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I am stuck on the other side of the world and my marriage is falling apart

(120 Posts)
Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 05:01:02

I have posted before on 'living overseas' but think this is more of a relationship problem at the moment. I have made a terrible mistake and ruined my life and would appreciate any help as I can't see the situation clearly at the moment.
My DH is australian, I'm from the UK (though i have an australian mother and other strong family ties here). We married 4 years ago after meeting in the UK. About 2 months before our wedding he made it very clear that he wanted us to move to Australia in the next few years and if I did not do this we would need to call the wedding off. After a very stressful period I agreed (this is first big mistake). From that point on DH looked for work in Australia so we could move but had no luck...he had a very good job in UK (as did I) and I would not move without him finding work first. He became increasingly unhappy and we could not move on with our lives at all - he absolutely refused to buy a house or even rent a bigger flat as then we would be committed to stay for longer. He argue that he could not find a role as no company was interested when they couldn't meet with him etc. i was going mad living in limbo so agreed to go after we had our second child (so we would at least have my maternity leave to support us in the interim). I never wanted to go but felt that I had to as I promised this before we married. This was the second big mistake. We agreed that we would give it a go for a year and if things had not 'worked out' in that time (specifically, if he couldn't find a job and/or I was very unhappy) we would return.
So...over a year on and he has still not found a job. We live in a horrible house his parents usually rent out to students (at least it is free...) I am working in an ok job but not as good as the one I left. I miss my parents and friends horribly and feel terribly guilty they are missing out on the grandchildren. In all cases it hasn't worked out, but DH insists things will improve and effectively refuses to return. After a lot of arguing about this he has agreed to return by the end of the year if he still hasn't found a job, but I don't think he will honour this if it came down to it (there are practical problems too as he will not look for a job in the UK as he says he can't do that and job hunt in Australia ...)
The children are in childcare so all he does is look for work and drop them off/ pick them up. I work full time and do all the housework. He is very good with the children but our relationship is pretty poor at the moment. I don't think there's any option but to stay with him though is there? I feel completely trapped and isolated and bitter about what he's done to our lives.

Tealady1983 Mon 16-Jun-14 05:03:52

Get yourself and your kids on a plane and come home. He can stay till the end of year of he wants or he can come with you leave that choice to be his. Put yourself and your children first x

BuzzardBird Mon 16-Jun-14 05:13:18

Its so tricky as children have been brought into this. How do you feel about taking them away from their father? How will he react?. I think the best thing for you is to go home.

stolemyusername Mon 16-Jun-14 05:17:15

I really feel for you. Australia is an amazing place, but bloody lonely when things get hard and your support network is on the other side of the world.

I'm assuming that you can't return to the UK due to the Hague Convention?

What visa are you on, are you able to access any practical help ie. centreline which would make it possible financially to get away from him and rent somewhere independently?

Thumbwitch Mon 16-Jun-14 05:19:41

You poor love, I feel so sorry for you. sad

I too am married to an Aussie - he also said that he would expect to move back to Australia when we were married and I agreed to it, rather less reluctantly than you by the sound of it but still with levels of doubt.

But! DH has a very good job here, we live in a nice house that his mum owns but we pay her rent for, it's much bigger than the house I own in the UK and bigger than anything we could afford in the UK, so already we're several steps ahead of you there.

I don't work at the moment because I left behind 2 jobs in the UK, neither of which would be easy to reproduce here (one was client-based self-employment, which I can pick up when DS2 goes to school in 3 1/2 years time and the other, no chance) and it was pretty much part of our "agreement" that I could stay at home with DS1, who was 20mo when we moved out here, and any subsequent children.

We put an initial time limit of 3 years on it - if by the end of 3 years I hadn't adjusted, completely hated it and had to go back, then DH might have reconsidered but it would have half killed him to leave his mother hmm and all the stuff he loves about Australia. As it is, after 3 years I was ok to stay and in all honesty I think I would have needed a barrage of reasons, not least being my health, to have forced him to return to the UK.

