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Someone Explain To Me How To Survive A Small Town

I just recently got married to a wonderful man and relocated to a small town where he grew up.  I am from a big city and have always enjoyed the diversity of the city.  I have a nice house and stability.  I have been extremely depressed here lately because of the atmosphere of this small *** town.  My husband and I were the talk of the time when I first moved here.  Seems like everyone knew so much about us without any interaction.  Apparantly, the god fearing folk were upset that we moved in together before we got married.  When I walk on the streets it is almost a ghost town and there is virturally no traffic.  Last night we went to an early dinner and no one was in the restaurant.  The bartender was on a emergeny run so I could not order a drink.  The only two stores here are two dollar stores. I took a hip-hop class and the instructor thought it was a gossip session.   I have 2 college degrees and cannot find a job even as a cashier. Customer service here is non existant and I oftten go into stores and find noone around.   I can go to the dollar store and find out all the gossip of the town in a matter of minutes.  Seems like thinking outside the box is a hard concept here.  Went to the library to use the computer and could only stay on for 30 minutes.  Even though all computers were open I was told the policy for extended time is for me to ask ahead of time and I could not get back on the computer.   Got into a tiff with the lady at the licence bureau because she was adjusting my hair for the photo ( who does that?)  All businesses shut down at 8pm.  There is no place to go for salsa or country dancing.  TEll ME what do these people do?? 

As you can hear, I am having a tough time coping with this town.  I really jumped the gun when I thought things here would be easy.  Anyone have any words of advice or encouragement.  I seemed to be angry at the lack of open mindness and if it were not for the internet, I would feel completely lost. 

Thanks for letting me vent

cindy0215 cindy0215 41-45 95 Responses Apr 10, 2010

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I know how you feel. My husband and I hit a rocky patch last December. After a year of working things through he decided that he wanted to go back to his hometown where his mother is. I couldn't understand why but he said he just had to go home and still no explanation. He even went as far as to tell me I could go with him if I wanted to and we've been married 21 yrs. So I really had no choice. I wasn't working so I couldn't say just leave so we packed up and moved from Houston to Arkansas. Right culture shock overload! At first I thought okay a chance to start over but then I realized we had been down this road before 20 yrs prior. When we moved back we had the same issue it was hard to find work. We had limited funds and we're running out took my husband 3 weeks to land a job through a temporary service and I still have not found a job. I have a ton of office experience but it still does not matter ever interview i have been on is temporary work and the highest pay is $10 an hr at the most. I have been so depressed like never before. I usually put others ahead of me and everything still works out. But this time I think it is time to jump ship and say the h*** with everyone! I don't know what to do at this point I do care for my husband and love him but this is a big sacrifice I don't think I can follow throw on.

Has this gotten any better for you? I just moved to a small town and I read your message. I completely related to you. I've only been living here for 3 months and prior to that I was commuting for a year and a half before I actually moved to Flagstaff, Az. I feel no connection here and feel very depressed. Thankfully my family and friends are only 3 hours away. I moved here for my fiancé which has a great job and loves small towns. I seeking ways to make this my home and I was relieved to read that other people struggle to connect in a small town. Thank you for posting and also letting me vent.

I wish I had advice to offer to improve the situation, but all I can offer is to work on a plan for a way out. I grew up in a small town and had a torturous experience. I wasn't from the town and even after 12 years was still an outsider. I was teased, tormented, and ridiculed from the time I moved there in the second grade through my senior year of high school. As soon as I turned 18, I left for college and never looked back. I spent the next 17 years living in a mid-sized city and enjoyed everything it had to offer. I came to realize there was nothing intrinsically wrong with me and grew into a socially confident person.

In 2013 my husband received a job opportunity that meant a move to a small town just 30 miles outside of our city. The caveat was that we had to live in the small town- looking back this should have been a red flag. He had also grown up in a small town and had a positive experience. He assured me not all small towns are the same. I also thought that since this town was close to a larger city it wouldn't be as insulated and unwelcoming as the town where I grew up which was in the middle of nowhere.

