Good lord.
June 1, 2007 4:15 PM   Subscribe

How do you maintain dignity and self-control while being dumped? Furthermore, where do you live?

I realize there are a million questions floating about on Ask MetaFilter in regards to post-break up blues, heartache, et cetera. I've skimmed through as many as possible but nothing seems to quite fit my situation and inquiries. I hope my questions, though cliche, are not redundant.

Previously, I posted this question in regards to my now defunct relationship. He broke up with me last night. Please feel free to insert my regret, stupidity, and humilty right here. Needless to say that I did not break up with him nor did I even mention that I had been seriously considering it. Firstly, this is because I am a coward and despite my "slumbering" displeasure, I would rather endure than face it. Secondly, this is due to the fact that although we were not together for a long period of time, we were living together. I moved in with him several months ago. The lack of my living options (due the fact that I'll be moving in the fall for grad school) were definitely a deterrent to breaking up with him. He covered most other expenses. I know. I'm an awful person.

Anyway, last night we got into another horrible, alcohol-fueled argument and he broke up with me. We have had similar arguments in the past month, one in which resulted in me packing some of my stuff and threatening to leave. In the light of day, the issues we argued about were petty and absurd. However, the smallness of such arguments obviously did not negate the blow outs that took place. I feel that I am mostly at fault for these arguments. Had he not cared about me as much as he did, I think things would have ended a lot sooner.

Long story short, he told me to pack my things and get out. After some negotiating (on my end), he slept on the couch and I slept in the bedroom. He said some things about the possibility of working things out the next day. In the morning, he woke up early and took a walk. I began packing some of my belongings. When he came back, he did not say a word to me and got ready for work. Despite the glaringly obvious "get-the-hell-out-we-are-over" evidence, I felt at a loss. I asked him if we could talk and he shortly retorted that he did not want me to be there when he got back from work and then left. I promptly left as well, carrying my purse and a small shoulder bag.

Aside from the emotional upheaval of the situation, I feel completely fucked in other practical issues. I have nowhere to go and limited funding. It is impossible that I could put both a down deposit and one month's rent as of right now. I could possibly scrounge up enough money within the next two weeks, but that is two weeks from now. As far as family and friends are concerned, I feel they are out of the question. Has anyone here slept in their car for an extended period of time? Have you ever been in a situation where you do not have anywhere to live for the next two weeks to one month due to a break up? If so, what did you do? How does one go about applying for a second job (to earn more cash) without a mailing address?

Also, several days before our unexpected break up, he gave me an expensive birthday present. Would it be wrong of me to either return it to the store or pawn it in hopes of making ends meet now? Or do you think I should give it back to him?

Furthermore, I am supposed to pick up the rest of my belongings (some of which I need right now in order to job hunt) on Sunday. How do I deal with this difficult situation? I am very angry, sad, and hurt. I wish we could work things out and part of me believes we could. Then again, I might be the delusional ex. Regardless of what is plausible and what is not, I know I should not act rashly. I know I need to be objective, which is difficult for me right now. I also know I need to avoid being the crazy, needy ex begging for reconciliation. I feel that would just frustrate the situation. Is there any hope for reconciliation? If so, what can I do? If not, what can I do to make things easier? As stated previously, there are some things that I left (in my haste) that I need to assist me in finding a job or a living space. Would it be inappropriate of me to contact him tonight and ask him if I could stop over?

Sorry for the lack of brevity. Thanks in advance.
posted by somersault to Human Relations (46 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Why are friends and family out of the question? This is what they're for.

As for the car- yes, you can live in your car, especially if you have access to a gym, and it isn't too cold. Still sucks, though.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:25 PM on June 1, 2007

I'm sorry to hear about this situation. perhaps craigslist might help you out - if you are in a major city, a temporary place might be available on there. look if the section has anything for you for a couple of weeks. it should certainly give you a little time to get back onto your feet. I would highly recommend always having a savings account with at least $2,000 in it somewhere. there are so many emergencies that could hit you out of nowhere and this should really be the absolute minimum you should always have at hand.

as far as dignity is concerned... well, everyone sucks at breaking up. try not to preach, plead, scream and yell and you should be fine.
posted by krautland at 4:28 PM on June 1, 2007

I wouldn't worry for too long about the present, pawn it.
posted by fire&wings at 4:33 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

oh- and no, in my opinion, it's not wrong to sell the gift you got.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:34 PM on June 1, 2007

You may believe your friends and family are out of the question, but you may very well be wrong. Ask them. Living in your car should be a much more remote resort. If friends/family can't help, the suggestion of using Craigslist to find temporary housing is a good idea.

