Sell up & move to OH's home country? WWYD? (Long post)(37 Posts)
OH has brought it up yet again, and I need opinions.
OH is from Slovakia, but has lived in the UK for about 14 years. We have a DD who is almost 2. A few months ago we bought our first house, and I hoped that OH would finally be happy, as he hasn't been satisfied with his life in the UK since I met him 9 years ago. A couple of weeks after we moved in, he was told he needed a heart op due to a genetic factor we knew nothing about. Since then, he has understandably altered his views on life and feels it's too short to be in a country he's not happy in, and he is also concerned he won't be able to stay in his job. He is even more miserable than usual with his life, stating that he has no friends, not much time with DD or me, stressed, and we don't get much help from my family despite having moved closer, so we don't get any time together as a couple. This is particularly bad as our relationship suffered after DD arrived and we don't have the opportunity to discuss issues as they come up, and he's not very good at handling issues anyway.
So he's asking me to consider selling up and moving to his home town in Slovakia, where his family is willing to help out and give us time to ourselves, and he would get a job in his sector with fairly good pay as he can speak English well. We would get a new mortgage for an apartment, and I would teach English as I have a teaching qualification.
I like his home town, it is a main town not a village so I wouldn't feel too cut off, but I don't speak much Slovak, and I find the way things work over there quite infuriating at times. His family is also quite overbearing. There are more pros than cons for DD and OH, but more cons than pros for me. It's a good place for DD to grow up, as the air is clean and there are lovely mountains and countryside, kids have a more innocent childhood there and it is child orientated, the pace of life is slower and education and healthcare is fine. But I'm well aware of the sacrifices I would make, such as being further from my family and not having much money to visit them etc.
I think I want to get it over with so we can both see if it really would be the solution OH thinks it would be, as I've tried to avoid it for so long. But I was just settling into our lovely neighbourhood and had such high hopes here.
I wouldn't rush into selling your place in the UK, rent it out and rent in Slovakia. That way if things dont work out in your DHs home country you dont have to struggle to get back onto the UK property ladder. Give it 12 months to see if you like it there and then make a more permanent decision about where to live
I moved with DH back to NZ when ds1 was 2. Easier as it is English speaking but harder because of the distance and cost of 'coming home'. I can only tell you why I did it: DH was so set on it and it was causing an issue between us, I thought if I didn't at least give it a go I would never know what it was like, whether it would work and it would always be there in the background causing tension.
If you do go I would say give it at least 2 years, at first there may be a novelty factor, finding your feet, feeling a bit like a holiday, then the oh sh*t what have I done stage kicks in when you just want to go home, it's only once you've been through the various stages of getting over moving that you can make a logical decision.
I am still in NZ nearly 11 years later - I still miss my family and old friends heaps especially when there are 'life events' but that's more of a issue with distance here. Providing you can afford to get home when you need to this will probably be less of an issue. Would I live in NZ if I didn't have children - no. Is it the best place for me - probably not. Is it the best place for my dss and family - yes. That's why I'm still here.
If you do go it doesn't have to be forever especially if you rent your house. We are planning eventually to have a place in both countries and spend summers in the UK and NZ (a friend already does this an loves it!)
I agree with the renting suggestions - keeps your options open and doesn't cost you so much each time you do it.
And otherwise, I'd bite the bullet and go for it - you know what you're getting into with regards the culture, the family etc. Its not like any of that is a shock and there is something viable for you to do - teaching. Go for it.
And I hope your DP is okay on the heart front, too.
Thanks for your replies, They've stopped me feeling so stuck inside my own thoughts IYKWIM.
Bakingaddict, that sounds like a better plan than selling straight away. My friend even said she'd like to rent from us, and OH has been feeling tired and ill today and said something had to change, so it might be on the cards.
Sibble, I can identify with a lot of what you said, especially about the tension. It has been coming up for years and I've tried to improve our financial situation several times to try to steer us away from the possibility of going, but without success. I'm looking for a PT job at the moment but it's not going to make much of a dent after childcare costs. Anyway, my outlook has changed since having DD, as there are lots of reasons why it would be good for her if we went. I think a lot of why I was against it before was because years ago I moved to Ireland with a previous boyfriend, and I was really lonely and homesick and it broke the relationship. But that was a long time ago and it was a very different situation, so we'll see. We're going to Slovakia later this year so we will be able to get some perspective on it then.
Thanks anonymosity, Im hoping his health will improve when the weather is warmer and he has a holiday.
I did enjoy doing the teaching course, so it's something I'd look forward to doing if we did go, and I suppose it would help me feel less isolated than staying at home.
I think having his extended family around (while they sound larger than life) will give you both an enormous amount of support, potentially.
I hope it works out.
you say he cannot deal with relationship issues, so what happens if you are unhappy there? If you don't speak the language, find his family overbearing and the way things are handled sometimes infuriating, I wouldn't rush into it
show me a man who can deal with relationship issues - I have never met one and I'm definitely not married to one. Occasionally he needs a metaphorical kick in the pants to put him back on tract, that's the best I can manage!