I was wrong. I may as well have moved back to the horrible place where I grew up. We have lived here for 16 months and have not received one invitation for any type of social interaction. Everyone that lives here is from here or a neighboring small town. If they went to college, they went to the very small private school 10 minutes away where they all knew each other. I have come to realize that if you didn't grow up in a small town and have most of your family still living there it is very difficult to break in and understand their social norms. My husband's positive experience in his hometown is likely due to the fact that his family had always lived there and thus he was seen as an insider by default.

In a small town you either belong or you don't. Occasionally, you may be allowed in via marriage, or through a professional affiliation (I have seen some doctors and teachers who were originally outsiders eventually gain acceptance). Sports are another possible point of entry. High school sports are the center of the small town social scene. You or child must be absolutely exceptional to be able to get playing time as an outsider, but if you are able to break in, acceptance follows. Unfortunately, my talents (and my daughter's) lay elsewhere.

Personally, I am so lonely here I am not sure how much more I can take. I have a wonderful career that allows me to work from home, but this means I also have no opportunity for interaction with colleagues on a daily basis. My husband has work meetings/events at least three to four evenings a week. So, it is just me and my daughter most of the time. The old feelings of self-doubt and defensiveness are creeping back in and I hate the person I have become (or reverted back to).

It is my daughter's well being that concerns me the most. As an only child, I know how important it is for her to have opportunities for social interaction and play with other children. But all of the kids here have known each other their entire lives, as have their parents, and don't have room for anyone new in their world. Every day when I ask her who she played with at recess and she responds "no one" it breaks my heart. She was enrolled in an exceptional Montessori program back in the city and I actually continued to drive her there last year after we had moved because it was such a great experience for her. She had all kinds of friends and was invited on play dates. I don't want my daughter to feel the same kind of social isolation and low self esteem I felt as a child. My worst fear is that my daughter will have the same kind of horrible school experience I am still trying to get over nearly 20 years later.

I escaped once and will find a way to escape again soon. I now know that the town where I grew up was not the exception, but the rule when it comes to small towns.

Glad I found these postings.
All is the same for me. I am 59. Husband retired, empty nest syndrome, and moved to the sticks/hick town in Wyoming. There is absolutely nothing here!! Cousin and her husband that were supposed to move with us baled on me, so I am all alone . I feel myself growing dumber every day. The newspaper is a total joke. I cry every day. So, I told my husband of 30 years we need to sell and move back. At any rate, I told him I'm leaving at the latest in Sept 2015, with or without him. Good luck to all of you

It's good to know that I'm not the only one who is dealing with the small town hostility. I do not live in the town, but I work there. When I first took the job, the people were so nice and sweet and they all kept asking when my fiancee and I were going to move to town. At first I was all for it, then after working there for about two months, the true colors came out. The gossip and rumors that get started in that town are far worse than anything I have ever witnessed, even in school. They are flat out rude, hurtful, and hateful. The population is decreasing to the point where a school is closing and the whole town whines and wonders why. They go on about how they need to bring more people to the town but then turn around and say the local businesses shouldn't hire anyone that aren't "local". There are people who have lived there for 20 years and are still considered outsiders. Overall, I'm so glad I did not decide to move there. I love my job in that town, but I am so glad to see that town in my rear view mirror at the end of the day. Wishing you luck on getting out of there!

Good for you! You are soooooooo lucky you didn't move into that town. It's like once you're in a place like that there's no way out. Sucks the life and soul out of you. Happy you didn't make that choice and you can just laugh at it from afar. :)

I am from a medium sized city, lived in a large city and am now living in population less than 1000. If you aren't from here forget it, forget you and you pretty much don't belong. My husband is from here and loves it. He works 2 blocks from our home, where as I drove 30 minutes to and from
Work in a town not much bigger.
I cannot stand it here. I yearn for people, conversations that aren't gossip and things to do. I am a mother or a 2 year old and 10 month old and I want them to have life experiences and they sure as heck won't get them here. I have no friends here and i go to work for adult conversations and I am not sure how much more I can take.

