Sex in the Country
September 24, 2012 12:45 PM   Subscribe

DramaFilter: I moved to a new city for boyfriend, then we broke up. Should I stay or leave?

After looking endlessly for a job, I stumbled upon an internship in technology and computer science. It was a blast and I bonded with my bosses so well that I was offered a full-time position. I truly can't imagine a better job. I have a flexible work schedule, a salary equivalent to $60k in the Northeast (I live in the midwest), and lots of traveling. Nevertheless, I don't know anyone in this city save for my now ex-boyfriend. I factored his presence in my life considerably before I accepted the job offer.

He's 8 years older than I am (I'm 22) and is a very successful lawyer. During the summer, we hung out almost everyday and even took trips together. When I cam back, however, he always seemed busy. He had no time to help me settle in to my apartment, look for a car, or hang out. There was no longer anytime for fun.

Two weeks ago, I found out I was (at least) 6 weeks pregnant and contacted him immediately. It was a relief when he took me the abortion clinic and paid for it. There was no way I could have afforded the procedure on my own. He then dropped me to my house and promised to check up later. He never called. When I texted him, he stated that he was partying with friends. I was furious that I asked him to come by right away and take me to the store (you can't drive for 24 hrs following an abortion). Needless to say, he believed I was being too needy and demanding. He still didn't come. After, he texted me saying that our age difference is leading to too much drama in his life, and he'd rather find someone more mature. I find it hard to believe that I was asking a lot, in this case.

I'm looking to get back with him. I know he no longer wants to be with me. However, I'm unsure if I should stay. I'm a city girl and adapting to this new lifestyle, especially friendless, seems miserable. I have cried soo much, and I'm kicking myself for following behind a guy. I don't come from a great family, however, but I have a great group of friends there. What would you do in my situation? Stay or leave?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
1. Don't get back with him. You need to let it go. He's a douche.

2. Is there anything at all you like about the new place besides your great job (which counts for a lot)? Could you maybe stick it out for a year or two and get some good stuff on your resume?

3. Is it such a small place that you'll keep running into him? If so, that might trump everything else.

4. If the job can't overcome your loneliness/his presence, then you could move back. If not, maybe give yourself a deadline "If I don't like it when my lease is up...If I don't like it when a year is up.." whatever. That way you won't feel trapped.
posted by emjaybee at 12:52 PM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

What an asshole! I'm so sorry you had to deal with that experience, although I'm sure it will make you wiser and stronger in the long run.

For your current situation, I'd try to give it a go if you think you can stay in that town without being tempted to re-connect with Asshole Ex. I'd say, throw yourself into whatever you can: take a Zumba class, a knitting class, a cooking class. Volunteer somewhere or look for a group to join. Your job thing seems worth holding on to for at least a year if there's any way for you to stay sane in that town.

Good luck, you sound like a great person and I bet it will work out after you get past this screwed up part.
posted by latkes at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

In your situation, I would go home. I might suggest that your situation is pretty much exactly what home is for.
posted by cribcage at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your ex sounds like a worthless creep. If you live in a city of some size, and you like your job, I would consider trying to stay and make a new life with new friends.

But definitely don't stay for him. I would set a time period (like six months) in which you will devote all your efforts to getting on with a new life in the city you're in, without the worthless ex. If you can't get over him by then, you might consider moving away. But giving up a good job sounds like a largish sacrifice to make because how this guy treated you.
posted by daisystomper at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Does this new city have a MeFite presence? Go to meetups. MeFites are good people.

The job market is a bitch. You have a great job--if I were you I would stay. If you're miserable several months from now, obviously you should reconsider, but for now: avoid him and try this new life of yours out.
posted by phunniemee at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2012 [14 favorites]

I'm really hoping the first sentance of that last paragraph is a typo. Do not under any circumstances get back with him.
I would take at least 3 months to make the decision to go - you can change your mind and decide to stay (at the job you seem to genuinely like) at any time during those months, but if you decide to leave you can't change your mind and get the job back. Give yourself a bit of time to find out if there are enough other things you like about your new town besides the job that staying might be a good option. Do some of the classic post-breakup and new-town things, like taking fitness or craft classes, going out and getting to know the area, getting ot know any promisingly friendly coworkers, etc. and see how you feel once the breakup is not so excruciatingly fresh.
posted by aimedwander at 12:58 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are able to stay in the same city without being tempted to get back together with your ex-boyfriend, I think you should absolutely stay and excel at your job and start building your career. If you think the temptation of getting back together with this useless, fucked-up guy is too great, cut your losses and go, I guess.
posted by kate blank at 12:58 PM on September 24, 2012

He's the one who's busy partying instead of following up with you after an emotionally intense, heartbreaking event..... yet YOU are the one with a maturity problem? That's absolutely unbelievable. Did you mean to say that you are not looking to get back with him? Not sure if that was a typo or not because you also say you are thinking of leaving.

