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4 Weeks away, and returning to London in 7 days, and I feel my heart is breaking. Again

(21 Posts)

Why can we never make the right decisions?

After we uprooted everybody and moved to Norway in 2008 everything has been a mess and an uphill struggle. We thought returning to London would make things better for all of us, but instead everything feels worse.

The area which has improved:
ds2 feels more settled and socially aware, having made some friends. But the drawback now is that he has to uproot from Y6 and go on to secondary.

Life in general and work is pretty bad. And we seem unable to turn things around.

I have started on an MBA, which I hope will make me more employable, I want to work elsewhere rather than be involved in our own business. We could do with an extra income to be honest!

Leisure? We have none. Not really. In the last two years I can count on one hand the times I have met friends. I have very few friends. In fact I have 2 in the UK. They both have many many friends, so I know I am not as special to them as they are to me.
All our time is taken up with work and childrens activities. I have not been to the gym in over a year. I have not had time to even go for a walk. I feel down and depressed and unable to kick my own butt into gear.

I never thought I should miss life in Norway so much when we returned to London. I never thought that friendships and quality leisure should be so important to me, but it is. Here I have a firm group of friends and family, and we do things together.
Not just the "London mum thing" where you go for a coffee after drop off and chat about your kids, but go for mountain walks, bbqs, weekends away together, quality time spent, not just chit chat. (I know lots of Londoners too go camping together, but we dont know anybody well enough to ever be invited)

In 4 weeks I have met more people than I have for the entire 2 years we have lived back in London again!

I dont see how I can get a job in London that is going to work well with kids in school, and a husband that works really late hours and travel.

I am sick of driving 20 minutes each way to drop kids off to and from school. Stressing back and forth with school, clubs and activities, cooking and cleaning, there is so much driving, and so much time spent transporting kids, doing homework with them, it is driving me mad.
It seems more and more clear to me that the entire Lifestyle is impossible for me to get on with.

And I feel so resentful that dh is always putting the business ahead of us and our happiness, and that he never has time. The main reason we returned to London was HIS unhappiness in Norway due to the work situation. This situation has not changed in London. He still works all hours, still does not really take part in family life, and I do everything related to activities and school.

I think I have given myself a time limit. I think I will take the kids and return to Norway in a year, and he can come if he wants to. I honestly have had enough. I rather be a single mum in Norway, working full time, than living the stress I am living in London, where I juggle school drop offs and work, feel lonely, have money worries, and still do all housework and everything related to our family, enabling his work while I eradicate myself. It is not as if we are earning a lot.

He has not taken ONE day off for holidays this year. Not one. He has been working from home at my parents place, while I have been with the kids full time, been cooking and cleaning and doing laundry, answering emails and given him reports and financial overviews in between. He promised he would take time off so we could do things together. But no. He takes the kids out to "do stuff" at 8 pm, so they return at 11 pm wet, cold and too knackered to eat before they go to bed. All we as a family get is bank holiday Monday.

I feel so ANGRY and resentful. Our marriage is generally good, and we get along fine, but the last year I think has truly been a nail in the coffin for our marriage. I cannot stay on board this ship and see him work his arse off all hours, taking one bad decision after the other, while not making enough money to live comfortably, just for the sake of having our own business.

So we have two issues:
Work and geographic location, and I just want to jump ship and leave him to it. He gets London, he keeps his business and He can hire a cleaner to replace me.

Helltotheno Fri 23-Aug-13 13:10:31

You're in a tough place OP, I feel for you. But you know what? As I was reading through your mail, the list of things in favour of you staying somewhere you're not happy was getting smaller and smaller. It would be different if things were better in your relationship, but my advice to anyone in your position would be not to let your own happiness be sacrificed in favour of the other person, when that other person is not putting you/your children/your family first. This will not make you happy and in fact, will gradually make you more resentful, and if you're not happy, the children aren't happy.

I think you need to tell him how you feel, especially in terms of his work, because his working all hours and uprooting everyone in the process, especially when it's not (and may not) pay off in the long term, is just not the answer. I don't think your idea of moving back is a bad one to be honest.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 23-Aug-13 13:16:24

Hi Quint

I am sorry things are bad.

Seriously, I think you need to show him what you have written here.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Fri 23-Aug-13 13:17:51

And I agree with HellTotheno.

It seems to me to be lay-it-on-the-line time. Your relationship is the primary issue.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Fri 23-Aug-13 13:18:37

I haven't got much advice, OP, but I wanted to say I really feel for you. My H's job has moved us as a family around the world and as a result I feel I have nowhere where I have a solid base of family and friends. And he never had time for me or for the dcs.

We were arguing about it earlier this year and he said he would give us time in 5 years when things were more settled at work! confused I said fine, I will leave you and we will try again in 5 years then.

Actually, we are in the process of separating now. I feel so much better about life now that I know I am not going to be dragged from place to place by someone who makes no time or emotional space for me and who never really listens. I have things to look forward to. I am rediscovering me, crazy as it sounds to have lost sight of it.

You sound more together than me, so I will stop telling you my story and say that your plan to return to Norway sounds a good one. How would the dcs react?

pausingforbreath Fri 23-Aug-13 13:21:32

I'm another 'Londoner' who loves to camp - h hates it so me and my kids most of the time. They sound about the same age as yours - which part of London are you ?

I know it not a solution to your list of upset at not being in Norway full time - but maybe a tiny bit ?

Jux Fri 23-Aug-13 13:47:32

It sounds as if your relationship is the cause of your misery. If that were right, the rest would fall into place, and you wouldn't mind where you were.

I may be wrong, but I seem to remember you being pretty unhappy in Norway a lot of the time too. That may have only been the first year or so though?