I know it's so tough. My husband also was born and grew up where we live so he knows a lot of people but everyone pretty much ignores me as I'm from somewhere else. Even though I've been here 15 years still the same situation. People here are terrible and I'm an hour away from a half way decent mall and a half hour from a decent grocery store. I don't have children but I understand what you're saying about wanting them to have a better life experiences. From what I see where I live kids don't get over the bridge much (as we say), and end up growing up small minded just like their parents never getting to know the real world that exists out there. Blessings to you and your family.

So what do you do to cope? i am so bored, I just go to bed at 8:30. I drove through cold and blowing snow just to have lunch a half an hour away with a co-worker and to go to a decent grocery store.

I've been in a small town for about 15 years. I've come to the realization that things are not going to change. We have 4 success businesses here so am stuck at least for awhile. It's depressing, the people are backstabbing, jealous, gossipy, and small minded. It's so bad here and I know it's probably the same in other places but it just feels like there's such a toxic energy surrounding this place. People are just messed up. I've decided the only way to survive is to try and change my attitude a bit and accept that I'm stuck at least for now. You never know what the future holds. If I won the lottery tomorrow I would be so out of here and not look back. Wouldn't miss it or anyone at all, isn't that sad? Prayers to all of you feeling this kind of pain. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Hello! My name is Lindsay and I work for a Television Production company. We are openly casting for a TV show about this! Looking for someone (family, individual or a couple) moving from a big city to a small town. If you are in the process of moving I would LOVE to talk to you!! Please email me at -- Thank you!

I just moved back to Dallas (my hometown) from a tiny town in Minnesota. Moved there in April 2009, I came back because the family was impossible to deal with! I realized that I was living in the Twilight Zone. If you're a woman and reading this... Don't try to adjust! I actually lived in 4 different towns trying to find happiness in the state, every time I let people in my life through hard efforts, I was disrespected and taken for granted! You cannot change anyone but yourself... Sometimes it's best to accept this and move on. If you're a guy reading this, follow your family, your partner, your wife, your girlfriend, your children, and/or your dog, you will be a better man because you did!! Good luck to y'all, I'm finally living! Again!

You poor thing :( I'm just upset because I moved to Ardmore from dfw and this place seems so microscopic I'm seriously getting depressed. We have a mortgage and I pull in almost half our income so it's not like we can just pick up and leave. I have to drive an hour and a half in any direction just to find decent shopping. The towns that are an hour and a half away are the ones I would have formerly complained about not having anything and would have went to Dallas. Talk about a reality check. All we have is walmart and there's so much white trash here it's depressing. I want to leave so bad.

Wow, it's amazing to me just how many people are in the same 'small town' boat that I am (so to speak). I've only read a few posts, but they sound exactly like my story.. moved from the city to the hick small town for my husband that's lived here all his life; haven't made any 'real' friends or 'real' connections and we've been here over 3 years now.. trying to be sociable in fitness classes and church services, but so far, nothing. Quite honestly it's just nice to vent and realize that there are other people thinking the exact same thing! Thanks for listening! :)

I moved to a small town looking to escape from a job where I was being overworked and majorly underappreciated. I moved knowing only one other person here, and with all of my co-workers are married it’s hard to do any socializing. I feel so lonely at times and miss my family so much, that I have considered going back to that other job just to be closed to my family and civilization. I have only been at this job for a month and it feels like ages. I don’t know what to do, because I don’t want to seem unprofessional either. I am also concerned because I have dealt with depression before. I don’t want the lack of friends to make fall back to that. I just wouldn’t be able to deal with it alone.

I am also in a really backwards area--not only are they all vicious gossips but people will give you that "southern charm" while they stab you in the back. Give me some brutal northern honesty over fake sweetness any day. My husband grew up here but I am counting the days till I have been at my job for a reasonable amount of time---and then I am gone. I love him, but we met in the city and I never knew it would be like this or I wouldn't have come.

