. Keeping some of the same hobbies/finding new friends who are similar to your old ones might help a lot with homesickness. Just because you move to a new area, you don’t have to completely assimilate yourself to only the activities/attitudes that are popular there. So many people seem to think she would be happier if she completely changed herself to fit the mold of a person in this new city, and that’s what I disagree with. To thine own self be true!

    2. I think all the thumbs-down to this are kinda weird – it seems like solid advice to me. I’m a country-turned-city mouse, so have experienced both sides of this. It doesn’t do anyone any good to stereotype – the “snobby big city”, the “country bumpkin”, etc. Today’s world is small and mobile, and people come and go from all sorts of communities, so it just shouldn’t really apply. It seems like the LW perhaps moved to her location with a closed mind, thinking everyone in The City is Stuck Up. People come to cities from all over, from other cities to ‘burbs to country farms. And vice versa. And yeah, part of the fun of living in a new place is seeing what makes the locals tick!

      1. I think it’s because all the people who are a pro”country girl/small town” think that everyone else is suggesting the LW change. No one is suggesting she change anything other than her outlook. Also there has to be SOMETHING the LW likes that she could find to do. I live in a large town and would never live in a big city long term (more than a few years) but I love to visit. When I did live in a big city when I was younger I did exactly what everyone else has suggested- I love food so I took advantage of the variety of restaurants, I went to free museums, I found awesome bookstores that had more stuff than back home, I went to awesome parks for a jog. There are very few things that can’t be indulged in a city other than hiking, camping, etc. And most cities has neighborhoods that are LIKE a small town in their feel.

        But the LW isn’t letting herself be open to ANY of that. That’s my problem with her whiny ass.

      2. I think it was this phrase, “You don’t have to give up who you are for some stupid city just because thousands of other people have.” That said, the rest of her advice was really solid, but the characterization of ‘city people’ as people who gave up what made them them just to assimilate is bunk. I moved to a big city and I found not only people who were interested in what I were, but who were from all over. It gets lonely sometimes and there are pluses and minuses to the city, but I like my new friends.

    3. IcedVentiRedEyeGuy - in Chitown bay-bay! says:

      *Cue in the Honey-Badger Narrator*:

      This is a crazy city person.
      Look at that crazy city bastard; living in a row-house next to… and ew is that a condo-apartment and a sidewalk? Ew.

      OMG look at that neighbor smile and wave “Hello”.
      All the other neighbors just looks at him and goes “Hiiii crazy neighbor…Thanks for not being too friendly”

      The crazy city person can see his crazy neighbor. He doesn’t care what happens, just stays right there!

      These city people are just stupid. They talk to each other. Ride the trains to and from work or drive their stupid little FourTwo Smart cars and eat OMG is that a restaurant with tables on the sidewalk?
      OMG is that a museum and ew… parallel parking…

      1. ForeverYoung says:

        Oh.My.God. Best comment ever. I immediately have to youtube that again.

      2. IcedVentiRedEyeGuy - in Chitown bay-bay! says:

        Grassy ass.

        *Cue in Jay-Z’s “Forever Young”*

      3. TheOtherMe says:

        I love that you used youtube as a verb 😀

    4. You all are getting a little up-in-arms about one word! I’m a city person, myself, and I didn’t read the “stupid” as hatred for the city. It was probably just an off-hand comment. Chill, people!

  15. BoomChakaLaka says:

    “Do something that breaks your non-stop self-pitying and gets you thinking about others for a change. It will give you a new perspective, help you feel good about yourself and introduce you to people who perhaps aren’t as self-centered as those you’ve encountered so far. If you’ve got an hour every day to cry and vent to your husband, you can find a couple hours a week to do something nice for someone else.”

    LW, if there is nothing else you should take from this letter, it should be this piece above. I didn’t even write in and I’m going to take this eloquently crafted words and put them to use in my life.

    Make better use of your time to make yourself happy. Take some “me time” and do what you want for a change. Try to make that a ritual instead of a once-in-a-blue-moon activity. Also, try to visit your friends and family more often (of course, if work permits, with your husband). They might be able to re-fuel you so you can face the situation you are currently facing.

  16. Wendy, your advice is right on. I moved to a big city after college, two years before my friends would graduate. Happiness is definitely a choice.
    LW, when meeting people becomes difficult, try outdoor activities that you can do solo. Sunshine is the best mood-lifter, and physical activity is a close second. Since it was before my 21st birthday, going out was difficult, after my big move I took up hiking. It was amazing the people I met just being on the trails at a regular time every day. Plus, it helped me stave off sadness weight and kept me from comfort-eating. The advice to get a dog was great – you’ll have a companion for safety, and a reason to smile and greet people!
    If you’re religious, joining a church is a good option, especially in a big city where churches tend to be more diverse and have meet and greets often. They’ll also most likely offer volunteer programs and small groups to connect w/people on a more personal level, as well as counseling services if you’re depressed.
    If you’re not, take classes through University extension programs. If you’re 26 and newly-married, you’re sure to find a number of people like yourself. Volunteering is also fantastic, especially if there are causes you are passionate about. It will allow you to meet people who are obviously not self-absorbed.
    As far as driving, learn the bus system! Even in LA (where I moved), where public transit is crap, it gives you a better sense of geography and creates the feeling that you’re on an adventure.
    There’s no reason to be so miserable unless you’re actually suffering from depression, and then you should get help. Moving home won’t help if it’s a chemical imbalance.

  17. Wendy is right that happiness is a choice. When you’re in the bath or watching a movie with your husband, start practicing happiness. A bit of Buddhist wisdom I try to keep on the top of my mind at all times:

    “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.”

    Good luck!

  18. Wendy, you gave the LW the tough love she so desperately needed! It is unusual to get a letter that is so “ME, ME, ME.” And, LW, if you’d been so unhappy living with your husband for the past three years, why did you recently decide get married?

  19. Wow! Alot of these comments are really harsh towards LW. My biggest concern is that LW sounds seriously depressed – and you can’t really just shake yourself out of that, or just try harder to be happy. I think LW needs to see her doctor.

    1. Yes, I didn’t put that in my most, but I definitely think you could be right. If not a doctor, definitely some type of counselor.

      1. *didn’t put that in my Post

  20. Just a few years ago, I was in very similar shoes, LW. Less than a year after our wedding, my husband got a job in a town that was a 2 day drive away from my friends, family, and everyone I knew. It was SO SO SO much harder than I ever could have imagined. I felt so painfully lonely. Like you, LW, I occasionally daydreamed of moving back home, but in reality I knew I could not abandon my husband like that. My marriage vows meant a lot to me (in good times AND bad, right?) and I fully intended to stick by them. But at the same time, I felt that someone had hit the pause button on my life. I was miserable for many many months and, like you, I gained a good deal of weight, too.

    I didn’t stay miserable forever, though. We’ve lived here for 5 year now and I can sincerely say I enjoy this place. Here are the steps that helped me.

    1. I picked up the local free alt-weekly newspaper. Every metropolitan area has one of these. You can usually find them at restaurants and locally owned shops. These free weekly papers usually focus on entertainment options for the week with a wee bit of politics thrown in. This was my first and best way of connecting with my new town because it helped me learn about cool events and great restaurants. Bonus: most of these free papers have a Best Of list that they compile every year. Go to the paper’s website & start visiting the places on their Best Of list. Go to these places with your husband for dates. Explore the area as if you were tourists.

    2. I hosted dinner parties. My husband began to make friends at work and we discovered that a number of his co-workers were fairly new to the area, too, so we invited them over. I like to cook, so dinner parties at our place worked for us, but you can always meet at a restaurant instead. This worked out great for us because my husband and I had to make the effort together. Now one of my very best friends is a woman who used to work with my husband.

