Dear Amy: I moved to a new state for my husband's job a few months ago.
I was lucky enough to find a job in my field, but I'm miserable at work (both because of the job itself and because of the people I work with), and it's bleeding over into our home life.
I know you're supposed to explore a new city and find exciting things to do, but nothing interests me enough to want to deal with the traffic and crowds. I'm trying to join groups to meet people, but no luck so far.
I can't stop thinking that the best part of my life is already over, and it's downhill from here. I went to see the behavioral health provider at my doctor's office, but she just recommended some meditation, and it's not helping.
My husband is trying to be supportive, but he sees this new city as "objectively better" than the previous one and keeps reminding me that other people would be happy to be here and to have my job.
How long should I try to stick this out for my husband before pulling the plug and looking for jobs somewhere else? He doesn't want to move again, but said he'll do it if I can't be happy here.
-- Unhappily New to Town
Dear Unhappily: You mention "pulling the plug and looking for jobs somewhere else," but it seems most logical that you should start your effort toward change by pulling the plug and looking for a new job where you are.
It is extremely challenging to embrace a new place and new people if you spend roughly 40 hours a week miserable at work.
Meditation can certainly help you to cope with stress, but it won't help you to solve your happiness problem.
And your husband's reaction to you: "Other people would be happy to be here and to have your job" isn't particularly helpful -- in fact, statements like this mainly make you feel like a jerk for being dissatisfied.
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If you found a job you liked more, staffed by people you felt better about, you would begin to integrate more fully into your city.
In the meantime, you would benefit by meeting with a therapist. Global unhappiness of the kind you are experiencing is often about more than what is on the surface. And talking all of this through with a neutral professional could help you to strategize about realistic next steps.
Dear Amy: Twenty-one years ago, I met my best friend. We lost touch after high school, and then found each other again about 10 years later, and picked up right where we left off! We had a falling out and in the midst of the argument she insulted my abilities regarding my passion. This was like a stab in the heart. It was so devastating that I questioned all the progress I've made over the past few years.
I can't seem to forget it, even though she admitted she only said it to hurt me. We have since mended our friendship. She thinks everything is fine now, and I don't know how to tell her that I really haven't gotten over it.
I feel like I cannot talk about my passion with her anymore, and it's a HUGE part of my life. What next?
Dear Devastated: Your friend insulted you unjustly -- just because she wanted to hurt you? Who does that? This is not how besties behave. Friends say unkind things to one another, and sometimes hurt one another, but to insult you just in order to hurt you?
It is natural, and expected, for your friend to want to carry on as if nothing has happened. To admit this and apologize would require her to consider the true consequence of her hurtful comment, which is to shake the foundation of your confidence.
You should open this up for discussion, and present her with the opportunity to apologize for her unkindness, and ask you for forgiveness. Her apology and your forgiveness will open you up again.
Dear Amy: "Undecided" loved her career but felt pressured to have children. I wanted to share my experience.
My husband and I chose not to have children and have never regretted it. We have had wonderful careers and have traveled the world together. We feel we've contributed a lot to society, without adding children to it.
-- Happily Childfree
Dear Childfree: "Childfree" people used to be characterized as "childless." This appropriate change in terminology reflects the experience for many.
Reach the writer at email@example.com.