Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

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.

SanityClause Mon 16-Jun-14 07:06:50

I would have thought that if you want to leave Australia, him being out of a job, and not providing any kind of childcare or house work are your aces.

How could anyone argue that the children would be better off in Australia, with one parent effectively doing all the work, or in the UK with one parent doing all the work? They have the same access to health, education and family network in whichever country they are living.

Once he is working, or even taking on more responsibility for childcare and in the home, you wouldn't have this argument, anymore.

jaynebxl Mon 16-Jun-14 07:07:44

It's always so tricky in this kind of situation. You feel bad cos your parents are missing out on the grandchildren but presumably his family would then miss out if you move back. Like you say it would be easier if he had a job plus I do think it takes at least a year to settle into a new country.

SquidgyMummy Mon 16-Jun-14 07:14:54

Looks like he has moved the goalposts continually throughout your relationship, and will continue to do so.
As posted up thread, you really need to decide whether your want to stay with him, as he is never going to make it easy for you to move back to the uk.

Moving overseas is not easy (I have been in France for 6 years) but we committed to it, have a very good lifestyle and now it is home for me.

I personally think your DP is being emotionally abusive towards you. (The ultimatum before your wedding being the first red flag.)

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 07:19:08

I agree that he does sound abusive. And ATM a cocklodger too.

And he gave you the ultimatum 2 months before the wedding because he knew you'd do your best to keep to your word and it was "too late to cancel".

Forget being fair to him and do what is best for you and the children (and that is not necessarily staying with a father who is abusive towards the mother).

Hazchem Mon 16-Jun-14 07:24:51

As soon as i read the opening post I was sure I'd heard your story. I posted on a thread of yours before. I'm gutted that things haven't picked up.
Can you access some couples counseling? What about some just for you so you can have some space to sort out how you feel. You can access them from GPs which reduces the cost somewhat.

Hissy Mon 16-Jun-14 07:37:16

I agree, an ultimatum on childcare and housework is in order here.

He has to take it on, which will save money, and ease your burden. He actually sounds like a total arse actually. I'd hate him for all this stuff,

There's no reason why he can't put the dc into childcare if he needs to arrange interviews etc, but if he's not even getting these, there's absolutely no reason at all for full time childcare bills.

Thing is, the longer he's without a job, the harder it'll be to get one.

That's where i'd start. He was all great and powerful issuing you ultimatums, now that the boot's on the other foot, it's time for him to see how that feels.

His comments about his 7 years of misery are utterly shit. He had 7 years (apparently hmm) so you have to suffer for the rest of your life?

Remind him that regardless of anything, you are making a go of it, and could leave him and live independently, so he needs to sort himself out or admit he has to reassess the decisions he's made.

If he's not careful, whether or not he gets a job, the attitude he's demonstrating is likely to end in divorce anyway.

Keep posting. Do you have RL friends out there?

Mrscaindingle Mon 16-Jun-14 07:46:18

Your husband doesn't sound reasonable, the fact that he would not even be open to negotiation about something as important as where you live.

I lived in Canada for 5 years and was unhappy for probably 3-4 of those, its so hard when you feel trapped where you live and your usual supports are very far away.

If you could come back I think that would be best for you and your children but that doesn't sound likely. I'm sorry to say it but it doesn't sound like much is going to change while you are still with this man.

Hopefully he will get a job soon and then that is one problem solved. I would get some legal advice anyway and then at least you onow where you stand. Have you made any friends yet? I think you need to focus on yourself and getting some social supports in Oz meantime. This at least will improve your quality of life in terms of having someone to talk to and meaybe even some fun?

There are a few expat groups on line that might be a good place to start.
thanks

utterlyconflicted Mon 16-Jun-14 07:51:26

What an arse. Why have you stuck with him? If it's fear of being alone, bin him. You have your financial independence and children.

CrotchMaven Mon 16-Jun-14 08:03:03

I'm sorry, but I only have questions.

What does he do all day?
What do his parents think?
Do you have the "go back after a year" thing in writing?
Do you know where you stand legally re coming home? I mean, have you seen a lawyer?

Sad to say, this is going to end up with you divorcing , wherever you are, because I can't see how you can come back from being treated like this. That he can be OK with the situation is beyond me.

MarshaBrady Mon 16-Jun-14 08:03:47

I really feel for you too. He has pulled a bit of a blinder to get you in this position where you are now somewhere you don't want to be. If must be a big strain on your relationship, I don't blame you for feeling bitter.

However, I think if he gets a job it could improve things as you say. Good luck, fingers crossed it happens for next interview or very soon. Does he work in a good sector? Ie one with good opportunity.

AggressiveBunting Mon 16-Jun-14 08:11:03

What an arse. Why have you stuck with him? If it's fear of being alone, bin him. You have your financial independence and children

But then she's potentially stuck in Australia for ever, which she doesnt want.

Iris, I remember your previous thread and sorry that there's been no progress. Did you give any thought to potentially looking at a compromise posting like Singapore/ Hong Kong? There are lots of UK/Aussie families here for precisely that reason (splitting the geographical difference).

I also think spending all day job hunting is a bit of a piss-take. There just can't be that many appropriate jobs in his sector that applying for them is a FT job, and if there are, but he's not getting them, then that also says something. If he's just spending the day on Linked in and having coffees with people who might be able to help, but seemingly never can, then I think you have to put your foot down.

MorrisZapp Mon 16-Jun-14 08:24:01

Sorry but this guy sounds like an utter selfish bastard. And cruel too. If he has said he won't permit you to leave with your kids he effectively has you hostage.