From what you've written here and elsewhere, the impulse/hope/desire to work things out is both understandable and misguided. In all likelihood you want to work things out right now not because you have particularly deep, loving feelings for your ex and a long-standing mutual commitment worth trying to save -- by your own account, neither of these conditions exist. No, the desire to work things out is a desire to go back to a simple sense of stability -- where you at least you had a place to live and you (presumed) you had the upper hand, both emotionally and socially. The rug's now been pulled out from under you, so of course your first impulse is to try to go back a couple of steps before you were upended like this. But really, there's no going back. It's scary and it sucks. You have my sympathies.

As for getting your stuff back: try to get a friend to come with you. Go, be businesslike (don't take any bait for a fight; speak in a neutral tone about any necessities, such as giving back your keys, getting your mail forwarded, etc.), get your stuff, and get out. Do not have any ulterior motives -- don't go in with any expectations of a reunion, nor of making a big dramatic speech in which you get the last word. (You probably won't get the last word anyway, and even if you do, it won't be nearly as satisfying as you imagine it will be.)

Finally, as for the gift: someone said in the Mr. Rogers thread in the blue today that the hard thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing. Make of that what you will.
posted by scody at 4:41 PM on June 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you attempt to reconcile with him, it's obvious that you'd just be using him for a home, which wouldn't do much for your self-respect. A few ideas:

1. You said in your previous posts that his friends adore you. Surely one of them will have sympathy for your homeless situation and let you sleep on their couch for a couple of weeks.

2. Also, perhaps you can convince him to stay with one of his friends for a few weeks so that you can figure out a way to not sleep in your car.

3. Do you live in an area with an active craigslist? Look for temporary summer sublets. They are pretty standard and usually only come with a small deposit or none at all. Or since you have nowhere to go, hang out at some bar or some coffee shop and talk up people and see if they or someone they know is renting out a room. Just keep your sketchy radar sharp.

4. Try tapping into family. Really. Even if they suck, as long as they don't beat you and steal your things. If they live out of town, you don't have a job and you are moving soon anyway, so just leave and go to said family's place and work it out there.

5. Yes pawn the present. Your relationship is over and you don't need to become homeless just to hold onto some sentimental item that will soon cease being sentimental. Pawn other stuff too. Just pawn all your shit. Start over. You're moving soon anyway, so this will just make it easier. Keep a weeks worth of clothes and necessary items and put everything else you have to keep in a box in your trunk. This way you'll have some money and you can pick up and go if someone offers you a room or a couch. I lived out of a hamper one summer on a borrowed mattress on a floor after a breakup. It was actually very liberating.

I would not suggest living in your car. I'm assuming you are female, and that is just really not safe.

Stop being so co-dependent. You'll eventually have to learn to rely on yourself, so now's a good time as any.
posted by greta simone at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2007

gosh, if i was your friend and found out you were living in your car, i wouldn't stand for it. i'd have my sofa made up for you in five minutes flat.

talk to your friends or family, whomever you are closest to. if you are kind of isolated, family may be better. don't let embarrassment stand in your way. the next few weeks will be so much better for you if you have some support. and staying in your car just isn't safe. if you have a credit card, i'd suck up the debt and check into a hotel if necessary.

as for picking up your stuff, i would ask him not to be there. alternatively, bring a friend or family member with you to distract you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:05 PM on June 1, 2007

Have you looked at couchsurfing? If you are near me you are welcome to my couch.
posted by saucysault at 5:18 PM on June 1, 2007

The only reason i would think not to pawn it is if it was an item of sentimental value to him (i.e. his grandmothers bracelet, etc)...pawning that would seem unnecessarily callous.

Good luck!
posted by softlord at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2007

Has anyone here slept in their car for an extended period of time?

Yeah, on long road trips/walkabouts, for up to several weeks at a time. I enjoyed it. That's not to say I always looked pretty or smelled good. It was usually in state or national parks other kinds of campgrounds. Rarely in rest areas.

Have you ever been in a situation where you do not have anywhere to live for the next two weeks to one month

Not due to breakup, but I once 'camped out' in a conference room where I worked for a couple of weeks, with permission of course, though it was a surprise to the janitor that first morning.

