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I feel trapped in Adelaide

Community Member

The name says it all, really.

I live in Adelaide; I have all my life. That said, I’ve never once been happy living here - I’ve wanted to live in the States ideally; somewhere where there was a vibrant LGBT scene and a nightlife, and where it catered to all ages. Here it feels like there’s barely anything. Most of my friends are also located in the US, so that’s a major determining factor, too (I know it’s not exactly a welcome or safe space for LGBT people, but it’s where it feels like all the opportunities are). A friend of mine suggested moving to Melbourne, but…I don’t want to - I’ve always dreamed of being in the US (that dream has since become somewhat impossible due to issues with a past ex - TLDR: I can’t imagine going anywhere else other than his State and doing a road trip, but that isn’t possible with how things are right now). Even if I wanted to live in Melbourne, I can’t just “jump in blind”, and the friends I have in Melbourne are either unable or unwilling to help me. They say “spend a week or two here to see how you like it and if it suits” and then also go “we can’t accommodate, though”. It’s understandable and reasonable, but it’s just…frustrating. To top it all off, my mum passed recently, so I need to try and organise the house to possibly rent room (or the whole thing), especially if I decide to move.

Right now…I’m just worried about time passing and me getting older. I don’t want to “age-gate” anything, but I also am aware that certain scenes agave certain “acceptable” age brackets. I could probably do Melbourne relatively soon, but the States has me existentially despairing. If I want to get there, I need to heal myself so I can approach my ex (who still says he’s up for being friends), then I’d need to develop that friendship to the point of asking if I could visit add it be acceptable, then I’d need to plan…

I’ve wanted to do this for years, but I’ve only recently been able to…and even now I still can’t. I keep thinking “if only I’d known about how my ex felt sooner” (basically he was pretending he was okay and just being polite so he wouldn’t be “the bad guy” in the situation) then I could’ve started that process sooner, so I wouldn’t be looking at such a long road ahead.

So…yeah: I want to get out of Adelaide, but I don’t really have a definitive end goal. People say Melbourne but that’s what they want me to want; I’ve always wanted the States, but can’t even consider going there now…all whilst I’m stuck here.

9 Replies 9

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Dean Dharug,

Thank you so much for sharing your situation. I'm experiencing a similar feeling of being stuck in SA and longing to move elsewhere, so I can understand where your frustration comes from. I'm also really sorry to hear about your mum's passing, I can't even imagine the pain and heartbreak you must be feeling.

To be honest, although it may sound like a good idea to spend a few weeks in a place before you move there permanently, you may find you get only a limited picture of what it would be like to live there. While this may be a slightly different example, I know that whenever I've been on holidays in the past, I tend to romanticise what it would be like to live somewhere like Melbourne or Brisbane, because in the few days or weeks that I was there, I only tended to see a small portion of what life there could look like. This view was also quite skewed by the fact that I was on holiday, and I'm sure it would've been different if I was to start working there, for instance.

For me, and you can certainly take this with a grain of salt, I would want to know as much as I can about the experience of moving somewhere before taking that step. Research is super important for moving anywhere, whether it's instate, interstate, or international. Watching YouTube videos about the pros and cons of living in a certain place can really help you get a good picture, or listening to people talk about their experience of moving there from somewhere entirely different. I know that you've mentioned how you have a few friends living in Melbourne and in the US, you could always have an open and honest conversation with them about what it's actually like to live there, if you haven't already.

It may be useful to try and pinpoint why exactly you'd like to move to each of the places you're considering, what the pros and cons are, what may be stopping you, and what your "end goal" would be for each. End goal could be financial, it could be social, personal, professional, etc.

Would you be comfortable having a conversation with your ex about you moving over to the States? It sounds like the situation with your ex may be a key reason preventing you from pursuing your dreams of moving, so it may perhaps be useful to have a chat with him, provided you would feel comfortable doing so.

I hope this aids your decision, or at least the planning process surrounding your decision. Please feel free to chat with us some more if you'd like, we're here to support you.