My concern is that somehow you feel marriage is worth this at all costs. To my mind, it isn't. You matter too.

I have no idea about the practicalities, but emotionally you need to stop thinking of this idiot as your husband. He isn't really, he's your jailer. Put yourself and your kids first, so bloody what if you promised some stuff a few years ago. Hes broken all his promises hasn't he.

diddl Mon 16-Jun-14 08:28:38

He does sound awful, but I don't see why OP should just be able to clear off with the kids.

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 08:38:19

Thank you so much for replying everyone. It really helps to feel like I have someone to 'talk' to. I will look into getting legal advice so I know where I stand - suspect I can't go back with the children but it would be helpful to know. I do like where I live so could probably make a life here alone if I had to...going back for a month a year is a very good idea, and what I meant to do when we left (been difficult this year with new job). I'll go home and look into getting back for Christmas at least.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 16-Jun-14 08:42:46

If he has said he won't permit you to leave with your kids he effectively has you hostage.

Well, yes; but by the same logic, if the OP could legally take the kids to the UK and never come back, he'd have to follow her and she'd effectively be holding him hostage.

The problem is that the OP came to Australia of her own free will. There's nothing stopping her from leaving the marriage, but she can't force her husband to go back to the UK. And she can't take the kids there without him, because there are good reasons for legally preventing a person from removing children from a country against the will of one of their parents.

All that said, he is being an arsehole and I'm really sorry you're going through this, OP. Of course he should be able to get a job in less than a year, and he should be doing the childcare and the housework while he's looking. The whole situation is miserable, and extremely unfair to you.

I think you need to see a good counsellor and a family lawyer.

antimatter Mon 16-Jun-14 08:43:29

I don't know what job market is like in AUS, but after being redundant here I had to drop my salary expectation by quite a lot.

If he is not prepared to do that he is in trouble.
Employment is a foot in the door, no matter salary/how high up on the greasy pole.
I hope he realizes that. And him not helping with housework whilst you do 100% of it is just ridiculous!

KoalaDownUnder Mon 16-Jun-14 08:44:28

OP, message me if you are in WA. thanks

Iris1789 Mon 16-Jun-14 08:45:17

Thank you so much for replying everyone. It really helps to feel like I have someone to 'talk' to. I will look into getting legal advice so I know where I stand - suspect I can't go back with the children but it would be helpful to know. I do like where I live so could probably make a life here alone if I had to...going back for a month a year is a very good idea, and what I meant to do when we left (been difficult this year with new job). I'll go home and look into getting back for Christmas at least.

kaykayblue Mon 16-Jun-14 08:47:36

Go and get legal advice now. Seriously - do it now.

You will need to explain the situation truthfully, but in full. That you are living in sub standard accomodation, that your partner is not supporting the children, that you are desperately, desperately unhappy, but your partner is refusing to even consider returning to the UK. You feel trapped because you don't know if you will be forced to leave the children.

See what they have to say, but this situation is NOT fair. Fucking Hague Convention. I can understand where one parent is simply running off with a child, but in terrible relationships it basically forces the mother to stay in a horribly abusive relationship in order not to lose her children. I knowit's not that bad for you, but still.

Go and speak to a lawyer this week though - seriously.

ooooooohnose Mon 16-Jun-14 09:57:24

my dd was in the identical situation, in Canada.
she was so desperate to come back to the uk, that she took the dc on "holiday", with permission,
moved to a rented flat.

but, in no time at all the police came knocking,
abduction.
now, with the hague convenction,

I am just wondering if there is an age limit that children can decide for themselves where they want to live?

so sad for you

Mothergothel1111 Mon 16-Jun-14 10:19:38

Ooooo did they have to return?

ooooooohnose Mon 16-Jun-14 10:34:06

yes, she had to return to Canada with the children.
her x was waiting at the airport and took them from her.
they went willingly, as the fear from the fathers wrath was something they had learned to comply with.

as long as they did what he dictated ( an abusive narcissistic nasty piece of work)they would be ok, but to disagree meant horrors for them.
now they are 18/19, they have returned to the uk as adults.
the sad thing is that dd is stuck in Canada, as she can't afford to return yet.
but that was why I asked how old the op's children are.
light at the end of the tunnel sort of thing

Lweji Mon 16-Jun-14 10:36:05

Iris, you agreed to go to Australia based on his agreement that if he didn't have a job or you were very unhappy by one year that you'd go back.
I think this is very relevant for a court case requesting that the children are allowed to leave Australia.
He could deny it, of course, but I'd use all I could if I really wanted to go back.
You need to decide if you want to stay or not and if you want to leave, then now is the time to act, as the children have only had one year to settle, and many more of the UK, so the UK is still very much their home. That is why you must act now.

angeltulips Mon 16-Jun-14 10:41:27

Your DH sounds like an absolute twat in terms of job hunting etc - I think your marriage would be under strain no matter where you lived.

BUT

I think you are being v v bu re living in Australia. Your DH told you how important it was to him before you were married (which is good & you accepted it) - I think you'd be very unfair to turn around and break your promise now. All the reasons you cite for wanting to return to the uk (closer to family etc) are reasons he wants to be in oz for a bit! I'm afraid you need to compromise - why did you marry him knowing this was so important to him but you'd hate it?

I am australian and my DH is British - we will move back to oz one day (for a few years only) and I would HATE it if every time something went wrong in oz it was used as a stick to beat me with about moving back to the uk.

That said, he is definitely a knob - but I think you need to separate the two issues

yoyo27 Mon 16-Jun-14 10:43:18

I would suggest separating but staying there. You are basically being a single working mum anyway x

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now