J. Peirano: The secret code of love: I only have problems with jobs and relationships in Germany - should I just go abroad?

Dear Ms Peirano,</p>I (26, female) still live with my parents.

J. Peirano: The secret code of love: I only have problems with jobs and relationships in Germany - should I just go abroad?

Dear Ms Peirano,

I (26, female) still live with my parents. After graduating, I never found a permanent job, only badly paid and temporary jobs. Many also with a lot of unpaid overtime like right now. Then there was a vicious circle: no money, no security, no housing. In between I was depressed and the pandemic also played its part in the fact that I didn't change.

I have peace and quiet with my parents, but the relationship with them is very tense. My father is very dominant and just wants to be left alone. He makes it clear to me that I am disturbing him. My mother is obsessed with cleaning and gets annoyed very quickly when something is lying around. And my parents always fight or keep silent. I tiptoe through the house, so to speak, and try to do as little dirt and work as possible. I hardly ever invite friends over to my house. It also feels like I don't actually have a real home because I'm holed up in my room and do my home office.

My company is now undergoing restructuring (meaning layoffs). I can well imagine that it will hit me too.

And my third problem is that I've been in a very toxic relationship with a woman for four years. We argue a lot, hardly have anything to say to each other, but somehow we can't get away from each other.

Sometimes I just want to get away, and lately that desire has increased a lot. I've always wanted to travel for a long time, preferably far away (Australia/New Zealand), and find out what I really want there. Now I have inherited money from my grandmother and could afford work and travel, at least the flight and an emergency reserve.

My girlfriend and my parents accuse me of just running away from my problems. I'm not sure. It could also be an opportunity, right? And I don't really dare to take the first step.

What do you advise me?

Many greetings

Malina T.

Dear Malina T,

it sounds like you're in a real dead end right now. Several of the pillars on which a happy life is built are shaky with you: the job is badly paid and also insecure, and you are also partly exploited by unpaid overtime and the power imbalance. This usually has a very negative effect on self-esteem and generates thoughts like: nobody needs me. I am superfluous. I'm only allowed to continue working here if I let myself be taken advantage of.

At home, with your parents, it sounds similar. Here, too, you are not appreciated and do not feel welcome, but are told that you are a nuisance. Basically, it is also difficult in our society when grown-up "children" live with their parents under the same roof, and in your case it really seems to be an overused emergency solution. Of course, this also has a very unfavorable effect on mood and self-esteem.

I work as a behavioral therapist and love coach in private practice in Hamburg-Blankenese and St. Pauli. In my PhD, I researched the relationship between relationship personality and happiness in love, and then wrote two books about love.

Information about my therapeutic work can be found at www.julia-peirano.info.

Do you have questions, problems or lovesickness? Please write to me (maximum one A4 page). I would like to point out that inquiries and answers can be published anonymously on stern.de.

And the third pillar, your relationship with your girlfriend, is also not something that offers you a feeling of security, safety and being accepted. The many arguments and the lack of prospects rob you of energy.

This raises the question of how you can get out of this dead end and set the course to finally set off into a more fulfilling life.

To be honest, I think your idea of ​​getting rid of all three problematic areas in one fell swoop is great! I can imagine that it would be difficult to change just one area here in Germany due to the many loads. From my point of view, it would be difficult to find a new partner if you live with your parents and are so unfulfilled professionally. With luck, a new job could bring something (more money, more stability, more prospects, more joie de vivre), but the question is where such a job should suddenly come from.

Therefore, after the strenuous years, it will certainly do you good to distance yourself from your life and your problems in Germany. You can try yourself out and rediscover yourself on a new continent, you can get to know new people with different horizons and master upcoming problems autonomously. I am happy for you that with the inheritance you now have the opportunity to really put the project into practice!

The biggest challenge is how to develop enough self-confidence to carry out this big project! Here I can give you some tips.

The most important thing is that you practice visualizing. Visualization is the active and intensive imagining of future scenarios with as many senses as possible. When I imagine my holiday in Italy, I can picture myself walking through narrow Italian streets, smelling the smell of the sea and Italian food, sentences in Italian falling into my ears. The more often, more detailed and longer I imagine something, the more real it becomes.

Visualization is always used BEFORE something is created. Take a look at an object near you, e.g. a hand-knotted carpet. Many years before the rug landed in your living room, someone thought that he or she could make rugs, looked at looms and bought one, got wool and selected each color individually, designed and sketched the pattern, then learned to weave. And then thought about how to sell finished carpets. That's how things get rolling.

Be as specific as possible about where you would like to go. What would you like to see and experience, which landscape do you particularly like, what kind of transport do you have in mind (bicycle, mobile home, hitchhiking...). For example, if you are most interested in Australia, inquire about entry requirements, visa issues, costs. Visit some forums where testimonials are exchanged. You could also look at films/travel guides/photobooks about the cities and areas of Australia and decide where to start your trip.

Say your intention out loud as often as possible and choose a time. "I will go to Sydney in May and work and travel in Australia for at least a year, for example in gastronomy or as a harvest helper in the xy area" sounds quite different from "maybe I want to spend a year abroad". If you agree with the goal formulation, you can then also act, e.g. apply for a visa, book the flight ticket and find an initial apartment at the starting point.

However, if you need more orientation, an intermediate step would be necessary: ​​Write down all the people you could ask about Australia (or New Zealand). Who knows their way around there or who knows someone who knows their way around there? Arrange meetings, let us show you photos and describe the experiences.

Then start formulating again and take action. A plane ticket creates realities, as does a booked apartment in Sydney, for example.

Write down helpful sentences and thoughts and refer to the list again and again. For example: "I'm not alone in Australia. I'll get to know other people who do work and travel". Or: "First of all, get a flight and an apartment and maybe get your first job - the rest will take care of itself."

Always look into yourself how much structure you would like to have in advance. Are you more of a person who likes to let things come to you and make spontaneous decisions, or would you prefer to have the whole year already planned? What are the pros and cons of each approach, and how can you balance them?

I hope that you will be able to turn this beautiful idea into reality yourself by taking very specific steps, and I wish you a lot of joy and courage in doing so.

Best regards

Julia Peirano