But definitely crash on a friend's couch, it won't be that bad and they'll like helping you.
posted by DarkForest at 5:28 PM on June 1, 2007

If you can, go back Sunday with a friend to help you get your crap. Having done such for a friend of mine, she said it made the entire thing much easier to deal with.
posted by Loto at 5:30 PM on June 1, 2007

Offer the gift back, if he says, "Keep it, it was a gift" then there is no guilt on whatever you choose to do with it.
posted by JujuB at 5:38 PM on June 1, 2007

Don't know where you live but if you're in certain states in the US you can call 211 to connect to all kinds of services such as shelters and food banks. It's a drag to live in a shelter but it's not as bad as the car.
posted by Soda-Da at 5:50 PM on June 1, 2007

If you live in a major city, try a youth hostel. Employees live there for free, and typically there's a kitchen you can use, plus the few hours of minimum wage work helping young, fun people. If they are not hiring, you can sleep there like anybody else for about $20 a night. I worked at one of these one summer and had a blast.
posted by Methylviolet at 6:12 PM on June 1, 2007

I'm glad you asked this question! Because I went through this same thing in the last few weeks... (cept she moved her new boyfriend into our co-shared house. So I left the lease in her name and moved out, still havent found a new house though).

Anyway, where to live? I dont know how old you are, but go find a flat/houseshare setup, it helps to be around other people when you've just been fucked over. Get drunk, moan about it, call him shit, bad mouth him to people... etc. helps heaps even if he doesnt deserve it.

Isolation is your enemy, it sucks... but lying in the dark for 2 days can only do so much...

As for the gift, naturally I'd say "pawn it", BUT... prior to my breakup i got my girlfriend an expensive gift, and when I moved out I asked for it back, for various reasons (value, I'd been saving several months for it,) and it seemed the only reason she wanted it (musical instrument, which she couldnt play) was to take a stab at me (besides, she was cheating).

As for picking up your stuff, get a friend (or one of his friends) to come round and get your stuff for you. I couldnt face my ex, i left and came back 2 weeks later whilst she was out and took all my stuff.

I'll probably add more later... since I'm having a brainmeltdown at the moment.
posted by chrisbucks at 6:28 PM on June 1, 2007

don't pawn the gift, sell it on ebay or craigslist - you'll get more money from it.
posted by wearyaswater at 6:33 PM on June 1, 2007

Has anyone here slept in their car for an extended period of time?
Yes, after a breakup where I, too, thought family wasn't an option.

After a sketchy guy tried to get in with me while I was asleep I sucked it up and called family. They told me I was an idiot for not calling sooner.

So so not worth the stress/worry/danger.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:22 PM on June 1, 2007

If all else (e.g. family and friends) fails, then craigslist plus moving to you new home now could be an option if you think you could find summer employment there. Being able to say "I'm new in town" might be an easier way of finding a place to live, and if you're not familiar with the place it would give you a chance to get to know it before school starts in the fall. I read your earlier post and I think that relying on his friends now would be postponing the inevitable and a likely cause of resentment by your ex. I agree with everyone else: don't sleep in your car.
posted by ads at 7:28 PM on June 1, 2007

You were living together, right? He invited you? Totally call and get whatever you need. Pawn the gift, don't even ask.

In fact, I might go back and say that you need two weeks to find a place - that his telling you 'not to be there' doesn't make it ok to put you on the street.

And as I recall, most of your friends were his friends (and you were interested in his male buddies.) See if one of their g/f would mind putting you up. Ask. Ask them all. One of them, will put you up. Sleeping in a car isn't conducive to trying to get on your feet.

If necessary, drive home. Tail between your legs, but a safe place to sleep, is smarter than sleeping on the streets.
posted by filmgeek at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2007

Have you ever been in a situation where you do not have anywhere to live for the next two weeks to one month due to a break up? If so, what did you do?

It took me four months to raise the money to get my own place when something like this happened to me. Like you, my ex and I had a fight. I tried to sleep on it and then the next morning, I got ready for work, packed my backpack with a couple of days of clothing, and left. I didn't know where I was going to sleep that night and I didn't have a car. I had no family in the area and I wouldn't accept help from them even if it was offered. I also only had a couple of friends in the city I lived in and I wasn't particulary close to either of them.

