Dear Amy: I am a single mom to a 14-month-old child. I’m also a college student living in an apartment attached to my dad’s house. I am thankful to be living rent-free, but I’m miserable.

I recently came back from New York City and, as always, loved it. But I get depressed every time I come home. I dream of moving there.

There is a guy who works for the NYPD, who I see every time I visit. I’m not sure if my feelings for him are infatuation, or true love. I’m unsure of how he feels about me. It seems like we only truly connect when I’m physically in NYC (I live in a Southern state).

Now I feel like I should quit school, find a well-paying job (such as fire or police support services or communication technology), and move to New York.

I honestly think I’m only in school to please my “old-fashioned” father, who believes college is the only way.

I want to be able to provide for my child and pursue my dream of moving to New York. School just seems to be stunting my progress. Should I quit school to a find a stable job in New York?

 

Amy says: New York City can cast a magical spell, but the reality of living there is radically different from visiting.

And that magical “well-paying job” that you can secure in New York without a college degree?

According to data compiled by MIT (livingwage.MIT.edu), to make a “living wage” in New York City — for one adult and one child — you would have to earn $62,192 a year.

Starting salary for a police dispatcher in New York City is $36,611.

For you, life in New York City would mean no more free rent (housing in New York is estimated at $20,000/year). Transportation, food, child care and utilities are also very expensive.

Additionally, if you moved, you would sacrifice your family’s financial, emotional and practical support.

In short, your “old-fashioned” parents might be cramping your style, but they are also encouraging you to grow, long term.

Importantly, if Mr. NYPD was really into you, he would be booking it to your town, vs. you always traveling there.

Your local police department might be hiring. A great way to explore professions in law enforcement would be to start closer to home.

One-way friendship

Dear Amy: I have a friend who considers me her best friend, but I can’t do the same.

She talks constantly, and I’ve realized that she doesn’t listen at all. Our husbands are friends, our kids are close in age and we attend the same church, so we see each other often.

When we see them, she monopolizes my time with her issues. Recently I had a scary health issue. I told her about it. The next time I saw her she asked how my mom was doing with that issue.

We’ve tried to see them less because of how much she talks.

What’s the best way to take back my time when we’re in social situations?

My friendships with other people are more mature, and I’m not sure how to best move on from this “friendship” without hurting her feelings.

 

Amy says: What about your feelings? Doesn’t this person’s inattention hurt your feelings? Doesn’t her behavior make you feel disregarded, and sad?

You should tell her how you feel. Use “I” statements: “When I’m with you, I don’t feel heard. This makes me feel disregarded. I’m very frustrated.”

This reflection might make her so uncomfortable that she would back away. But there’s a chance it might cause her to examine her own behavior, and work to change it.

 

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