I second emjaybee's #2 - if there is anything besides your job, maybe you can consider staying, if only for the resume and experience.
posted by luciddream928 at 12:58 PM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think you'll be happier a lot faster if you leave the city. If I were you, I'd be sending out resumes and applying for other jobs immediately. What's nice is that you can easily search all over the country and there are tons of amazing cities. Any other city will be equivalent to this one because you'll be on your own, building up your own life anywhere. However, in other cities you won't be around your douchey ex, and you can find a place that really excites you. If I were you, I'd try to move to San Francisco, but that's just me. See where you get job offers.

If you stay out of contact with him, you'll feel better in a few months. It hurts but is worthwhile. You have your whole life ahead of you.

PS: A guy who is out ~partying~ after someone he had a relationship with just got an abortion, and didn't follow up with her even by text.. calling you immature? You are a human being who went through one of the toughest things emotionally for a woman and a person. He is at the upper echelons of suck. Do not think otherwise for a minute.
posted by kellybird at 12:59 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where do you see yourself and what to you see yourself doing 5 years from now? Will this job serve as a significant stepping-stone to get you there, or is it just a placeholder?Considering how much difficulty you had finding work, were you open to relocating in general, boyfriend or not? Your 20s is a great time to relocate, try on new locales, take chances, and explore your options.

It sounds from your description that the job is awesome but the city it's in is now soured for you. Don't let this guy take up residence in your head like that. Relocating is scary but it can be exciting. If at all possible, get this guy out of your brain so that you can explore your new city, meet new people, and have a great adventure where you are.
posted by headnsouth at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

DO NOT get back together with him. If you tried to get back with him, it'll only create more drama and cause more heartache for you, and you'll cry more in the end. NOT WORTH IT.

Are you in a decently sized metro area? I know it sounds cliche, but have you tried to join a new to town meetup group? or any meetup group that fits your interests? Sometimes just being around other friendly people helps a lot with alleviates some of that loneliness you feel, even if those people are not your friends yet.

Once you feel better, sign up for okcupid and try to go on a couple of dates. You probably should take things slow at the beginning, but at least meeting new people will help you get your mind off this guy, which will do wonders for your self-confidence.

Go to the gym.

Buy that dress/shoe/bag you've always wanted. Treat yourself well.
posted by wcmf at 1:02 PM on September 24, 2012

Oh and don't leave the city unless you have a job lined up somewhere else.
posted by kellybird at 1:02 PM on September 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

Short answer: stay for at least a year. I've moved to places large and small where I didn't know a soul, didn't know where to find all sorts of things I liked, etc., and it took the better part of a year to feel like I'd given it a decent chance, found some things and niches.

In all cases, I was immensely happier after about a year, felt going in that giving these places a decent, honest try was the choice that made sense. (Not so uncommon for what it's worth for people to cry a fair bit on arrival... and departure, whenever that might come.)

More operationally, you alluded to having spent a lot of time and effort to find work. Dunno if it would be so challenging from whence you came, but so damn many fields are tighter than tight, all kinds of competitive. Seems at least possible you'd face the challenge of finding something adequate--much less great--if you moved, with less than a year of professional experience and time in the last job.

Too, if you give it a year, sounds like you can save some money so in addition to it looking better on your resume, you'd be better prepared for what follows.
posted by ambient2 at 1:03 PM on September 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Don't get back together with this guy. He is a bad person. Don't have any contact with him.

For now, make the best of your current situation—get out, meet people, do stuff—and keep your eyes open for work back home.
posted by adamrice at 1:16 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

First, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. He behaved like a real turd. We can't know why, but good for you for realizing that you were not being too demanding or needy.

You need to be busy. No. Busier than working all the time.

Join a book club. Go birdwatching. Find out who runs the community haunted house (out of a church or a private school gym) and go get scared by kids in ghost costumes. Find a hayride and a pumpkin patch. Find out where the nutcracker will be performed (whether a professional group or toddlers, doesn't matter) and get tickets. Find a pub trivia night or a basketweaving class. Learn to cook (more elaborate foods). Serve food and clear plates at the weekly soup kitchen. Meet your neighbors. Rake your own leaves. Bake cakes, share. Learn a new language.

Go. Do. Things. You had the time to spend with {guy}, now turn that focus on to yourself and your new community.