"track" not tract - its not urinary, sorry.
What a dilemma. I had to think long and hard before I agreed to buy a house 25 miles away from DHs family and 200 from mine.
I think you need a list of pros and cons.
Is the health care adequate there? will he have his heart surgery before you go or there?
Is the education system good enough for your DD to continue to university or would she need to go to the UK or the States (or elsewhere). This is a consideration for us at the moment. My DD is almost 12. We need to be back int he UK for a certain length of time or she'll pay overseas student fees.
Will your life day to day improve?
Another question to ask is. What will happen if you decide you hate living there? Visiting is so different to living there. Is Dh the kind to dig in his heels and refuse to allow you to move your child back to UK or is the kind to move the whole family back for you.
I'd take my time. Your Dh has had a life altering thing happen and it is said that you shouldn't make such life changing decisions for many months after something like that happening.
I'm in a similar position with my DH being from Norway. I moved there when I was 24, looking at it as an adventure, then 2 kids came along, it still wasn't my home, but the expectation then was that it was our 'home' (even though I always said I wanted us to try and live in UK). The language and culture are different and with that come the feelings of being an outsider, if you love the country its ok, but if you don't, it's hard not to feel lonely and not part of society. We got an opportunity to move to Sydney, and his parents were devastated (understandably) and still haven't forgiven us for taking the grandchildren away - which makes me cross, it was never my home!!!
My point is, once you have children, the years go by quickly and it is easy to get stuck. If you wanted to come back and he didn't, or if you were to separate, you wouldn't be able to take your children back to the UK as a given. If you're happy where you are I would not be moving, but that is all clouded by my experience, and the fact that I would never have moved there in hindsight.
What Squinkie said. I am pretty sure once your dd has been in Slovakia for a certain time period it is seen as her home, and if you wanted to move back to the U.K your DH could make this impossible for you if he wanted to.
Could be wrong on that though but it's worth checking?
Ripsishere- Good point about the uni thing, I would have to find out.
As for what would happen if I wanted to come back, I doubt OH would want to as far as I can tell, and I suspect that would be it for the relationship. As drastic as that sounds, I've known it for years and it's one of the reasons why I've resisted, as well as the reasons ZZZenAgain gave, but in the last few months we've reached a point where I feel something has got to change. His constant complaints about all aspects of his life have been going on for years, and he thinks a lot of his problems would be solved if we went. I hoped he would be happier when we moved into our own house, as we've spent years trying to get to this point, but now he's even more miserable so it's hard for me to enjoy being here either. (He doesn't keep his thoughts to himself, he says the same stuff every day which gets me down). So I just want us to go so we can see if it really does improve for him, and if not, then I can say we tried. If he was happy but I wasn't, I'd have to decide, as I'd still be a lot happier if he wasn't stressed and depressed anymore and it would definitely help our relationship. It would be very difficult to decide to move back as I really wouldn't want to take DD so far from OH, and that possibility makes me hesitate the most.
squeaky I wouldn't be keen in your shoes.
I agree with the others who say that there's a good chance your DH could prevent you bringing your dd back to the uk. (my brief knowledge of it is that once you've lived there for a while and it can be shown that Slovakia is her home - legal term is that it's her domicile/ she is domiciled there - then both parents need to consent to the child being removed).
How strong is your relationship? What if you hate it and want to come home and he doesn't let you take dd?
It is only a few months of living there before it is her home. This would be the one reason why I wouldn't do it.
The second reason is the relationship is at breaking point already. This move won't change that. You've tried to make things different and it hasn't worked.
I am with those airing on the side of caution, I really wouldn´t rush into it and please don´t sell your house.
Speaking as one who knows, however much you have visited a country and "love" it and think you know every thing about it and the people, it is very different when you actually go to live there, especially when you have children and realise there really is no going back.
As others have said, you may find his family overbearing (apologies if they are not), you may find it very hard to settle (it has taken me years and not sure if I am properly settled even now) and that feeling of being an outsider/foreigner may be very hard to handle.
Yes, it may be a beautiful country, fresh air, good for DD and all that but on a day to day...how are the Winters? Tough, I expect? The weather may prevent you doing much...it may very well be "child-orientated" but what does that mean exactly? Spain is very "child-orientated" but you struggle to find restaurants that have high-chairs and changing tables and Mother and Toddler groups are non-existant, day to day it is very hard to find things to do with small children.
Make sure you ask a lot of questions before you make any decisions.
Good Luck, it´s a tricky one
Just re-read your OP and you say the family are overbearing. Oh dear!
I find this is even harder to handle when you´re not on your own turf so to speak as there are lots of cultural differences when it comes to babies and children. It is only now that I have had my 3rd that my Spanish MIL has stopped trying to "advise" me on my child-rearing. Don´t get me wrong, advice is fine but it´s all the: "why hasn´t he got any shoes on (before he was even walking),
aren´t you going to put more clothes on, he´ll catch a cold, why aren´t you using talcum powder etc, etc type stuff that used to drive me insane. It may sound funny now looking back but when you are already very miserable then comments such as those can quite easily push you over the edge!