    3. I joined some groups on MeetUp.com. Even if you skip my other suggestions, I beg of you to PLEASE follow this one. MeetUp.com is a fabulous resource for people who want to make friends. Just find a group in your area that focuses on your interests or age group (in my area there are lots of groups for women who want to make more girlfriends). Go to some events and start meeting people. You may not connect with anyone at the first meeting, but eventually you’ll certainly find some great people. Some of my closest friends in this area are people I met on MeetUp.

    4. I got up and started walking. I was inspired by the marathon runners in the 2008 Olympics. I thought to myself, “If they can do a marathon in one day, certainly I can do one in a week.” I started out by following along with walking exercise videos (Yes, they exist – no treadmill required and you an do it all in your living room). Eventually I lost 20 pounds. With that healthier body, came a lot of confidence which made it even easier for me to make friends.

    Note that the majority of these steps all involve you taking some sort of initiative. You cannot sit at home and hope that things will magically improve. I know that’s hard! I know that’s painful! But it is true. The good news is that once you start taking these steps and you begin to experience a bit of success, you’ll feel much much better.

  21. It does sound like medical depression is at play here, but beyond that, it sounds like LW doesn’t like working. Multiple jobs in a short span of time and they were all awful, with awful customers who insulted everything about her? Sounds unlikely if she’s making half an effort to fit in and succeed at these jobs. Yes, it is reasonable that she change what she wears for working, if she doesn’t fit in. Every business has an informal to formal dress code and those who deviate from it greatly won’t fit in or succeed. If she is in cosmetology or fashion sales or some other business that pushes chic, then she has to protray chic. It’s part of the job. I didn’t grow up being a ‘suit and tie’ person. It seemed uncomfortable, encumbering, hot, not my style. Work demanded it, so that’s what you wear. When you’re not at work you can wear what you want and act and look how you choose. If I insisted on outside work style and even speech at work, I’d certainly have people saying negative things about me and not wanting to associate with the fool who was about to be fired for being weird and violating the dress and professional behavior codes.

    I wonder how much work experience LW had back at her small town and how happy she was working there. I also wonder how happy she is going to be living with her parents again.

    The letter really sounds like a desire to escape adult responsibilities and return to childhood.

    1. I agree. It sounds like me two years ago, after getting married too young and falling into the abyss of depression because I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to escape being an adult, and go back to everything I knew before.
      The LW may have a rough couple of years ahead of her if that’s the case- you either grow up on your own, or life circumstances force you to.

  22. Painted_lady says:

    Here’s a bit of wisdom adapted from Dan Savage: if EVERYONE you meet is self-involved and shallow, then the only common factor in all of this is YOU. It’s not a blame-the-victim cop-out, but rather a means for empowerment. What is it you’re doing when you meet these people to bring this out in them, or how quickly are you writing them off, or what are they perceiving in you that makes them think it’s okay to insult you? Conversely, what can you do to bring out their best nature, how can you improve their day and therefore your own, how openminded can you force yourself to be, and how can you make it clear that you are not an object of derision while still remaining polite and lighthearted? It’s a challenge at first, but then it becomes second nature. I went to A&M, which has a strong ROTC program – the corps – and the corps boys would greet anyone they had to speak to, any attractive woman, and anyone who caught their eye when out walking with a “Howdy.” My suitemates and I made a game out of it: how many “Howdys” can you get in a day without saying it first? I usually ended up winning, not because I was the most attractive, but because I look people in the eye and I smile, even just passing someone on the sidewalk. I make friends that way even now, 10 years after that first semester of college – I’m actually very reticent by nature so I almost never speak first, but I make it clear by expression and body language that I’m open to a conversation, and you’d be surprised how many people warm to that and feel comfortable chatting me up in line at Starbucks, on the bus, even in elevators when nobody’s really happy to be there. Figure out what works for you, even if it isn’t a smile, and work with that. See how many people you can talk to – or, as in my case, get them to talk to you – by lunchtime, by the end of the day, out at dinner, etc, and try to up the number every day.

    Also, and this isn’t a judgment as I’m guilty of the same thing – be careful how you speak of someone’s hometown. Most people either move someplace by choice or they choose to stay there by choice, so speak about the city as if it were that person’s own home. Looking at your letter, even though I’m sure you feel that way and understand and sympathize with your misery, you set me a little on edge because I love the city and found it hard not to be defensive about a setting that I choose to make my home in. I’m sure you would never criticize someone’s house the way you criticize your new city, and yet I imagine you probably speak at least a little negatively about this place to people who consider it every bit as much home as the house they live in. It can be off-putting, and it may be partially responsible for why you’re having such bad luck with the city’s inhabitants.

    1. “Also, and this isn’t a judgment as I’m guilty of the same thing – be careful how you speak of someone’s hometown. I’m sure you would never criticize someone’s house the way you criticize your new city, and yet I imagine you probably speak at least a little negatively about this place to people who consider it every bit as much home as the house they live in.”

      This. I was sitting at a restaurant with some friends and some people at the table behind us were complaining about the city. (Just railing on it. The traffic sucks, it’s not cultured, people are mean, etc.) Hey, I wasn’t even born here but I started feeling defensive! If the LW gives off that vibe, people may not want to hang around that kind of negativity.

    2. WatersEdge says:

      I definitely agree, especially with your last point. Pretend the city is their house and be as polite about it as you otherwise would. If all you can manage is “Lovely day out today!” then so be it!

      1. Painted_lady says:

        You can even turn it into a talking point that lets people open up about themselves a bit. When she’s tempted to complain about the traffic, maybe instead ask people for side roads she can take, times traffic is the worst (my boyfriend is in Dallas and I’m in Houston, and I discovered this week Dallas traffic isn’t as intense as Houston’s but rush hour lasts an hour longer), and places near work she can hang out and meet people while she’s waiting for traffic to die down. When I moved to Houston for grad school, I found a place that served that purpose and had free wifi so I could do homework, but it was stupidly expensive ($3.50 for a cup of tea??? Bitch, please). I told someone in a class this and immediately the people around me started giving me names of other places that had wifi but were cheaper and had better hours. One girl told me she had plans to study there the next evening, and suddenly I had a coffee date with a new friend. If people love the place they live, they will bend over backward to help you love it, too, as long as you are open to the possibility.

      2. Was this Teahouse? Sometimes I’m amazed how much bubble tea costs.

      3. Painted_lady says:

        Agora. I love the Euro-trash feel of the place, but my God they are proud of their products. I got sent to Cafe Artiste with a friend, and you could get a pot of tea or coffee with a free refill for that much. Sadly they closed down, but Agora got a tiny bit more realistic with their prices after the fire.

      4. I’ve only been to Agora once, but I liked it. A lot of things in that area are overpriced though.

        I like Te House of Tea (even if it has the dumbest name ever) because they have a gigantic tea menu and a nice atmosphere. Since I have a decent tea collection, I haven’t been there in a while so I don’t know if their prices increased.

      5. Painted_lady says:

        Great suggestion! I’m on summer vacation so I’m going to have to hit them up!

      6. Wait. Agora had a fire? I used to go there on Wednesday nights to watch the belly dancers… man, it’s been a while. I lived in Houston from post-college through about age 26 (30 now)… am originally from North Texas. Since I don’t have any family there, and a lot of my friend’s moved away around the time I did, I haven’t been back since early 2008.

        I just now really started to miss it… maybe I’ll make a trip in the fall/winter when the weather is more…bearable (I’m in the humidity-free Rockies these days).

        If anything, it’ll be nice to have a less-expensive bubble tea, eat some GOOD ethnic food, and see how my old neighborhoods have changed… West Dallas/Montrose, far West Heights, and Med Center/Rice U.

      7. Yep. Last Halloween, the antique shop next to it caught fire and burnt to nothing. The second story of Agora was pretty badly burned and they closed down for almost a year. Mai’s also burned to the ground after a kitchen fire. It reopened this year, but I hear the pho isn’t as good. 🙁 Lesse, what else… They’re opening up a Wal-mart in the Heights and everyone is crazy with rage. Four new MetroRail lines are set to open in 2014 if Metro gets it’s act together (I estimate 2017-2020.)