Plan a trip to get together with good friends in an exotic but reasonably priced place. See if an airline like Airtran serves your city and find inexpensive tickets for a weekend getaway to like, Vermont of something.

If giving yourself an escape date from your new home makes you more comfortable, add that in. But as the Avett brothers say, be sure you're running to something and not away from. Have a job lined up and a volunteer opportunity before you depart.
posted by bilabial at 1:16 PM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Don't get back together with your ex. That's just a bad idea. If you like your job and your new city, try to make a life for yourself. See if there are meetups ( that interest you, get into some hobbies or volunteering, go to church if you're religious, take a fun class. In other words, get active, make some friends and start thinking about what you want long term. Invite old friends to come visit.

In a few months, if you're ready, start dating again and use better birth control. Don't ever contact your ex again. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.
posted by shoesietart at 1:17 PM on September 24, 2012

The equivalent of $60K, a flexible work schedule, and you're 22? Lemonade out of lemons, my friend, except in your case the lemonade is already made! A lot of women who "follow" a guy do exactly the opposite - they leave behind a decent job for an unstable financial situation.

Agree with recommendations to stay a year - that's typically how long it's taken me to get established in a new area and make connections with decent people. You always have a choice, of course. Keep in mind that you have the opportunity to travel and see other places that you might like to live. Most work situations don't offer that chance.

Sorry about the suck situation with the ex.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:17 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Prioritize your career right now, at this age. Thinking more of friends and boyfriends at that age is one of my biggest regrets! A great job is an amazing opportunity to put yourself in a place where you have much more freedom and much better quality of life 10-15 years from now.

Imagine it--moving back to a bigger city with a great position on your resume, a great reference, and in a much better financial position. You can do that after putting in some time in this job. It's one of the best ways to get a position in a competitive industry/city, actually, because the entry level jobs are so mobbed and you'll be applying to the next level up.

Stay there. Take a vacation to the nearest city if you start getting too bored.

This really is an amazing stroke of luck, even if it doesn't seem like it right now.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:20 PM on September 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

Fuuuuuuuuck this fucking douche. Your job sounds amazing. If I were you, I'd stay in the city for awhile at the awesome job and try to find some friends-- take advantage of the rawness after a break-up to take risks and hang out with people you meet at work or doing activities in your new city. Seriously, if this guy can't be there for you 24 hours after an abortion, he's not going to be there for you... at all. Keep his ass dumped and take advantage of having your foot in the door career-wise.

(If you find yourself very depressed and unable to deal with being alone in the new city, there's no shame in moving home, though. Sometimes that's what you need more.)
posted by stoneandstar at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Given the context, I will assume it was a typo and you are NOT wanting to get back together.

Living somewhere you don't know a soul and have to start a life from scratch is incredibly character building. While I don't think moving home would be unwise, there is a lot of room to grow where you are now. If you are emotionally fragile right now, home might be the best place for you. If you are up for it, though, forging a new life will change you for the better.

And I'm so sorry things are so crummy for you. You got hit with all the crummy stuff I've done or had done to me over several relationships, in one fell swoop. You're gonna be stronger for it in the end.
posted by peacrow at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2012

In this economy and just in general given what a great opportunity this sounds like for you, I personally would stay at the job for at minimum two or three years, which is really not as long as it sounds like. I'd also work extra hard at making more friends, even if that means pushing my own boundaries and intereacting with people and doing things that I would never do in a million years under normal circumstances. I'd indulge in hobbies as much as possible, and take a lot of vacations and breaks. I'd see if there was a local MeFi meetup or meetups for any of my hobbies, and if there wasn't, I'd start one. I'd also take the opportunity to network professionally: you are at the age of your life where it will give you the biggest returns and you'll be able to make the most of any opportunities that come along.

But that's me, and that's also me now in my thirties, not as a twenty-year-old who has just been hurt bigtime and doesn't have the benefit of having experienced the truth of "this too shall pass". I think what you should do is take an honest look at how possible it will be for you to actually implement all of the great advice that MeFi is going to give you about what to do in this situation. If it would just be too hard for you not to crash and burn without the support system, then yes, go back home if you really need to. But ask as many other people who know you and who have different relationships with you (friends, parents, non-parent relatives, teachers, counsellors) for their opinion on how well you'll be able to do on your own. Get as many perspectives as you can.