Jux, I was very unhappy in Norway. The reasons were:

1. Insane and cumbersome problems with tax authorities relating to the move (These can be fixed prior to returning so wont cause a problem again - I know what to do, and how to do it now)
2. My mums health and problems relating to her dementia (She is now in a carehome, and dad has good wrap around care - we would not have returned to London unless this was the case)
3. Dhs job situation - it remains the same it seems whereever we are.
4. My job, have given 90% of my duties away and started on an MBA (which is actually based in my home town, distance learning and meet ups)
5. Ds1. He experienced bullying and unhappiness. (But I have spoken to the LEA here and he can join a different school a year above, given his excellent results from Y6 - He also have a chance at studying at an international school where he can go for an IB)

This means that many of the things that caused problems the first time around can be avoided this time. We still get to live in our self build (currently let) in a lovely area on the side of the mountain, but the boys can go to schools more suitable to them, and we will have friends and family around. Even dh have more friends here than in London, he also really enjoyed being part of the mountain rescue team.

pausingforbreath we are in SW, and I am not a very skilled camper, I just love the outdoors, mountains and walking. Our sons are now 11 and 8.

Dh knows how I feel about the whole work situation. He is actively trying to find a way out of it, but it is taking so long, and I am so tired of this limbo.

LadyMilfordHaven Fri 23-Aug-13 14:01:07

what do the boys think?

The boys say they are keen to live in Norway again, and they are not looking forward to going back either. <sigh>

I think you have an issue with your relationship.

I also think you have massive doses of culture shock. I know a bit about it and also have moved country a few times. Have a look at this. Particularly reverse culture shock. There are ways of dealing with it but ping-ponging back and forth is not recommended.

I am sure there is an element of all kinds of culture shock. Thanks for link.

I do however think that if you can be happy anywhere, if your daily life is interesting and generally good. For us, it isnt at the moment, wherever we live.

LadyMilfordHaven Fri 23-Aug-13 15:19:49

Tbh i don't remember you sounding happy in Norway

Loopytiles Fri 23-Aug-13 20:25:51

Hi quint, I've seen your posts before, but can't remember if your H is British. IME (total generalisation!) men are generally not great at moving to locations their wives prefer!

Lived in london a long time and found it hard, partly because of the long-hours culture, having visited Norway a few times and having family friends there can really understand the appeal in comparison!

D'you think it likely that you could get a job in norway that would pay enough to support you and your DC and leave you a little leisure time?

Is the MBA too much right now? What's the right route to higher earning prospects (in london or norway)?

Loopytiles Fri 23-Aug-13 20:30:13

So you do paid work during school hours, and domestic/DC stuff and london school pick-ups in addition? That sounds exhausting.

PeppermintPasty Fri 23-Aug-13 20:38:57

Hello Quint. Would a different location in England help at all? (though I see the main issue as being your relationship).

I dont really know the answer to any of these questions.

I know we were unhappy in Norway, I think I have made a pretty thorough analysis of the ins and outs of that.

I dont think a different location in England will help much. I cant stand the thought of starting totally afresh, another move, and just end up somewhere I know absolutely nobody.

What I want to happen:
Dh and I both get new and decent jobs, whether in London or Norway, first of all.

Helltotheno Fri 23-Aug-13 21:09:59

I think you should move back. So either 1) You all move back and DH jacks in the job 2) You move back with the kids and you and DH have a long distance relationship for a specified time or longer term. 3) You split.

The danger with 1) is he can't hack it in Norway. The danger with 2) is you grow apart and/or one of you meets someone else.
Option 3) is probably premature I'd say.

If even your kids want it, that's what you need to do. I'd go option 2 to be honest.

Re what you said you wanted to happen, is there a point in both of you getting new jobs if you decide ultimately it's not working in London and move back? I guess what I'm asking is whether it's the work situation mainly causing the problems right now or do you just not like London?

RandallPinkFloyd Fri 23-Aug-13 21:12:14

Oh quint. I don't know what to say, but you sound utterly miserable.

Does your DH not care how unhappy you are or is he just burying his head in the sand?

Surely he must be aware of the fact that he is doing nothing at all within the family and that you're doing it all. Do you actually tell him though, or are you both just trudging along day to day without communicating at all?

How do you think he would react if you told him what you're thinking?

BettyandDon Fri 23-Aug-13 21:21:02

Is your DH a workaholic? I don't mean does he work a lot, that is clear, but it sounds like he could possibly could have a problem of that nature.

It does sound like you are not that suited to family life in London. We live SW London too but I love the buzz and I think you need to to be honest as otherwise there are serious drawbacks vs a calmer family life elsewhere.

But as others have said, it seems like you are sailing through a storm by yourself and I think it's your DH that is making you feel this way.

I also think the MBA is too much. I get that you want to do something for yourself but an MBA is something you do to end up in a high flying job and it is difficult to sustain 2 of those and a family life (assuming this is the sort of job your DH has). It's as if you are screaming 'but what about me, I am important too'?

I would only put up with DH working all hours gods send if he was absolutely bringing in enough to be extremely comfortable financially and by that I mean allowing me to hire cleaners, gardeners, nannies etc to enable me to have real time off. But I totally get that your children are older and nannies are not that relevant. You want family time and personal time. That's why I think he has a workaholic nature or maybe had just checked out.

It is very hard to find good friends in London. It is too transient and diverse to find kindred spirits that often and if you do they move. It's a reflection of the city not of you.

BettyandDon Fri 23-Aug-13 21:25:26

I would also echo what another poster said about reverse culture shock.

I spent 2 years abroad and moved back and I can honestly say it took me another 4-5 years before I actually felt like I belonged anywhere.

Plus the culture shock element will be affecting everyone in your family in a different way.

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