First thing you have to do is you call your friends and explain to them the situation. I even called my boss and he offered to let me stay with him. You will, believe me, get someone to say 'okay. you can stay for a couple of days.' Start couch surfing. If you're lucky, you'll be able to spend the whole month at 1 location. I couched surf for a week and then ended up sleeping on the floor of my friend's place for 4 months before I could gather enough money for my own place.

Right now you will be thinking about reconciling because you are scared - the world is a big scary place when you're on your own but you have options and you also have your car. That is a great thing. GET EVERYTHING YOU HAVE OUT OF HIS HOUSE. I can't stress that enough. I didn't have that option and ended up losing about 75% of what I owned when she decided to leave it all out on the street one day. If you can't take everything, take anything that you can sell and anything that is vital such as financial information, old tax returns, etc.

Once you start couch surfing (and there is no shame in it - you'll have a warm place over your head), start selling what you can. Sell the present - he gave it to you, it's yours. Sell anything else you can to help raise money. Use the address of a friend as your mailing address - contact all your bills, banks, etc and change your address right away.

If you feel like a burden for your friends, you can help them out. Take care of their pets, help clean their apartment, laugh at their stupid jokes - there are plenty service things you can do to make them feel like having your around isn't a burden and appease your feelings of not getting help. Suck up your pride and get the help you need - don't be like me and make life harder on yourself just because you have pride or you're embarrassed or you're ashamed.

Your last paragraph of reconciling is troublesome - troublesome because the same thoughts ran through my head after my split. You're scarred and worried about suviving in the world - getting back together just so you feel safer and have a place to sleep at night won't make the relationship better or work or anything like that. Even trying ton convince yourself that "i'm moving in the fall" will somehow make the next 5 months livable isn't viable. You're just going to fight again and then next time it might be worse. Reconciling while in a position of weakness and fear isn't what you want to do - nothing will change in your relationship and all the problems will still remain.

Your life is going to be difficult and you are going to suffer during the next few months but you can survive it and come out even stronger. I know it doesn't look like it now but trust me, it'll happen.
posted by Stynxno at 8:09 PM on June 1, 2007

I was in this situation once, where I didn't have anywhere to go, including no family in town that I could stay with. So I just insisted that it was unfair for her to make me leave when I had no where to go and that she had to let me stay there until I arranged something. Which I did. It took a few weeks to get everything arranged and paid for and such. It was tense, but it worked out and we actually are still friends.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:27 PM on June 1, 2007

Thanks for all the great feedback so far.

To go into a more in-depth explanation of why I feel that my family and friends are out of the question is primarily because the only family member available to me is my mother. However, she just recently went through some traumatic life changes within the last year or so (my father passed away a year ago and their 34th anniversary is tomorrow; a month ago, my brother was legally forced to check into a crisis center due to a family emergency). I don't want to put any additional stress on her. I couldn't even bear to break the news to my mother. When I talked to her on the phone today, she said she really liked my now ex (we went out together for my birthday dinner) and how I should stop over to pick up several items of my dad's old clothes that might fit him. I did not nor do I have the heart to tell her we broke up. She seemed so happy for me. It's sort of heartbreaking that the end of our relationship didn't bring me to tears but that conversation with her did.

As for friends, I don't have many friends within the area. I've lost touch with most of them. The one or two that I would consider friends are very busy with their already stressful lives (one is a single mother and another is an up and comer in her career ladder) and I'd hate to impose. I am not asking his friends. I think that would be rude and unfair of me to put them in that position. I do have a job so staying in this area for the time being is important to me. I will have to find a second job within the next few days, which aside from the added benefit of more money, will offer me a place to work/stay. Maybe I could pick up graveyard shifts so I have somewhere to stay at night.

I've been looking on a lot and found several temporary options who I've emailed. Thanks for the suggestion. I guess the most frustrating thing at hand is the waiting game and how to bide my time safely and cheaply (I don't want to check into a motel or hotel though I did look around for prices, because I think I need to save my money in order to find a more stable and less expensive solution).

Furthermore, the birthday gift I received was not sentimental. I'd just feel like the scum of the earth for pawning or returning it since it was expensive and purchased not even three days before we broke up. I don't even think it's fully paid for yet. I feel like it would be an act of cruelty and theft. I'm still at odds. I really need the money since I already paid for some general living expenses for the month, which I do not expect to get back. I feel I owe it to him, anyhow.

As for city shelters, I looked into that as well and the waiting lists are full (especially on weekends, apparently).