        There’s your Houston history catch up. 🙂

    3. GingerLaine says:

      OMFG. I laughed about your post b/c when I first visited A&M during my college recruitment days (in a far-away land, long, long ago…) I was all “WTF is this ‘howdy’ shit?!” And then they explained it to me. And then I decided that there was no way in hell that me with my outgoing smile-and-look-people-in-the-eye approach could tolerate hearing “Howdy” day in & day out ad nauseum.

      And then I went to the University of Texas in Austin. 🙂 Where I could make the moody hipsters & drag rats nervous with my winning personality. Tee hee.

  23. sobriquet says:

    “Happiness is a choice.” Cringe. As someone who is genetically prone to depression, that adage just doesn’t hold true. HOWEVER, in some cases, like the LW’s, it is absolutely correct. Instead I will say, “Unwillingness to adapt to change is a choice.” There.

    I get it. It’s not easy adapting to such a huge lifestyle change. You were used to living in the same town with your family for probably your entire life. So what a GREAT opportunity you have to get out now. A lot of people never leave their hometowns. Wendy’s advice is spot on. Don’t let your fear of this huge change RUIN your marriage.

    As far as driving goes… trust me when I say that you’ll get used to it. Seriously. The more you drive, the easier it will be. One day, many months from now, you’ll laugh when you think back about your fear of lunatic drivers.

    1. moonflowers says:

      Even for those of us with genetic tendencies towards depression (I’m like that too!), there are still tiny choices we can make to fight back against our genes. Genes aren’t destiny, just tendencies – yes, the ball’s rolling downhill on us, but we can choose to actively stop it and even roll it up.

      It will take more work than it would for “normal” people, but we’re strong enough for the task. We’re not helpless victims of our genes. That realization itself was really helpful to me when it came to battling stuff I thought was set in stone like my weight or mood problems, and it wasn’t until much later that I realized that thinking like that was part of the disease itself.

      1. sobriquet says:

        Oh, I know I’m not a helpless victim to my genes. I just don’t buy into the whole emotions as a choice thing. I’ve tried to. When I’m sad/depressed, I try to get to the root of the problem and actively make myself happier. If I’m doing everything in my power to be happy, and I’m still not happy then no, it’s not a choice. It’s chemical. And so I’ve grown to resent the phrase.

        That’s why I choose not to think of happiness being a choice, or sadness being a choice, but actions that lead to happiness (or unhappiness) being a choice. It’s much more concrete and I can get behind it.

      2. “actions that lead to happiness (or unhappiness) being a choice.”

        I agree with you. I suffer from chemical depression too, and anxiety. I have to be medicated probably for the rest of my life. It makes things really hard sometimes and yeah, it can be hard to make the choice to be happy.

        But it is true… happiness IS a choice. My life changed so so much for the better when I made a conscious choice to be happy. It doesn’t work overnight. You have to work at it every day. I like how you said it. Choose actions that lead to happiness…. because happiness doesn’t just happen to you.

      3. moonflowers says:

        Yeah, there’s definitely a lag time between positive action and positive mood. It often takes a few days for deliberate happiness-inducing choices to lead to better mood, and it can be really frustrating when you just want relief *now.*

        Keep up the good fight. 🙂

  24. moonflowers says:

    Happiness is a verb.

    There’s a rule of thumb out there that since our brains are designed to focus more on negatives than positives, you must have at least five positive experiences with anything to counterbalance a single negative experience with it. But since negatives stick more easily in our heads, sometimes we gloss right over the good without meaning to. Sometimes we just need to put in conscious effort to notice the good in our lives and appreciate it.

    When you’re in your next big crying fit, start listing all the things you’re grateful for. A loving husband? Clothing and shelter? Delicious chocolate? Rainbows? I was once in an inconsolable crying fit, and this snapped me out in no time.

    Finally, please do try to be treated for depression. At the very least, there are some thinking patterns demonstrated in this letter (“everyone is mean”, etc) that sound like cognitive distortions. These are thinking patterns that are somewhat unconscious but make you view the world through a distorted lens, making life much tougher than it is already. A great book to tackle these with is “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by Dr. Burns.

    1. Great advice. Happiness is a verb, just like love. I make a habit every day to think out loud about what I’m thankful for as I get ready in the morning. Choosing to focus on those things puts me in a great frame of mind to start the day. When people make the statement “I feel miserable” or “I’m depressed,” it seems implicit that they feel that there’s nothing to be done unless something changes…and what often needs to change is that person. You may not be able to instantly change how you feel, but you can change your perspective and change how you are living to help those feelings improve.

  25. LW, you sound like how was when I first moved to live with my boyfriend/husband. I know that I was feeling very depressed about leaving my family and the close proximity to NYC, where it’s culture is world-renowned, to South Carolina, where their state history suggests a culture that is NOTHING like NYC. The fact that I also started birth control pills around the same time also shook my hormones and enhanced my depression. If you started any changes in your health, please consider that it may factor in how you feel now and get all the physical tests you can from your doctor to see what is wrong.

    Yet even though my sadness was hormonally based, sometimes the environment/history of where I live can be quite a downer too. Rather than having the surrounding culture influence you, MAKE the culture you want to have. Create the love affair you can with your community in the context of growing the one you have with your husband. The only way you can do this is to tap into what interests are important to you, research online or in libraries about activities/interests and get involved with your community/organizations. If you are more of a homebody (like I am sometimes), take on a craft – I personally knit and sew items that appeal to my husband’s geek interests, as well as for myself.

    Yet if you can only do ONE thing for yourself LW, PLEASE get yourself a library card. I have two cards for the surrounding two counties I live around and they are a godsend. Not only do I get to borrow all the books and movies to entertain me (for free!), but I also get valuable online resources to help me enhance myself (like learn a language). It also gives me a light non-committal schedule of events that I can potentially attend. Who knows? By going to your library regularly, maybe you WILL be able to meet like-minded people to make a part of your community.

  26. Sorry, but I gotta tell it like it is:

    Your husband is a saint for putting up with you all this time on a day-to-day basis! How would you like it if YOU were the one that had to provide for your family & all you heard 24/7 was bitching, whining, & complaining. Exhausting right? You seem to be so in tune with all the negative aspects but have you thought about the positive? You’re married to a great guy, you have a job (which is a lot more than most people can say right now), & you have your health (I assume).
    So stop being a self-centered, insufferable brat & either shape up, or spare the great man you are married to any further drama!
    Sitting on your ass & crying all day isn’t going to do shit for you. Get over yourself, you’re in a MARRIAGE! It’s a two-way street, not ALL ABOUT YOU!

    1. spaceboy761 says:

      ‘Saint’ isn’t exactly the word I would use, but yes.

      1. Well what’s your consensus? I was hoping to read your words of wisdom on this letter. haha

      2. spaceboy761 says:

        The LW just has to start making changes in her daily routine just for the sake of change, because what she’s doing now clearly isn’t working. Whatever she does, I doubt that her husband is going to stick around for much longer if things don’t improve clearly. If the last happy day of her marriage was during her honeymoon, that’s really bad news.

      3. 110% agreed… She should join a gym! She can branch out/change her routine & lose the weight she gained at the same time! It’s a win-win!

