How do I move on from an ex boyfriend and meet new people?
June 12, 2012 10:01 PM   Subscribe

How do I move on from an ex boyfriend and meet new people?

My ex boyfriend broke up with me four months ago, and I am still not completely over it (I am a female in my early twenties). Over the past few months, I've wanted to at least talk to him about the relationship, but he is completely uncommunicative and does not want to talk about the relationship or even be friends. For what it's worth, the breakup happened because he said he couldn't handle hurting me (I had been upset that he wasn't being communicative and hadn't tried to make plans with me for a few weeks). It's come to a point where there really is nothing I think I can do but to move on and try to find someone else who will care about my happiness. The trouble is, I have a very limited (almost nonexistent) social circle. I am living with my parents to save on rent (I just graduated from college and moved back to my home state). I have been at my new job (which is about an hour commute from home) for about five months, and while I have made some acquaintances, my job is relatively isolating and I haven't made many deep connections, much less have had opportunities to meet single men. It's gotten very lonely, especially post-breakup.

My question(s) are: do you have any suggestions for meeting single, twenty-something guys (apart from online dating, which I've tried but am not a huge fan of) given my situation? My other question is, how do I build up my self-esteem after the breakup? Even though I would like to think I am strong, the breakup really took a toll on my self-esteem. While I've tried to be strong and move on with my life, I can't help ruminating. I feel trapped and very, very lonely. My ex probably isn't the right person for me (he seems to be the emotionally unavailable type), but how do I go about trying to find another who is emotionally available?
posted by enantio to Human Relations (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Quickly...

- Don't make friends at work. Keep personal and professional separate and private from each other to minimize drama and weirdness - trust me here.

- Cultivate some interest - a volleyball league, yoga class, hiking group - you get the idea.

- Try to grok that you don't want ANYONE who does not want you. Learn to see as supremely unattractive when someone, anyone, does not treat you with care and respect. Stop seeing that dynamic as a "challenge to improve yourself" - it is not that! If someone is not into you, don't imagine you are compatible, because you are not.

You want things. You want to be treated very well. People who do not treat you well are none of your business and are not on your agenda. Full stop.

Reward people you like who are also nice towards you... Draw appropriate boundaries with anyone it isn't win-win or mutually beneficial. Really.

Best.
posted by jbenben at 10:29 PM on June 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


I think you need to work on your relationship with yourself before you look for a relationship with another guy, or you run a higher risk of ending up with someone who senses your desperation and takes advantage of you without your even knowing what's happening.

Are there any hobbies you enjoy, any classes you could take just for fun either on weeknight or weekend? Not to meet guys, but just to spend some time with others who have similar interests and maybe make some new friends while learning whatever the class is teaching? It will help you to get out your head for a while and focus on new things.
posted by wondermouse at 10:30 PM on June 12, 2012


do you have any suggestions for meeting single, twenty-something guys

-Join a co-ed sports team. That is always my top answer to this question. Martial arts will probably be the most guy-heavy. Dodgeball probably the next guy-heavy. And there are always the usual standbys of soccer, softball, volleyball.

-Join a CrossFit gym. If you don't have one near you then join a regular gym and lift weights. (Forget about treadmills and that stuff. The guys are lifting weights.) If you do this lots of them will probably take the opportunity to advise you and comment on your form so you won't even need to think of how to strike up a conversation with them. I would recommend, if there is a university near by to you, seeing if you can join that gym as a community member (since you're not a student.)

-Go to a sports bar on a day of a big game, pick a team and wear their shirt. Sit at the bar alone with very open body language. Men will talk to you, promise. If you pick a bar frequented by lots of young guys then it will likely be young guys talking to you. Go on Yelp to find out which bars have a young crowd if you don't know.

-Dress cute and go to a bar with a lot of pool tables. Order a drink and hang out until you see some cute guys playing pool. Then go over to them and say, "Would you mind if I play with you guys?" If they act weird or say no then you can always leave.

-Oh, a pool league will also be full of men although that will probably skew older.

-Go to a baseball game!

-Take a community college class in the evenings. Most things in the sciences will skew towards guys.

-Meet other girls your age. This is because a significant portion of them have brothers and male friends who you could meet. I think it is especially good to meet girls with boyfriends rather than single girls. That's because the boyfriends will usually have lots of male friends and they will want to set you up.

Okay those are my ideas off the top of my head. I think if you did even half of these I would be shocked if you didn't have a boyfriend before the end of the summer.
posted by cairdeas at 11:09 PM on June 12, 2012


Lemme see, early 20s, how did I meet people in a meaningful way (of either sex)? A lot of it happened via a community radio station I was part of, and it's many spin-offs. But here's the thing, the people that were there just to meet people kind of put me off. I was there to do radio. So what hooked me were similarly passionate, committed people. And now, about thirty years later, many of them are still very important to me, some of the oldest, best friends I've got. And yeah, there was some love along the way.

What are you passionate about?
posted by philip-random at 11:43 PM on June 12, 2012


Nthing take some classes. Learn something new. Meet new people that way.

Give the dating a miss until you're less lonely.
posted by mleigh at 11:44 PM on June 12, 2012


Don't make friends at work. Keep personal and professional separate and private from each other to minimize drama and weirdness

My personal experience doesn't support this, though I recognize it probably varies from workplace to workplace. Its worked pretty well for me so far to go out as a group with co-workers after work. And then if you hit it off well with some of them in particular, you can involve those in future, less-work-related, activities. If you're afraid some of them might turn out to be problematic or awkward, just don't do anything 1 on 1 with them.
posted by Hither at 11:44 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rather than random 'take a class' type advice, I think you should step back first and reflect on what kinds of things inspire you. Dig deep into your history and think about what has made your heart flutter in the past. You can make a written list. Books like "Finding Your Own North Star" can help. Then try to find ways to do a few of those activities locally. Doing activities that really inspire you, more than online dating, is a path to start down if you want to eventually be less lonely.