I go back to the UK every year with the DC (but not DH) - I see my friends and family when I return and in between I skype my Dad and my sister and any friends who want to. Every time I go back I wish I still lived there, I still miss it - but now I miss things about Australia when I'm there too and so does DS1 (DS2 still too small to notice). We have friends here, DH has the good job, we do ok - DS1 is in school and has lots of friends and his life is really here. I too feel guilty about my family missing out on the boys growing up but Skype really helps to keep them in touch, and DS2 loves to see "Bampa" on Skype whenever I'm talking to my Dad, he followed him around like a little tail when we were over there at Easter! But that makes me sad again too - I so wish Australia were nearer to the UK! sad

DH and I don't have the greatest of relationships - he annoys the shit out of me sometimes, especially when he's pulling the "typical Aussie male" crap - but we get on well enough and I don't think I could leave even if things did deteriorate because of the sodding Hague convention.

So that's my situation - but yours is slightly different. I think you should take the children and return to the UK under the circs - your H then has a choice as to whether or not he joins you. But as he's currently not really supporting your family in any useful way (if he was a SAHD that might be different - at least you'd save on childcare costs!) then you have to do what is best for you and your DC and that, as things stand, seems to be to go back.

Where are you based? If you're near Sydney, we do have a MN group of expats who meet up every now and then - we're very nice, I promise!

nooka Mon 16-Jun-14 05:29:45

My sister just returned to the UK after three unhappy years in Australia. It's very hard because her dh is equally unhappy in England. We were just very glad he didn't try and keep them there.

Your set up seems particularly unfair as you've made big ongoing sacrifices and are getting very little support - why is he not doing the housework?

Glastokitty Mon 16-Jun-14 05:46:44

This is such a tricky one, and a problem I have seen friends here struggle with. One friend was happy here, but her husband wasn't. She agreed to go back to the UK, and within weeks her husband was saying they had made a terrible mistake, but there is no way they can come back. One thing that jumps out at me is that your husband has been job hunting for absolutely ages! He is either doing something wrong or he needs to change profession! And its ridiculous that you are paying for child care while he is out of work, job hunting is hard work but can be done around child care. In contrast when we moved to Oz my husband had a job in weeks, ok it wasnt the best job ever but after a few months he had showed his worth and was given a massive pay rise! I didn't look for work right away, but when I did I got temp work in weeks which is now permanent (and I also got a rise). This is an expensive country, you must be really struggling with only one wage if yuou are paying for child care too. A year job hunting here is utterly ridiculous, I know its slowed down a bit but there are plenty of jobs still out there!

Actually, did you post this before, it seems familiar? If I were you Id be checking the Hague conventon too

SanityClause Mon 16-Jun-14 05:50:12

You need legal advice, to find out how long your children have to have lived there for it to count as their habitual residence. Staying just a bit longer could be a big mistake.

As you know, you can't just leave with the children, as this would be seen as abduction.

It sounds like a terrible situation for you, and you really do need to find out what you legally can and can't do.

WildBillfemale Mon 16-Jun-14 05:59:14

Above poster is spot on - you need to check your position legally re removing the children - you would need Fathers consent.

My little sis is in a similar position but after 15 years in Aus she can't just separate and up and return to the UK with the kids.

Sorry to hear your situation though but crack on and find out timings as mentioned in previous post.

SanityClause Mon 16-Jun-14 06:02:14

One thing, though. I am Australian and DH is British. All my dc have Australian citizenship by descent, as well as British. I don't know if you have claimed Australian citizenship, but I expect you would be able to, in which case you don't have to worry about being dependent on him if you decide to split up.

Even the understanding that you would split up even if it means staying in Australia, rather than stay in your current situation may be the warning shot he needs to realise you are serious.

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 06:03:46

Thanks all. Unfortunately I can't go home without DH's 'permission' due to The Hague convention so I have to tread a bit carefully. He won't let us go home permanently without him.
I think the best i can do is just hope that he finds a job or will at least come home if not. I can access government benefits etc as i am an australian citizen, but to be honest the thought of leaving is worse than staying...i would also be completely giving up on the possibility of getting home if I left as he would not then go to the UK.
Thumb witch, thanks for your story. The thing that makes me feel hopeless is that we made the same deal an my husband just doesn't care that I'm terribly unhappy. He says 'I was unhappy for 7 years' - meaning too bad. I tried to explain to him yesterday how much I missed my dad (in his late 80s) and he just shrugged....