Your ex sounds like complete dickwad. I'm sorry he happened to you. Don't feel bad for following a guy - if he wasn't a dickwad and instead had been an excellent human being, it wouldn't have been the wrong choice. At worst, all you're guilty of could be ignoring some signs that he was a jerk, ie, wanting to believe the best of people.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:38 PM on September 24, 2012

Also, don't kick yourself for following behind a guy. There's nothing wrong with taking a chance on love when you're young, and it looks like you did it in a really practical and sensible way, have a job, have your own really wasn't that bad of a decision at all!

It might make you feel better to tell you that I moved to my current city for a guy when I was 21, and we broke up about a month later, maybe less. It took a while to adjust to being friendless and alone in a new place, but I stayed, I have wonderful friends and community, and I love my life here. It's all for the best.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:41 PM on September 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

Your ex is a horrible excuse for a human being and a complete dick.

No, you don't have to leave. If you don't want to, you don't have to.

Wow, what a horrible man your ex was! I am so sorry you had to encounter such a despicable lack of character during such a difficult time.
posted by discopolo at 2:00 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm looking to get back with him. I know he no longer wants to be with me.

You might only feel like you want to do that because something bad happened, he abandoned you, then he insulted you, he blamed you, and you worry that it's true. It's not true. Your ex is, underneath it all, a worthless SOB.

Don't believe anything he says. He's the lowest of the low. Be on your side because there is NO truth to what he says. He's messed up and horrible. He probably hid it really well, but just write down every single way he disappointed and horrified you and don't forget it.

You made a narrow escape. It will get better. Don't go near him. He is not the person you wish he was and he never will be. Tell yourself every single time you pine for him. He needs to be someone else's problem, not yours, and you have to find a better life for yourself where people like him aren't allowed to enter.
posted by discopolo at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2012

He's the one who's busy partying instead of following up with you after an emotionally intense, heartbreaking event..... yet YOU are the one with a maturity problem?

Maturity? The guy hasn't a fuckin' clue. Your health and his responsibility in your getting pregnant meant nothing to him, obviously. DTMFA and be glad your rid of him.

If you like the new city, and because you like your job, I'd stay a bit and see if you can make a good life there. If not, well, there's always home or other places. The only exception would be if you kept running into the asshole. That wouldn't be good at this stage. Later you'll be able to look at him and see him for the contemptible man that he is.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:48 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stop for a moment and consider sunk costs to be sunk costs. You are in an unfamiliar city without a boyfriend, but you have a fantastic job opportunity. You should pour your heart and soul into the job opportunity in the short term, without being distracted (because you have no boyfriend), and then decide what makes the most sense: start looking for a social network, or move back home with this fantastic job experience under your belt. It might help to think of this as you having traveled to take the job offer in the short term, with the potential to settle there long term.

And yeah, move on from that guy, don't factor him in at all *unless* you can't stop yourself from trying to have a relationship with him without moving away.
posted by davejay at 2:49 PM on September 24, 2012

OK, you have two choices here:

1. Stay where you are, enjoy your awesome job, make a life for yourself away from this dude (who sounds like a douche, if you ask me, though I realize you didn't.)


2. Leave, because you know you can't enjoy living here without him.

I see a few different points in each direction, and one thing that I don't think you're aware of.

First, the thing I don't think you're aware of. You mention your awesome job that you love, great work environment, bonding with people there. And then in almost the next breath you claim that you "don't know anyone in this city" except your ex.

This doesn't follow.

I think you have friends, and you're either undervaluing them in the face of all this huge relationship drama (which is fair), or maybe you just don't realize that these people are your friends.

OK, now the pros and cons of whether to stay or go. You say you're a city girl and don't like living here in the country. You don't have strong ties to this community yet. You also have this dude dangling over your head, and if it's a small town with a limited number of people your age and a small dating pool, that could turn out to be a big deal. All of those things imply that you should leave.

But there are reasons to stay, too. For one thing, the friends you left behind back home are likely doing their own thing now, assuming you've been gone more than a few months. A lot of people's lives take them away from childhood and college friends, and there's nothing really wrong with that. You can't go back. You have to go forward. Even if you leave, you still have to go forward. Also, really and truly, do not underestimate the value of a good job in this economy, and a good work environment in a career you enjoy. The work side of this equation is a really strong reason to stay, potentially more compelling than the social or romantic situations.

I like emjaybee's suggestion of a deadline. I'll stay and finish up this big project at work. I'll stay till the annual review. I'll stay till my lease is up. Whatever. Give it an honest try and see how much of this is being clouded by general end-of-relationship despair. Don't go home on a nostalgic impulse, because like the cliche goes, you can't go home again. You can't go backwards, only forwards.

A last thought -- where do you want to live? Back home? Here? Some third place?
posted by Sara C. at 3:01 PM on September 24, 2012

Aside from recent events, sounds like you've got some culture shock going on.