Would I get into legal trouble if found out sleeping in the back of my car? Would a deserted parking lot in the city or the suburbs be safer? Do you know of anything that would pay me quickly (possibly under the table) that is not X or R-rated? I'm completely clueless and have never been in this situation before.

Thanks once again.
posted by somersault at 8:32 PM on June 1, 2007

Is there a hostel in your area? They're considerably cheaper than hotels and motels; the ones around here are about $20-$30 a nighte for a shared room. Still expensive when you have little money, but safer than your car.

Walmart usually allows RVs to park overnight in their parking lots... i don't know about cars, but if i was in your situation i'd check it out. Another random idea - see you you can buy a used tent off craigslist or something and go camping, preferably at a cheap yet functional campground with showers.
posted by cgg at 8:53 PM on June 1, 2007

I still have to join in with the people saying go to your family, even after reading about your mom's situation. Think of the worst-case scenario - if something happened to you while sleeping in your car in a parking lot, how much would that add to her distress? Now think of the more likely scenario - that she could find out that you've been sleeping in your car or living in a shelter in order to protect her. She'd likely feel awful that you didn't feel you could come to her in a time of sadness. You're both going through loss - you could reach out to each other.

She will find out about your breakup eventually. Yes, the timing sucks now, but this is what family is for - to support each other through situations like this. She might even find out eventually what the timeline was, even if you can hide it from her initially, and ask you where you went after the breakup - then you add more lies, etc. Seriously, just talk to her - it won't be easy. But it might be the best thing.
posted by AthenaPolias at 9:00 PM on June 1, 2007

I'm curious as to where you are writing these posts from?

Anyway, you need to be an adult, and so does he.

That means, going back to his place, and calmly explaining you have no place to go, that you will sleep on the couch, and you will need a couple of weeks to find somewhere to go.

This is perfectly rational and reasonable. This "I don't want you here when I get home" stuff is juvenile.

Unless you did something particularly heinous like killing his pets or something way over the line like that, there should be no problem.

The only exception, of course, would be if he threatened physical violence. At that point, yes, the car would be better.

However, with all that said, I think you are badly misreading your mother right now. It seems quite obvious to me your mother could use you right now, just as much as you could use her.

I think you are very off base with regard to this relationship with her. Your mother would be horrified, and badly hurt, if she thought you were considering, even for a moment, sleeping in your car instead of coming to her.

Go to her, help her around the house, help her through this grief with your father, and be there for each other. You can pay her back by letting her stay with you when she gets old and feeble instead of in a nursing home.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:02 PM on June 1, 2007 [7 favorites]

Ynoxas, I am posting this from a coffee shop.
posted by somersault at 9:11 PM on June 1, 2007

I did not nor do I have the heart to tell her we broke up. She seemed so happy for me.

Think what she'll feel like when she finds out her daughter was willing to sleep in her car rather than ask for her help. That would break the heart of any mother I know. Call your mom and suck up your pride. You're creating barriers for yourself where none exist.
posted by MsMolly at 9:19 PM on June 1, 2007 [6 favorites]

for the record: you can park in a supermarket parking lot and use local libraries as wireless network spots for a few hours. gyms could provide adequate shower facilities. then again the question is whether it isn't more viable to drive a bit out of town and check into a days inn or motel six for as little as $30/night 230/week (this depending on the area).
posted by krautland at 9:25 PM on June 1, 2007

Seconding MsMolly: if you think your mom will be sad about your breakup, she may very well be devestated if you sleep in your car rather than under her roof as a result. (Dang, I'm not your mom and I'm starting to get choked up over this.) I know that you want to protect her from your own sad situation, and that under the circumstances that may seem like the sensible or kind thing to do, but this is what your mom is for. You do her no honor by refusing to reach out when you need her the most.
posted by scody at 9:37 PM on June 1, 2007

Ynoxas, I am posting this from a coffee shop.
posted by somersault at 9:11 PM PST on June 1

Take your mom a Latte and just say "Mom, I need to talk to you"

The rest will be automatic my dear. Automatic.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:41 PM on June 1, 2007 [3 favorites]

I've known a couple of girls who have slept in cars for an open period of time. They were pretty assertive types, not delicate at all. Still, when guys found out, we all thought it was a bad idea, and it is. Your best bet in a city is to park in an upper middle class neighborhood in the city proper where there are a lot of cars parked alongside the street. That's better because you won't stick out very much. Ideally if you run into trouble it won't be more than some teenage kids out on a late night walk that bang on your windows. Don't even think about doing this if you don't have a cell phone. Don't park on the same street or even within a few blocks of the last place you slept. Mix it up. If you don't feel comfortable asking a friend or an acquaintance for their sofa, you can ask to use their driveway. That might not seem like much of a difference but I think it is enough of one to be worth asking.

