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to not really want to leave London?

(53 Posts)
OTheHugeRaveningWolef Tue 23-Aug-11 21:50:37

Sorry if this is a bit long.

I met DP 3 years ago. At the time, he was living between a house in the countryside and a flat provided by his work in central London. I was living in London as well.

Some time after we met, he moved jobs, meaning he no longer had the work flat in central London. Around the same time he and I agreed that I'd spend a bit of time working unpaid for this startup I was consulting for with a view to taking equity and seeing it grow. But then shortly after moving in with him I got a great job offer, in London, so having given up my place in London we were then both commuting every day.

After a while it started to drive me nuts living in 'his' space, and he was fed up with all my stuff lying around, so I ended up moving back out of his place to a flat in London again. Things were suddenly really, totally, wonderfully rosy and everything seemed to have fallen into place. He proposed last winter and I said yes.

But now that we're planning on getting married, there's this question of where the flaming nora we're going to live. He doesn't want to do his London job forever - it's become increasingly clear over the time I've known him that he'd rather move right away from London as soon as he can. He also doesn't want to move back to London permanently, as he says it's too noisy, smelly, unsafe and expensive and he loves the countryside. He doesn't even like coming to my flat in London, as he says South London reminds him too much of the city where he grew up.

I on the other hand am committed to a training course that'll require me to be in or around London for another 2 years. Most of my friends are in London. I'm worried that if I move out of London to be with DP when we're married I'll make it loads harder to finish my training, I'll lose touch with my friends and I'll end up stuck in a backwater with fewer opportunities in my chosen field. I'm happy to move away eventually, but I'm really frustrated that while DP moans all the time that we're not spending enough time together he doesn't seem to want to compromise to the extent of considering living with me in London for a few years while we're both working there.

AIBU? Are we just fundamentally incompatible? It's turning into this awful stalemate and while I love him to absolute pieces it's really rubbing us both up the wrong way at the moment.

PS: Please don't be too harsh - I'm pretty period-ish and mis today sad

eurochick Tue 23-Aug-11 22:04:19

How far out does he live? If it is a London feeder commuter town, your life could still be quite London-centric without him ever having to go there. Places like Sevenoaks, St Albans, etc (and the villages around them if you are willing to go properly rural) would work for this.

There needs to be some compromise from his side. From your OP it doesn't sound like he is willing to meet you halfway.

TrompetteMilitaire Tue 23-Aug-11 22:09:10

Oh dear. That is hard on both of you.
FWIW, I wouldn't live in London if my life depended on it, so I can sympathise with someone who doesn't want to. But I can equally sympathise with you. I think eurochick is right about places that are near to London without being actually in London.
But if you did move away completely, you would make new friends. And being 'stuck in a backwater', as you put it, has its own, very big, advantages. smile

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Tue 23-Aug-11 22:11:10

He lives about 50 miles out - a 40-minute commute into Kings X.

The trouble is, there isn't really a halfway where we could meet. Unless you mean moving to outer London, eg Hendon or Alexandra Palace or something, which neither of us wants. The only other alternative would have been to buy a second property in zone 1/2, which we could just about have afforded to do a year ago but prices have rocketed since then for all kinds of weird reasons and it's now £350K for a poky 1-bed in zone 2 unless you want to live somewhere dodgy. Which is bonkers and unaffordable.

So he's either going to have to move into London, or I'm going to have to move out. From a travel POV it'd make sense at least for the next few years to move into London, but he seems dead set against this. It's driving me nuts.

What am I going to do? <wails>

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Tue 23-Aug-11 22:13:51

Trompette Tell me more about the upsides of being 'stuck in a backwater'. Perhaps I'd be less freaked out and more willing to reconsider my parochial urban attitude if I could see good reasons to leave the city. wink

Blu Tue 23-Aug-11 22:18:45

"After a while it started to drive me nuts living in 'his' space, and he was fed up with all my stuff lying around, so I ended up moving back out of his place to a flat in London again. Things were suddenly really, totally, wonderfully rosy and everything seemed to have fallen into place. He proposed last winter and I said yes."

So, umm, you get on best when living apart!! Have you lived together again since then? Unless you know you can share the same house, it doesn't really matter where the house is!

