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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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dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
Well I thought the advice was pretty good. If I were her I would hang in there. Make a plan. Start packing things in a storage unit. Wait to see the mom's prognoses. Get things situated to the destination she desires. Get a refundable open ended plane ticket. Even if things don't work out she could come back. I wonder what happened?
Sunbelle098 Sunbelle098 8 years
This was a harsh and entirely judgmental response. Perhaps she didn't have friendships to begin with, and this is what drew her to the guy. She is obviously depressed and needs professional help, not one more person who lets her down! You should be ashamed!
mdemariah mdemariah 8 years
I think it's great advice. Run away and don't come back! Get a new life, that's the best you can do sometimes.Or at least, try to renew your life.
michaeluvnikita michaeluvnikita 8 years
forget about your ex, chances are he did a good thing for you. Karma is a biatch so if he didn't know a good thing when he had it, when it's gone he will probably beg to come back. By the time i hope you will find someone who loves you for you. spoken from experiences.
michlny michlny 8 years
The bartender is very, very wise.
kcmosinki kcmosinki 8 years
you are so courageous for bearing your soul like this and I get the feeling you're brave enough to get through this. But I would suggest that you not try to go it alone. Until you decide where and when you wanna move I'd suggest it's a website that facilitates meetings between people with common interest, maybe you could join one focused on travel, or business or create one that caters to only children who got broken up with and wanna leave the country; the sky's the limit. I wish you all the best and I'll be praying for you.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
Mamasita hit it on the nose. Quarter-life crisis for sure! My only advise is, stop worrying your ex and do what is right for you. You have to take action before anything can happen, so get your passport, find an overseas program, and get out there and do the things that you want to do!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
That advice is really spot on (and thank you so much for a question that's not all about boyfriends!). I would add that talking to someone about the possibility of an anxiety disorder could help.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
welcome to the Quarter-Life Crisis. you CAN and you WILL get through it!!!! I know that prescriptions (and sometimes chardonnay...) will help me get through a rough day, but I urge you to find some non-chemical ways to help you cope. It sounds like reading is helping distract you from some problems right now, but try looking into the Handbook of the Treatment of the Anxiety Disorders, it helped me a lot, really to focus myself and figure out the source of what was bothering me. YOU CAN DO IT, just keep telling yourself that!!!
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