How do I forgive myself for making a bad decision?
July 25, 2013 5:37 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I are relocating to a new city. We're in town to find a place to live and applied for two places. We were offered both and had to make a (what seemed like a difficult) decision. We went back and forth and eventually made a decision. Once we signed the lease i started feeling serious regret and loss of opportunity.

The other place was much bigger, quieter, had a place to set up a woodworkshop, etc. The place we picked will be too hot. Has no AC. Noisy neighbors. I'm beating myself up about it. Throwing a temper tantrum because of a decision that I am now upset about.

I have to move on somehow, it's not fair to my girlfriend. She is trying to excite me about the new apartment, but I'm stuck in a really bad place inside my head. Can't get over the gut wrenching feeling of not leaping at the opportunity to take he other place. I'm projecting all my other fears on to this issue and I can tell it's not healthy.

I feel like I need to forgive myself, but I'm not sure how.
posted by mrunderhill to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Surely you picked the place you did for a reason. Focus on that reason.
posted by Andrhia at 5:40 AM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It's not like you have to live in this place forever. You know you can always move later or pay to get out of your lease.

Seriously, not the end of the world.
posted by discopolo at 5:42 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

When you are torn between two choices, its usually because they are of similar quality. As Andrhia says, there are good things about the flat you selected, its why you selected it. When it becomes your home you will probably notice these problems less, or find ways around them. In the long run, if you find that the flat is unsuitable, you can indeed choose to move out.

There were flaws with the other flat too. Think about those, and how much they might have bothered you.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: it's not easy -- but to "forgive yourself" and let go/move-on you can:

----"reframe" this situation -- look at it not in terms of opportunity costs, but something else, like: an opportunity to show your girlfriend that you can "handle" things, (seriously, it can be unattractive to see people incessantly flail) OR exploring the now-unknown advantages of your new situation, OR get even more down and dirty and see what kind of hardcore challenges people much worse-off than you are struggling with/overcoming.

---- make a new decision/s; decide you will live there for a year, find something else/better etc.

--- take action/determine to get creative about your situation: make a list to get a fan/ac unit, meet your neighbors, find people nearby who do workworking etc.

write down all of your decisions/plans and read repeatedly----
posted by mrmarley at 6:01 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You didn't pick this place blindly, there were reasons for it that you both agreed on. Focus on the things you can control, like how to make this new place your new home.

And if it doesn't work out, leases end.
posted by inturnaround at 6:01 AM on July 25, 2013

Who knows? Maybe the other place has a bug problem or bad plumbing. You don't know because you haven't lived there, so all you know about is the good stuff.
posted by deathpanels at 6:02 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Exactly what Andrhia said.

Make the best of the space you have for the time being - focus on what you like about it, and try to fix the things you don't like, if possible. Too hot/no A/C? Get a window unit. The white noise that generates might help to mask the sounds from the loud neighbors, as well.
posted by marshmallow peep at 6:03 AM on July 25, 2013

I made a similar bad decision involving an apartment a couple of years ago. I hated the place so much I never fully unpacked. Like inturnaround said above, leases end. Use your time in your current place to improve you decision making process for your next place. I bet a year (or whatever your lease term is) from now you will have found a different place that you are not ever aware of yet that will be better than either of the first two.
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is super normal. Especially if you're moving to a new city, extra especially if the typical apartments in that new city are not what you're used to (e.g. older, pricier, and/or with fewer amenities) and you have to make some compromises, and double extra especially if you've got a time limit or intense competition. And super extra especially squared if there are other changes happening simultaneously, like starting a new job or cohabiting for the first time.

There are good things that led you to choose the apartment you did. There are disadvantages that ruled out the other apartment. There are also good things about your future place and bad things about the other place that you don't yet know about. You are likely to find new good things about your future apartment once you live there.

Keep in mind that for a few weeks after you move in, you might still feel unsure about your decision. You might feel like you've made a huge mistake. But you haven't! It's just the upheaval of suddenly trying to call a new place home, and again, it's normal. When you move in, keep reminding yourself to allow the new apartment/neighborhood/city to grow on you. This isn't the same as faking enthusiasm or pretending the sucky things don't suck ("Aw yeah, the neighbor's car alarm is going off again! I love the part that goes wee-ooo wee-ooo!"); you just need to prevent any initial bad feelings from coloring your entire experience. Whenever you feel yourself thinking "I hate this place," change it to "I think I'm going to like this place once I get used to it."
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:41 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: Regrets are nasty little buggers that mess with your mind. They suggest, irrationally, that you ought to have done stuff that you, now, can't fix. That's just sick. Nobody can change what has happened.

Your only option is to start from now and move forward. Regarding your new living space, this involves two stages. First you settle in and observe how you get used to the new place, or (maybe) don't get used to it. The second stage involves further planning: planning to make the place your own, for example, planning to change those things that are bad about it and can be changed, or planning to move on in a more controlled fashion, applying previous lessons learned.

Another way of looking at it: nobody died due to your decision, and if you keep your wits about you, your relationship won't crack either because of it. Focus on stuff that matters, chuck the rest.

One further thought: it seems like you guys made the decision to move to that place together. It is not just YOU who did this, nor just HER who did this to you, the decision is the result of a social interaction. Deal with your personal anger and fears in whatever way you find fit, but don't let them invade areas that you don't own for 100%.
posted by Namlit at 6:43 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: First off, I think you made a very insightful observation when you noted that you're projecting all your other fears onto this issue; moving is a big deal and I can certainly understand the inclination to latch on to one thing as a sort of 'vent' for your fears. Any chance you can work at facing these other issues head-on, maybe by talking about them with your partner or therapist if you have one?