SB 🙂

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Heya Dean Dharug,

My condolences to you and your family, sorry to hear about your situation at the moment.

Moving can certainly be a challenging task, let alone moving to a different country all together where rules and culture are completely different to what we are used to in Australia. sbella's advise on researching what it's like to be moving interstate and internationally is super helpful for you. It helps you recognize the pros and cons of your available options, and you can use that to make an informed decision as well as planning on what to expect from your options.

Forgive me for asking this blunt question, as I'd like to get a better understanding on your point of view. Why do you feel your option for moving to the States is dependent on being friends again with your ex? As you've mentioned that most of your friends are based in the US, you could visit them instead (and if they could accommodate you as well for a week or two while you learn to be comfortable with the States and find your own place to rent, that'd be a bonus too). And given the vastness of the States, why do you feel the only state in the States that you could move to, is the one that your ex lives in?

Hope to hear from you soon Dean, happy to chat with ya more :).


Community Member

Hi Dean Dharug,

Sorry to hear about your Mum passing.

I can completely understand where you're coming from, I'm also based in Adelaide, single and getting older too.

I lived in Melbourne for a few years and hated it, too busy and fast paced for my liking. However, I do love visiting Melbourne/Sydney for a weekend.

I would suggest writing down a list of pros and cons for the locations you wish to live. Whilst LGBT Social/Dating Life is an important factor, there is other parts to living in another city that need to be taken into consideration.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Dean Dharug,

I am sorry to hear about your mum's passing and of the difficult situation you're dealing with now. Not being happy with where we are living can be really challenging and longing to move pulls us away from being present in the moment.

Would you be able to plan a short holiday to the States? Just to get away for a while and have some fun? Maybe even stay somewhere like a backpackers or do a group tour of some kind to help you meet new people and build connections... this might help you feel more confident to plan the move.

Melbourne is a wonderful city with a vibrant LGBTQIA+ scene, but if you are not keen on living there or moving there don't force yourself. I say go for what you want - shoot for the stars 🙂

Community Member


I can relate to the Adelaide bit. I can relate to the US bit. I can relate to the mother bit too unfortunately.

I moved back to Adelaide earlier this year and, as expected, fell back into old habits where I'm pretty much a hermit, waiting/hoping to find a job to move to the States.

I wish you all the best.

Community Member

Hi op.

You don't expect people to put you up or help. We've lived all over Australia and never once had anyone there to help and those are big asks to of a friend especially in these times , lifes hard enough just looking after ourselves. lf you want to do it just do it yourself, millions of other people do all over the world to all kinds of places everyday.

But l agree with the friends , go spend a few wks in where ever your considering first , see how you like it. lf that was Melb at least you will know some people there to visit or maybe spend a day with here and there , but nope don't expect them to hold your hand put you up and provide you with a life, gotta build all that yourself.lf your for real though try and organize and plan things at home for a time that you will be able to go to where ever , and just spend some time there first of all.


Community Member

Thank you for your responses and perspectives/feedback on the matter. I’ll do what I can to address some of the points and questions raised. I understand (and have been told by other friends) that spending a few weeks in a place won’t be able to give me a viable perspective of what it’s really like to live in a place; I appreciate and accept that, but then…then what do I do instead? If the only way to really know is to just dive in…what if I get it wrong? I get the impression a small visit might help me understand if it will meet certain end goals (social opportunities and connection mostly), but yeah…once it goes beyond that, it feels like I don’t have an alternative. I’ve talked to the Melbourne friends and they have said that they aren’t willing to be roommates or the like, so that also puts me behind the 8-ball; I don’t want to just rent a place solo (independently of cost) as living here is causing me endless grief, too - so living somewhere foreign…I would rather avoid that possibility.

Right now, the USA is out of the question really; I know the ex only lives in one of the States, but that’s still enough to kinda taint or poison the whole experience for me mentally right now. Maybe one day I’ll be in a healthier spot to be his friend and maybe start from the ground-up again - maybe then I could consider a visit to the US. Aside from that, there are a bunch of issues with moving to the US that I’d need to address (I can’t just “move there”).