Note: as you start to get out there and do activities, you'll probably spend more than a few nights coming home feeling worse than when you left. I myself remember crying my way home after an outdoor Salsa dancing event, after a breakup. Sometimes, being out in crowds and not having The Best Time Ever just makes a romantic loss more painful. Stick it out and keep trying... eventually fewer and fewer evenings out will hurt, and eventually you will happen upon the awesome.

Also - nthing activities that involve exercise, whether your favorite exercise is weightlifting, yoga, or a team sport. It really builds confidence and a positive mood over time, which will make you more attractive to others.
posted by killiancourt at 1:26 AM on June 13, 2012


My question(s) are: do you have any suggestions for meeting single, twenty-something guys (apart from online dating, which I've tried but am not a huge fan of) given my situation?

I've always said to hang-out with couple friends. They are natural filters for high-quality people. If you hang out with single people, one of the main things you have in common is that you are single. If you hang out with couples, they will bring along people that they connect with on meaningful levels, that may well be great options.

My other question is, how do I build up my self-esteem after the breakup? Even though I would like to think I am strong, the breakup really took a toll on my self-esteem.

It's okay. The relationship is not you and you are not the relationship. Many of us have been through the wringer when it comes to love. Yes, it's going to impact how you feel about yourself. That may well be unavoidable, but you are so much more. Be gentle on yourself and realise that you have intrinsic value. Maybe you're conflating other issues into the break-up, treating it as a referendum on your personality. I assure you it is not. It is something that happened once and now you are getting over it. Allow the sadness to be present, but realise that it does not define you. Stop trying to be strong and just be. Be the things that make you happy and let this fade in its own time.

While I've tried to be strong and move on with my life, I can't help ruminating. I feel trapped and very, very lonely. My ex probably isn't the right person for me (he seems to be the emotionally unavailable type), but how do I go about trying to find another who is emotionally available?

We attract what we are. So the way to attract someone emotionally available is to be emotionally available. If you're worried about repeating the same mistake again, you need to give yourself more credit than that. You are a learning machine – all people are. You learned something on this occasion and you will make a different decision next time. Thus, worry not about the next time. Rather, focus on getting your base back, for that is what will allow you to be emotionally available next time.

Whatever you desire, become that and you will naturally attract it to yourself.
posted by nickrussell at 3:48 AM on June 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your life has been extremely disrupted by your graduation, your return home, your breakup, your somewhat distant job... It's normal to feel off kilter and lonely for awhile.

As others have said, focus on doing things you enjoy, and spending time with people you like... join an activity group, a sports team, volunteer, whatever.

Doing good for other people is an especially good mood booster.

Finding a boyfriend is easier when you're not aggressively looking.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 4:47 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been there. I was getting over a breakup, escaped to a new city where I didn't know anybody, was feeling lonely, sought to assuage that loneliness by finding a new guy, found a guy that *seemed* to meet my criteria at the time (but I focused on the wrong criteria!)... the relationship began well with lots of chemistry, but I ignored many many red flags just to be with him, because being with him gave my life meaning. Three years later, we broke up (about 3 weeks ago), which was devastating, because I tried so hard to make it work with him (and he wasn't so committed, as it turns out).

What I'm saying is, a relationship is not really the answer when you're lonely and not sure of yourself or your life. I know everyone says this, and I didn't get it till I learned it the hard way, 3 "wasted" years later. You're still so young that investing in a relationship that possibly won't pan out isn't the worst choice you could make, but I don't know... if I were you, I'd try to muster up all the courage you've got and go after what YOU (the single you) really want out of life, when you have no one to have to compromise that with.

Nowadays I think of my life as a game with multiple levels. All of those levels are MY goals, and nowhere in them is a "partner" that I expect to share it with. However, at the end of those levels, is a Bonus level -- and I put finding the right man (a truly mature, moral, well-communicating individual who I fully respect) in that level. I find that with all these levels (I've got 10, not including the bonus), my life is plenty busy, fun, passionate, and challenging without a partner anyway. Learn to take care of yourself first.
posted by Sa Dec at 7:27 AM on June 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


After my Big Ass Breakup, I dove into MeetUp.

Anything you are interested in - YES ANYTHING - they will hook you up with people who are also interested in that. There are singles groups, but I found that they were more for people who were single and happy being single, as opposed to being for people who were single and looking for a LTR.

This act alone expanded my social circle beyond anything I could have done on my own.
Highly recommend!
posted by THAT William Mize at 7:42 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I wish I knew where you lived, but I'll answer for the places I've lived:

1. These are places I've made friends and boyfriends (and then my husband: volunteering (onebrick.org or handson or volunteer match, meetup groups (I joined a book club, but there are hundreds of them for every activity imaginable), a ski club, an outdoor club, and my husband made friends through a running club (hash house harriers)
2. Moving on.... Exercise helped a lot. It makes me feel better about me. Reading helps me because it's the thing that gives me the most pleasure in life, but I'm sure you have a hobby that gives you equal pleasure. Keeping busy and getting out and doing things.
posted by bananafish at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you everyone for the responses! I truly appreciate all the support I've received on here. :) Marking as resolved.
posted by enantio at 12:20 AM on June 17, 2012


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