You can be married and still live where you need to live. It doesn't look as if you can move completely away from London for now anyway, but unless you have a shared vision of your lives together and how you can support each other's priorities, you may not actually be terribly suited to a comestic household based relationship under the same roof!

Try couples counselling - you might learn something about your relationship and yourselves, and you might find a more conciliatory way of discussing this. Don't get married unless you have a mutually satisfactory plan.

yellowsubmarine41 Tue 23-Aug-11 22:19:18

This is difficult. I wouldn't leave London if my life depended on it grin and I'd especially hate to feel forced into having to make such a major move before I felt ready.

Is it just the 'where do we live?' question that is dividing you at the moment?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 23-Aug-11 22:20:12

I must be being very thick.
Who says you have to change a living arrangement that works just because of a ring and a piece of paper?
If your current arrangement means you have enough time together why change it?
Over time - like when you get broody - you can make a change
but if one of you moves because you are getting married, book the divorce court now.

And as an example - my dad and his girlfriend keep separate apartments. To my knowledge she NEVER goes into his. THey have 4 nights together, three apart each work week. It has worked for them for 18 years.

Alan Clarke's wife rarely went to his house in London.
An old school friend lives at her family pile in the country, her hubby works in London in the week. They have several children ...

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Tue 23-Aug-11 22:21:13

Is there any reason why you can't continue with your current living arrangements after your marrage until you have completed your training course?

After that time, you may find yourself longing to move out of the great metrops while your dh may have risen in rank within his current employment and want to move further into the city. grin

A flat/small house in a part of London that you both like and a cottage 50+ miles away for weekends would seem to be the way to go, and will save money and time on the daily commute from one of the city's 'burbs.

BsshBossh Tue 23-Aug-11 22:28:24

He can't live in London for at least the two years it will take for you to complete your training? He can't compromise that much?

By the way, Crouch End/ Alexandra Palace are quite lovely places to live smile

Blu Tue 23-Aug-11 22:30:25

I agree there is no need to live together just because you are married....if you are happy to be married and live apart with no guarantee that either of you will ever be willing to retrac t your view on where you will / will not live.

It's the lack of mutual support and agreement rather than the actual living apart that makes me think you need to sort this (even to agree that it's more important that you each feel happy where you are based than to have a shared base) before you marry. Do you plan kids? That would be harder in separate houses, miles apart.

Laquitar Tue 23-Aug-11 22:36:01

Why not outer london and Alexandra Palace? I wish i could afford Alexandra Palace.
High Barnet?

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Tue 23-Aug-11 22:40:13

Blu - you've hit the nail on the head about the agreement not being clear. Sometimes I think he doesn't know what he wants...we've talked, and agreed a plan, and then he'll start looking at London flats again when we'd agreed to abandon that option, and confuse the hell out of me. I jus want us to agree a plan and work towards it goddammit!

Those who've said we could stay as is - I kind of agree but as things stand it's not working quite well enough. Or I miss him during the week and want to see him more. Or he's moaning too much. Or something.

TantrumTurtle Tue 23-Aug-11 22:40:59

I think that those commuter towns/villages are the worst of both worlds, no offense to anyone who likes or lives there but commuting into London and rushing catch the last train out - please!!!!! Very aspirational.
I've had 36 years of rather leaving London over my dead body, it's the most amazing place to live and raise a family. My partner is also a country boy but been happy with getting the best out of urban life.... Especially cos he loves me!
All the positives about london still hold true but i'm now about 2 weeks away from moving lock stock and 3 smokin' kids (actually not, they're only wee) away from London. Big move. To Sheffield/peak district borders. What's changed. Priorities for one. But whereas I bottled it a few years ago (moving to chorlton, manchester ie London light) we are now getting a fab house, fab countryside, near to fab cities, and keeping a flat, albeit rented out for now in London. AND, this is best, negotiated 3 days/month in London, no kids for 'work' so can catch up with girl friends, shop, eat.... I also want it to work because I see how much it means for the fella.
Does sound like you guys need to talk....

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Tue 23-Aug-11 22:43:59

If he weren't a factor, would you ever chose to move away from London?