I just…you ask me “why” I want to go to Melbourne, but I honestly don’t really. That’s what my friends ‘want me to want’, if that makes sense - it’s something they suggested that’s “an easier dream than the USA”. I mentioned the nightlife and LGBT scenes and all that, but I don’t know if I want those - I mean, those opportunities would be good from a social perspective, but I don’t know if I’m considering that just because I’ve never had that opportunity before. If I really think about it, it’s wanting to share those opportunities with someone (mainly the ex).

I’m also struggling at the concept of the move because of how dauntingly difficult it seems, and all the things to consider. Whenever I think about moving, I just think of the ex and how easy it all was for him. He had a place to move to, and a “life to move into”, complete with an extra place. And, according to a mutual friend, it went “miraculously smoothly” and there haven’t been any issues.

I just…I don’t want this, but I can’t stay here.

Dean Dharug,

I totally understand you. The concept of moving can be so daunting, especially to somewhere you've never really been, or don't know very well. But as you've said, sometimes the best way to know what something is like is to dive straight into it. At least if it isn't the best experience, you'll know for next time what worked and what didn't.

I'm sure there may be somebody who knows more about this than me, but surely there's some way to find reliable roommates to share a place with? Whether it's a Facebook group or some kind of app, I would imagine that somebody has created some platform for this specific situation. I'm hoping there's somebody else on the forums who would be able to give you some better information, because unfortunately I've never moved before either.

If it may help make your decision easier, you could start to pre-emptively look for work in the place that you'd like to move to. I also maintain that research is of the utmost importance - have a look at the areas you're thinking of moving to, and see if you can take a few virtual house tours. It may ease your mind to at least have a better idea of where you're moving and what you may do for work when you're there, that should hopefully alleviate at least some of the stress.

What other reservations do you have about moving to Melbourne or the US?


I am in the process of considering my options regarding roommates and the like; I haven’t been having much luck, though. As I mentioned before, the friends I have that live in Melbourne aren’t looking for new living arrangements/aren’t up for having me as a roommmate in any real capacity (they don’t want to go through the ordeal of organising a new rental for my “experiment”). I have asked some local friends and family, too, if they have any contacts in Melbourne who might be able to help, but no luck on that front, either.

I feel I can organise a small visit for a while, but also understand the limitations of it…which makes me feel like there’s no point if it’s not going to be indicative of the real deal, either. Looking at work options might help me figure things out a bit more, though; it might help me be able to focus on an “area” more than just ‘Melbourne’.

It’s hard to be able to highlight all the reservations I have, and a big part of that (and, ironically, one of the biggest reservations I have about this) is that I’ve never done anything like this before. The closest I had was over a decade ago when mum and I moved out of our old house into the current one…and we didn’t even really do that “in one go” - we stayed with my nana for multiple months whilst it all happened.

Aside from the general “unknown-ness” of the whole process (as in, I literally have no idea what to expect or anything)…I’m worried about change, and I’m worried I’ll do it wrong and shoot myself in the foot or put myself in a much worse position than I would otherwise have been. I’m worried because I don’t know what I’m doing; I’m worried that I’ll make a mistake and have to endure that mistake for a year (or more, who knows) when I’m already struggling. I also have reservations as I don’t have people or a household to “move into”; my ex could just slot himself into a pre-made life and just could continue where he left off. Another friend I know had a complete mental and emotional breakdown after their move because they didn’t have that…and that’s what I’m worried will happen to me. I’m also worried as, seeing as everyone I know doesn’t need a new roommate, my options are either to room with strangers (they might be good people, but I’d know nothing about them)…or room solo.

I guess…overall, the thing I’m struggling most with is that there won’t be any safety net for me if I go - no matter what happens I have to endure it, when I’m already feeling so exposed and vulnerable.