Need opinion/experience from or users
February 22, 2012 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Just broke up with my BF 2 weeks ago; need advice about how to busy myself and move on and how to meet new people (friends or potential dates). Thinking about and, need advice from anyone who has used these sites.

So I officially broke up with my boyfriend 2 weeks ago; the relationship was my first and lasted 4 years, the past 1.5 years were on and off again and very turbulent. Reason it ended was b/c ultimately we were not compatible, I didn't feel like he treated me with respect or with high priority. The reason the relationship dragged on for so long was b/c every time i tried to leave him, he would chase after me and I was too weak and in love to resist, also he's my supervisor at work so I see him 5 days/week so that doesn't help matters (we dated before getting a job at our present company)....needless to say I'm emotionally exhausted right now. I'm also feeling very down and lonely.

I need advice on what to do to keep myself busy and move forward. I'm already thinking about taking up art class. Another thing is that even though i have friends and we meet about once a week to hang out I still feel lonely b/c my friends either have a significant other to keep them busy or have other things going on in their lives. I feel like I'm ready to date soon as I never really dated before this last relationship (d/t focusing on school).

I'm thinking of using to meet new friends or potential dates and in the future i might use but I've never met people from online before and I am really nervous from a safety prospective (i come from a very sheltered upbringing). When meeting up with a group from how do you know who it is that you're meeting with since you don't know what they look like? How do you communicate before the meet up?

Can anyone who has used these sites give me their opinion and advice...I would like to hear other people's experiences, be it good or bad. Thanks!

FYI: I'm female, in my late twenties, living on my own.
posted by CheeseAndRice to Human Relations (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Generally, individual meetup events will tell you how to recognize them -- they'll have a reservation under a specific name and the waiter will direct you to the group, or there'll be a sign, or the organizer will say that they'll be wearing a bright pink scarf or something of that nature. The people in the group will also likely be on the lookout for people who look like they're looking for people in the venue and wave you over.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:20 PM on February 22, 2012

This does not sound like a time for 'meeting new people'. It sounds to me more like a time for some emotional R&R, a time to do some emotional healing.

Can you spend time with friends (I know hanging out with couples can be difficult for a single, especially a newly single) but can you see them without their SO. Also go places, do things that will bring you into contact with others in a non-matchmaking way - the art classes seem a good start.

One of you needs a new job - a move elsewhere in the company, or move to a new job elsewhere. Being in close contact 5 days a week is only going to mess you up.

Is it feasible to get a (female) housemate? That might help fill part of your loneliness problem.

Good luck
posted by GeeEmm at 5:40 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree that one of you needs a new job or a new position in the company - the only way I've been able to get over my serious relationships is by a long period of no contact. It usually takes me about a year.

An art class sounds like a great idea - I bet it will be fun, take up some time, and you might meet someone there.

You have you pay to use - why not start with, which is free, to see if you like online dating, and to see if you're ready to date yet, this soon after the breakup? The demographic is different than match, which might be a plus or a minus for you.

Safety when meeting an online date is pretty simple, and exactly the same as any stranger you meet in person. Don't give out your home address. Don't get in anyone's car until you trust them. Meet for the first time in a visible public place, and have your own transportation home (that can be your car, a friend you can call, or public transportation). You will have exchanged photos, so it will be easy to recognize your date. Trust your gut - if something feels wrong, it's okay to cut the date short.

Good luck!
posted by insectosaurus at 5:53 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Early 30s guy here.

1) Try to open yourself up to all social engagements. I have a general policy to accept all social invitations unless I have a legit reason not to (e.g., fear for my safety). Not a "I don't feel like it". You'll never know what randomness will occur.

2) Activities - An art class is a great idea. Try to jump sign up for a bunch of different activities. The more interactive the better. Like dancing? Take a dance class (Salsa worked for me). What about cooking? What about a social sports club? Online dating can feel taxing, it's much more natural just to meet people during an activity and develop normal relationships.

3) Don't Worry about being a Third Wheel - I go out to dinner, drinks, etc. with couples all the time. I don't feel like a third wheel. If you don't think about it like that, it won't bother you. Also, some people in couples strive to go out in a 1-on-1 situation. Embrace it.

