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To move away from my husband and stay married

(97 Posts)
SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 10:12:33

A little background info: I have lived with my husband for just over 20 years in his country, UK. I'm from Sweden and I've been so homesick for the last few years. Going there to visit for a week here and there doesn't seem to help, it just makes it worse. Brexit is another factor, I just don't feel welcomed in the UK anymore.

My question is, would I be totally unreasonable to move back home but not divorce my husband? Our youngest (out of 2) will finish his A-levels in a year and a half and has no intention of living with us after that. The oldest already lives and studies abroad.

My husband has a job where he works from abroad (different countries but not from Sweden) at least 2 weeks out of every month and I hate the thought of being home alone in our big 5 bedroom house when he's away. When he's not travelling he works 12 hour days Mon-Fri so I don't see him much even if he's not travelling.

I work too but I work from home and I can work from anywhere in Europe.

If we sold our home we could afford a 2 bed flat for my husband where we live and a 2-3 bedroom flat for me in Sweden. So, no big family home anymore. With this arrangement I reckon we could spend a couple of weekends together each moth + couples/family holidays a few times a year.

I am absolutely certain I don't want a divorce, I just want to live closer to my friends and my elderly parents. I do have friends here too but I'm not as close to them as I am to my friends back home.

If you were in my husbands position, how would you feel if your wife suggested this?

3weemonkeys Mon 18-Nov-19 10:29:09

Oh I hear you! Wouldn't it be great to both live where you need to be and meet up for romantic weekends in cities all over Europe or visit each other in your homes? You'd get what you want from your close relationships and husband could work guilt free all the hours he wanted. If you were both completely happy with that I'd say that's reasonable. But.... if the distance ended in you both being distant with each other...... Does your Husband have a network of friends and family or would he be lonely without you?

Damntheman Mon 18-Nov-19 10:29:39

I should think I'd understand. If your husband works away from home so often, it shouldn't make much difference to him if he's coming home to Sweden or the UK (although I would look into how difficult it might be for him to get Swedish residency after Brexit. I know it's not going to be nearly so easy in Norway at least). I wouldn't suggest just a couple of weekends a month together though, that doesn't seem enough to me? Although every person is different and maybe it would be okay with him. Talk about it together how much time each of you need to spend in the same place to remain connected before you suggest any time periods.

I'm a Brit and I definitely prefer Norway to the UK at the moment, the tensions in England are so nasty. If I were your DH I'd gladly come to Sweden with you and be based there instead!

Passthecherrycoke Mon 18-Nov-19 10:31:58

I think you should do this but I’ll bet you’ll be divorced in 5 years. But why shouldn’t you? Even if you get divorced it’s not the end of the world.

If I was your DH I guess a lot would depend on how much I wanted the family home to come back to

TheMidasTouch Mon 18-Nov-19 10:47:40

If you have to ask how your husband would take this suggestion then you obviously don't know him very well. How can you expect others to know what he might think?

He might think it's a great idea, he may hate it, he may not like it but he may be prepared to compromise. There are probaby more women than men on MN so maybe the resonses won't necessarily represent a husband's view.

I think it sounds like you need a companion to spend weekends and holidays with rather than a husband. You state you don't want a divorce but haven't said what you and your husband feel about each other which will clearly impact on the decision.

I couldn't be in your position as I would not to be married to someone who travelled so much and then worked such long hours when in this country. If my husband did work like yours I wouldn't consider I was in a marriage but....each to their own.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 10:51:56

@3weemonkeys
I think my husband would be somewhat lonely on weekends when he's on his own. He does have a few friends but very small family who lives in a different part of the UK. He wouldn't go and see them without me. I'm the one who organise our social life and the one who makes sure we see his family occasionally.

@Damntheman
You are right. Two weekends a month wouldn't be enough to sustain our relationship if it was the case 12 months of the year. We both have quite a lot of annual leave though and could spend a week together every other month if we wanted to in addition to the weekends. I am a bit worried that wouldn't feel like we're a couple anymore after a while and we couldn't really just go out for a meal on a regular Wednesday if we wanted to.

Leighhalfpennysthigh Mon 18-Nov-19 10:52:27

Would he want to move to Sweden? I love apart from my fiancé and that will continue after we marry due to his work, my work and, most importantly both of our preferences. It suits us and we're very happy.

However, in my first marriage we lived together practically from the beginning and if he, or I had suggested, 20 years in that we should live separately then it would have led to divorce pretty quickly.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 10:52:31

@Passthecherrycoke
I think he does really like to have a family home to come home to. He's used to coming home to a cooked meal, washed clothes, clean house etc. Because of his work I have sort of become a bit like his maid, not just his wife. I don't really mind this as it suits my personality but I think I would worry about him feeling depressed and lonely whilst I'm out there "finding myself again".

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 10:58:19

@Leighhalfpennysthigh
No, I don't think he'd ever want to live in Sweden. He can't stand the long winters. I don't even know if it's a forever kind of thing for me. I might not like as much as I think I would. I think initially I'd like to live there for a few years and see how it goes. If it damages our marriage I'd like to think we could find an alternative solution. I don't want us to live apart when we retire for example.

I just think, life is long (hopefully) and it's never too late to change your mind and there's no harm in trying. I appreciate you saying though that in your first marriage it would have ended in a definite divorce. May I ask why? Was that because of your ex-husband's view of marriage or yours? Or both perhaps?

Hecateh Mon 18-Nov-19 11:00:42

It sounds ideal to me.

I've never wanted to get married again after my divorce but could cope with it so long as we didn't share a house.