  27. I agree that medical depression may be a factor for the LW…but I also believe that she still has the power to DECIDE for herself to get out there and live her life. I’ve dealt with depression before in my life (depressive disorder runs in my family), and I know that for me, deciding every day to get up, get ready, and put my best effort into everything I did was empowering. I didn’t necessarily stop feeling depressed, but I did feel proud of myself for not letting depression control my life. I was depressed, but I was not a victim of depression. And after time, that pride I felt for my decisions and my work ethic gave me self-confidence, and I did feel better. LW, getting out there and living your life purposefully and with an open mind will not make you feel better right away, but it will help you stop feeling hopeless and therefore miserable because you will no longer feel helpless about your situation. Stop focusing on how you feel, but instead focus on what you can do. No one can take charge of your life but you. Letting your depression and your negative feelings be in charge of your life will only harm you, and will seriously hurt your marriage. So get out there, try out some of the things the other commentators have suggested, and work on feeling proud of yourself for what you can accomplish and who you can become, instead of mourning what you’ve lost. You have been given a great opportunity to grow; get out there and make the most of it. It may be tough, but it’s worth it. (And your husband will thank you).

  28. fearfulsymmetry11 says:

    Frankly, I think her husband deserves better. Having to deal with her cry amd complain all the time, the constant fighting and THEN hearing from her that she wants to move away from him for two years(essentially giving up her marriage) because she doeant like the location? Suck it up, lady.

    1. Britannia says:

      While I do agree that her husband must be having a hard time because of her attitude, this comment is completely unhelpful.

  29. When I moved after grad school for a job, I did not make many new friends for the first 3 years. And then I got tired of that and joined the Jaycees*. I met lots of new people, made some great friends, worked to better my community, and gained lots of experience with managing projects and people. When I moved again, to my current city, I immediately joined the local chapter and made a rule that for the first year, anytime an invitation was extended to me, I would say yes. Did I do some things I didn’t enjoy? Yes. Did I meet some people I didn’t like? Yes. But for the the most part, I had fun and met great people. Sitting in your house complaining will get you nothing. And Wendy is right, happiness is a choice.

    Quite frankly, if you’re giving off the vibe that you hate where you are and all the people there, they are picking up on that and that’s why they are treating you not so nicely.

    *Jaycees worked for me. Every chapter is different, and the organization might not be for you. My point really is to get out, find something you like, and throw yourself into it.

  30. About a year ago, I moved by myself to a new town where I didn’t know anyone, for my job. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I decided to make the most of it. I was, and still am, pretty lonely. I do have a very good friend from work, but she’s in and out of town frequently. Also, whenever I was invited anywhere, I would always go, even if I only knew one person at a party of 20. I used to go walking in the park, sometimes run. One evening, high on endorphines, I looked at the sky. For about 15 minutes. I still remember what the sky looked like. Stop and smell the roses, LW.

    The thing I envy you for is your husband (hope you feel better that someone envies you :)). Why don’t you guys go out? I wish I had someone to go out with! In my old town, I was going to salsa nights. There’s no such thing in the village I live in now. Salsa( or other dance classes) is something you can do with your husband, and It’s pretty entertaining. Another thing I used to do in the old town was play tennis. Again, something you and your husband can do together.

    In your letter, you don’t say how your husband is adjusting to the new city. It can’t be easy for him either! And on top of it all, he has to cheer you up!

    As I was reading the letter, it reminded me of my ex-husband. He was complaining all the time, about everything and everyone. I tried to lift his spirits, but it wore me out eventually. I would tell him: is there something nice you can think of? Focus on something positive for once. LW, I have a feeling your husband will soon start working longer hours, because he’ll be in no rush to come home to the puddle of mush that is you now. Are you so selfish and self-absorbed that you are willing to leave your husband by himself in this new town, while you search for happiness somewhere else? Come to think of it though, he’ll probably be better off by himself.

    So, LW, is there anything positive in your life? Focus on it for a while. Change your attitude. If someone is rude to you at work, don’t take it. Tell them something back or make a joke. Jokes always help! Just because they are clients, doesn’t mean you are their slave. Demand to be treated with respect, and you WILL get it. Even if you lose a couple of clients in the process, it will be worth it. And if you lose your job over it, something tells me you won’t be too upset.

    Another thing that lifts my mood is talk to my 2 BFFs. They live 10 hours away, and they both have twins.(as a side note, if I won’t have twins, I’ll be pissed!) Talking to them, maybe half an hour every week or every other week does wonders for my mood. I get to hear the babies scream, I get updates on their weight and habits they pick up. I also share stories of my life. You should do that too, LW. But when you call them, don’t complain! No one wants to talk to a negative person. This reminds me- I used to know a couple that always complained. I would look at them sideways – what planet are you living on,guys, ’cause on my planet everything’s fine! Should I mention I haven’t talked to them in 5 years? There’s no place I’m my life for negative people now.

    So yeah, the general idea of my post is focus on the positive, and make the best of what you’ve got. Good luck!

    1. Painted_lady says:

      Really lovely advice, Elle. It’s difficult to love someone as negative as your ex-husband – I know, I’ve been on both ends of it. I love your advice to say yes to every invitation.

      One of the best things about moving someplace new is that you can look at the things in your life that aren’t working or that you don’t like about yourself and change them without any fallout from others’ expectations. When I moved for grad school, I decided at the end of that school year, I wanted to look back and see that with every opportunity that presented itself, I would say “yes” far more than I said “no.” At the end of the year, I had a really solid new group of friends who are still my best support system, I’d had a really liberating and completely hot one-night stand with a guy I’d previously written off as out of my league, I taught my first class (which led to my teaching career that I love), I’d gotten two shows under my belt as a professional theatre artist, got a tattoo, taken my first cross-country road trip, the list goes on and on. The experiment worked and it became my life philosophy – more yes, less no. I still fall back into waiting in the wings, being safe, being shy, but now I know what I’m capable of and I snap myself out of it. I hope the LW takes this opportunity to surprise herself as well, because it cracked my world open and made me so much braver.

    2. applescruff says:

      Wonderful advice. I love the part about looking up at the night sky. When I first moved to my current town, I did this light hike by a river and stopped and starred at it for half an hour. There are beautiful things everywhere you go, if you look for them.

  31. I’m going to stick up a bit for the LW here, having moved all over as a military spouse I think that some people are STRONGLY influenced by where they live and some aren’t at all. Some spouses were happy pretty much anywhere – and not just because they ‘worked’ at it. I hate reading the harshness directed at the LW in Wendy’s and the other responses, since she is venting her honest feelings about where she lives. Some people are just better suited for small towns and living in a big city just sucks, and it doesn’t necessarily make you ‘stronger’. Her negative attitude may keep her from seeing the few things she might like in the city, but she is never going to love it there. She knows what she wants, and not everyone is meant to live everywhere.

    So here it is: you have to live for two years where you hate. I’ve done it (thanks, army!), and it sucks – although not all of it, if you do it right. Forget all of this ‘find the silver lining’ advice because the bad for you will outweigh the good, so the silver lining doesn’t do much. Stop bashing cities though – there isn’t anything wrong with them, they are just wrong for you. You need to stop indulging in this misery, because you do have you husband and a job and a life, and it sounds like you may need a powerful intervention to make this happen (like therapy or medication). You need to find a way to make your life work in spite of where you live. MAKE FRIENDS any way you can – sooo much easier said than done, I know. All of Wendy’s tips are sound, and will make your living situation more tolerable. Its temporary, you’ll never love it, and it will suck for a while. You just need to get used to it. I know that isn’t pretty advice like “it will make you stronger” and “make the best of it”, but you’ll be fine once you pull yourself out of this depression.

  32. And here I am driving around the city trying to figure out why all the people going 55 miles an hour are trying to kill me 🙂

  33. *to clarify I meant 55 on the freeway

    1. fast eddie says:

      Is that during the rush hour? 🙂

      1. Haha, I wish!

  34. fast eddie says:

    There’s a lot of good things about living in a large city, entertainment, cultural events, and lots of choices in restaurants. Moving to one from a small rural community would understandably be a shock. But for a variation I love going to the city (San Francisco) to enjoy what if offers but the traffic does makes me shudder. When we visit friends there it’s great to be able to walk to more restaurants then then are in our entire sparsely populated county. If you want to survive there it’s imperative to get involved with some aspect of it.

