Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lost Love and Los Angeles


I trust you, stranger, and need some sense. I seem to remember that you exited a longish relationship and moved to LA for grad school?

In September, if not before, I'll be moving to LA from Boston to start a PhD program, and my boyfriend of 3 years doesn't want to come with me. Or be my boyfriend after I leave. I'm sad about it, but not sad enough to forget the occasional "this-isn't-the-right-guy-for-me" and "I-don't-want-him-to-come-with-me" feelings I've had over the last year.

So I should be feeling relieved, which I do a little bit, and excited for an LA adventure, which I do a very little bit. But two things are in my way. One: fear that I will never find love and never get married and not be able to have kiddos and blah blah blah cliche freakout. Two: I'm a midwest girl that has found Boston difficult to adjust can I not hate LA?

Any assurances?


My dear stranger,

I can't promise you'll meet Mr. Amazeballs and get married and have babies and all that shit. Maybe you will. But maybe you'll meet Mr. Amazeballs and live in sin for the rest of your life, sans babies. Or maybe you'll meet a series of Mr. Amazeballses and have a baby on your own.


Kick some ass. Get your PhD. Have fun in LA. (LA is much more fun than Boston, I promise. And the people are much friendlier.)

As I told Liv,* you'll only meet Mr. ____ when you're not looking for him.

And whatever happens, you're better off on your own than with the wrong guy.


(Downtown Los Angeles, as viewed from the top of Griffith Park, from the feaverish etsy shop via Jessie Atkinson)

*Who, incidentally, met a new guy, fell in love, and moved in with him the instant she got to London.


  1. Listen to esb, she's a wise lady.

    And have a fucking amazing time.

  2. Yup, I'm with ESB and all the other commenters. It's gonna be scary but most things in live that are awesome are scary!

    I haven't met my Mr Amazeballs yet but I have a feeling that one day he's just suddenly going to be there and all the other shit will follow!

  3. Los Angeles is not so hard to love, really. Just research up before you come. Find a neighborhood that works for you (and ideally lets you perform most basic life functions without having to drive across town). Also, the weather is good more often than not.

    And remember that you bring your happy with you. It's easy to think that a city is to blame (or credit) for how you feel at a particular point in your life, but you make your life. So build a good one.

  4. I'm a Midwest girl (I am from Michigan and have lived in Chicago for 9 years). I love LA and dislike Boston. I've never lived in either place but I find LA fun and carefree and diverse and interesting and I find Boston homogeneous, snobby, conservative and unfriendly.

  5. I bet you'll love L.A.

    And that Boston guy is not the guy. Get on with your life and enjoy! (Like ESB and Rachel and everybody said.)

  6. thanks for making me your blog of the week(ish) sorry that more people don't appreciate it but i doooooo

  7. @esb can you take @stranger out for a drink once in LA? i think she can use one.

  8. Hey stranger,

    I live in LA and have for the last 8 years. When I moved here I had been in an extremely serious "this is the guy I'm going to marry" relationship. It didn't hold up to the long distance. But now I am married with a house and a giant dog. If you want to get a drink when you get out here just let me know. Click on the link to my blog and leave me your email address so we can get in touch. If not, that's cool too. But just know that almost everyone who moved out to LA has felt those same feelings. It's what we all have in common. :) good luck!

  9. it's scary.
    i'm with ESB that you'll do great.
    it's never worth giving up an AMAZING LIFE-CHANGING opportunity for Mr. Okay-for-now...if he won't sacrifice WITH you for your big can you be with him long-term anyway? it's not even worth it to sacrifice a DAY of being with Mr. Okay-for-now-selfish. i think you're making the right move.

  10. I concur with esb and these lovely comments. You are staring a super exciting new chapter of your life, so don't stress on finding Mr. Right.. he'll come along.

    As a Los Angeles Townie, I find that my homeland does get a bad wrap most of the time. But, once you find an area that suits your groove, and wade through all the douchebags, it's a rad place to live!

    Asking ESB for advice before you get here means you're obviously doing something right!

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  11. As a young midwestern girl, I moved to LA after I was laid off at work AND by my live-in BF of 7 years on the same day. I was too numb to be scared of the move. But I used the experience to figure out who I was, what I liked and what I wanted out of my life.

    I didn't meet "Mr. Right" (plenty Mr. Right-Nows.. holla.. high-five) but I learned to sail, rollerbladed on the beach, spent amazing weekends at the Spa in Ojai, enjoyed perfect weather, bought fantastic cheap crap in Santee Alley and not-so cleverly followed stars at Whole Foods. Like everything in life: it's only as fun as you make it.

