Jan 072012
 

Psychology Today’s Are You with the Right Mate? is appealing. It’s a question we all ask: Is there something better? Homebuyers wonder if they’re picking the right house. Renters who double up wonder if life would be sweeter with a different roommate. Employees wonder if they should stick with their current job’s stability or accept a new opportunity with better pay or a better work environment.

Image by Lyuda Green

Image by Lyuda Green

I recently returned from a Chicago stay at the Hotel Felix where a friend and I overheard a 20 something dude in the lobby bar ruminating about his love life, sloppily debating whether or not he should leave his 34 year-old girlfriend. “I’m 28. I don’t have any kids. I’ve never been married. I own my own business …” Dumbass, I muttered under my breath. You think you might be able to get something better because you’re a catch in the Midwest. In Manhattan, I can’t go to a party and spit straight without it hitting at least a dozen guys kind of like you except they would be richer and hotter. If you truly love your girlfriend — and, more importantly, if she’s good to you — keep her. For now.

I’m a fan of casual sex, fucking around, and having tons of experiences with a lot of different people when you’re single. New Yorkers live the hell out of life first, then settle down (if ever). I’m in my 30s, single, never been married, and I don’t have any children. I was frustrated with the Hotel Felix lobby bar guy because I wondered: “If I ever move back to Chicago, will all the good men my age be already married? Would I be stuck dating someone like this guy — a 20-something blabbing he wanted to dump me?”

Read this. It’s from a couple years ago, but I still feel the same. I miss the Midwest like hell, and I’ve contemplated moving back. Not tomorrow. Someday. I’m noncommittal about longterm plans. I could own a pad in River West, Wicker Park or Humbolt Park in 2016, or I could remain on the East Coast forever. It’s like that old adage: The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it. Today, I’m watering the grass in New York City. If I ever decide to move, I’ll water the grass somewhere else just fine, too.

In any case, I will always love New York. For your viewing pleasure: “Never A Dull Moment On the NYC Subway” (via the lovely and delicious Jonathan Fields)

“Sooner or later there comes a moment in all relationships when you lie in bed, roll over, look at the person next to you and think it’s all a dreadful mistake,” says the Are You with the Right Mate? article. Finding happiness isn’t about chasing the next best thing. Regardless who you’re with now (or are seeking), there will always be someone hotter, richer, smarter, thinner, curvier, less challenging, more challenging, more fun, more something. If you believe your personal happiness is what matters most and you would be happier without your significant other, it may be time to figuratively “water” the relationship a bit more. However, if you’re already doing that yet grass keeps dying anyway, it may be time to reevaluate.

  41 Responses to “Should You Stay or Leave?”

  1. ITA with what you are saying. And it sounds like dating is a nightmare— stories like this make me almost glad to married. I’m in my 30′s and even some of my friends who got out of their relationships and jumped back in the dating pool, went back to their ex and worked it out. It’s like the lesser of two evils– yeah, the dude might have been a complte asshole,but at least they knew what they were getting. It’s hard work trying to make it work with someone who has just as much, if not more baggage than you do. And when you have kids, it’s not easy trying to findsomeone who will accept you and your kids. I’m sure this guy in the convo you overheard probably does think he’s a catch, but he sounds deeply immature. So, if a woman in her 30′s who may or may not have kids, have been married or not, and is looking for a meaningful relationship, is going to have a hard time. Casual relationships may be the way to go, if these types of guys are what you have to choose from. If I found myself divorced or widowed, I’d rather be alone and occupy myself with vibrators. You are definitely braver than I am to deal with these men in the single world— kudos, seriously….

  2. The one thing I do miss about marriage was that it made things simpler. “Here I am, make it work.” It didn’t. Like you say, the grass is greener where you water it. I’m not even sure if there is such a thing as “compatibility” beyond the need to be mostly matched intellectually and ethically.

  3. I agree with Scott. I think that relationships areole about compatibility. You can have all of the passion and like-minded sexual appetites in the world, but if you want different things out of life, it won’t last. As you get older, you want different things from the person you are with. My divorced friends always wonder if they really did try hard enough to make it work– and I guess you can never really know if you did or not. It’s more about being tired of being miserable– being together when you don’t make each other happy anymore.

  4. Love NY too, and yes, it seems the dating dynamics in other places are decidedly different (as are the marrying trends). The grass CAN be greener, but it can also turn quite brown when always looking for greener pasteurs so thanks for providing this interesting food for thought. LOVE thename of your blog btw, happy we happened upon it! Funny, enteratining post-thanks!

  5. I think that Puma has probably hit the nail square on the head. I have been guilty of falling into that “the grass is always greener” thought pattern (and always regretted it). If the relationship was worth starting in the first place, then it is worth the effort to improve/modify it.

  6. It’s human nature to always think there may be something better. As much as we try to be content it happens. It’s that same drive that causes us to want better careers, bigger houses, faster cars, etc. I’ve been married 12 years & I don’t beat myself up about it. I also know that I am happy in my marriage & in love so that extra 2 seconds I spend looking at the handsome stranger I just met never go past 2 seconds. I enjoy living vicariously through my single girlfriends but in the end I’m happy to be married. I’m a Midwesterner & we usually settle down early. I married in my early 20s & so did most of my friends I grew up with. My friends from college, mostly NYers are all still single.

