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I (27F) feel stuck in a rut that I fear I will never get out of.

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Old 30th September 2018, 8:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2015
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I (27F) feel stuck in a rut that I fear I will never get out of.

The last 3 - 4 years have been an immense struggle for me.

I was in a 7 year relationship from 17-24 and he broke it off with me because he didn't love me anymore. Our relationship was actually so great, we got along so well, but in retrospect we began to become best friends who shared a bed together and our romantic spark had worn down to a point beyond repair. This break up was very hard for me and it was very abrupt. However as hard as it was, at the time I had faith that the next few years would be transformational for me and I was adamant on growing an empire within myself, so that if someone I loved so much were to leave me like that again, I'd always have a strong foundation to fall back on. At this time, I also held a strong belief that in 3-4 years, everything would be so much better but I was so very wrong.

Nearly 3 years ago in January, I moved to a whole new city on my own because I was fed up of the small town I grew up in and I had to get out as there were no opportunities there for me anymore. My ex kind of followed me because he wanted to be there for me and was relentlessly trying to get back together, as he had immense regrets for breaking up. It was hard for me to turn him down, but I felt so strongly in my gut that it wasn't best to go back and it didn't seem fair on him if my heart wasn't 100 percent in it. Because I had no one there and I was still very fond of my ex as he always was my best friend, we stayed friends and we were inseparable (and platonic) for a year until he had met a girl at the start of last year, which changed everything for him and I and we no longer know each other anymore.

Since then, I have been living the worst time of my life due to having absolutely no one here and feeling like I am wasting valuable years of my 20s with no social life. The loneliness and social isolation is so deafening that it has made me very depressed and at times a suicidal, requiring hospitalisation and much intensive therapy. Around a year ago I started a new full time job in a company that can get me very far and this year I started studying a new degree to enhance my career, so I do feel so positive about this aspect of my life, however the social aspect is not at all promising and it is hard to dismiss what is a very innate, human need. In particular, I find it very hard to face this problem being bombarded with social media accounts of people I know who have such enriching social lives and I feel like such a loser for missing out on this.

Sometimes I catch up with the mutual friends of my ex that I used to hang out with regularly when I moved over, however it is always me who initiates it and I am beginning to feel I should put more energy into establishing relationships outside of my last relationship. I am very busy juggling full time work and study, but I still relentlessly put myself out there in every single way possible by joining clubs, night classes, volunteering, using bumble bff to meet likeminded people, the list goes on. I'm telling you, I am reallllly realllly trying and I'm getting no where establishing new, promising connections with people. I also want to meet a nice partner again and have been online dating actively for the last 3 years, but I find myself getting involved with guys who don't show me much respect at all, which then makes me feel like I didn't do the right thing by not getting back with my ex and regret ensues.

All and all I feel I am just banging my head against a wall trying to improve a situation that won't change no matter how much I put into it. Everyone else around me that I know has had their lives change in immeasurably positive ways in the last two years and I am stuck in the exact same spot and it terrifies me that this situation is permanent and that the stagnancy will remain no matter how much I work at changing it.

It is disheartening to look back on my 24 year old self when my ex had just left me and remembering how strong I was and hopeful I was that things would work out for the best, but I am 27 now and I am ashamed that I have totally failed these hopes and expectations. It almost feels as though that 24 year old was a worlds beyond me in strength and courage and I'm just running on empty trying not to get myself back into a place where I want to take my life again.

If anyone has any supportive insight to share to help me come to terms with my situation and improving, please feel free to write in.
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Old 30th September 2018, 4:39 PM   #2
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It's hard to make solid friendships, but it will happen eventually. Be sure to ask people to do things. Holler at the office staff, I'm going to see (band) at (club) tonight, everybody come!

Have a cocktail party at your place or a football party or a Nascar party or a binge-watching party, provide food and something to drink. Invite single people you want to get to know better and tell them to let you know if they are bringing a friend by such and such rsvp date so you'll know how many to provide for. Keep it small and intimate if you want. I don't like telling people to bring someone because not everyone will come if they don't have anyone. Unless you know for sure the people you invite don't have kids, you'll have to specify (adults) on the invitation to keep them from ruining what you want to be an adult party. Be sure they understand they don't need to bring a date and can either bring a friend or not. It's good if they bring more people, but not people that are taken.

You can also start a happy hour after work. If you want to get to know people at work, you can make cookies and go around offering them, or keep a full candy dish on your desk "Help yourself."

You can invite neighbors over. If you want to meet a neighbor, you can do it the old fashioned way and take some extra food goodie over there, or you can join Nextdoor and start sending PMs to any neighbors you might like and go to community gatherings like National Night Out, which is this Tuesday in neighborhoods all over the U.S.

