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Old 04-15-2011, 07:07 AM   #1
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Default Need some different perspectives...

This might be fairly long, just warning all of you lol. Here is the situation:

I have been with my boyfriend for three years. We live together. We've had a few bumps along the way but managed to overcome them and come out fine. He is the type of guy who more or less worships the ground I walk on, would do anything in the universe for me, and loves me completely. Our living conditions, though, are awful. We are in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Neither of us has a car. He has a job that he walks to but I can't find work. Our town is teeny tiny but moving isn't really an option either. We tried finding a way to do that and its not doable. He started school to work toward getting us out of here. Then I started school too. We both attend classes online. For three years now I have been living like a hermit. I see and do the exact same things every single day. The inside of this tiny apartment is all I see most days. We live in a place where we get feet and feet of snow and harsh winters every year that linger which prevent me from getting out much. Besides...there is nothing to do in this town anyway. I don't know anyone here. I'm 3000 miles away from my hometown, my mom, and friends. My bf is the only person I see or interact with every day.

A few weeks ago something interesting happened. I started talking on Facebook with an old boyfriend, of sorts. This isn't your typical ex. He and I were each others first loves way back in the eighth grade. He was my first kiss and all that stuff. The thing that drew us together back then was our interests. I grew up riding and showing horses. He was the cowboy sort. It was adorable. Well...he didn't change a lot in the last fifteen years that way. He is still the rugged cowboy sort and wants to live the country lifestyle with horses and all that. I want this same kind of lifestyle and he and I have really seemed to hit it off all over again even after all this time. This sort of lifestyle is not something I could have with my current bf. He didn't grow up that way and doesn't know anything about it.

I'm miserable where I am with nothing going for me and no opportunities and I live like a hermit cramped up in this apartment day in and day out. 3000 miles away I have horses, better opportunity for finding a job, my mother is there, etc. But I just don't know if I can bring myself to hurt my current bf like this. It will absolutely kill him, I know it will. He is why I've stayed...I know he loves me and I know that he is doing everything he can to get us out of here. I just don't know what to do!! I was thinking maybe you guys might have a different perspective on this. Maybe some of you have even been in similar situations.
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Old 04-15-2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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Could your bf go with you or are you thinking about leaving him for this other guy?

I've been broke with dh and I have done well with dh, at the end of the day it's love and companionship that carried us through. The grass isn't always greener. Sometimes you have to hang around to water and fertilize the grass in the pasture you're in. JMO. It all boils down to how much you love this guy you're with and how much friendship is there. If you trade love for security, I am afraid you might find you just have less of both.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:03 AM   #3
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It seems like there are three separate issues here. I would be very careful not to conflate them.

1. You are unhappy with your current living situation. Being stuck at home with very little fulfillment or interaction, without family, when you don't want to be is not fun and I feel for you that this is difficult.

2. You may be having problems with your relationship and may want to leave this. However, I can't tell from your description if you want to leave your boyfriend or if you are just unhappy with your current lifestyle with him.

3. You may have lingering feelings for an ex.

It's easy to lump these together into "I don't like where I am right now in my life" and jump to the conclusion you should break up with your boyfriend + move + start dating this other guy.

But doing so doesn't get to the root of the problem. What is the root of the problem? I don't know, that's something you will have to figure out. In going through this process, it may mean that you aren't happy in your town and you HAVE to move. It may mean you need to be closer to family. It may mean you really need a fulfilling career to be happy. It may mean you need to break up with your boyfriend.

It would be easy to convince yourself that leaving everything and starting things up with this new guy will give you the life you wanted. But that isn't rigorously examining what specifically is it you need and instead hoping that a drastic change in everything will somehow fix a problem. And in the process you could accidentally throw away something that is actually a very good part of your life right now- your current relationship- because you associated it too closely with the lifestyle and context in which it was taking place. I'm not saying you need to stay in your relationship, just that if I were you I would examine each part of my life and decide what specifically needs to change, rather than hoping that changing everything (leaving your boyfriend, moving, taking up a new relationship) will fix things.