If you both agree, then I would definitely go for it.

pencilpot99 Mon 18-Nov-19 11:09:20

I have this! Don't want to give too much detail but PM me if you want to ask anything. My long-term partner (6 years) lives in a different country to me. We have lived together but for various reasons I needed to return to my home country. We see each other for a long weekends approx every three weeks (taking turns to visit each other) and spend longer holidays together when we can. We text each other a lot and chat on the phone usually once a day (but not always). We've been living like this for a year and it's fine. Long term (as in maybe 10 years?) we hope to live together again but it's not possible right now. I would say, try it. My partner and I love each other dearly and are completely committed to one other. Our time together is precious, fun and we definitely make the most of it. Quality over quantity smile It wouldn't work for everyone but it suits us for now.

Leighhalfpennysthigh Mon 18-Nov-19 11:12:09

@SwedishK I'm widowed so there was no divorce. I think with him it was that we just got used to being together - we were the stereotypical freshers fair hook up that lasted. We both went straight from home to university, to a house share for second and third years together, to our own place and then marriage. We grew up,together and living together was our norm. I know that after he died, one of the hardest things for me was just being in a house on my own without him and all that day to day stuff.

I was then single for a long time and got used to being on my own and not having someone at home and I actually found I liked the freedom. I then met my current partner and he lived 200 miles from me and we worked out a relationship from the start that took our distance into account.

Genevieva Mon 18-Nov-19 11:14:49

I think the idea sounds brilliant. You could even choose a place in Sweden that you can get holiday rental income to help fund flying back and forth s much as you want. You might feel even more isolated from your kids and husband if travelling feels like an indulgence, but if you arrange to be there for a fortnight a month and rent it out for a fortnight a month, you would stay connected and have some income from your new property.

I would probably wait until your youngest finishes school, then rent a one bedroom flat in Sweden for 6 months and try seeing if it meets your needs. It would be far cheaper and less disruptive than selling your home and then discovering that your friends in Sweden are busy with their own lives and you feel even more lonely there.

mauvaisereputation Mon 18-Nov-19 11:16:41

I know a couple who did something like this for work reasons and it ended their relationship.

Damntheman Mon 18-Nov-19 11:18:11

Which part of sweden are you considering OP? Would it be relatively easy to travel between the two places?

UpperLowercaseSymbolNumber Mon 18-Nov-19 11:18:11

What is your long term plan here? When will you both be retired and where will you live then? Because if you only want to live in sweden and he doesn’t how will that work? It’s one thing when it is just weekends but full time?

If your child has A levels in 1.5 years I think you need to stick it out until then if you can.

edwinbear Mon 18-Nov-19 11:20:44

I have done this. Moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands 6 months after DH and I married for a 2 year work secondment, so we knew it wasn't permanent but still quite a major decision.

We managed to travel to each other every weekend as the flight was only 45 mins but it worked really well. We had lots of lovely weekends together without the drudgery of 'normal life'!

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 11:29:34

@Leighhalfpennysthigh
Sorry to hear that! I understand all couples are different but we have never been that close I suppose. We both have a need to have our own space and we're both very independent. Not to the extent that we don't want to spend time together but I need time doing my own things and so does he. I guess that helps in this situation.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 11:33:42

@Genevieva
Yes, sorry, I didn't clarify that but I would wait until the youngest has moved out and I would make sure he doesn't feel pushed away. If he wants to stay for another year after school then I won't mind staying in the UK a little longer. I have waited so long that another year or two won't kill me. I also do like the UK and I wouldn't mind coming back here after a few years (I think). I guess I would also need to become a UK citizen before I leave so I know I can come back.

It's a good point about renting my place out occasionally. I could probably do that. I would live in Stockholm so there shouldn't be a problem finding weekend guests etc.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 11:35:03

@Damntheman
I would live in Stockholm. It's about 2 hours to fly UK-Stockholm.

ChicCroissant Mon 18-Nov-19 11:37:29

Is this related to your son leaving home (or the possibility in the future) OP? 20 years is a long time to be away and it will be very different when you live there again.

DeathStare Mon 18-Nov-19 11:39:12

Would it be an option for you to stay in the UK flat when your husband is in the UK, and go to the Stockholm flat when he is abroad?

zafferana Mon 18-Nov-19 11:39:47

I think this sounds ideal tbh! The one thing I would suggest though is that you don't buy a place immediately. Rent to start with and see how it goes. But by all means sell the big family home to free up the money for a smaller place in the UK and to fund your renting. You can always hire a cleaner/housekeeper if he needs someone at home to take care of his washing. I really don't think that your role in life as his housekeeper should stop you from at least trying this two-country solution out for a while and I wholeheartedly sympathise with your position. I too am in a dual-nationality marriage and if we were still living in DH's country (where we lived for six years), I can imagine feeling exactly the way you do now. Visiting the UK for a few weeks a year was never enough and not having my own place to go when we came over, so always staying with people was hard too. You have one life and you owe it to yourself to try and live it as happily as you can.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 11:39:49

@UpperLowercaseSymbolNumber
Well, I don't know. I don't really have a long term plan. I do know I'd like us to live together once retired (we are early to mid 40s now) but where that is I have no idea. I don't hate living in the UK and I would consider moving back here in a few years I think. I will probably end up missing the UK terribly after about 5 years (my usual pattern) but we have moved around a lot within the UK so I don't really have anywhere here that feels like home properly. Which is probably a reason why I miss Sweden, it's where I have my roots. It's not necessarily because it's better there than here.

SwedishK Mon 18-Nov-19 11:41:25

@ChicCroissant
That's very likely. It's also the first time in a really long time where I feel I'm free to put myself first.

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