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  8. Yes we should find a good roommate for happy living life. If we could not find any person like this then we cannot be happy ever. So, if anybody get good roommate then they should stay lest leave.

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  12. I just noticed that Puma and Stephanie are using apparently the same profile pic. Oh well, perhaps they are related. I am also wondering about the apparent pun (“relationships areole”) in Stephanie’s posting.

  13. I think as long as you and the women/man you are with a meeting each others core values than the relationship is only going to grow. The mistake is not to do this and making you or your partner consider other options and for that you only have yourself to blame

  14. Really nice post! NYC does look interesting! I loved it when I visited! Strangely, I preferred Philadelphia =]

    The grass, for me – did seem greener on the other side. However, saying that, I’ve been in a relationship for almost three years and the grass where I am is still the greenest. I wonder if I’ll be saying that in another 3 years.

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  17. I think at some point everyone is going to ask if they are with the right person. And I’m sure over time the answer will be different. Relationships are work. But lets face it, anything worth having is worth working for, as long as you are not the only one working for it.

  18. I still believe true love can happen and there is a love out there that won’t have you rolling over wondering why you married that person. It is out there for everybody, but it is never easy and it has to be about love not money, sex, or anything else.

  19. I miss Chicago at times, too… but I’m like you. I don’t know that I can leave the beaches of Southern Cal. Someday, yes. Maybe New England. Maybe Chicago. I don’t miss the cold, but I do miss the food… and the people. For what I pay here, I’m sure I could get a very nice place in the city. Maybe along the river. Lincoln Park. The North Shore. Not sure.

  20. I fucking hate you so much.
    Fuck.

  21. Thank you, Charlotte vanRuss. I am certain that, at least for some of us, the feeling is mutually shared.

  22. All of us would never leave the place we came to like and get familiar with. Maybe someday, if we ever meet the person who would be worth the risk of leaving everything behind and starting a new life with.

  23. Take it from someone who’s moved around a lot in his life: the grass is the same ugly shade of dying vegetation everywhere. Make the best of wherever you’re at right now.

  24. I agree with what you’re saying. I believe happiness is truly objective as a term. However, people are easily influenced by how others define happiness, should that definition contain a marriage, having kids, being a soccer mom or a coaching dad, having a house with a yard for the kids to fool around with the family dog and so on. While all that can make a person happy, they certainly can’t make ANY person happy. Following your own heart, listening to your very own instincts and wanna dos is the only path to happiness. Compromise only if you want to, if making compromises is part of your own path to being happy one day, starting this day. Be in a relationship if you want or play in the field. There is no right or wrong, it is what it is.

  25. Damn, what a great article. Everyone settles to a certain degree because there is no perfect person to love. You have to make the best of it, or don’t, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

  26. really butifull I loved it when I visited

  27. I think the other side of this is that there are also a lot more available, successful women in Manhattan as well. I’m from Chicago as well, I think the same thing happens with elgible women being married off earlier in the midwest.

  28. Hey!
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  29. I bet there are a lot of people who ask that question regardless of whether they are married or not. If you love the person that you’re with then you should stay with them.

  30. I agree completely. I don’t think you should ask yourself if you can get something better. Of course you can, there is always something better. I think the question you should ask yourself is if you are happy. in my opinion happiness is the most important thing and if the person you are with makes you happy, what else matters?

  31. You should not leave. Give it some time.

  32. People who ask that question regardless of whether they are married or not. If you love the person that you’re with then you should stay with them.You should know about what is real relationship.

  33. Great article.

  34. This something that people in marriage need to understand. To be happy for years in marriage, there needs to be a special connection in order to sustain for a long time. Otherwise, it just won’t work. The person you are with has to make you happy all the time and that is really the point of marriage and living together. The best way to make your friends happy is to Match your friends and they will find someone special more likely.

  35. Great and informative articles. Thanks

  36. i wanted to comment on this article because that was really inspiring , we all have that moment when we ask ourself this stupid question ,but i’d rather be with someone who can understand me instead of sex than someone who want me just for my body and excuse my english im from italy

  37. I just would like to say something about bar lobby guy. I totally agree with you, he should stay with his girlfriend if he really loves her, he could have kids and live happy life with her, he doesn’t need to find another woman to be happy, after all, having a older girlfriend is modern nowadays. One more thing, Twanna, I think that you’ll be able to Match your friends , best wishes.

  38. this was a nice read. I will admit I was once that guy at the bar. I think it’s more that he’s confused about it. If he’s questioning it than that must be a good thing. If he didn’t care he wouldn’t have thought about it but he would’ve just done it!and he was talking to another guy. You should Match Your Friends as well. We typically talk a different way when we around them !

    Much Love, Much Respect
    Frank !

  39. No matter what you do, you’ll always have moments where you’ll wonder if you should have done something else. That’s why blondes wanna be brunettes, brunettes wanna be blondes, singers wanna be actors and vice versa, young wanna be older and old wanna be younger. People get bored with what they have and want something different.

  40. I agree. I like how you think that people should live the hell out of their lives before getting settled because it could always lead to that thought of if they should have done something before they got settled down. Better to have already had experiences.

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