What if I make the wrong choice?

Sometimes it’s hard to know if we’re on the right path.

Our elder points out the intriguing possibilities of navigating the unknown.

Dear EWC:

For the past year and a half I have been in a very toxic relationship with a narcissist. This guy and I are no longer in a relationship (he threw me out like yesterday’s trash) and our contact is very seldom and only when completely necessary;for instance he recently inquired if he had left me a passport in his car.

Although this is the current situation, it is still relatively recent (maybe for the past 3 weeks?) And we have already experienced a period of no contact that lasted 4 months and then ended up back together. I am completely sure that I no longer want this person in my life but my issue is this… A few months prior I applied to a job near where he lives 2 hours away (because we had been talking about living together) and today I just now got a call from the same place offering me a job.

Everything in me wants to take this job for multiple reasons. 1) I currently work a working-class job and I’m living with my parents because I can’t afford to live on my own and this job will enable me to get paid 3 times what I’m making now. 2) After starting this job I will be granted a teaching certificate which will increase my opportunities for jobs elsewhere 100-fold. 3) I currently live in a city with a population of 75,000 people and this county is lucky if it even has a population of 5,000; I am originally from a very small town and from the times I had visited I feel so much more comfortable and at home and happy in the area.

However, the question I have: Is it dumb to take this job due to its close proximity to my ex and his family? My major is anthropology and it would have been hard enough to find a job in a normal job market but because of COVID it’s even harder. I’ve been endlessly applying to jobs and this is the first time I have heard anything back from anyone at all after applying endlessly since MARCH. Everything in me tells me this is a great opportunity, but I fear the proximity knowing how badly he damaged my mental health, and I fear feeling isolated, moving to such a small town and being two hours away from my friends and family.

But on the other hand, privacy and seclusion are something I feel I desperately need and desire right now after everything I’ve been through. I need some time to be alone and love myself again. Thoughts? Do I take the job or is it a bad idea?

John-Counsel replies:

It is sometimes disheartening to have options only to realize that both options have downsides. On the other hand, I think you are on the right track to think about what will meet your needs–not only in the short term but also for the long term.
You seem very intrigued with your job offer and the opportunities it will afford. I suggest you take it for all the reasons you cite. You describe this job as an opportunity for fulfilling work, but it may also be an opportunity to meet new people with some common interests. You can take the inevitable, initial loneliness to take care of yourself, find a place to live, explore the new surroundings, and, of course, orient yourself to your new job. Once you are a bit established, you can look for ways to integrate yourself into the community–maybe through volunteer opportunities, on-line book clubs, on-line exercise classes, etc. Of course, you can also keep in touch with your family and old friends through social media, telephone calls, and Zoom meetings.

Regarding your ex and his family, I suggest you be prepared to be very firm with them. Should he reach out to you, be clear that your relationship is over as it was neither good for you nor for him. You do not need to be angry with him; rather you can be very objective, professional and firm.

I hope this helps you, and I wish you well, whatever decision you make.

Category: Career
Letter #: 462513

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