I really miss my old home/ life but can't talk to anyone about it

(16 Posts)
Kob72 Wed 25-Jan-12 17:35:12

18 months ago we left our home town and moved to a village within the same county... new schools for the dc, shortly followed by a new job for me... anyway, loads of changes have happened within our lives. my elder daughter missed her friends like crazy and was quite traumatised by the move.

dh and i were convinced that the move was for the best. financial necessity forced the sale of the house and my dh and i decided to embrace this change and find a cheaper new home within a community with a slower pace of life.

for months i have been singing the praises of the new community that we live in, which on paper is the ideal place for us.

today i stumbled across some old pics of the old house and dc in xmas shows at their old school. it has hit me like a thunderbolt how how i miss my old life. i feel like i have been trapped on an impossibly busy treadmill of work and study since we moved, and have also agonised about how my dc are settling.

now that the dust is settling on these many changes in our lives, it is occurring to me that i dont recognise my life any more. i am only just starting to reflect properly about how i feel about my new life. i have made new 'friends' but dont feel like i really belong here.

i cant tell my mum how i feel as she has just moved to be near us.

i cant tell dh as i have a slightly obsessive streak and he'll worry that i'm getting a bee in my bonnet about moving back.

i feel like i just have to accept that this is my lot and that i have made a decision that i must now stick with.

i have much to be grateful for and no real problems as such but i just feel a bit sad.

anyone been through similar changes and settled after a while?

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 13:23:46

bump

TheExpatWife Thu 26-Jan-12 13:32:45

I feel the same (an overseas move). It really is hard to up sticks and move to new area, new home, all at once. Because you've moved more locally, you probably didn't think of it in the same way. But you've had a big lifestyle change, and I found I was so busy making sure everyone else was OK, I've only just started thinking about me and what I left behind.

Like you, I'm happy in my new life, but I still can't look at pics of our house in the UK without feeling a bit of a lurch in my stomach. Big changes do leave you feel disorientated, but you have to resist the temptation to think about all the great things you left. You moved for a reason, sounds like you thought it all through, and you have some benefits - not least the financial security. And while you feel new and a bit disorientated, you will feel unsettled and like you don't fit. The reality is, I am sure, that your 'new' friends think you are a breath of fresh air and are delighted you turned up!

Try looking at some of the guidance for expats on culture shock and homesickness. I expect you'll recognise a lot of the 'symptoms' and understanding that you are going through a quite normal process of separation and change can help.

Good luck.

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 13:38:52

expatwife, thanks so much. i just feel that i have this patter that i churn out about settling in blah de blah de blah when people ask me how i'm doing. but i still dont feel grounded.

i want to know how long this feeling will last, and if i'll ever again feel like i'm living a life i recognise sad. will check out the expat forum. thanks xx

NatashaBee Thu 26-Jan-12 13:44:03

No advice but I sympathise. We moved abroad 18 months ago, and on paper, we are 'living the dream' - finally putting aside some savings, a bigger house than we could ever have dreamed of in the UK, fantastic schools. I'm not close to my family but I find it really hard being far away (because they have to come and stay for weeks at a time instead of just popping over to see them for the afternoon). I don't really feel like i 'fit' here, i don't make friends easily and the 2 main points for meeting people seem to be either church or a sport. I just miss being able to wander down the road to the pub for Sunday lunch, and silly things, really. I think TheExpatWife is right though, instead of just thinking back to your old life you need to concentrate on the point that you decided to leave and the reasons why.

kim111 Thu 26-Jan-12 13:45:42

We moved to a new area about 18 months ago and I also don't really feel like I belong here. My Nan (who moved around a lot when she was younger) told me that in her experience it takes 4 years to feel properly settled somewhere. I know this seems a long time but it made me feel better to know that it's normal to feel this way and that it does improve albeit after several years!

NatashaBee Thu 26-Jan-12 13:52:02

Maybe there is an '18 month itch' when you move? the last month or so it has really just hit like a bus that this is permanent and we won't be moving back.

