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In a long distance marriage: cannot take it any more, but have to

(12 Posts)
FrequentFlier Wed 29-Jan-14 16:07:06

This will be a bit long and whiny; please bear with me. I am sitting here in tears at the moment, so not v coherent.

Long story short, I am a long term expat moving every 2 to 3 years, and have lived in seven countries so far. Two years ago, I made the difficult decision to stay in the UK on my own as my children were older and finding it very hard to keep moving, my mother had been recently widowed and I wanted to reclaim a bit of myself and get back to work for a bit. My DH works in a foreign country about eight hours away. We were told that he would likely be given a job in the UK about this time, so it seemed sensible for me to stay put for a bit.

Anyway, he was told today that there are no jobs in the UK because the job market is so terrible. The disappointment is crushing. His boss hopes to revisit the situation in another two years time, but even then there are no guarantees.

I am shattered. The past two years have been agonisingly hard. The children don't want to leave their school here; they love it and have lots of friends, plus their granny. But at the same time, they miss him and he misses them terribly. I visit him from time to time, and it's just so sad, his bachelor existence, and always coming home to an empty house. He's missing all the milestones in their lives, and in mine. I am getting an award this month, and he can't come for the ceremony because he's already used up a lot of leave visiting the kids over Xmas.

I considered moving to his country, but given it's only for two years and my daughter is at that tough teen stage, I don't know whether I want to uproot her again. I also considered boarding school, but my kids are just not the boarding school type, plus they don't want to go! My weekends are so lonely; everyone pairs off in happy families and I am on my own. The only thing that kept me going was the idea that it was only for 2 years, and now to find out I have to do another 2.

A few years ago, he even took an unpaid sabbatical for a year and started up his own business, but it failed, sadly. In his field, there are very few jobs, and while he has been looking hard for even a lower paying job, he has not found one so far.

I am just so sad at the moment. So sad.

kiwidreamer Wed 29-Jan-14 17:21:24

massive unMNetty hugs, I can practically feel your heartache from here sad it sounds like a really tough, really rubbish situation.

Is there any chance he'd get work if he resigned and just came back and took a chance?

I really feel for you... have another ((hug)) and wine and crisps too if you have them to hand.

SavoyCabbage Wed 29-Jan-14 22:20:26

Bloody hell. I was almost in this position (and still might be yet) as my dh of 13 years has been refused a visa. I have just decided this week that I will have to rejoin him as the alternative of is living apart is too hard.

If we don't get him a visa this year then we will be doing it.

I am so so sick of being an immigrant. I just want to live here in the uk where I belong. I doubt my dh will get a job here either.

It's so hard isn't it. Do you think that your dh really can't get a job? I know mine is saying he won't be able to because he does t want to live in the uk.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 30-Jan-14 00:24:49

So sorry to hear that you are going through this. Such a long way away from each other, it must be very hard.

Unfortunately nothing will change in the immediate future without compromise on some part.

Does your DH want to come home? Do you have savings to tide you over if he could retrain perhaps? Could you manage on your salary?

Your weekends are of course exacerbating your loneliness. My DS is young, but I know my nieces and nephews are teens and out all weekend with busy social lives. It took my DB and DSIL a while to realize they could have a life again.

I found an Internet group site where you put in hobby preferences and they gave you group listings in your area - book clubs, hiking groups, film groups etc. would something like that interest you? Or a class of some kind? Mumsnet local?

Don't assume everyone is in pairs at the weekend though - my DH works every weekend at the moment, and it is nice to go out with friends at the weekend. Keep asking....!

If he is definitely staying for two years, I would try and block plan out my holidays, school terms etc on a sheet and do a visit plan or calendar - when he is home, you are at his, places you can fly to and meet halfway etc so the time is broken up into manageable chunks and key dates aren't missed if possible.

I hope you manage to try and get some happiness. MN is always her for support and general chit chat. thankswine

FrequentFlier Thu 30-Jan-14 02:52:08

Thanks so much for all your kind messages. I apologise for posting and running; I was simply not in a very rational state yesterday, and needed to go away for a bit. Feeling calmer today.