TrompetteMilitaire Tue 23-Aug-11 22:44:02

TantrumT puts it beautifully re. "backwaters"!

usingapseudonym Tue 23-Aug-11 23:21:49

We lived in zone 5 for a while which was a lot cheaper than central and didn't feel as claustrophobic/dirty/smelly/Londony as London did. However we have moved back to the coast and don't regret a single moment! (Well, v occasionally miss the museums but we're only a couple of hours away if we wanted to). Kids get to play in fields, beach etc. Much better pace of life, far more affordable, love it! So I too have some sympathy with your partner - but it does have to be a relationship where you are both happy.

TantrumTurtle Wed 24-Aug-11 00:14:26

Thanks TrompetteMilitaire. I could have said far worse!

Jux Wed 24-Aug-11 01:15:34

I lived all my life in London, until 2005 when we moved to Devon. It's nice-ish here but boy, do I miss London, and I'd go back like a shot if I could. DH hates London, always has and always will; even living in the suburbs he wouldn't go into central London for anything. I was brought up in the suburbs, loathed them - worst of both worllds, as has been said upthread. Moved into central London when I was about 18 and never wanted to leave.

Wish I was still there. If you like it there, it won't be satisfying anywhere else. There is nowhere like London. You will miss it dreadfully and regret moving out.

No idea what implications this has for your relationship.

I am bored stupid here in the country. No jobs, no opportunities, very little culture. The town I live in is thought by everyone outside it as 'dead from the neck up'. That pretty well sums it up. Believe me, getting excited about the opening of a Lidl tells you how dull it is here. Nothing happens, there's nothing going on, it's dire. Truly truly dire.

I've gone on a bit. Sorry. I really, seriously, advise you to stay put.

garlicnutter Wed 24-Aug-11 01:46:54

Oh GOD I miss London! My chances of EVER being able to afford to move back are slimmer than Keira Knightley's lunch. It's a one-way ticket to Dullsville, Obscurity, OP: don't buy it.

What does DP find so compelling about the countree? Is it the wider variety of bird-spotting opportunities (though London's better for exotics)? The invigorating pong of chicken shit, with which yon fields are liberally sprayed twice a year? The deep silence of sheep, tractors and fucking cockerels at night? Or the comfortable neighbourliness of a community with nothing better to do than bitch about the way you trim your hedges? The appeal of the small pond, in which you vainly hope to be a bigger fish.

OK, not everybody sees things that way. But you do! I reckon you're best off living separately. Or falling in love with a man who likes life spiced with variety (and owns at least a 2-bed flat near the Tube.)

TrompetteMilitaire Wed 24-Aug-11 08:58:25

Garlicnutter, it isn't necessarily a choice between exciting, buzzy, non-stop central London and the pong of chicken poo and small-minded neighbours. There are many pleasant backwaters in between. If you had ever lived on the edge of (not in, on the edge of) the Peak District, for instance, you might see things differently. Plus there are plenty of fabulous cities that aren't London and that have all the interesting people and all the buzz without the rubbish, filthy, scary bits.

Runlolarun Wed 24-Aug-11 09:12:03

I recently made that move. Worst decision of my life. Sorry but I had to say it. Surely he can make the necessary sacrifices to support you over the next two years?

Whatmeworry Wed 24-Aug-11 09:12:07

The problem with leaving London is that all roads lead back to it, so N years down the line the next job/role etc will be in London. And stand by to put your brain on sleep mode in the Countree ( been there....)

garlicnutter Wed 24-Aug-11 09:20:19

confused Isn't the edge of the Peak District quite a long commute from OP's job in London? grin

As it happens, Trompette, I have lived in plenty of fabulous cities and the only one I loved as much as London was Rio de Janeiro. I just don't think it's possible for a city to be vibrantly stimulating without the "scary bits" - half the point is that all of life is there.

But, as I said, not everybody sees things that way!

lurkerspeaks Wed 24-Aug-11 09:20:33

Has he ever lived in really central London ie. with amenities within walking distance. This for me is far preferable to living in the 'burbs. I am a child of the suburbs and I will never go back.

A compromise for me if fresh air is really necessary would be a fabulous flat somewhere truly central and a weekend bolt hole (assuming the budget stretches).

At present I make do with a slightly less than fabulous flat in a brilliant location and hotels/ friends houses for the fresh air!

Making me move out of London would be a deal breaker.

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