I am in the same boat..

I grew up, for the most part, in a small town. I never felt like I fit in. I yearned for travel, and did so whenever I could. If it meant simply driving 30 minutes in a direction that would give me a skyline that had more than 2 buildings in it, or a 5 mile stretch with no manure stench in the air, I would take it. My family couldn't understand why I didn't yearn for the Little House on the Prairie days like they did. My mother made the first leap years before me, and caught hell for it. I followed, and after careful planning and making connections, I took 2 years and moved to London to do humanitarian work. I always wanted to see London, and the work was a passion of mine. I don't have any kids, and the work visas are tough to come by as an American. It was the best 2 years of my life. There wasn't a day that I didn't absolutely love being immersed in the vast, albeit expensive, routine which was city life. Now every chance I get I am in the city. I was literally threatened by my uncle that If I ever tried to leave again, that he would come looking for me. My friend has a good job waiting for me in Salt Lake City; I visit him in December to get the feel of things. If I don't move soon, I am seriously afraid for my mental health lol. This place is a depression pit.

As I read your story I had to wonder whether I had stumbled upon something I had written and forgot about. It sounds like your town is even smaller than mine. I don't hear gossip, I usually get the cold shoulder as an outspoken proponent of open government. I don't really have any advice. I will say that I don't think it is you and you're not alone. I have demanded that we move. I 've been told we will move within two years. But when you start using the internet for painless ways to 'go' it's probably not a good sign. My method of choice, so far, has been 'death by hibachi.' I don't think I will make it two years. I think it might be the end of my relationship too. Sorry if this isn't helping. If you do find an answer or a way to make it work please come back and share it. Best.

I grew up in a town of a little ovr 600 people then when I turned 21 I moved away to a town of a little over 5000 people now I have been hear for almost 10 years next year it will be 10 years. the only friend I did have in town is ded and this town is verrry clicky. I have not been a citty person though and like the small town attmisfear but I am also a single guy in my 30's who has not had a gf since highschool and I can't seem to find any one in my town to date or have a ltr with. I would move since I don't work and that is nothing keeping me hear but I am not shure where iw ould go. it just sucks living in sutch a small town. add to that the fact that I am blind and don't really get out mutch and it just plan sucks. I really don't know if I want to spend another deckade hear since there is just nothing for me hear.

Dear person stuck in a small town. At least they are willing to share gossip. as sad as it seems it is better than the following. We are stuck in a small ny town where wife swapping, and bizarre switcher/wicken is the norm. No one offends the townies as they may be related. shanti irish. They make up the valley gossip. I was supposedly dead several times. Gay is the way here and they are hateful we are a monotonous couple. They led daughter astray into the arms of school old sexual deviant officials and underage sex rings. they threatened me and my animals. I have dead animals and gunshot holes in my barn. The old sherif was invested- and no matter what the call was about- vandalism, rape calls to ems went unanswered. In short we are stuck here farm will not sell as all agents for real estate are involved.
If you are able to leave- do so now!

IT is culture shock. I have found good and bad things about the experience. I just don't know what/how to do to adjust. It helps knowing others can relate

Feel your pain. If you can, get out and live your life while you are still young. People move all the time. NOTHING IS WRITTEN IN STONE. If you are not happy it won't get better. After four years in small town no mans land finally convinced my husband to move back to the city life that I love. I am a senior citizen age 68. IF YOU DIDN' GROW UP IN ONE small towns just drain your life and make you feel hopeless.

You have to be the one to make the effort. Find something you can tolerate (perhaps you will come to enjoy) doing and seek companionship of a similar mindset. For me it was the repurpose and gardening crowd. I did not fit with the hunting/fishing or church bubble crowds even though I am spiritual and do love the outdoors. I went to local flea markets, shopped local yard sales and asked for help at the hardware store on making a "raised" bed. Got the juices flowing. I too miss the culture of a University town with restaurants, theaters and something other than HS Football for a sport-but I must make do and "bloom where I have been planted". Get creative. Peace and quiet and no crime are worth some sacrifices.