    Once you invest in yourself you might discover as I did, the break-up and relo was the best thing to have ever happened. It's YOUR life.. wash your face, comb your hair and get to living it!

  12. Dear Friend,

    I moved from Boston to LA. And I grew up in WI/MN. I thought Boston would be an exciting and smart place to live. After 1.5 yrs, boy was I wrong. The people were mean and closed-off on the street, and the cars could mow you down out of malice in a second.

    I arrived in LA and immediately my body became less tense. The people will smile at you on the street and may even talk to you. The cars might mow you down, but not out of mean-spiritedness, just distracetedness. There are so many more outlets for getting out in the world because your not stuck inside all the time because it's too cold to go anywhere. Come, relax, buy an awesome pair of sunglasses and some luxurious sunscreen and you'll be fine, man or no man.

    Keep on the sunny side!

  13. I grew up in Iowa and moved to Orange County, CA (yes, I know, not LA at all) for my Ph.D. program. I'm not gonna lie, I cried when I first got here. It's big and palm-tree-y (which is a lot of people's thing, but wasn't mine) and filled with cars. You will see fake boobs. Lots of them. And if you go to the dermatologist you may be offered Botox at the age of 30. I was.

    So. . . Southern California is not the Midwest. But it is home of the most amazing street food, smart and creative people, and of course year-round sunshine.

    Take a drive down PCH, get a taco from the truck at El Taurino, splurge on Sunday Supper at Lucques. Everything will be alright.

  14. WHOA @walshe44. pretty sure that wasn't helpful.

  15. I have no experience whatsoever on LA vs Boston, what with living on the other side of the world.

    But so far as the man situation goes, my thoughts are this: If you are having doubts at all about the relationship(and it clearly sounds that you are) you should get out of it sooner rather than later. So long as you are with the wrong guy, you won't be as open as you could be to meeting the right guy.

    At the age of 28 I made the decision to leave an 11 year relationship, because it wasn't working. I subsequently dated Lots of Guys, and initially clung like fury to a few, trying to make it work so I could get the wedding and babies I dreamed of. But I came to the realisation that while I was with the wrong guy, I wouldn't meet the right one. So from then on, as soon as I realised a relationship had no future I got out.

    It paid off. 2 weeks ago (at the age of 34) I married my wonderful sweetheart. From the start it was easy, and just worked and felt right. But if I had stuck with some of those other guys it might never have happened.

    Enjoy being single, and rest easy in the fact that so long as you are not with the wrong guy, the right one WILL come along.

  16. Sorry.. I gotta back up @walshe44.. The most beautiful girl and guy out of every high school and college in the US move to LA. And so do people with a WHOLE lotta dough. And a WHOLE lot of amazing connections. It's daunting at first.

    As for me, I was (d) none of the above. Being real here.. You will not be the prettiest, youngest, have the best clothes, car or live in the best neighborhood in Los Angeles. The hostess seating you will be crazy beautiful as will your waitress, bartender, and grocery check-out dude. And the parking lots will be filled with high-end German imports leased by kids who graduated 3 years ago.

    That being said, I was there 8 years & met amazing people from all over, learned cool things, took great weekend car trips to Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara. I belonged to a networking group for computer geeks and made life long friends.

    Invest in yourself, commit weekly to visiting new places, eating at new restaurants and trying something completely out of the box!

  17. @Anon I'm guessing you didn't live in echo park.

  18. I'm a PhD student here too! I wasn't sure what to expect either, but I love it. I've been here for three years now and it definitely feels like home. In fact, the boy and I are getting married next year, and even though he's from Maine and I'm from San Francisco, we wouldn't think about getting married anywhere else.

    Good luck!

  19. @esb.. Santa Monica.. 17th and Montana.

  20. I came from the Midwest (lived in Chi 5 years, Madison for 2) to Los Angeles 6 years ago, just left it all to pursue my dreams. Met my fiance within 5 months of being here. We met while we were riding bicycles in the streets of Silverlake<3

    If you move here and aren't happy try changing your neighborhood. I have lived in Echo Park the entire time but once I got here it was like I finally found the place I always dreamed existed!

    I also love LA because SF, SD, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, SB, wine country... all these magical places are just a car ride away! You will have so many adventures here, enjoy!!