I hope this isn't coming off as too harsh in tone, my aim is to be rational and dissect your current situation step by step in a logical way. It's really good you are able to reflect and realize you aren't where you want to be and take the necessary steps to get to a happier place in life. Best wishes for your journey!
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:09 AM   #4
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You said over and over in your OP that your BF worships the ground you walk on and would be devastated if you broke up with him. However - and I find this telling - you said nothing about your feelings for him.

Do you love him? Do you want to make a life with him? Or are you staying with him because you have no other options?

If you truly love him, then you will find a way to make things work. If you are only staying with him because you have no other options, that's 100% the wrong reason to stay. That being said, you need to make a decision based on what you want in your life for your own - not because you think you might be able to rekindle an 8th grade romance. That would be 100% the wrong reason too.

If it were me, I'd stop talking to the guy back home for a while and focus on what's right in front of you so you can decide - without any outside influence - where you want to be.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:24 AM   #5
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Really nice post, Lisa. Great advice.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:17 AM   #6
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I think everyone else offered really good advice. I really agree with indiblue that you need to separate out where your discontent is coming from.

Living in a place you don't like sucks, but through experience, I know that you can mitigate that. For 9 years I lived somewhere I didn't like but towards the end of those years, I started making an effort to take advantage of what the place did have to offer and it payed off, I enjoyed myself more. We still left when we could but at least my time was more pleasant, if not perfect.

Nostalgia is powerful. First loves are always special, but there's often a reason they're not your current love. It's easy to get caught up comparing a life you might possibly have with this old flame to the one you have now, but you might just as well compare your current life to that of a movie star. Neither is actually an option on the table. Unless in you're FB chats the old bf has said, "Drop everything and come live with me and my horses.", you need to leave him out of the equation.

I don't at ALL mean to say that you should stay where you are because it's your only option. If you're not happy in your relationship, you need to leave. Your boyfriend's heart will be broken, but he'll recover.

You need to figure out where you want to be and start making a plan to get there. Since you're 3000 miles from family and friends, at some point in the past you must have decided that where you wanted to be was with your boyfriend, no matter where that was. I once made a similar decision myself. But things change. If where you want to be now is near a) family and b) horses and c) the current boyfriend, talk to him and maybe there is a way. Maybe not now, but someday. You may have to be patient. People can telecommute these days, you know, he doesn't have to have exactly the same dream as you for you to live yours. If option c doesn't matter so much to you, find a way to get the others without him. Move back home. Strike out on your own.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:18 AM   #7
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Just a couple of comments.
If you leave your bf it WILL NOT kill him,
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, what you know you have with your boyfriend is one thing but what you fantasize with your 8th grade bf are two differant things.
Life with your bf is reality.
Dreaming abot life with the old bf is fantasy.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:31 AM   #8
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This story hurts my heart. I feel bad for your bf just because you reached out to your ex. If he is 100% committed and you even cross the line enough to reach out to an old flame... well, I will leave it at that...

The only "interesting thing" that happened (in my opinion) is that you realized you were looking for something else to begin with. If that is the case, you need to be honest with first, yourself, and with your current guy.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:22 AM   #9
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Twice now I've left the guy I was with for a different guy. Twice. Both times I swore it was for a better situation. Both times I was certain that I was moving on to a far better lifestyle that matched my interests so much better and would leave me far happier. I was CERTAIN I loved these new guys with all of my heart. I was CERTAIN that they were THE one. And, actually, I have loved both of them with a deep part of my heart more than any of the other men I've ever dated to be fair.

But, as far as my happiness goes, both times, just a few months in, I realized it made ZERO difference. People are ALWAYS on their perfect behavior when you're first starting out. Even when you tell each other you're being real and being yourself - there is more effort in the beginning always.