4) Online Dating - I only really know this from the guy perspective. However, online dating can feel daunting. You'll get ALOT of responses. It'll be hard to separate the signal from the noise. It'll be hard to make a connection when you do decide to meet up. Try to do activities to meet new people instead. Or try to use these as opportunities to just have fun and not worry about whether there's a spark or not at first.

5) Draw People To You - Why not try to be the attractor in your social circle? You're single and have time on your hands... throw dinner parties, themed get-togethers. Invite your friends to bring a friend you've never met. Smile, say hi to people in coffeehouses. Ask them what book they're reading. Most guys will be enamored and happy to chat with you.
posted by miasma at 6:35 PM on February 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

Thank you for the responses so far. As many of you pointed out, working with an ex is truly a nightmare! I know it SEEMS like it's too short of a time for me to even think about dating which i would agree with but for the past 1.5 years, i might as well be single. Me and my ex had an on and off relationship during this time but he never committed to me, he never ACTED like my boyfriend during this period...he would continue texting me and wanting to hang out with me but everything was on his terms....there were months in which I wouldn't even see him outside of work but he still kept in contact with me via text or calls. We were completely broken up for a year but he refused to let me move on...yet he didn't want to put effort into being in a relationship with me and this whole time we have been acting like acquaintances at work b/c it is against company policy for supervisors and employees to date so i felt cheated out of a meaningful relationship. This whole time I acted like i was in a relationship, not flirting with anyone, not making myself available to meet new people, all b/c he kept me on a back burner and I'm ready to finally move on from all this. I finally see what all my friends have been telling me all along, that he's manipulative, selfish and doesn't want to let me go b/c i'm a good catch (i'm attractive, financially independent and have a good career) yet he doesn't want to be with me. I feel like this relationship has taken such a toll on my self esteem b/c he didn't really treat me with respect and so I'm really trying to move past this.

I LOVE my job so i don't want to quit, plus i got this job before he did and actually got him an interview at my company. I think I will take your advice and sign up for more activities and classes to keep myself busy, learn new things. The more I think about it, the more i feel like i'm not ready for online dating, the process seems daunting and scary to me. It's just hard for me to meet new people b/c I tend to be shy and closed off until I really get to know someone.

If anyone else has words of encouragement for me, I would really appreciate it. Or even advice on what you did to move on after a break up as this is my first. Thank you.
posted by CheeseAndRice at 7:21 PM on February 22, 2012

Book club! It was very scary to join a book club, but I'd always wanted to. I finally did it after a breakup and I love it. Check your library for starting points.

Definitely sign up for the art class, too. It will take a while to start new friendships there, but once you break your own ice in doing something like this, it will be easier next time. What other classes might you be interested in?

Also, it sounds like you're ready for a rebound, considering you just broke up and you were brought up sheltered. Start slowly. When you feel emotionally ready to handle rejection, definitely sign up for! I had a ton of fun meeting all sorts of guys off and I am currently in a LTR with one of them -- we're very happy. But even if that's not your end goal (it wasn't mine!) you'll meet lots of people and get some great stories.
posted by mibo at 7:23 PM on February 22, 2012

I think meetup would be great for you, but be prepared to try a few groups before you find one you like. I went to one coffee date with a meetup group, but the conversation quickly turned ugly and racist; I made an excuse and left. Later, I joined a hiking meetup group and that was really fun--nice people, getting outside, some exercise. Life kind of intervened and I moved away from meetup, but there are some nice folks there and they will do their best to make you comfortable and at ease; if you have questions, you can always e-mail the organizer and get more info. Definitely try it and see what you find.

I think I would probably wait on the online dating until you feel more steady and confident. There are people on those sites that will take advantage of you if you have trouble being assertive. When I first tried it, I was pretty depressed and lonely and I let a guy string me along for a long time before he'd actually meet me in person (I suspect he was married). Apart from that, though, I found online dating to be pretty fun and ego-boosting, though I actually went on very few dates. I met my SO on after being on there for less than a week. I don't think that's very typical, though. :)
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:19 PM on February 22, 2012

I think I just read the past 6 months of my life in that blurb on top. I'm actually in the same boat, I left my ex in August and it was a v. good choice for me. I moved out and got a place on my own and attempted to figure out what to do with my life from there. Needless to say, meetup is a great idea for you to get into. I joined a couple groups and ended up running one of them. I found it to be a great way to be around people in a low pressure situation.