I moved from the NE to the Midwest, and it's different, but it's doable. There are great people in the Midwest! Also exploring nature, learning about the environment around you, things like that.

Are there any Fall festivals going on around you right now? Where you can go and walk around and get a corn dog, see the local crafts scene, etc.?

I've also lived in the rural NE and rural Midwest. There is always some bar with karaoke, even in the smallest of towns, where a single woman can at least go and watch and not seem out of place.

I'd ask around at work to see what's going on, look at the local paper for events, and go out and explore. There may be some Fall clean-up or nature group (we have hiking groups here in Maine, among others, and I know the Nature Conservancy is big in the Midwest). Or any number of hobby groups, perhaps related to your profession. If there's a local community college or university, there are sure to be activities there. Heck, even Fermilab has a Scottish/Barn dance group.

You don't say what part of the Midwest, but yes, it's different than the NE for sure. I'd take the time to get to know the place and stay with the good job, get that experience under your belt. Ditch the guy and live your life!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:18 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

A lot of people have given you awesome advice about your ex, so I'm mainly going to focus on the practicalities of living in a smaller place and being a young professional in their first "real"ish job. Take it as read that I think you have come out of a shit situation with this ex smelling like roses. I think you are better off without him, while also not thinking that you were silly for having liked him in the first place. Sometimes people don't reveal their true character until they're in the clutch. Sounds like that might have been the case with your ex. Anyway:

Stop for a moment and consider sunk costs to be sunk costs. You are in an unfamiliar city without a boyfriend, but you have a fantastic job opportunity. You should pour your heart and soul into the job opportunity in the short term, without being distracted (because you have no boyfriend), and then decide what makes the most sense: start looking for a social network, or move back home with this fantastic job experience under your belt. It might help to think of this as you having traveled to take the job offer in the short term, with the potential to settle there long term.

I think this is such great advice. I think a lot of times people underestimate how much a steady, well-paying job with good prospects and good coworkers improves and enhances your life.

With this job, you can make headway on any debts or obligations that you may have (like student loans or credit card debt or helping family). You can save money for your future, both the near term, like moving back to the city you have stronger ties in (if you ultimately want that) or moving somewhere different, and the far future, like a down payment for a house, grad school tuition, and retirement. You can afford some chats with a counselor or therapist if you need concrete support after your very traumatic run-in with your douchenozzle of an ex-boyfriend (he sounds truly horrendous, I'm really sorry), or even if you just want to generally do some personal self-improvement (not saying you need to improve; you sound awesome. It's just a nice perk.). You can afford expensive yoga or meditation classes if you want to spoil yourself and get more centered. You can travel to interesting places. You can try new hobbies like skiing or mountain biking that have high start-ups costs but amortize nicely. That's what is awesome about living in the flyover states as a young professional- you have all this MONEY available to DO stuff that people in similar positions in New York and Boston can't afford because their housing costs eat it up.

My standard advice for people from bigger places who move to the Rural Outlands and struggle is to read the local paper, subscribe to every mailing list they can find, and go to anything they could be even REMOTELY interested in for even FIVE MINUTES. There are definitely things to do and enjoy in smaller places, but it isn't like New York where that stuff falls into your lap with no effort at all, and where you can be choosy as all hell because there's another Anarcho-Marxist Knitting Circle Bake Sale happening two blocks away. You have to suspend your cynicism (if you have any, you don't sound particularly cynical in this question) about how hokey the art gallery is and how there are only five stalls at the craft fair (this happened to me once. I bought a really nice candle and then started crying because everyone was trying SO HARD.) and just engage with stuff.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:28 PM on September 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Focus on the positive. Stay in the job for at least a year. Enjoy being free of this jerk, well paid, and starting life on your own terms. This is your launching pad. Own it. You worked to make every good part of this happen. You set up this job and it rocks. You can work to make this situation even better. You don't need to go home. You haven't been defeated. You're just starting and you're kicking ass.
posted by jann at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Yes, don't get back together with this guy, but I hope that goes without saying. You know he wasn't right for you, but it is understandable that you miss his companionship.)

If I were you I'd stay in the new city. You have a great job, and it sounds like it's going well for you. In terms of making friends, you won the lottery: you moved to the midwest. I went to college in Chicago, and it is my experience that "midwestern friendliness" is very, very real.

If socializing at work functions isn't really yielding you any new friendships, I do suggest looking into joining a hobby/interest group, including as has been mentioned meeting other MeFites.
posted by capricorn at 7:53 PM on September 24, 2012

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