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 06:13:35

Yes I did post before (as cloud wallaby, can't work out how to get back on under that name though...)

Thumbwitch Mon 16-Jun-14 06:38:53

Sounds like he's going to be difficult sad

I also cannot understand what he has been doing for a year - are you sure he's really looking properly for a job? He might have to lower his expectations a touch if he still doesn't have one! And yes, it is utterly ridiculous that he doesn't do either childcare or housework - if he's honestly been looking for a job without success for minimum 6h a day for the last year then he's doing it wrong!

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 06:40:38

You can go without his permission, but you'd have to ask a court and show how moving back would benefit the children in relation to staying in Australia.

What are the legalities regarding your visa? Surely if you separate you should be allowed to stay because of the children. Or apply for citizenship as suggested. It may take a while, but it means that you will get free at some point.
Have you got legal advice?

SanityClause Mon 16-Jun-14 06:45:20

Do get legal advice.

Surely it can't be right that someone who doesn't provide financially for the children, doesn't look after them, and doesn't even do any of the housework, should be able to dictate where they live!

Of course he's bloody happy, bludging around while you do all the work!

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 16-Jun-14 06:46:55

Can you come back for a holiday and just not go back? You really need some legal advice on this.

Thumbwitch Mon 16-Jun-14 06:47:20

She doesn't need a visa, Lweji, she's an Australian citizen through her mum.

Mothergothel1111 Mon 16-Jun-14 06:51:54

Oh dear, I had no idea he could make you stay, and it looks like he will do. I'd seek legal advice to find out the chance of getting home.

I think he has you trapped and I feel really sorry for you, it's such a long way away from home.

The rules are there for good reason but gosh it could keep a very depressed person in a country miles from home, not good for anyone.

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 06:54:54

Ups, sorry, although it is not necessarily automatic as you'd need to apply for a passport.

Well, if you are already a citizen (are you legally?) then you can still stay in Australia but separate.
Look for what support you can get down there.

And do check and double check, because you've been there for only a year.

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 06:56:20

I meant to check if you can take the children away.
A court might be sympathetic, as it has been a short time and he's not even their main carer.

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 06:56:55

I know the job hunting thing is completely ridiculous. I don't know what I can do about it though - it is the source of most of our arguments. I feel like the wife in 'The Shining' who thinks her husband is writing a novel but actually he is wiring the same sentence over and over again....
He has an interview tomorrow so fingers crossed. Everything would be a lot easier if he had a job..

joanofarchitrave Mon 16-Jun-14 06:59:37

I would give him an ultimatum re the job search, i.e. he continues full time job search for three more weeks and after that you sit down together and thrash out a deal re childcare and housework.

Either he will magically come up with a job hmm or at least you may start to feel more supported.

Would that allow you to move within Australia, to a nicer house or a place you might like better? Is there somewhere in Australia you would like to live?

And if you have more time, could you think about moves to getting a better job? One that includes a deal that you can go back to the UK for a month a year at least?

Once you are heading towards a nicer place to live, more of a team approach to family life and a job you enjoy, would that help at all? And to know that you can spend a full month back in the UK with the kids and see your family?

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 07:00:28

I have citizenship so can stay, but I don't think this helps much.... I have nowhere to live and would rather stick with him despite all this than be alone over here and only have access to the children half the time

meditrina Mon 16-Jun-14 07:01:06

He has always been clear that he wanted to go back to Australia (to the extent that he wanted to call off the marriage if you did not agree). It's that important to him.

Do you actually want to stay married to him? I do not think there is any chance of persuading him out of his clear and often stated choice on where to live. You seem to continue to hold out hope that you all move together elsewhere. It is however the basic question from which all the admin flows.

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 07:04:21

Look, what is the actual likelihood that he will want the children 50-50? He's offloading them to childcare while at home!

And I'm sure you can find a place to live. You have to check what financial support you might get, including from him.

Don't feel that there is nothing you can do about it. I'm sure loads of couples separate in Australia.

But still get legal advice regarding your situation and taking the children back. ASAP.

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