    The LW is obviously depressed and might benefit from medication. If that doesn’t improve the situation refer to Wendy’s advise. If the marriage weren’t on the line I’d blurt: Your 26 sweetie, start acting like it.

  35. When I was in the time of my darkest despair, a friend gave me a piece of paper with these words. And I have to say they changed my life. As someone stated above, you need to make a conscious decision to choose actions that will lead to happiness. I made these promises to myself and they truly helped me get through the dark times.

    Promise Yourself

    To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

    To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

    To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

    To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

    To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

    To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

    To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

    To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

    To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

    To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

    To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

    To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

    1. Miss Dre, I think everyone needs a copy of this hanging on their wall. Thank you for sharing this.

  36. I’ve been in the same position–my fiance and I picked up and moved to a totally new city because my fiance is a medical resident. Basically, he opened an envelope and that told us where we were going to be spending the next four years, and we went. I made the commitment to go with my fiance wherever he matched, because for me, home is wherever he is.

    Although the city we moved to wasn’t our first choice, we’ve been making the most of it by getting out there and exploring! together! We’ve been in this city for two years and are having a great time. There are two things I would suggest to the LW, in addition to all the other wonderful suggestions other posters have given:

    1) My fiance and I made a “bucket list” of all the things we want to see and do in the time we’re here. Making it a point to be proactive and cross things off the list together has been really fun!

    2) If you and/or your husband went to college, check to see if your city has a local alumni club for your college. You can go to the alumni section of your school’s webpage. My fiance and I went to different Big Ten schools for undergrad, and we’ve been going to Alumni Club events for both schools. We’ve met a TON of great people this way, who understand where we came from. It’s really nice to connect with people from home.

    Also, I would like to agree with Wendy that changing your location within the city might be good solution too. After two years in our old place and getting to know the city better, my fiance and I moved to a new neighborhood in our city and it has been so much better for us. We’re in a place that suits us much better, and it has made a difference.

    Good luck LW!

  37. as someone who has lived in or near 3 large cities and in the country where the grocery store was a half hour away in my life, i feel like this LW is missing the big picture-

    sure, we all miss our childhood homes, or what was comfortable for the duration of our lives. but guess what? staying in that hometown or comfort zone is a) not going to make you grow as a person AT ALL, and b) make you miss out on so so many fun experiences in life. as someone who has now lived in both places, you are so so incredibly lucky. in the country, you have had the peace and calm, country charm from people, being very one with nature, being able to do so many outdoor activities! that was my favorite things about living in the country. now you have the city which will give you things that are equally great, but in different ways. AWESOME food, new cuisines you have never had, a variety of different peoples and thoughts, theatre, music, politics, festivals, awesome stores, ect, ect, ect! i think its easy to see that I enjoy the city more, but the point still stands: i think you need to start appreciating your new home for WHAT IT IS, not what you want it to be or what you wish it was. find a new awesome store to shop at (spice shops are so so cool!). find a cool new bar to go to. i know that here in denver, there is literally a festival every weekend in the summer, and usually there are multiple ones happening at once! i think if you just got over the fact that you aren’t in the country any more, and try to find the cool stuff that a city offers, you might start to appreciate it. it doesn’t have to become your new favorite place or anything! but just enjoy it.

    also, having spent some time in new york city, i can tell you that those “rude” people might not be that rude… i mean some totally are just jerks, of course, but for some of them, its just how they are. thats how (some) city people are. that is also one huge difference between the country and the city. city people usually have a very tough exterior, but if you give them a chance, they are very very kind, normal people.

    1. Turtledove says:

      I’m originally from a tiny rural town and moved to a large city for college… and now I live in an even larger city. One of the things you have to get used to in the transition is that in a small town, life is usually much slower and since everyone largely knows everyone else at least in passing, small talk is considered polite. In a larger city, the pace is just much faster. I had trouble with that, and especially with coming from the Bible Belt to New England– what I initially read as rudeness is really just expedience. People don’t want to chat with me during a routine business transaction because they need to get to the next person. So I try to run errands and make calls at times of day when people are less likely to be busy and they have more time for me. It has worked brilliantly.

      1. In small towns in New England, people definitely participate in small talk. Boston, not so much. I’m glad you’re getting used to it; I am a displaced New Englander and I miss it.

      2. so true. i went to college around NYC, and they really are just a different breed of people, lol. i was definitely overwhelmed with just how in your face, brutally honest, and passionate all the people i met were. completely out of my comfort zone lol

  38. applescruff says:

    LW, I’ve been living in a small town in Utah for the past year, and have hated it. I feel like the only Jew in the state, all of my coworkers are married and older than me, and winter lasted until…two weeks ago. And forget about dating! I tried not to complain to my friends/family because I’m here for a year-long internship and there was nothing anyone could do about that. My dad told me at one point to buck up, the one time I let on to him that I was struggling. But saying things like that isn’t helpful. Look, if you hate where you live, you hate where you live. And it sounds like, for a while, there isn’t much you can do to change that. I really empathize with you, because I’ve been there. So I’ll share what I’ve done, and maybe some of it will be helpful.
    I really made an effort to befriend people from work. It’s always been easy for me to make friends, but it was just more difficult here. That’s ok, it just took more of an effort on my part. After about 6 months, I was able to have at least one thing planned most weekends. I’m counting that as a success.
    I started exercising more. I don’t care what your situation is, any type of exercise is going to help your mood. Guaranteed.
    I got a dog. She is the best little sidekick I could ask for, and has really helped with the loneliness of living here. She got me out and moving this winter when that was the last thing I wanted to do, and gives me someone to hang out with when I don’t have anything planned.
    You know that book you’ve been always wanting to read? Or that hobby you haven’t picked up? Now is your time. I asked a coworker to start teaching me Spanish, and have been reading a ton, because I now have the time.
    Finally, remember how I said I felt like the only Jew in the state? I’m not! I found a small community that meets about an hour away, with several families in the town where I live. They are wonderful, and I’ve gotten the chance to be really involved with them, more so than I could have in a bigger congregation. I’ve had places to go for all the major holidays, and most of the minor ones, too.

    I hope some of that is helpful. I’m sorry you’re struggling. What really helped me this year was putting myself out there and taking risks. I still cried every night for the first month I lived here, but it got better. It will for you, too. If it doesn’t, find a therapist to talk to. We’re not in the business of judging, and he or she could give you so much needed support. Take care of yourself, you’ll be ok.

    1. I live in Utah too, but I love it here. See, it’s always interesting to hear it from someone else’s perspective, I can totally understand why you’ve struggled enjoying it. As for me, I moved to New Jersey for awhile and HATED it…it’s so crazy how much difference in culture miles can make!

  39. Quakergirl says:

    I feel for you, LW, in the sense that I know it’s not so much fun to be dragged to a new place you don’t love or don’t even like just because of someone else’s job. I moved a lot as a kid because my dad just kept volunteering to take a better job in another city. We moved every 4 years or so until my parents finally settled in Missouri. It was really, really tough. You resent the person who dragged you there, you have to figure out where everything is again, you may speak differently than others, you don’t have friends there. It sucks to be uprooted, and I totally get that. In fact, I’m in it now. After college, Quakerboy was offered an incredible position in NYC, but I really would have preferred to stay in our college town– a place we both loved and hope to move back to some day. But that’s not where life took us. He had a great chance to make a name for himself, and NYC was a perfect place for me to start my career, so we packed up our stuff and hauled it up to Manhattan and here we are. Sometimes, it sucks. It’s really hard, and I can’t say that I love living here. It feels wrong to say it, but there are things I really dislike about this place. Sometimes it really makes me miserable. But sometimes I find things I do really love about it– the museums, the concerts, the ability to walk everywhere, the food, the neighborhoodiness, and the wonderful people I’ve met here exploring all those things.