Your personal happiness and lifestyle is not going to change with any guy. I know you hear it, and it's cliche, but it really, really is true. The thing is, no one here at 3FC is going to change your mind. I know that because I went to a few online forums to discuss my past decisions that were very similar to yours. And, I was warned and cautioned... and I didn't listen.

You do need to decide if you really love your boyfriend. And, I don't think that just because you opened yourself up to be attracted to someone else doesn't mean that you don't love him. It means you don't love you right now, and you're looking for someone to find good in you so you can feel special. And, you take your current boyfriend's love for you for granted. It no longer makes you feel as special because he is your boyfriend, he is supposed to love you. And, part of the love is because he is comfortable with you. It's just not the same feeling when he tells you your pretty as when this guy does. Plus, he probably doesn't tell you as much anymore because you see each other day in and day out...

It's a matter of opening your eyes and seeing what's really happening around you. The guy situation is really not the situation at all.

You need to make friends. And, the thing to know here is, friends d not come up to you and start talking to you. Especially if you're at home. You have to actually go out and find them, and it's work. I live 300 miles away from my family and childhood friends. I moved to Chicago for a guy (who I left). I had NO ONE but my job. A co-worker chastised me and said I was getting nowhere feeling sorry for myself. And to just go up to some people that seem fun and say "I moved here a year ago and never bothered to get out and meet anyone. Would you mind having dinner with me sometime? I could really use getting out of the house on the weekend."

So, I did that. I called some women at work that I didn't even know and asked them to hang out. I went on Craigslist and answered two adds from girls looking for friends in the area to hang out with. I joined a soccer team; I joined a softball team. So, I'm in Chicago and it's easier.... nope. You can reach out to just as many people where you are right now as I can reach out to here. I mean, the amount of people you can interact with in a day has a limit!! It's more about interacting with people and making the effort, no matter how small the town. (I'm from a town of 6,000! I know!) There's a bartender at my favorite restaurant that is a riot. Next week I'm going to go in and invite her out with me the following Friday night. Just now while writing this I asked a paralegal walking by to go shopping with me. You would be surprised how many woman are totally up for hanging out with you. We ALL want people to hang out with.

And, sure, they don't all become lifelong friendships. I've had several people that have just become acquaintances. But, even that is not bad. It gives you someone to always hang out with. I'll see each of them like once every three or four months, and it's still nice. I've however also made some really, really close friends, best friends, this way. So, start there. Make a life for yourself and don't expect your boyfriend to do it for you. Also, don't blame him for where you're at. It is your fault you're holed up.

Some of it too could be depression. Yeah, I understand cold. But, it's not like you're going to hang out outside the entire time you go out. But, if you just don't even feel like walking outside, maybe you're depressed? Are you exercising? Sometimes you just have to say "Self, I am getting up and going out no matter how much is sucks!" And then, once you've done it, I promise you'll feel good about it. I have to do that today. I've got to say "Self, you are going to walk ten blocks to the pet store and buy that 30 lb. back of dog food. Then you're going to schlep it back to work, and then after work you're going to schlep it on the red line during rush hour." Believe me... I DO NOT WANT. But, I'm going to do it. And when I get home, I'm going to be happy I did it.

It is a STRUGGLE. It is so much work making yourself get out of the house when you don't feel like it. And, it's nerve wracking inviting people to go out for coffee with you the first time. But, they won't say no. And eventually, through your huge network of friends you create for yourself you'll find one or two gems to hang out with outside of your home.

And, with more friends and you getting out of the house more, you'll be proud of yourself. And, perhaps you'll feel a little more fulfilled with life. And, at that point, maybe you'll realize your life doesn't revolve around any guy. That's when you'll be able to decide if you really hate living there, or if you just hate where your life is.
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:42 AM   #10
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Wow, Amberelise, your comment really resonates with me. I know I don't have a lot of friends, and I feel depressed a lot. I am also married and feel fulfilled in that department, so it is not hubby's fault I am unhappy. Neither one of us drive, so I can't really go out and make friends like you said, but I will definitely keep it in mind once I can. Unfortunately, I'm terribly shy, but it would be worth it if I made a friend or two.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:25 AM   #11
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I like the reasoning behind what everyone posted. However, life is short. I say, go for it. That is...AFTER you've sorted out all the issues.

