To ask how I accept I made this stupid decision(47 Posts)
When I was younger and naive I made the stupid decision to follow my abusive ex to a polytechnic university rather than my good place at a top 10.
I was incredibly shy and low in self confidence as a teenager and now I am a totally different person. I would never have done this had I been me now, then.
Now it is 5 years since I graduated and I regret this decision so much. I didn't meet many like minded people there (largely due to his influence) and now I've moved to a big city and I don't know anyone and I feel so lonely. I so want my life to have followed the traditional path of university - friends - meet husband - great career but it just hasn't been that way. I didn't meet lifelong friends or a partner at university and I can't say it hasn't impacted on my career.
I've done ok for myself but can't stop wondering what if. I'm also now single and look around at lots of couples who seem similarly matched in terms of education etc and I'm worried I'm going to end up alone forever.
How can I come to terms with this stupid decision and accept the influence it has had on my life?
You have to let go of the what if's. There's nothing you can do about it now. Start planning what you want to do with the future.
You cant say for certain your experience would have been better if you went sonewhere else. For all you know you could have ended up getting married to a bigger dick than the boyfriend you followed.
Go back to uni and do something different. Explore different careers. You've still got plenty of options left.
If it's any consolation, I look back at my life and realise I wouldn't have DH and DC if I hadn't followed an abusive ex.
I could have written your post 10 years ago... down to the living somewhere where I new no one and being single for years while everyone else (to me at least) seemed coupled up.
Hang in there.
Agree with pastys you seem very sure of how different your life would have been at a different uni. It might have turned out a lot worse for all you know.
Time to start looking forwards, not backwards.
Oh... and while I have a degree from an RG university in a recognised 'difficult' subject, my husband has 3 GCSEs. He's far more intelligent than I am and we're very evenly matched intellectually so try not to worry about that too much.
There's no guarantee that your life would have followed that path even if you had made a different decision.
It can all still turn out well!
Agree with PPs about what ifs not being helpful.
For what it's worth, I met my DH because of a random email he sent to my work, at a job that has nothing to do with my degree. I have a few friends from uni (mostly on Facebook tbh) but your path isn't so cut and dried. Uni does have to define you.
Join a meet up group for your big city. Or Park Run if that's your thing, or a crafting circle. Whatever you need to meet some new people. Your new life is there for the seizing, you've left your abusive ex and are ready for some great new experiences.
Good luck and move forwards! Xxx
(Sorry for the unmumsnetty kisses, got a bit overexcited and distracted by toddler so finished quickly. Have a brusque but friendly punch on the arm instead)
You're only 5 years post graduating so I assume you're mid 20s? Certainly my life in my late 30s is very different from how it was in my mid 20s. I didn't meet DH until I was late 20s, and indeed spent much of my 20s very lonely because I'd moved for work with an unpleasant ex and hadn't really made many friends outside our circle who I lost when we broke up. Life got better, and whilst it's still sometimes hard it's a world away from then.
You can't change the decision you made, so you need to just let it go. You also are romanticising the top 10 university - you could have ended up in hall with a bunch of arseholes, or had a personality clash with your tutors, or any manner of less than perfect outcomes. You don't know what it would have been like.
Incidentally, I think the meeting husband at university thing is quite unusual these days. Of all the weddings I've been to over the last couple of decades (maybe 30+ of them) only one couple met at university. The rest of us met them through work, hobbies, in the pub, on the internet etc.
Sign up for a masters in something that either you're massively interested in or else that will further your career. Or look into PhDs, if you've got the stamina (I haven't). Enjoy the uni experience second time around.
And try to remember that we only think hindsight is perfect. True, the path you took didn't lead you to where you thought you were going. But you can't know what would have happened if you'd taken the other route. You might have found the best and most perfectly loving partner ever, graduated with a first, and had all the like minded friends you could ever wish for. But you might equally have dropped out, had the most horrendous bullying tutor, discovered the course wasn't for you, racked up mountains of debt socialising, or any one of a hundred fifferent things.
I also regret not doing the school uni thing, but you could always do a masters at the uni you wanted in future? You'd have to be in a good place financially obviously but if you really wish you had studied there, you can make it happen. It may well further your career too, idk what industry you are in.