    Frankly, I don’t get why you’re beyond miserable. You can find things you like about this place, but it seems like you’re choosing not to. I know it’s hard when you feel like you don’t fit in– so maybe try to fit in a little more, or at least, not to stick out. Try to dress a little more like everyone else. Try to see where your co-workers hang out after work or on the weekends. Try to see where your neighbors go for fun, or to get cool groceries, or to rent a movie. Or just try to see what your husband might want to check out in your new location– then go with him! I assume you trust that he’s not mean or condescending and might have a good sense of what’ll be fun for you two. Ask him to help you plan a fun weekend day in your new home.

    Hopefully that will at least get you two on track towards a healthier relationship, because honestly, you acting the way you are now is not good for your marriage. Your husband loves you, and seeing that he’s in any way contributed to your unhappiness probably makes him feel horrible. And having you threaten to leave him probably makes him feel even worse! Try to put yourself in his shoes– how would you feel if he threatened to leave you all alone in a new city? You owe it to him to pick yourself up and make yourself happy. If you don’t, not only will you destroy your physical and emotional well-being as your depression spirals out of control, but you’ll take your marriage down with it.

    1. Turtledove says:

      I agree x1000. My husband got a job that brought me from the Bible Belt to New England less than a year ago and the transition has been very difficult. But he feels absolutely terrible about it since he had other offers and it was ultimately his decision that brought us here. I just keep doing what I need to to make the situation tenable and that’s all you can do. If I let it get to me too badly, I have no doubts that it would take my marriage down in a mess of guilt and resentment.

      1. I moved with my then husband and six month old baby to Las Vegas for a big promotion (his) on the condition that we would not raise our children there. By the time they started kindergarten, we’d moved. I hated Vegas, the heat, the smog, the fakeness, the emphasis on money and mostly naked women on billboards and TV. I made friends, got a job I liked, learned to make jams and jellies (I was hanging with a lot of LDS wives and they are great at canning stuff!) and spent time with my kids. I visited home when I could – seven hours away – and knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t forever.

    2. I agree, Quakergirl. I think it’s important to remember that the LW is basically a newlywed. When people take those vows, I think a lot of people have so many stars in their eyes that they don’t really realize what it truly means to vow to stay together through good times and bad times. When those bad times come up and they realize they can’t just be selfish and run away, it’s quite a shock. I suspect that is part of the LW’s problem. She did not truly understood the commitment of marriage and the reality of it has slapped her in the face. She did not truly realize in her gut that marrying this man meant that their relationship now had to take presence over her parents, her friends, her hometown. I don’t think that her marriage is doomed, though! I think it’s simply that this is still unfamiliar territory and the adjustment can be difficult. I think the reality of a marriage commitment is easier to accept when you’ve been married longer. More than likely, the LW really DOES love her husband more than her old friends and her hometown and all those other things. But she’s nervous and scared and unhappy because she’s in an unfamiliar location. Most people would be! However, if she’s smart, she can turn this into an opportunity to make her relationship with her husband closer than ever.

      LW, the number one step you need to take is accept that, as long as you wish to stay married, moving back home and living with your parents is not an option. It just isn’t. You need to accept that you took a vow and you need to make an effort to stay true to those vows.

      Secondly, you need to stop blaming and resenting your husband. Blame the circumstances if you’d like – the crappy economy, for instance. But I think you need to take some ownership for your situation. You said, “I moved five hours away from all my friends and family to be with him.” Nobody made you move – you chose to move. I think once you accept that you made this choice, perhaps you’ll stop taking it out on your husband so much. After all, you have to remember that he’s in this mess, too. He’s not happy in that town, but he has to put up with it for now. Instead of fighting with one another over a choice you both made together, how about you try sympathizing with one another? Support one another. Realize that, amongst all this strange, new stuff, you still have the reassuring comfort of your love. Don’t take that for granted! Cling to it and nurture it instead. Remember, too, that you two made this choice for a reason. There must be long-term benefits to this temporary move, right? Otherwise you two would not have chosen to take this opportunity. Focus on those positive things. Take pride in the fact that he is taking steps to improve his career and your life together. He’s making a lot of sacrifices because he wants to give you both a better life in the long term. You are making those sacrifices, too. So rather than blaming one another, flip the coin and begin to support and appreciate one another.

      Thirdly, remember that this is not forever. Don’t let this town ruin your marriage. You’ll move out in a couple of years. In the meanwhile, make the best of where you are and don’t take the bad stuff too seriously because it’ll all be in your rearview mirror before you know it. Cling to what is good and true – your loving husband, your beautiful vows, and the hope for the future you felt in your heart when you decided to marry him. Good luck.

    3. Yes! This. This is constructive.

  40. LW, perspective is everything. One of my friends got married less than a month ago, and moved 18 hours away from a small town to a big city. She doesn’t know anyone except a couple of her husband’s relatives. They are both trying to find jobs and figure out their lives in an unfamiliar place. In addition to this, a neighbor’s tree fell on their house leaving holes in 3 different rooms. They are currently waiting for an estimate from their insurance and placing buckets under everything to catch rainwater. And you know what, she is still happy and optimistic! Try to be happy and enjoy being a newlywed!

    1. thats a very good point… somewhere, somebody has it worse. the LW is lucky for what she does have.

  41. I’ll reiterate what I said above: the LW knows that she doesn’t like big cities. There is nothing wrong with cities, they are just wrong for her! The good people mention about cities will be outweighed by the bad in her eyes. Some people just aren’t cut out to live in certain places, no matter what ‘perspective’ they adopt. The goal should be to do what you can to make it tenable in the meantime (not moving home, trying to make friends, don’t let yourself cry every night, etc).

    I had to live in a city in the southwest and found nearly every aspect of it miserable – my rule was that I didn’t complain about what I didn’t like to my friends or my husband (that served no purpose and made me more unhappy) and focused on friendships and my husband. Thats what got me through, and I was pretty happy despite the circumstances.

  42. Also. . . I wonder if the LW had to move from a big city to a small town – would people commenting be more sympathetic?

    1. Fairhaired Child says:

      Probably but I think they would still have the “get a dog” comments lol. But only because more of the comments would be along the lines of “yeah there isn’t much to do, maybe you can join a bowling team if they even have a bowling alley” .. however I think they would still tell her to suck it up and look for groups to join and to seek other ways of making herself happy and bitch less at her husband.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah I think you’re right. I’ve lived in big towns my whole life and my little sister moved to a very very small town and was miserable. A year before I had moved to a big city that I didn’t like… but I was comforted that at least I didn’t live in my sister’s small town.
        Especially if the LW were some kind of minorty (my sister and I are Jews and the ability to find a Jewish community is vastly different between Houston, TX and Nowhere, GA even though both are in the South) I would sympathize alot more with her inability to fit in if she were in a place where there wasn’t alot of diversity and opportunity, but big cities generally do not fit that bill.

    2. Temperance says:

      I would be more sympathetic, of course. Big cities and their suburbs have a lot more to offer. You can live in a tiny, safe neighborhood outside of a big city and have a lot of the feel of a small town, but with social opportunities beyond going to church.*

      *This is not a dig at church, but really, there are almost no social opportunities where I grew up that aren’t at church or church-related. Sad for an atheist!

  43. “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, she took the midnight train going anywhere…”

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.. 🙂

  44. Fairhaired Child says:

    LW i feel for you, but I also think you need to just take a step back, a deep breath and “kill those people with kindness”. You may be miserable, but so may a lot of other people, and almost everyone can tell when someone is miserable and they usualy dont do a thing about it. But if they see someone smile, then you know what.. a smile will usually come on their face- even if its a confused smile ie. “why is that creepy girl smiling at me like that? ”

    I moved from a small town to Baltimore, MD. Which to me was a little overwhelming. I cried a lot too when I first moved, I moved for my job and for my boyfriend and while we were apartment hunting I was having an aweful time and seperation issues from my friends, family and my support system and having to rely on him. I even once yelled at him “this is all your fault you have no idea what it is to have to move hours away from your friends”. Granted my boyfriend has been uprooted more in his life – but he’s always stayed in the same 30 minute radius, and had the same friends so I felt justified telling him that.

