Oh what a tangled web we weave
November 20, 2009 5:58 PM   Subscribe

I need some advice about how to move my life forward. Relationship, job, and home. A simple question: should I stay here or should I go back home, but with the usual tortured backstory that I will try to keep as relevant as possible!

Backstory: I am a male, mid 20s, in the UK. I moved 200miles for a job that I loved. It came with own accommodation. I met a great girl (X) there, and started going out with her. Lost job (and therefore place to live) when company collapsed. X was very supportive. Moved in with her for a couple of weeks, she helps me look for jobs. Relationship is strained for a little while due to being in each other's company 24/7. (X is about to start full-time job, after finishing masters degree, so has previously had a lot of free time to be with me)

I want to stay in area, and not go back to my hometown, partly because I would need to do exactly what I am doing here; find jobs, place to live etc, and also because I now have a reason to stay= girlfriend. Decide to stay in area, and stick it out. Decide to find a place to live locally. Ask X whether me living locally is going to work out for both of us. She agrees that it will. Find a small, cheap apartment, fairly close to X. We're happy. Both looking forward to *ahem* christen... new apartment.

I move in. X excuses herself for a few days. Week later, X decides she wants to be friends only. I am heartbroken. Several weeks go by where X causes more grief by "not knowing where she stands", and giving me [false] hope. In the meantime, she's still being supportive, helping me move in other stuff, lending me furniture, still looking for jobs etc. We still do things together when we can; shows, sports and movies. And still talk a lot. Has been platonic only.

I still have feelings for this girl. She is awesome, intelligent, gorgeous. But it means that any glimmer of mutual feelings she shows I jump on (in my mind) as her wanting to get back with me. This is not good. I know that going from 'boyfriend' to 'just friends' is a bad idea. But she is honestly a good friend too.

However, I do want to get back with her. But if I can't, then she is a really good friend I don't want to lose. But even though she's quite happy being friends, I'm not at that stage yet. If there is no hope of getting back together, then I need to get over her.


Looking for jobs still. The job market is rubbish, as it is back in my hometown. Doing all I can. Get part time job at low pay, whilst still searching for other jobs.

Here's a catch: In a few weeks, I have the final selection process (week-long) to gain entry to Sandhurst, the British Army Officer military academy (please, no comments on whether this is a good thing or not). If I pass, then entry will be in May 2010. If so, then I will have a career sorted for a few years at least.

But until May, or god forbid, if I don't pass, then I still need a better paid job.

The crux: I am barely scraping by here. I can just afford rent now, but I haven't been paid by this job yet. My gas, electricity, water is all metered so I can just about keep on top of those.

My parents, back home, have said that I can live with them for as long as I need. Ultimately I would still be in the same situation, looking for jobs, possibly looking for place to live (parents have small house).

However, I kinda feel settled here. I'm making friends; there's possibly better jobs on the horizon; I like my new apartment; and if I pass this selection course, I would only need to be here for a few months. And I feel like I should man up, and stick it out. I don't want to give up!

So, sorry for the length. With all the above information, can you help me out?

Should I stay here? And try to get over X, carry on looking for jobs (and working part time), and hope that I pass the course.
Or should I move back home? Never see X again probably, still look for jobs (losing part time job), hope that I pass the course.

Throwaway email: hereorhome@googlemail.com

(Ideal happy ending: X gets back with me. I get a (temporary) job that pays well. I stay living where I am. Bonus points to get me all three! )
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total)
You let someone have their cake and eat it too you'll end up with nothing.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:05 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Okay, a thousand times over, you cannot be friends with this girl. I asked a question anonymously earlier this year about being "just" friends with a girl, the overwhelming advice was to cut her out completely.

It hurt a ton, but I told her I couldn't even be friends with her... and it has worked out for the best. I am free. Otherwise I would hang out with said girl and always be looking for ways back in.. it's torture and completely unnecessary. A few sources that back all this up:

"No man can be friends with a girl he's attracted too. Your always thinking about sex. Ruins it." When Hally Met Sally


posted by pwally at 6:08 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]

I think you should stay where you are, if you can manage it. Moving back in with your parents will feel like a retreat. Never, never, never give up!

It's probably best to let go of X entirely, though. It's a bed of nails that won't get more comfortable with lying on it longer. Stop seeing her at all, so far as that's possible. Sure, it's great to have a friend, but you say you're making other friends there so seeing X will just be a reminder of the past and not useful.
posted by anadem at 6:13 PM on November 20, 2009

people do not make rational choices on where to live based on one friend. if you are doing this, you will never be "just friends" with this girl.

you need to remove her from the equation all together. if she didn't exist, where would you chose to live?