Follow your local police department on Twitter or Facebook and go to their community things and fundraising bbqs. I realize police aren't for everyone, like if you smoke pot, which they can usually smell, but most of them are great people. I was certainly too wild to want to be around them when young, so I get it, but if you're not an outlaw, they're great caring people who sacrifice a lot to protect and serve the community. And they have a lot of community-building events and their barbecues are great.

If you are having ongoing problems with depression, it might be that going to a psychologist would give you the outlet you need so you don't keep things inside. Also, if you have any particular issues, like alcoholism or codependency, you might solve your loneliness by joining AA, where it's almost instant friends, or a support group.

If you enjoy paranormal at all, join a paranormal group that is organized and has meetings regularly and goes on outings. The one I was in stayed out too late for me, but they did overnights and when you do that, everyone ends up friends (or in some cases, adulterers)

Try to find a neighborhood game night group. if you join Nextdoor, things like that will appear on there. Also, join it because you can often meet neighbors through things like they ask you for towels for a dog rescue or something like that, and you donate stuff to their home or they come pick it up. Lots of opportunities on there. The wife of the head of our homeowners association needed 80s clothes for Halloween and I loaned her a bunch of stuff.

Just take opportunities and make sure you have your ear to the ground to see the opportunities. And whether it's a date or you're just starting to get to know a friend, remember not to unload all your unhappiness on them right away. They don't need to know right now about your past relationship or how lonely you are. People tend to run from that. At the beginning, concentrate on being entertaining and asking them about themselves and listening. Good luck.
"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not better for it." -- Abraham Lincoln
"The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way in its animals are treated." -Gandhi

Last edited by preraph; 30th September 2018 at 4:42 PM..
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Old 1st October 2018, 1:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by annalilian26 View Post
It is disheartening to look back on my 24 year old self when my ex had just left me and remembering how strong I was and hopeful I was that things would work out for the best, but I am 27 now and I am ashamed that I have totally failed these hopes and expectations.
I have to admit, you're the first 27-yr old "has been" I've ever met. From my perspective (mid 60's), seems like you have a lot of life left to live and much of your story untold.

First off, quit judging other people's lives based on their Facebook pages. I have three kids around your age and all are in the messy, chaotic process of figuring life out. It's two steps forward, one step back, and that's in a good year. And even though it's been a few decades for me, my 20's were a similar roller-coaster ride. I was an immature, unfocused, easily distracted knucklehead, things didn't really click for me until 10 years later. I'd guess your journey might be similar.

Quit putting this unnecessary pressure on yourself to get to the destination and focus on enjoying the ride. I'd trade places with you in a heartbeat ...

Mr. Lucky
Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct -

Eleanor Roosevelt
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Old 1st October 2018, 2:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mr. Lucky View Post
I have to admit, you're the first 27-yr old "has been" I've ever met. From my perspective (mid 60's), seems like you have a lot of life left to live and much of your story untold.
Whether or not it's "actually" true, a lot of 27ish year olds feel like "has beens" and have felt that way since about 23. That slump is so common it's in pop culture (what's that blink 182 song... what's my age again?)

I found myself in a similar rut around age 24-25 - although I was in a relationship, I was finding myself very isolated and lonely and felt I had few friends. (The relationship ended later for partly that reason, but that's not the point here). I tried putting in a lot of effort with as many people as I could, but I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere.

My social life really only improved through persistence, and understanding the sort of people you tend to click with. If you meet someone and they seem to have some things in common with you but you don't "click" with them, trying to force it isn't going to end well - it's a little bit like dating in that way. But once you find someone you just naturally gel with, you can expand that out to their circle of friends, which brings another 5, 10, etc... you get the point! And as you build confidence you'll get a lot better at meeting new people. I'm now very happy with my social life - some things have taken a back seat for now but I'm putting in just enough effort to keep it going. Also - if you get invited to something, go! If you feel tired or unsure, go anyway, I always find I feel a lot better once I'm around people.

You say that the isolation is making you depressed/suicidal - you may have addressed this in your therapy, so continue to do so. Depression and anxiety make establishing friendships 100x more difficult, since the effort required to establish one is magnified - these days I'd think nothing about striking up random conversations at a bar or approach a club based around my interests, but back then I'd never even consider it.

I'd suggest focusing more on your social life at this stage rather than finding a relationship - if the relationship goes south you're going to want that support network to help you out.

Last edited by snowboy91; 1st October 2018 at 2:22 AM..
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Old 1st October 2018, 11:43 AM   #5
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Making friends as an adult isn't as easy as making friends in school. You still have to keep looking for your people. Can you join a local alumni association? What about meet ups? Is there anyone in your building? Would you consider moving back home? You have the whole world at your finger tips. Hang in there & figure out what to do next.
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Old 1st October 2018, 2:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by snowboy91 View Post
That slump is so common it's in pop culture (what's that blink 182 song... what's my age again?)
Ah, then it must be real .