Your better option is to go by your boyfriend's and just tell him you're outdoors and need a place to crash. I wouldn't tell him you're going to be staying there and that's that. A strident tone may backfire since it sounds like he's feeling a bit used. Instead just make your need clear. Calling your mother is another idea better than staying in the car. She has gone through a rough spell but this is not a huge tragedy, it's just part of life.

I understand your feelings about the gift. If you and your boyfriend can be civil in the same room and you can make it without the money it would bring, then talk to him. Otherwise you have to do what you have to do. Don't get twisted up over it. Like I said I understand the feeling, but this is a minor scruple and sometimes severe circumstances push those to the side.

You'll pull through and come out fine. Call your Mom.
posted by BigSky at 10:32 PM on June 1, 2007

I live in Los Angeles, and hit rock bottom when I first moved out here in very similar fashion. Two bags, no place to stay, standing outside. And boom. It started to rain. Cats and dogs. And it never rains in Los Angeles. In fact, it rained for like two straight days, and they had to shut down Laurel Canyon for two weeks. Anyway, I remember the moment when I discovered that you reach a point when it's raining so hard that you stop walking fast, you toss the newspaper that is barely keeping the top of your head dry, as well as the shit in your bags that you'll never be able to clean, you unscrunch your wet shoulders, and you accept that, no matter what, your number's up and it's time to get soaked. Up until that point, I don't think I'd ever been truly fucked.

I recall your previous post regarding your lack of adoration for your boyfriend. I admire your honesty sharing your issues openly. Your displacement sounds enormous. But you have to let him go completely for the time being. This shit about the present, it doesn't matter. Dropping by to say hello, returning things that were given to you, you know it's just an excuse to get back together, or at least to return to a comfort zone. Chances are you will get back together (I have a theory in beta about this) one day, and either fall back in true love or get totally over it. More likely the latter. But now's not the time for that. You're masking real practical issues about leading a healthy, comfortable life in terms of being with somebody else. That's co-dependency in a nutshell. Beware of that shit. You need a fucking job, and a fucking place to stay. Get to it. Ask for help. You need help. No shame in that. But take the high road. One day at a time.

You should write some of your feelings down, and take a deep breath. Embrace the pain and remorse if you feel you can use it to make yourself better, to avoid this kind of situation from ever happening again with the person you love. I've certainly burned a couple of good relationships this way. I've made the promise to myself to never hurt another person out of love again. You sound like an open person with a lot of love to give. Just slow down and take care of some practical matters that make living in a city possible and you'll be allright. Save face by regaining your confidence.
posted by phaedon at 2:29 AM on June 2, 2007

I'd just like to add, re: your mom - Several years ago when I was having a very tough time personally and professionally, my young nephew had a serious health crisis. Being able to help him, and feeling needed, was the absolute best thing for me. Of course I wasn't happy that he was so ill but having the chance to give of myself was the best therapy. I'm just saying, giving your mother the same chance right now might be a good thing for you both.

And what do you do if you're living in your car and have to pee in the middle of the night?

Call your mom.
posted by Kangaroo at 7:20 AM on June 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Call your mom. Trust me, she can handle it. She's a mom.
posted by languagehat at 7:53 AM on June 2, 2007

You know, if I were your friend, or your mom, and you didn't call me, I'd feel pretty crummy about it. Like you didn't want to share your life with me or let me help you with your problems. If I had a friend in your situation, I would never deny them a place to sleep. And you're probably the same way. Most people want to help other people. Don't be the person that won't let them.
posted by eleyna at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

Nthing several suggestions: Talk to mom. This is what mom's are for. When she is elderly or sick and really needs your help, that will be the time for you to protect and care for her. Right now, she can care for you, give you a place to sleep, keep you safe.