I think that would be the best thing to do, but maybe it would also help to remind yourself that you never really know what's going to happen. I once had an AMAZING - like, oh my god, can't wait to come every day because this is the best place EVER - apartment in a great location in Chicago ... but I guess it was a little too amazing because nine months later my landlord decided to turn the building condo so I had to leave when my lease was up. Because I already had plans to leave town for grad school several months later, I ended up having to move all my stuff one additional time in the interim, costing me a good $1,000+ in an extra, unplanned move.

Or even if something that monumental doesn't happen, there are still plenty of things that could have gone wrong in the other place. Maybe the neighbors there are loud, too. Maybe the landlord sucks. Maybe there are roaches.

Or heck, maybe the place really was perfect and you missed out - but even that's okay. Like people have said above, leases end. This wasn't the One and Only Perfect Place You'll Ever Get to Have, I promise. A year is going to fly by, and once you're living in your new town you'll be better positioned to apartment hunt for a different place if that's what you want. In the meantime, focus on making the place you picked into your own cozy little Hobbit hole - maybe you'd feel more in-control if you listed out the things you don't like so you can figure out a solution to each (this a/c, for what it's worth, is awesome).

It's going to be okay, I promise. Good luck in your new city!
posted by DingoMutt at 6:46 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: Reading through your AskMe history, another thing occurs to me: your last two questions had to do with worry that you wouldn't find an apartment at all, but here you ended up with not one, but two places being offered to you(!) Maybe it would help to focus on things like that - worries that occupied you in the past and the way they eventually turned out for the best.

Things generally have a way of turning out okay, no matter how large they might be looming at any one moment. Hopefully this will mean that you'll come to love the place you've rented, but even in the worst-case scenario, you'll one day be moved out and might even have some mildly interesting stories about just how awful it was (I'm typing this from my delightful new apartment with an awesome landlord - my apartment from hell is now just a distasteful, distant memory). All things must pass, yeah?
posted by DingoMutt at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2013

No AC? Get a box fan. This will immediately improve your mood, I promise.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:44 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: Somewhere, I'm sure on AskMe somewhere, I saw some advice along these lines that I really took to heart: though it may sound counter-intuitive, if you're really having a hard time weighing two good options that are very equal in your head but both have their unique upsides, you're in a good place. You're having a hard time making a decision because they are both good and you will be happy with either option.

Reframing things in those terms helps me a lot, even with smaller stuff (e.g. should I go hang out with X in the park, or go to lunch with Y?).
posted by craven_morhead at 9:07 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I did this exact same thing about a year ago (we are looking for a new place now). Living here was a nightmare for a lot of reasons, and I really beat myself up for a long time. But if I'm being honest, the year still flew by despite hellacious traffic and the neighbor's dog that never stops barking.

Try to make the best of it. When the dog is barking non stop, we try to just leave the house for the day. We try to avoid the nasty traffic if we can, etc. And we never fully unpacked. I mean, we made the best decision we could at the time, and you probably did the same... what's the point of beating yourself up about it?
posted by getawaysticks at 9:18 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: I hear you. My husband and I re-signed a lease for our tiresome duplex, not knowing that our circumstances and needs would dramatically change ONE MONTH after we re-signed. To the point where we're going to have no choice but to break our lease at some point in the next six months or so. (On top of that, our duplex has at least two issues that will probably be blamed on us when we leave, but were actually caused by rampant landlord cheapness.)

So. Headaches and regret and stomach-churning dread and lying awake at night. But we did the best we could with the information we had at the time, and so did you. The good thing is, you didn't buy the place. So even if it's the worst crap ever, you'll be free of it eventually.

If you're like me at all, this regret and roiling outrage will burn itself out, after you've had to make do with the situation for a while. So hang in there.
posted by Coatlicue at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. It really helps to read all of your comments.
posted by mrunderhill at 10:11 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You made the best decision you could at that time with the information you had. It is not your fault. Your girlfriend obviously is not seeing the faults you are, let her happiness and enthusiasm carry you along.

Pick the things you love about the apartment and emphasis those, it's near a great coffee shop then go there a lot. Great parking, remind yourself of that every time you park your car near your front door. Whatever it is consciously remind yourself of the good things.

If nothing else remember leases end, and next time you'll have more knowledge and information about what you do and don't like about apartments and will know what to look out for.
posted by wwax at 10:32 AM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: When my bf and I moved to our apartment in a new town, we were deciding between two apartments on the same street. I wanted the apartment that was dark, had no AC, smelled weird, was painted bizarre colors and dirty, and we signed the lease, giving up the apartment in a big building with a doorman and a pool. A pool!

Of course we were panicking that we made the wrong decision. When we moved into the apartment we chose, it had been painted white, cleaned, aired out, and we got a window AC. We've been here for years now.

Every day we drive past that apartment building with a pool, which has been undergoing non-stop repairs since we moved into town, and laugh about how miserable we would have been living there.

If what you're doing is projecting your anxieties about moving onto this apartment, it's almost certain that you would be having the same regrets had you signed the lease on the other place. And if you really don't like it, leases end, and when your lease ends you will have experience living in your new city and will be better informed about what you are looking for in your next apartment search.
posted by inertia at 10:58 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You guys are the best. I'm gonna read all these comments over and over for a week and then I'll slowly get over it. The city is LA by the way, and we'll be moving to Echo Park. Any MeFites in the neighborhood?
posted by mrunderhill at 11:11 AM on July 25, 2013

Buy one of these:

Lasko #2554 42-Inch Wind Curve Fan with Remote

It's an incredibly well-made fan. Three speeds, the first one isn't useless, and the last one doesn't sound like a jet plane. Good oscillation.

My roommate bought one for our living room a couple months ago, and I don't know how we ever lived without it.
posted by Precision at 8:32 PM on July 25, 2013

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