I added a response long ago but my opinion still stands. Unless a small town breaks out of stereotypically insular and homogenous mold, I too feel stifled in such a place. I don't know if you are still reading these responses but I hope you had found an opportunity to leave. Believe me, the only country side I'll ever consider again is living away from any neighbors too close by and with almost total privacy. Peace quiet, and nature are nice, but many small minds take away the allure.

If it is any consolation, I think that there is something worse: being single in a small town. I am single, I live in a small town and all the people of my age (40) are married with children. So, I have no friends to go out (there is no place to go out either). The couples never invite me to go with them. So, my life is work, home and loneliness. I cannot leave the town because my work is here. I have tried to be friendly and be a people person but they are not interested at all in having a friendship with me. They have their "perfect" lives with their husbands. Anyone in the same situation?

Yes, I commiserate. I live in a small town, I'm single AND I'm a single parent (of a biracial child). Needless to say, there's not too many people in my peer group.

I'm pretty sure they are just not up to or inclusive of new people. They really make no effort to disclude anyone, it's just they are doing what they have been doing for 20 yrs and what their "daddy" did. No one thinks of inviting the new person. They are set in their ways and ideas and "foreign" is uncomfortable. We have to be the ones to put them at ease and make the extra effort. I hate that part too, because it does involve the risk of rejection and one does have to tread carefully, because you can't offend the natives and it is easy to do so without realizing it or intending it, just because we are not acclimated to the culture.

Yes and it sucks...I'm 31. according to everyone I'm supposed to be married and lots of kids. I recently moved back to my home town in ND (honestly 47 ppl) from living in mpls for 12 years everyone judges everyone, we have the hatfields and mccoys crap going on here, ppl are so juvenile here and have no clue what the real world outside this box is like. The tinyest things turn into huge drama for weeks. I just have to shake my head and laugh sometimes. wow. I try to stay as neutral as possible here with ppl...I'm not into the blame game and hate drama. howe

OMG, this is my life right now. I used to live in Washington D.C. Now I live in the middle-of-nowhere Louisiana to work for a Fortune 100 company to build up my career. Life is just so boring here and everyone has the same boring mindset. I don't like fishing or hunting. I want to go back to the city where there is a multicultural society and things are constantly moving. I literally need this to keep myself from getting depressed - call it chaos if you will.

I fell like I'll be ok, but it is an adjustment period. Phew

I grew up in a small town of about 600 people all of my life....and then when I turned 18 I went off to college to a school of 30,000. I was shocked to learn how backward my little town was, how racist people were everywhere and that was acceptable, how creative mines were considered rebellious minds and how vicious people could be to each other. Yet....all those same people went to church on Sunday and proclaimed to be good Christian folks. I'm so glad I had that experience because otherwise I would have thought that growing up in this type of town was like you read about in a book with the corner market, everyone being neighborly and how safe my kids would be...I may have moved to a small town with my family. Thank goodness I found the rest of the world and my own life. My mother takes it very personally that I don't think growing up in that town was wonderful and perfect. She chooses to see it one way because she needs to. I never want kids to have creativity squashed and I never want my kids to see racism the way I saw it ( acceptable and normal). Stay true to who you are in this little town and you may be okay. If you struggle with that you need to move on into the world you love!

Run. Trust me, you will stagnate and die unhappy there. Get out while you still can.

that pretty much sums it up. exactly how I feel. Direct and good response. Thank you!