    Every now and then I still get a little homesick and sad and I pretty much call my mom at least 2x a week to catch up and just to feel supported. I still cry every once and a while when I realize that I’ve grown so far apart from most of my friends (like when I never get calls returned or texts back and realize.. maybe our friendship has died). But for the most part I’ve embraced my life here and it did take me A LONG TIME. To feel like I finally fit in.

    I went on craigslist and joined a womens “play group” and honestly I’m the youngest person in the group so that made me feel a little aprehensive since most of the women in the group have children my age. But it gets me out of the house at least once a month, I have a good time laughing with them and playing board games/cards and doing dinners. I still miss my old town and my old friends and just KNOWING everyone. But I’ve made it through because I put forth an effort and I searched for new friends and smiled at everyone. Even when people are grumpy you can usually get them to smile back by saying hello politely and saying “thank you” or “please” even if they don’t.

    I once had someone say bless you to me when I sneezed at a stop light, and it made my whole week I was so happy. Just by doing something so random as that can really turn someone’s day around, and ifyou do “kill them with kindness’ people will start being kind back.

  45. My mom lived in SAUDI ARABIA for SIX years because my dads job was there. She had to wear a burqa. She couldn’t drive, she couldn’t drink. She couldn’t speak to any of the locals.

    My boyfriends mom lived in India for 3 years to be with his dad. I don’t know much about living in India, but I’m sure it was much more traumatic than the transition from small-town to big-city.

    COME ON. suck it up!

    1. Chaotonic says:

      I could never ever imagine how tough it would be to live in a country such as Saudi Arabia, I traveled to Bahrain and Oman and it really tough following all the liberty rules we had as females. Saudi Arabia is like another universe compared to those. A universe where they’ll behead you in the morning and play soccer in the same square that afternoon.

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      She wore a burqa. That’s amazing… and also horrifying. I hate the city I live in too… but I at least I get to wear tank tops.

    3. My mom actually found a lot to love about living there. My brother and I were born there so she enjoyed having her babies, and she wanted to stay at home during that time anyway, so she didn’t mind not being able to work.

      However she was very sad about being away from her family, as well as the “culture shock” that comes with living in any foreign country.

      But yea the LW is pretty spoiled thinking people are treating her badly just bc she has a different accent and different clothes. My mom says one of the worst parts of SA was the way people would treat her when she didn’t pray. Four times a day, everyday, wherever you are in public, prayers are played SUPER loud. And everyone gets down and starts praying. EVERYONE, except for my mom and us. *those* are mean looks.

    4. WOW. thats all i have to say.

  46. There is a lot going on here. I moved across country once. From AK to NJ. It wasn’t my choice. I woke up from neck surgery to hear that my inlaws had bought non-refundable tickets and that our daycare provider was moving out of state and guess what, my boss called and said the temp replacement was working out so well that they really didn’t want to “disturb the flow” since I had more surgeries coming up. We were already homeless, so yeah – a fresh start in my husband’s home town sounded great to him.
    I was miserable. The heat, he overcrowded and rude surroundings, the accents, the fashions – I felt so out of place.
    Not knowing anyone made it even worse. I joined on online get-together group called “meetup.com” (I think, I can’t remember now) and found people to hang out with in the area. Started meeting up with a few pagans in the area. Met a nice girl to pal around with (which really pissed off my MIL that I had a girlfriend outside of my marriage, she’s homophobic AND nosy to boot), and tried.
    Unfortunately, it didn’t help. 5 months in, and I tried, I really did: he wanted a divorce.

    If you go back to your parents, you will be driving him away and probably into a new set of arms who can handle the big city. It’s time to look for a therapist who can help you get over the homesick feelings, the depression, the “fish-out-of-water” feeling, the anxiety of not only a bigger and more crowded place, but also help you break out of your shell a bit.
    Once you make a few friends and start relaxing, you will be able to feel better about being in the city, and it will make your husband feel better, which will help make you feel even better. If you leave, I can guarantee that the marriage won’t last.

  47. Temperance says:

    Homesick, I understand where you are coming from. Large cities/suburbs are vastly different from smaller towns, which is where I am guessing you grew up. I grew up in a small town as well, and now live (by choice!) in a Philadelphia suburb, and love it. That being said, SNAP OUT OF IT!!

    Try and find things that you like about the culture where you’re living. For instance, in my new neighborhood, old people don’t generally sit on their porches for hours every night. This is great because you can walk around without the small town gossip and the forced conversations with every person on the darn block. I also love the diversity of interests here, and the opportunities that just don’t exist in a small town. I can see plays every weekend if I want to! I can eat all kinds of different foods! I can go to Trader Joe’s! People aren’t afraid of movies with subtitles!

    Start checking out groupons and living social deals for the large city near you. I GUARANTEE that once you start doing things, you’ll fall in love with your city. You just have to!

    1. applescruff says:


  48. WHY is everyone being so incredibly harsh to this woman?? Including Wendy? I seriously thought this whole thing was a joke when I read Wendy’s response – it was so incredibly condescending.

    It is VERY DIFFICULT to uproot your life and move to a completely different city (whether small to large or vice versa). Hasn’t anyone ever felt the way she feels? Can you really say it’s as easy as “get over it, stop whining, you’re overreacting – just find friends. see? easy!”

    It is also very possible that the LW is depressed – for which “Happiness is a choice” or “oh, it sounds like medical depression but she still needs to get over it” are NOT helpful and actually lead to self-hatred and further depression. Depressed people can also be very self-centered / selfish. This can be a symptom of depression – because trying to figure out why you’re so miserable and what to do about can be all-consuming.

    Also, telling someone who is ALREADY FEELING ISOLATED that SHE is the problem, she is whiny and bratty etc – is NOT HELPFUL. IT IS MEAN.

    I really can’t understand why Wendy and most of the commenters seem to hate this woman so much.

    Commenter Elle gave wonderful, thoughtful, compassionate advice.

    Maybe everyone else should take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves why they want to would rip apart a young woman who has expressed that she is DEEPLY unhappy and asking for advice. There is a real person behind that letter. And she is reading your comments. And she feels alone and unhappy and probably scared. I’m pretty sure she didn’t write to Dear Wendy to have her self-esteem torn apart, too.

    1. “I really can’t understand why Wendy and most of the commenters seem to hate this woman so much.”

      I think you are overstating things here. No one “hates” the LW. Many of the comments are harsh because of the tone of the letter.

      1. i know, no one said they hate her. (although in fairness, I said “seem to hate this woman”) – but I don’t know, I just think the content of the letter was so much more significant than the tone:
        -she sometimes cries for an hour when she gets home
        -she’s gained weight
        -she feels hopeless and depressed
        -she doesn’t like to leave the house
        -she doesn’t have any friends or support system other than her husband (no matter what the reason is)
        -she is considering a long distance marriage, which would seem to be a last-ditch effort to save her sanity and not give up on her marriage entirely.

        all of these things just made me feel horrible for her, and i’ve also been in a similar situation, and i know if people were as harsh to me then, it could have had a really devastating effect.

    2. Yes! 1000% agree with kate.

  49. Kate, honey, I agree. I am from a small town of 500 and I could not imagine leaving my little piece of Heaven on earth for a bigger town, or heaven forbid, some city! Instead of everyone being so awfully mean, they should be trying to help this poor girl. All these folks on here telling her she’s a whiny, spoiled brat should remember that: ‘He who is without sin may cast the first stone.’ We are all guilty of being in a slump at sometime or another, and the nerve of some of you folks to come down on her at her lowest time is just awful. This is probably the same attitude she is wanting to escape from in the big cities!

