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Conventional Wisdom: Ask a Bartender

My boyfriend who was also my best friend has left me, very cruelly. Ten days after the breakup, he started posting pictures of himself with a new girlfriend on Facebook! I hate my job in the family business and want to go abroad. My parents are extremely unhappy about this. None of my friends are here anymore; they have all moved out of town, either getting married or getting a career. I am lonely. I don't even have anyone to go watch a movie with.

Although I have a postgraduate degree, I am not confident that I will find a job in this economic climate, after three years of working in the family. My mom has been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, which may or may not be malignant. Being the only child, now I am duty bound to take care of her, postponing my rebellious move out of the country. I am 26 and have no idea where my life is going. I have taken to popping Xanax and sleeping off my days; I prefer my dreams to my reality. I wake up at nights with a thumping heart and read novels as long as I am awake. Show me a way. Tell me what to do . . . please. I need help!

— Woeful With Wanderlust

To see what the bartender had to say,


Dear Woeful,

I am not sure where to begin here. I seriously had to shake myself a stiff martini before I could delve into all of your issues. It sounds like someone has been having the only kind of party that is not any fun: a pity party. It's time to splash some cold water on your face, snap out of your benzo-induced haze, and do some serious soul searching.

Although your ex-boyfriend's behavior may seem cruel, he might have been unhappy for a long time and checked out of the relationship months prior to making the move. People get lazy in that comfortable space and often don't have the gumption to break up with the person until they meet someone else. You should be thankful that he had the decency to break up with you rather than carry on some torrid affair based on the fear that he didn't want to hurt you.

I am going to take a stab in the dark here and guess that you were one of those girls who let her friendships wane, instead spending nights at home watching movies with your boyfriend. Please learn something from this experience. You should only have to experience that feeling of complete and utter aloneness once in your lifetime. Having a great group of friends always helps ease the pain of a breakup. They are there to remind you what a fun, smart, and sexy person you are and can say things like, "There are so many other fish in the sea," and "We always thought he was a douchebag but just didn't have the heart to tell you."

As far as your family and career go, yes, yes, yes to living abroad. Become bilingual, trilingual, quadlingual. People automatically respect you. If you're worried about dilly dallying away your time while our economy is in the crapper, do some volunteer work in another country. I have a sense that you might be a business-minded gal; what about helping women in South America write business plans? Just a thought, but I am sure there are programs applicable to your profession out there, and I am a firm believer in always trying to better yourself.

You seem like you have been the dutiful daughter for far too long. Since you are the only child, I am sure your parents are going to be nervous, but they obviously love you and will not disown you for making an independent decision. Now, if your mom truly does have ovarian cancer, maybe consider a month-long trip oversees — in which case, party your ass off — instead of relocation.

Lastly, lay off the freaking Xanax. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive with long-term use. Your words suggest anxiety and depression, which I predict is a product of your current situation and hopefully not a chemical imbalance that needs medical attention. You seem like a hardworking, sensitive, and smart woman. Empower yourself instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Always trust your gut; it never lies. And don't forget to tip your bartender.

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