No can do, I am stuck as a caregiver for my DAD who has Alzheimer's, so til one of us dies...we are both right here :)

Omg!!! I found my people...I have been living in Missouri for almost 4 years. I hate it! There's nothing to do. I can't make friends...actually that's a lie I've made friends but quit talking to them because they were all two faced and all anyone wants to do is talk about people. They are all ultra conservative ultra religious or they are trashy criminals. Most of the women don't work and the main goal is marriage and baby making. My friends back home and I discussed careers, education, art, sex, etc. There was no judging. Also if you're not from here they treat you like crap. They should appreciate new people this town only has like 5 last names. I want to go home, but I love my job!!!

I sorta felt like that in the 1st small town I lived in, but I adjusted. The trouble is I made mistakes there (took me years of *** kissing to rectify) that I do not want to make here. I have to try and be more "delicate" this go round. But Delicate is not my nature and sarcasm is my native tongue and they tempt me to use it I am struggling but I got to give it a "good what for" (are you familiar with THAT term :) ) ?

Finding these postings may have saved me! I moved from south Florida to south central Kentucky a year ago and I am having a tough time. I have no friends, I couldn't find a job so I'm going back to school online to get a degree I can use anywhere. I'm the person who always tries to look at the bright side of things and create inspiration when there is none around me. Well, I have just about exhausted my resources for creating happiness. Cultural diversity is virtually non-existent here, and my "open to all possibilities city girl mind" does not fit in. I crave mental stimulation and meaningful, enlightening conversation. I have even tried to look at this as the ultimate personal challenge to find out exactly what I am made of, but I'm tired of trying to be happy and content. I had to go to town (if you can really call it a town) to run errands this morning and I cried all the way home because I'm so miserable and out of place. 'm 40 years old and this was supposed to be a great time for me. My husband retired from the sheriff's department in Florida and his dream was to buy some land in the country, build his own home, and enjoy the peace and quiet. He's enjoying life while I'm withering away.

Being a business owner in a small town is the worst!!! People act like You owe them something... they don't want to work... they don't appreciate all the work that you do bringing a service to them that they previously lacked... and every other week there are rumors floating that you are going out of business... They may get just what they gossip about, though, because after 2.5 years we just can't handle being the 'ugly step-child' any longer! They will all eat themselves inside out!!! Give me Los Angeles ANYDAY!

sister, totally get where you coming from. Truth be told, you will go nuts without the life you like. Every person deserves to live the way he/she wants. What is the use of living when you can't even relate to anybody near you.
My opinion: please find yourself some get-away to the city for the weekends and eventually ask your husband to JUST understand you and move back to the city.

It's a duty thing for my parents..My husband is really great about the whole thing for the MOST part-he has his days, but he IS from a small town originally and "gets it". One of the problems I have is I miss him..& the life WE had. We are pretty much involuntarily separated due to this deal. He is at our home "on the river" and taking care of the hobby farm. I am on the road between the two, but Mom is needing more and more help and my income has been cut by 3/4 so I can't afford to travel and keep up the added expenses like I could when I was working in the city. IT's just culture shock. I do feel better seeing I am not alone in the process. There seem to be several of us

All I can tell you is..... Start talking to your husband about moving! My husband is from a small town and I almost moved there, thank God for his GRACE that I couldn't find a house. Our marriage would never have made it living in that god forsaken microscopic town. If you don't do things the way they do it or have your own opinion on things you're seen as uppity or proud!!!

I moved from a big city to a small town almost two years ago and am in a similar boat. I am 28 years old and moved when I was 26. This place is fine as long as you have the same lifepath as everyone else but if you are in any way different you are screwed. Its extremely unusual that I am still single and I get lots of question as to why. Most people here get married their senior year of high school when they turn 18 or shortly after. I want to move to a big city again but it will be years before I will be able to thanks to my financial situation. Plus, I have family here fighting me every step of the way. Nonetheless, I feel like I should be living it up somewhere cool at my age rather than being stuck in this boring, sleepy town.

People get married at like 18? Where are you living?

Yep at your age I would run, but now I have to do the duty deal and stay. Go Travel while you can, cause you may be in my boat one day and we do owe Mom/Dad for whatever good we get to experience in life. One thing about being broke is you can start broke..anywhere