I'm not sure about the groups you've joined and how they inform people about how to find them, but I send out an email on the day of the event reminding/thanking everyone for their reservations and informing them of what I'm wearing and my hairstyle choice of the day. When I first started running the groups, I tried the whole "let me make name tags and a sign" thing and that was just more effort than it's worth. In addition to that, I end up making reservations in the name of the group or my name so that when people show up, they know exactly where to go. YMMV b/c I run a dinner and happy hour meetup group.

Online dating.. well.. if you're looking for an ego boost, go on OKC or POF and futz around on there. I'm a bit jaded about the whole thing, but it works for some and not for others. Either way, I wish you the best. I would also say try and find stuff that you're into can enjoy on your own. I ended up losing myself in cooking, mixology and working out. It's a double win b/c I'm bettering myself and honing skills that are awesome to have.

I know that this whole time is really rough on you and the idea of being alone is really hard to deal with. I had a really bad month of binge drinking and misery, but I made my way out of it. You should watch this video. It's a bit sappy, but I'm the anti-sap and it made me feel a bit better when I was at the lowest of the low. Also, you can memail me if you need to talk to someone who's mirroring your life right now.
posted by baconandvodka at 7:31 AM on February 23, 2012

Meetup is great for getting out of the house and keeping busy. Definitely give it a shot. Regardless of whether you're in a relationship, it's important to just have your own activities.

But, like someone upthread said, be prepared to try a bunch of different Meetups to find the one with members that you click with.

As for dating in general, give yourself some time to grieve. This is a good time to hang with friends, develop new activities, keep busy while also paying attention to yourself. And, when you're feeling over him, you'll have created a network for yourself on which to potentially draw from.
posted by vivzan at 10:17 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Join a gym that offers a lot of different classes, like dance, and yoga, etc. exercise will make you feel better and you may make some new friends in classes. You could also do some volunteering; this will get you out of the house and keep you busy. Depending on your interests and your location try to do something outdoors, like volunteer in a community garden or for beach cleanup, or whatever.
posted by mareli at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2012

Meetup has been great for me and I recommend it to you. I met all my current best friends through Meetup. I also met my boyfriend. It took awhile, though- not just to meet my bf, but also to make friends. It took months and months of attending Meetup events. I had to put myself out there- friend people on Facebook first, invite them to my house for parties, put events together... I even became an organizer on Meetup. It was great, though. I wouldn't have ever met any of these people if it weren't for Meetup.

Do look for other events, clubs, and activities in your area. Not everything is online, even though it should be. There are really so many opportunities.

The best way to meet new people and make them your friends is to see them regularly. So you need to find something that is interesting to you and that has regular meetings. It's the vice that helps the friendship glue set.

There are probably lots of Meetup groups in your area. They're expensive to run, so there aren't usually a lot of dead groups listed, but some are still more active than others. Find one that is active, even if the turnout to events is small. Don't be put off by small events! A small group can be way less intimidating than a large group.
If you attend one event, and it's kinda meh, try to go again anyway. Twice is good, three times is better. If it doesn't take, it doesn't take. But there will be different people each time, and that will affect things.
Make sure you have a picture of yourself on the Meetup site. It will help the leader recognize you. You should study the pictures of other attendees and that will help you recognize them. But also ask for specifics about where to meet the leader. As a leader, I always tried to be very specific and give my number out to new people in an email before the event to make sure we connected. You'll be able to contact the leader through the group Meetup site.

If the group doesn't work out, try another one. And if you meet someone you like and would like to hang out sometime, friend them on Facebook. Don't fret about that- they're there to meet people, just like you. Message them and ask them if they'd like to get lunch or dinner sometime. That can seem really formal and weird at first, but again- they're looking for friends too.

Good luck! I think Meetup got me through the worst of my last two breakups.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

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