  21. I came to LA from the great state of MA as a scared little 23 year old. I was also in a long distance relationship with "THE ONE" who dumped me after I spent all my income on trips to see him, and so I have the whole "beyond HEARTBROKEN new resident of LA" in my past.

    Here's the great news. The sex ratio out here? It is in your favor and then some. Way more dudes to ladies. So it's a grand place to be heartbroken. In fact when my current fella (who is a very sexy and smart midwesterner!) and I met we bonded over our experiences of moving while in relationships with the people we were sure were "the one", getting dumped and then dating like whirlwinds. Also, every single female friend I have in LA is in a relationship. Really. Even the ones who moved out here single have met someone in the time they've been here. I even feel that it's sort of a problem, because I feel like I don't know any single people anymore and that makes me feel strange. I have some single friends on the east coast I guess...

    When I moved to LA from MA, so many people told me I was going to hate it. And it would be SO shallow and so superficial and traffic and blah blah blah. Guess what? What people call LA is actually a county with 88 cities in it, plus unincorporated LA. It's the size of Delaware and RI combined. There are 10 million people living here.

    So I think of the people who hate on LA, if you can't make it work in a land of 10 million people, you didn't try very hard, and if you dismiss all 10 million people as shallow, you are some kind of stratospheric snob, and no one is going to be unshallow enough for you, and you don't deserve the great weather here, so get lost.

    More good news! LA is awesome. I do think it will take a little time for your eyes to adjust because the signs and the dust and the horrifying architecture all together can be very !! (no words. Its just so !). But over time you realize LA is sort of ugly sexy, not straight up pretty sexy like in old towns with beautiful historic buildings. And there's so much going on here. I mean, for one thing, the diversity! I love seeing so many types of people sharing the streets and the buses and the subways (ps I do not own a car. I live in LA without a car. Not always easy, but totally doable). And that diversity means the food. korean food alone I could write a whole love song to, and then there's mexican, and japanese and armenian thai and vegan/local/new american and so on and so on. And the neighborhoods, each one a microcosm you can never stop exploring. Really LA is a great deal. I love the crap out of it. I hope you will too.

    So show up, and then be a joiner. Do some roller derby, go to artwalk, get on meetup and take some classes or join a hiking group, and I bet in no time at all you will be in love with LA at least, and maybe also a human person.

  22. everything e just said. absolutely everything.

  23. it's up to you to decide whether you want to be an E and be happy, or a walshe44/anon and be a bit negative and insecure. (Hint: go for E's attitude - LA can be wonderful if you let it). I too moved to LA for my PhD over 4 years ago amidst some heartache, and once I stopped feeling sorry for myself I embraced LA, found my love, and got married 6 months ago.

  24. i just read what walshe44 said... i think other than making a joke about the popularity of boob jobs/botox, which is probably true so why sugar coat it, everything else sounded pretty helpful and reassuring!

  25. @Anon 8:34 Orange County is to Los Angeles as New Jersey is to New York

  26. would you judge me if i got fake boobs?

  27. of course not! i don't have an issue with anyone getting fake boobs or botox. i just thought because the commenter had said that, the rest of the positive info was overlooked...
    I just thought that walshe44's comment seemed to be helpful - the reality that it will be much different from the midwest but that it will also be full of good things and people. i've just done a couple cross country moves (in canada not the us, so, again probably quite different) and i've had that similar experience - upset and second guessing the move at first, and then realizing all the good things of a brand new city... thats all. i don't think i had a particularly negative or insecure attitude to moving places in particular...
    sorry if i offended anyone! and good luck to the mover!
    - anon 8:34 again :)

  28. @Anon 8:34 that was a JOKE. just trying to lighten the mood. ♥

  29. Thank you all so much. Your comments have truly helped me to GET SO EXCITED about moving to LA! And @lizzie, I've already started calling him "Mr.Okay-For-Now" in my head :) You've all helped me believe that little voice in my head that's been saying that this is a great opportunity to get out of Boston (which I don't like), leave a limiting relationship, and live my life. Yay! Thanks again :)

  30. All of you are being so mean to my cold and cranky little city!

  31. Another native-midwesterner who moved to LA here!

    I came out from Ohio pretty much blind a few years ago, totally skeptical (I'm SO not the Hollywood type). But I was really surprised at how much I liked it. Like other people have said, it's such a big place that you can find lots of different environments, and the people were a lot friendlier and more laid-back than I thought they'd be.

    (I also moved out here single, and then started dating my now-fiance within like 3 months. Boom. That was sheer dumb luck though, so maybe not that helpful.) :-)