Here's the perspective that's missing - there are a number of major transitions in life. Getting married is one. Having your kids grow up and leave home is another. Figuring out life post-retirement also on the list. And yes, graduating from school and entering adulthood is similarly a big adjustment, one that takes several years - or longer - to figure out.

What doesn't benefit any of these moments in time is assigning yourself some arbitrary scale of success based on other people, a process facilitated by social media. And that thing whizzing by outside your head while you stress out is called life, months and years you don't get a second chance at. So the questions the OP should be asking herself are "What makes me happy? What path to fulfillment? Where do I find personal satisfaction?"

The answer isn't on Instagram...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 2nd October 2018, 12:50 AM   #7
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A few things:

1. You are sooooo not alone. As one example, you can look through some of my past threads detailing a rut very similar to what you're experiencing. And I know others who have been in the same boat at different stages of their lives.

2. It WILL eventually change. The law, "Nothing lasts forever," applies to ruts, too. (Thank goodness.) Tell yourself this every day. Believe it. Remind yourself of it as much as you need to to keep the despair from washing over you.

3. Consider that sometimes doors close / things don't work out for a REASON. Is there some way that these things not working for you right now is actually a GOOD thing? Use your imagination.

4. Do you maybe have some patterns of behavior that aren't working for you? Something from your past that's adversely affecting your future? If you have a sense this is so, a rut is a great time to advance your self-awareness through some good therapy sessions.

5. Try doing different things just for the heck of it. Take a different route to work. Style your hair differently. Do one of the things you thought you'd never do (knitting class, karate, riding a motorcycle, volunteering for a cause you didn't know you cared about). Plan a solo trip to some out-of-the-way place.

6. Remember that other people's lives are not always what they seem. As the saying goes, "Don't compare your inside to someone else's outside."

7. Breathe. Trust that all is happening as it should.

8. Don't worry that #7 is much harder to achieve than one might think. Cry, throw things, vent to your parents / best friend, let your frustration roil around inside you like hot lava. It's okay to feel so frustrated you could destroy everyone and everything.
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Old 2nd October 2018, 6:17 PM   #8
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Get off of Social media

You sound like me, just 4 years younger.

I've never had a relationship where I was introduced to the parents or shared a bed with someone because I lived with them. My relationships never got to that point. Meanwhile, everyone I know and have known are pretty much married, engaged, or heading towards it. They may have children. They have mortgages. Their careers are relatively set so they can afford to do a lot such as travel. Then there's me. Still studying at 31. Still not set in my career. Single and not by choice. Not for lacking of trying either because I have busted my a** to earn the little bit I have.

You and me and others like us are both weak at the moment because our lives are in transition. We don't have our feet planted yet. We're trying to figure out what our purpose is, where we fit in, and we're trying to get our sh*t together. So everything feels unsettled.

And while that hurricane is going on within us, there's social media to compound all that fear and insecurity we feel about ourself. For all it's benefit of connecting people together, I have found it to do a lot of damage as well. It's filled with people on the down-low trying to compete with one another for the most glamorous, most exciting lifestyle. People posting their best and maintaining this illusion of perfection the whole way through. How big was your wedding? How big is that diamond ring? How many places have you travelled to? How much weight have you lost? How much muscle have you put on? Etc. And it gets to us..all of us. Makes us feel like we're not doing enough. Makes us feel like we've done nothing. Makes us feel like sh*t about ourself. Even the most strong-spirited people can fall victim to the pressure. You'll never see anyone post up on their fears, their tears..anything that's real. And so we compare our inner darkness to their highlight reels.

It's noise. All noise. Noise that's drowning out what's going on inside. You can't hear yourself think. You don't know what you are feeling or what you want. You are being pushed and pulled around by what you see and hear around you and none of it is what is in your you feel lost.

Disconnect from it all. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook..all of it. And put distance between the people who make you feel terrible about yourself which will likely be everyone at this point. Might even be your friends and family They may not mean to be this in your life but when they talk about all the great things going eats at us. We try to be there for them when we at the moment need to be there for us more than anything. Disconnect.

In a few months, that noise is going to quiet down because you won't be seeing or hearing anything that will upset you and you will start to hear what's going on inside of you little by little..but you actually need that silence. If you want to meet new people, do what you need to do to make it happen but keep the interaction light.

From there, I think you'll figure it out.

If you want to vent or talk, you can PM me as I could always use it myself. I know how you feel and what you're going through as I battle with particular thoughts as well.

Stay strong

- Beach
People are meant to be loved. Things are meant to be used. The problem is we use people and love things..

Last edited by Beachead; 2nd October 2018 at 6:19 PM..
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