  50. Cynthia Atkins says:

    Wow, i moved to Fort Worth Texas I was originally from a small town in Ky. I remember jumping from job to job to job because I felt people were so mean “in the big city”, it is aweful-growing up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and looks out for one another-it is a culture shock. I understand where u r coming from…I have been away from my family and loved ones over 25 years and i still have issues with how the folks in the different cities and countries I have lived in(my husband is ex-military and ex-truck driver…So start by taking care of yourself and finding out what is goining on inside…I feel you when you say it is tough, and it is okay to take care of yourself and express your feelings..it is not whining!!!!! U R not a looser if u look out for yourself-that is what the city people are doing!!!!..I don’t know how much faith u have or what u believe in but I tell you I had to dig in to my inner being and trust God..and that is all I have..i..If you decide to stay you I would make a suggestion that you find you a “Church Family” and a “Support Group” to help you cope…and learn to pray and lean n depend on JESUS!!! I am 44 years old now and finally able to start taking the raines in my life…if you need a friend you can inbox me cynthiaatkins2011@yahoo.com..u r not alone-God loves you and so do !!!!

  51. Happiness is NOT a choice, my dear! I really hate it when people say that. People who say that have never been in a situation that they cannot get out of that makes them totally miserable. I have the total opposite problem. I’m from a large city and have moved to an area that has absolutely nothing to offer. I call it the 1960’s as I feel I’ve gone that far back in time. I have to drive 40 minutes to get any where. This was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life and now that the housing and job markets both suck, I’m stuck here. I might be here for the next 15 years!! Can you even imagine wasting 15 years of your life in a place where the people don’t accept you unless your at least the 3rd generation here??!! Southern hospitality is a myth! Sure they’re nice to your face, or just pretending, but after that, they don’t want to know you. I’ve put myself out there, volunteered, joined clubs, etc., nothing works in this terrible area.

    I am lucky that I can travel as often and as far a way as I want because it’s the only thing that will get me through this terrible time in my life.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I feel for you, Ali. Sounds like we’re in the same boat. Good luck to you and I hope you find your way out of that hell really soon.

  52. I know this is an old post but I couldn’t refrain from commenting. The writer reminds me of myself a few years ago. I fell hopelessly in love and got married at 26. Being the thrill seeker I am, I quit my job, sold my car, and moved to another country to be with my husband is not American for an agreed upon 1year. Well I will say the 1st year was a complete culture shock because I’m a southerner and they are West Indian but I grit my teeth and threw myself into work, church, getting to know my husbands family, and even a few business ventures. I still went into deep depression and had to get some help because the language, culture, low pay, and extremely small population (i live on island on 7 miles wide with about 30,000 people) were completely overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to reach out for counselling because it’s the only thing that got my through now 7 years of this. My advice in your case is to be positive and keep the end date in sight. In the meantime, look in the community announcements for evening/social activities because that’s something you should have available near a large city and start networking. You never know when you may rub shoulders with someone who is a kindred soul. If that still doesn’t work have a sit-down with the hubby and discuss other living arrangements but don’t even think about moving home because I did that and found that it only made me want to abandon the entire marriage. Work through it together.

  53. i can totally understand how you feel and dont think its your fault. the people posting here dont understand what your going through. I moved to my boyfriends village 3 hours away and am miserable. the people here are the most miserable gossipers I ve ever met. I gave up my family and friends to move here and his family cant be bothered with me. When we tell them its not working for us and im lonely here they invite us around for dinner to make themselves feel better and then we dont hear from them again. I know when we move his family will hate me as he ll have to give up his secure job but i have given it a year to settle in. They just dont get it. When i told his mother i was lonely she laughed at me, they never call or invite us anyway im soooooo sick of them im starting to resent them!

  54. I know this post is from last year, but I just stumbled into it by doing Google searches for the exact same issue. I am honestly appalled at the amount of people who have told her to “snap out of it” or to “get a dog.” Just as there you would never tell a woman that her attitude would make her happy with any man she dated, no change in attitude is going to make a confirmed small town girl into a city slicker. We all have different temperaments and personalities and just as we don’t click with everyone, not everyone fits into any any living environment. Just imagine telling someone who has lived their whole life in a tropical paradise that if they adjust their attitude then they should be happy living in a high rise in the middle of a tree-less wasteland. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but that is how she feels and her feelings are valid. Having said that, however, it also sounds like part of the problem is being separated from her family of origin. Maybe she should discuss with her husband having them come out to visit so they can all play tourist together? Also, find a spiritual home where you can be safe. This can be church, a non-profit organization, a city park where she can commune with nature, etc. For those of us accustomed to open skies and a landscape full of nature, it is very depressing to not be able to see the stars at night or to be surrounded by so much cement. I know, because I struggle with this every day. Last, but not least, hang in there. This is only temporary. This too shall pass. Heck, you are halfway there already!

  55. Sounds like you live in / around Vancouver, BC Canada (that’s where I am around, and I really can’t stand it). 🙁

  56. I’m going through the same thing right now. except going from a very beautiful, recreation oriented city with mountains, forests, hiking, vineyards and desirable weather(BC Okanagan).. to the cold, lonely flatlands of the prairies and a 5000 person town. (saskatchewan..) No trees in sight. Just… flat.
    I’ve got two months left in this “jail sentence” before we move back. Wasting the last 1.5 years here is something I deeply regret. I left my life for his and I’ve lost a part of me.Yes, i have accomplished things here, made friends… but the underlying depression stays until I go back home. As soon as I’m home again, I cry tears of joy and it takes wild horses to drag me back to this living hell. As for Wendy, and everyone else commenting “put your big girl pants on” … you have been very inconsiderate to this posters feelings. This is NOT an easy situation to be in. Believe me.
    I hope things are better for you now.

  57. This woman reminds me of my husband’s small town family, especially his sister in law and my mother in law. They think that people in the city are rude but they’re just slow, stupid, fat and gossip too much. They sit around all day in the country talking bad about others constantly cause they have nothing better to do!

  58. I know I am going to catch flack for my response, but I can relate to the original poster here. I moved from a large town to a smaller town (in the same state, but several hours away) in order to save money. Unfortunately, we moved during the pandemic and could not find a place in any of the towns we wanted to live in and ended up buying a home in the outskirts. It was a bad move from the start.

    I am very outgoing and can usually make friends wherever I go, but the people in my neighborhood are like the mole-people. A lot of them never leave their houses. After three years of living in this hell hole, there are people who live two doors down from me who I have never seen. The ones that do come outside and walk around rarely socialize with anyone and won’t even make eye contact or acknowledge you when they pass you in the streets.

    I have dogs that I walk every day and that has been a nightmare because so many people let their dogs run loose and my dogs have been attacked twice. Neither time did the owner apologize or even own up to the fact that their dog had attacked mine. (I came to find out that these same dogs have attacked other people in the neighborhood). Because we are in the “country,” authorities don’t care about dog attacks (unless one kills you), nor does the problem every get remedied.

    The neighborhood HOA used to try to organize social events, but nobody every attended them, so they stopped wasting money on them. The situation outside of our neighborhood is not much better. This town apparently has a serious problem with drug addicts and it shows. There are hookers and homeless people walking the streets and aggressively interacting with innocent people right outside of our complex. So many businesses have closed down and been abandoned since we moved here. The place looks ravaged and downtrodden. It’s just depressing as hell and every day I am here, I wake up with a sense of dread.

    So, to the original poster, I feel for you. Despite what these people say, I say you would probably be better served going back home until your husband can move back and join you. I ended up having to go home to take care of my mother for nine months and it was the only thing that saved my sanity. It also saved my marriage because my husband and I weren’t fighting all day long and we had some space to find out if it was us or the environment that was making us unhappy. I am actively looking for a job back home so I can get out of here for good.

    Good luck to you.

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