I wouldn't be the strong, grounded person I am now if I hadn't wasted 7 years with an abusive man. It took 7 years to recover from the experience but I feel like Jamie Sommers now. Better than I would have been. If I'd bought the flat I was going to buy before he talked me out of it, who knows if I'd be as grounded (mentally) as I am now.
I think you need to start by being kind to your former self. You are allowed to make mistakes. Teenagers regularly make mistakes because they lack life experience, are hard-wired to be risk takers and are often hopelessly optimistic.
Secondly, there is no traditional path of university that includes lifelong friends and an educationally matched husband at the end of it Sure, that's what some people walk away with, enough to add a touch of legitimacy to this narrative in your head but it is not this universal university experience that you feel like you are missing out on. Most people move and change and typically friendships and relationships dissolve.
You are young, you are single, you live in a big city. You have 'done alright by yourself'. Brilliant. That's a great foundation. Go and pursue your passions and find like minded people. Stop ruminating on what could have been, it's bad for your health. And grab the whole of life. You can do this.
Nobody's life follows a straight path OP.
We all have made decisions when we were younger, that with hindsight, we could have done differently, it's what makes us who we are today.
This happens throughout life, do you think there is a chance that you may be depressed ?
Life throws us many curved balls, but in the end, it's what we make it. 💐
Thanks for all the kind replies, I was expecting to get flamed for being so stupid!
I've actually been apart from said ex for years; we broke up at university and I've had relationships since. I just feel that for the type of guy I want and am attracted to (sociable, good friends and job, self assured) I don't have much to offer in return!
Well, reality can't compete with the made-up 'dream' picture in your head! How can you compare your life to something that doesn't exist?
Five years is not a long time and if you feel different now then make different decisions - it is unfair to 'blame' your life on decisions you made in the past and you can't really 'not accept' that you made those decisions, so no point in beating yourself up about it! You are the biggest influence on your life.
I dropped out of uni for a myriad of reasons. I used to regret it, I don't know.
If I had stayed I wouldn't have met dh and have my wonderful children. I wouldn't have the career I have the career I have now which I fell into by mistake and thoroughly enjoy.
Things work themselves out - living a life full of regret is not a good way to be.
It really might not have worked out the way you thought it might anway. I went to a good university and was really unhappy. Didn't enjoy my course or make that many friends and no husband! Met the love of my life at work 18 years after graduating.
I do understand the regret though. I really wish I'd going to art school or done teacher training at 18 rather than being at uni and wasting time and money doing something I hated.
Look ahead to all the amazing things that life will throw at you and definitely look into a postgrad.
Ps, I read a great book (recommneded by somebody on mn!) called 'A woman in your own right' and one of our rights (as people but important not to forget it as women in particular) is I have the right to make a mistake
You have answered your question in your second paragraph. You were so much younger. You were not the person you are now, and you were abused.
But you are still young and you will reach a point where you are able to be much kinder to yourself.
There's a lot of magical thinking in what you say - you can't have any idea whether how your social situation is now would have happened anyway. I know many people who met at University and married, but have since split up, or who should not have got married in the first place.
I found my 20s very very hard (depression, anxiety), and I had a secure partnership. Always comparing with other people and left thinking i wasn't cutting it. Chose the wrong career and gave up on it. Exhausting. I think lots of people feel the same.
As others say; hang in. Do something you love to do in your spare time - dancing, singing. Maybe learn to do something, or volunteer. And if you are finding it hard to see the good things, to laugh and are not sleeping well - get some mental health support
The thing is, you don't know how things would have worked out either way. I have a 1st from an RG uni. I don't work in the field I studied, my best friends are not from uni, and I met DH years after in circumstances that have nothing to do with what either of us studied.
You can't change it, so it's time to look forward, not back!
You need to get over this. Except that you made a decision that might not of been best and just move on.
and I think you might think that the university days are maybe more important than they actually are .
I had a great time at university, but Only now see one or two people from my university days.
I didn't meet my husband for another 10 years.
And now my university days doesn't affect my life, my lovely husband, my 2 boys, my great friends, or the part time job that I love, at all.
You may be building it up to be more important than it actually is?
hasn't really affected my life that much maybe your own
"Not much to offer"?
Oh my dear! That's your core problem!
I've always had good self esteem and that thought has never occurred to me.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.