When I knew I would be divorcing my abusive ex husband there were a couple of opportunities to be with other men. I totally refused. I knew that my divorce HAD to be about leaving an abusive man, not leaving for another man. I am so glad I did. There is a nice man in town who got a girlfriend before leaving his wife. I no longer thought of him as nice. Two years later, it came out that his wife was a raging alcoholic who became violent when she drank. THAT'S why he left. Paints him in a different picture but it's too late. His reputation was ruined the moment he got that girlfriend.

I have always been a sort of a free spirit in a very cautious world. Advice to me usually sounds like dire warnings of peril. I consider the advice, take precautions, then do whatever I want anyway. And guess what...I'm pretty darned happy and still alive.

So again, listen to the dire warnings of peril, take your precautions, and go for it.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the input everyone. Fitness4life, you and I seem to have similar perspectives on these sorts of things. As of now, the guy I got back in contact with on FB is a friend. He has carefully dropped hints that he is interested but until my current issue is resolved, nothing can or will happen there.

I went ahead and bought a one way plane ticket home. It was a very hard thing to do. I don't leave for another week so being here to watch my bf (ex bf now I guess?) fall apart is highly stressful and very upsetting. We've been crying together for days. I know that with enough time, all of this will pass and be history but that doesn't make right now any easier.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:48 PM   #13
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As long as you keep an open flame with this ex, you won't be able to resolve your issues or see what you really want in life

I see you have bought the ticket, that's fine, clearly you were not happy in that situation. But I would strongly recommend no contact with both men - it's okay to be single and to decide what you want to do with your life on YOUR terms, not on what could be/could have been with a guy. Your life, as a single girl.

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Old 04-16-2011, 07:52 PM   #14
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I don't think you are happy with your current situation.
Cooped up all day long with little outside stimulation is not good for anyone. Not even a dog or cat.

Your boyfriend is fond of you. It is no use to upset him with your longing for an old love interest and your family ties.
Tell him you are going back to your mom to help her out and visit for a month...maybe two. And leave it at that. Then go, no matter how much he might object.
See your old flame and experience the great outdoors for a while, and see if the old lifestyle suits you better.
Then make your decision to go back or not while you are at your mom's.
Leave your present boyfriend out of the picture entirely. Don't let him influence your decisions. This is your own decision, and should be made by you alone without any peer pressure from anyone.
Who knows, there might be a 3rd guy waiting in the wings back at home. He might turn out to be the love of your life.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverWind View Post
Thanks for all the input everyone. Fitness4life, you and I seem to have similar perspectives on these sorts of things. As of now, the guy I got back in contact with on FB is a friend. He has carefully dropped hints that he is interested but until my current issue is resolved, nothing can or will happen there.

I went ahead and bought a one way plane ticket home. It was a very hard thing to do. I don't leave for another week so being here to watch my bf (ex bf now I guess?) fall apart is highly stressful and very upsetting. We've been crying together for days. I know that with enough time, all of this will pass and be history but that doesn't make right now any easier.
I was thinking about this and I remembered something else from my past. When I was in high school, I was best friends with my boyfriend's best friend. After my divorce, we were both at my 20 year h.s. reunion. We hadn't spoke in 10 years. It was nice to reconnect. He persued me romantically soon after. I gave it a shot. About 3 months into it, it was clear to me that we had both changed. A lot. I also realized I just wasn't physically attracted to him. Thankfully, we were never even close to being intimate and I ended up having to break ties with him. I don't regret this valuable experience, and I hope sharing it with you puts the thought into your head that this man from your past may end up simply being a catalyst for you to pursue happiness, but he may not be "the one".

I'm glad you bought the plane ticket. It's sad and difficult to go thru what you are with your current bf, but you need to go thru that process.

Best wishes.
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