I agree with everything peterpie has said, wise words ... I'm set to move to Norway, where husband is from <starts to cry> and one of the great thing about being in Sydney has been getting away from overbearing MIL. Thing is she is lovely, and just loves her grandchildren, but all the 'advice' is very wearing, which is not to be underestimated when you're not in your own country, speaking your own language. Thinking back to when first child was born, I was almost suffocated with the advice, especially as I did some things differently to their cultural norms.
You have all raised some interesting points, and it has been useful to hear issues which have happened to those who have gone ahead with it. I hadn't considered the legal side of moving back, so that is definitely something which needs to be discussed and legally agreed at least. Peterpie, my MIL has an obsession with DD wearing shoes too! I suppose it's a lot easier to deal with a comment made on Skype than if she was actually there saying it in my own home. I have been in winter and there was a LOT of snow, the paths were cleared but I did feel like kissing the first bit of grass I saw when I got home!
I also have a home-sick DH and if I agreed he would move back in an instant. We also have 2 small DC. I had a long thought about it and decided against, but mainly because my bond with DH is not strong. I would agree to move though and take it as adventure if I could trust DH 100%. I would also always think of a plan B, i.e. renting out your home in the UK and coming back if I have to.
I have a feeling that DH will move back to his home country after DC finish school - with or without me...
I worked in Bratislava for a few months (contract work), it is such a boring place. I wonder how the rest of the country compares?
are you a very adaptable person? Do you make friends easily?
On the plus side, Slovakia is on the up financially, there will be very good opportunities for your DH to progress career wise, and that could mean that your lifestyle could be better.
Would you have work opportunities there?
I think if you decide to give it a go, then definitely DO NOT sell your uk property or you will never be able to get back on the ladder should you decide to return to the uk.
I think this is such a difficult issue. Two people in a couple are from different countries, and both want to live in their home country. Because only there do they really feel that they are 'home', in their own culture, as well as close to family.
There isn't an easy solution, especially as your DH was upfront from the start about feeling unhappy in the UK.
I think maybe you owe it to him to try things out in Slovakia for a while, especially as it would be good for your DD to learn about that side of her heritage and learn the language. But you need to have an agreement about how long you will give things before deciding whether to make the move permanent. And you need to decide what you will do in the eventuality where you are unhappy and want to move back to the UK, but your DH can't face going back and wants to stay put.
I miss the UK a lot sometimes, even though I like France where I live. I'm amazed how homesick/nostalgic I get sometimes since I never thought I'd be like that, but the fact is it's difficult to understand what it means to live outside of your own culture until you actually experience it. As much as there are many things I love about living here, I think I will always feel like something of an alien rather than that I truly belong.
Then again, sometimes I think if I did go back to the UK (I can't for as long as I stay with DP, as he has a DS here in France) maybe it wouldn't be as wonderful as I imagine sometimes. I left for a reason, and it could well be a case of 'the grass is always greener'. Maybe there is a chance your DH will find this once he experiences living in his home country again.
Lookingforhome; my OH keeps saying he doesn't want to die here (he's become very aware of his own mortality since the health probs), and he's always envisaged retiring over there, although I have explained to him that his views may change if the grandchildren are all here, or maybe not, who knows.
Timetoask; I agree, I really don't like Bratislava, it's a boring concrete city. But his hometown is very different, and I do feel quite at home there and potter around by myself whern I visit, although I would have very different requirements living there with a LO. I'm not someone who needs many friends but at the moment I have no one where I live, so I do get a bit lonely sometimes. I am chatty enough to people I meet, but don't feel inclined to get to know them further, although when I lived in Ireland I really tried, so I think when I'm in a different country I make more of an effort. My one friend lives about 25 miles away and I don't drive, so I don't see her that often. I actually think I'd have more company if I moved to Slovakia, as OH has female friends and family there with young children, plus if I did some teaching I'd have some conversation in English.
Riverboat; I know what you mean about how homesick you can get. When I was 22 I moved to Ireland with an Irish boyfriend. I thought 'How homesick can I get, it's only Ireland!' It was actually a massive culture shock, and no one really understood how different the culture was when I came home (without the boyfriend) 7 months later and I tried to explain how I felt like an alien, especially in Catholic situations, and how hard it was for strangers in a small town to talk to you! People still don't get it when I say I have more in common culturally with my OH than I did with my ex. And when I came home I realised that my sentimentality had clouded my memory of life back home, and at any rate I didn't feel like I fitted in there either.
OH is a bit neurotic at times and often swings from one opinion to the other, especially when he visits his family. Often at the end of the holiday he'll say he doesn't fit in anymore, but he forgets all about it a few weeks later and denies he ever said it, and so it goes on. So it's times like that I think, 'Just get on with it and find out for sure!'
I'm going on a bit, sorry for the rambling post.
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