(ps, i'm with pwally - you need to cut this girl out of your life completely. she's given the emotional security of a guy who's crazy about her without having to reciprocate in kind. that's not a friend, that's a leech)
posted by nadawi at 6:14 PM on November 20, 2009

Let X go. Rip the Band-aid off quickly. Don't see her until you are over her completely. Maybe after Sandhurst.

I'm voting for you staying where you are and keeping the part time job you already have. If the job market is just as bad in your hometown then why give up your freedom. Maybe you could put out feelers there though, then if any offers come through you can move home.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:20 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Stay where you are - sounds like you can make it ok and it's important to you.

Stay away from X - it just shouldn't be this complicated and it isn't going to get simpler by itself.
posted by crabintheocean at 6:42 PM on November 20, 2009

Leave the parent's house as a last resort - at least you know you have somewhere to go if everything goes wrong. Stay away from X at least until you get your feelings sorted out.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:24 PM on November 20, 2009

How long were you dating? Do you know exactly why it is that she wanted you to be just friends?

By the way, Nadawi, girls who want to be just friends with guys and not have sex with them are leeches? Really? And this girl? She put him up in her apt and is helping him move furniture, even!

But yeah, OP, if you're ever going to get over this girl, the first thing you need to do is accept, or decide, that it is over permanently and there is no chance of getting back together. And then once you do that, don't even allow your mind to go there. Fantasize about her, remember things, etc. You may have to put the friendship on hold for a few months. She'll still be there to be friends with afterwards.

And other than that, I do agree with Nadawi that when deciding whether to stay or go back to your parents' house, you figure out what you would do if this girl wasn't living in your current town.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:28 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

(Argh, in case it wasn't clear from my sentence fragment, fantasizing about/remembering her are things you must *not* do)
posted by Ashley801 at 11:33 PM on November 20, 2009

It's nice that you guys are friends, but it really won't help you in the short term. Tell her you really value the friendship, but can't until you've gotten over the breakup. Then in a year or two (if you still want to) you could consider contacting her and trying the friendship then. You don't have to lose the friendship forever, but you probably do need to pause it for a while.

I agree that moving back with your parents should be a last resort. It's great that they'll support you if you really need it, but moving in with your parents, particularly whilst single and unemployed, can be a bit of a downer. It sounds like your prospects are better where you are anyway. And unless you live in a really small town, I wouldn't be too worried by staying in the same place as X.

Also, presumably you'll find out about Sandhurst reasonably soon after the interviews? Why don't you put off the decision until then?
posted by Emilyisnow at 1:43 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ashley801, please don't put words in my mouth. i said this girl is behaving in a leeching way. yes, girls can be just friends with guys and not fuck them. however, in this situation with the mixed signals and doing all the things they did while they were together, except for sex, especially when he is still so tore up about it - that is not a girl who is being a friend. that is a girl who is stringing a guy along to make herself feel desired.
posted by nadawi at 2:00 AM on November 21, 2009

Think further ahead. What do you really want? If Sandhurst and a military career are the goals, put your effort into preparing for the test. Keep making friends and looking for a better job. Distance yourself from the girl; it's just causing misery and confusion.
posted by theora55 at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

however, in this situation with the mixed signals and doing all the things they did while they were together, except for sex, especially when he is still so tore up about it - that is not a girl who is being a friend. that is a girl who is stringing a guy along to make herself feel desired.

Or she's a girl who really likes him as a person, and is being honest with him about how she feels romantically while she tries to figure it out. I don't think demonizing her is helpful to the OP. We can say that it's not good for him to stick around for that, if he wants to get over her, without inputting selfishness/maliciousness that we don't know is there.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:58 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

if she really liked him as a person selflessly she wouldn't have spent a few weeks pulling him through the agony of "Several weeks go by where X causes more grief by "not knowing where she stands". as i stated before, that's not someone honestly seeking out being friends. that's someone who is mixed up at best and using him as an emotional tampon at worse.

as the first person stated, she's having her cake and eating it too. i'm not the only one in this thread who seems to view this girl as one who is getting everything while he's hurting himself over it.

you fighting with me isn't helpful to the OP. please figure out a way to express your opinions without using me to do it.
posted by nadawi at 4:28 PM on November 21, 2009

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