If she's like 99% of moms, this is what she'd want you to do.
posted by Robert Angelo at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2007

You said your mother is having her anniversary tomorrow (perhaps today, now). She is going to be lonely. Perhaps you can just drop by and as if you can stay the night, using the excuse that you are "having a rough patch" with the boy. Perhaps the next day you can break it to her that it is more than just a "patch". Think about her situation though: She is used to having someone else in the house (her husband) and she is lonely now. The anniversary will make this more significant. Your brother is having trouble, but is not living with her, and she might be feeling helpless for him at this time. You both could help each other get through a hard time. You are not imposing on her, you are helping her, and by doing so, helping yourself.
Sleeping in a car sucks. I've done it several times. Go to your mother.
posted by nursegracer at 9:56 AM on June 2, 2007

I think you said before your mom was Korean? If you don't go to her in your situation she will think she is a bad mom, and will see it as a sign of rejection from your part that you didn't turn to her in this situation of serious need. It will be more hurtful and devastating for her to know that you chose to sleep in your car than to turn to her for help. Call your mom.
posted by needled at 10:05 AM on June 2, 2007

I agree with the people saying "call your mom." Or friends -- when this happened to me, one of my friends was about to go out of town so I ended up house sitting at her place.

That said, I have camped out in vehicles plenty of times. Except for getting woken up by cops (downtown San Francisco, on the shoulder of Highway 1) and security guards (a historical mission in Arizona, a campground closed for the winter), I've otherwise been left alone. The cops just asked me to move. No "bad guys" ever knocked on my window or anything. Make sure it's somewhere legal to park and somewhere crime is low, and if you can, for safety, maybe minimize your visibility (curtains?). For comfort, places with less noise and light are nice (supermarket parking lots are not that good). The best place I ever camped was right next to this suburban park that had a bathroom that wasn't locked at night. But I actually preferred driving to the edge of town and finding some natural area and stretching out on the ground, since cars are a little cramped. Just make sure your car won't get ticketed. For showers, get a gym membership, or you can pay per shower at hostels or truck stops. Also, Methylviolet's point about hostels was right on -- I'd try that first (I'd probably pay to stay one night, then talk to the manager). For inspiration / reality check about camping in your car, read this and the follow-up. What city (or what kind of city) are you in?

As for work, LaborReady is a temp company with a "work today, paid today" practice. You have to get there early (it's first come, first hired every morning), and you'll have to be ready to do things like hold the "Slow Down" sign at a road construction site (wear boots). I've also gotten temp jobs fast via Manpower, but that depended on office/typing skills, and it takes two weeks to get paid. I'd actually recommend looking for restaurant jobs. Even if you're just bussing tables, you'll get tipped out at the end of the night, immediate cash. Have you thought about heading to the city your grad school is in so you can stay in whatever job you find?

You can totally do this! Stay strong, do what you think is right, and be kind to yourself -- some of the hard times I went through ended up giving me confidence and self-awareness that came in useful later -- going through this sucks, but it can also be the foundation for your next phase of life.
posted by salvia at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2007

Also, a book rec: When Things Fall Apart. Helped me with the "maintaining dignity" part.
posted by salvia at 11:26 AM on June 2, 2007

somersault, can you say what city you're in? or post a throwaway email address? i'll bet there's help to be had on AskMe so you don't wind up in a car or a shelter. if you're in my city or nearby, i could probably spot you the couch in my empty-for-the-moment apartment for a week or so. and i'm sure others would do the same.

you'd be amazed at the goodness around here. give it a shot. you aren't all alone.

and the bf sounds like a fuckwad. don't look back.
posted by spitbull at 1:49 PM on June 2, 2007

also, sell the damn birthday present to get some money for a place. you owe him nothing.
posted by spitbull at 1:52 PM on June 2, 2007

For the love of God, just call your mom.
posted by myeviltwin at 2:58 PM on June 2, 2007

You can camp/sleep for free in most wal-mart parking lots. At least then you won't be rousted by cops or employees in the middle of the night. Good luck.
posted by starfish at 3:54 PM on June 2, 2007

I am a mom.


If one of mine did what you thought of doing-sleeping in her car rather than letting me help her-it would totally, TOTALLY, break my heart.

And speaking as a woman, there is nowhere on this planet a safe place for a woman alone to live in her car. You don't need to risk this.

posted by konolia at 4:49 PM on June 3, 2007

Please call your mom. This won't kill her, honest. Finding out that you put yourself in danger to not be a bother might smart like a sonofabitch later, though.
posted by canine epigram at 11:29 AM on June 4, 2007

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