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 13:52:14

gah... just lost a long post that i just typed.

good to know that there is still hope!

tbh, i'm not desperately unhappy, but am worried that my feeling of belonging wont improve, esp as i am feeling a little disillusioned about some of the sorts of people i am meeting and question how much we have in common.

thanks both of you x

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 13:53:12

interesting point. i had a wobble at 6 months too. 18 itch... will google!

mummytime Thu 26-Jan-12 14:24:46

I'm always linking to sites on this stages of relocation, its for expats but could be just as true for anyone moving.
If you did move back now, you wouldn't eve get such a great honeymoon stage as you would be noticing all the things that had changed. Your kids would also find it hard to make friends as they weren't a real novelty but their old friends may well have moved on.

DottyDot Thu 26-Jan-12 14:27:38

Awww - I felt like that for ages when we moved house - we moved 250 miles into a completely different kind of area, to be nearer family but away from all our friends. I don't think I felt completely and utterly settled for a good few years to be honest, but we've been where we are now for 8 years and I'm really happy - can't imagine living anywhere else.

I went back to our old place about six months ago and it was weird, but not sad - and it didn't look or seem like I remembered it - it was OK and kind of helped as well.

It just takes time to adjust and settle - it'll happen smile

TheRhubarb Thu 26-Jan-12 14:33:06

We've moved 6 times and it is a wrench every time. I feel homesick for the first ever house we bought that was close to dh's parents and our friends. We had such a good social life and a babysitter with dh's mum. But I'm looking at it with rose-tinted glasses. It was a bad place for work, the weather was crap and the area rough. Our neighbours were chavs who let their huge Bulldogs loose and would have a BBQ with very loud music in their back garden every single day of the summer.

It's easy to look back and think only of the good times but you have to remember why you took that decision to move in the first place.

It takes time to make friends and feel as though you fit in. So many of the people around you will have lived there all their lives and the kids will have known each other since nursery. But kids settle very very quickly. Invite their friends round for tea and have the mums come over for a cuppa. Offer to help out every now and then in the school and go to local events to meet the neighbours.

This period will pass and you will soon feel settled. At this point you yearn for all that is familiar just as expats yearn for British TV, baked beans and bacon and why many of them will spend a fiver on a 3 day old newspaper just because it's British and reminds them of home.

Why not see if there are any other Mumsnetters in your area and organise a meet-up? Where is your nearest city? I'll bet if you start a thread you'll find quite a few up for a lunchtime meet. Custy started one for me last year and I guessed that we'd get around 5 people tops, but to my astonishment there were around 20 who turned up and more replied but couldn't come on that date. So now I know that I can arrange a meet and have a great time.

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 14:34:38

thankyou so much. its helpful to see my reactions to the move in terms of stages, rather than simply concluding that we've made a wrong decision and only just realised! good to know that doubts are all part of the process in most/ all moves.

Kob72 Thu 26-Jan-12 14:37:22

rhubarb, good to hear your positive spin.

also, i think part of the problem is that i am working 4 days a week so have little time to get involved in community based stuff.

i have made new friends, but just feel a bit... odd, really.

I think your feelings are normal, human.
When I moved to the UK (I am Italian), I missed my country, my friends, my family almost physically.
We moved back to Italy 4 yrs ago (after 8 yrs in the UK) and I still miss my life there, even if I wasn't particularly happy. I miss the few friends I made there, our lovely house, I miss the children in their school uniforms, I miss UK tv, I even miss Sainsbos!
I also feel guilty because the children have lost their lovely accent!

I am happy to be back, but I can't help the "what ifs" and I do miss our life in the UK. It's only human I think.

BeattieBow Thu 26-Jan-12 15:02:45

I think your feelings are normal too. In my experience it takes at least 2 years to settle into a new place and probably more.

I moved out of London 5 years ago and straight away thought I'd done the wrong thing. It took me 3 years to feel that I had proper friends in the new place.

I moved back to london last summer and now I really miss the last city. I miss my friends there, my house, my life and my routine as well as the support network. for years I idealised life in London and now I'm doing the same thing about the last city. It takes much longer than you would think for a new place to feel like home in my experience.

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