In re the quitting job and coming back, both of us are wary about this cause it's honestly pretty hard for him to find a job in his v specialised field, especially since he's 46. He's also not v good at finding a job if you know what I mean, though he's v good at his job. We could definitely live off our savings for a while, but from our experience of an unpaid sabbatical, those savings tend to evaporate pretty damn fast. I wouldn't say our lifestyles are expensive, but I do, for instance, want to send my children to good unis and support my elderly mother. Unfortunately, my own job cannot support the family; I had to take so many breaks when a expat that I had to reenter at a fairly low level. My husband is def going to keep searching for a job in the UK, but he and I are wary of taking risks in this horrible economy.

I think I am going to have to suck it up for 2 years and hope that his boss delivers on getting him a permanent job after that. I had a long talk with my daughter yesterday. She is 14, going through a tough teen period, and definitely does not want to move at the moment. I get her view; it's hard when moving as a teen and being the outsider, esp cause teen girls are so mean at this stage.

In the meantime, my husband told me he is trying to work out an arrangement with his boss so he can visit me more often and try to work from home. Not sure if this will happen, but worth fighting for as they are v pleased with his work at the moment.

I need to stop being a wuss about weekends and just invite people over or something. The worst they can say is no, right?In the meantime, I am also going to ask my mother if she can look after the kids while I visit my husband more often. Until now, I confined my visits to school holidays, but I think I need to be with him more.

In the meantime,, would really like to come on here more often and talk with other women in a long distance marriage. I am sure there are more? I seem to recall a lady who has spent years doing this successfully; but I can't remember her name?

Thank you all again for your

lemmingcurd Thu 30-Jan-14 03:06:47

hi, just wanted to reply and hope you are feeling a bit better now.
I can totally empathise with the two-countries thing as I am about to embark on about a decade of "euro commuting" I think they call it. unfortunately though my children will be resident in H's country. like you I came back to the UK to reconnect but also for the DCs education. they have decided they prefer H's country even though I thought at primary school age the transition wouldn't have been that bad. And in fact it went really well for DD, less so for DS. but as my marriage has just imploded they have gone back to H country. now I have to divide my time between 2 countries.
but I am glad OP that you have a strong marriage, you sound v supportive. Knowing you are doing the best for your DCs should give you a lot of satisfaction, no?

AdoraBell Thu 30-Jan-14 03:40:37

Yes, keep inviting friends over/out for drinks/coffee, whatever you like doing. I like the sound of that website mentioned by Wallybanter'sjukebox. Am about To embark on living far from my DH, if we ever sell the house here, and To be honest I'm dreading it. It must be very hard.

Is there anywhere half way that you could meet for the weekend once DM is having the DCs? When my DH first went over seas we used To meet up for our holidays, it was too far weekends.

FrequentFlier Thu 30-Jan-14 06:57:51

Lemmingcurd, I am so sorry to hear your marriage broke up and you too have to go back and forth. Certainly, expat life can put great stress on a marriage. We have had many bad moments ourselves and no doubt will have more. But sometimes adversity can bring you closer; I don't moan about minor things now, we have got bigger things to worry about!

Adorabell: as I said, until now, I never visited my DH without the children cause I never take them out of school. But I recently did a visit cos he was ill. Kids were perfectly happy with my mother; they love her. I think I need to go away for more breaks with him to keep my marriage strong.

I must stop moaning and count my blessings: I have reasonably lovely, healthy children, wonderful help from my mom, satisfying if badly paid work and a recently purchased wonderful home ( not flash but convenient and just what I wanted). I just feel so bad that my DH doesn't have any of these things. If I could go back, I would have moved with him two years ago, but you know what they say, hindsight always 20-20.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 30-Jan-14 19:34:18

Perhaps you could put together some nice photo collages or framed pics of the DC to put in your DH's flat, and some bits of home to make it feel better?

I found with my DH away, block booking the flights saved me money, structured my time a little bit and gave me short term things to look forward to. What places are halfway between you that you may have wanted to visit?

Our weekends last year certainly kept the relationship romantic, caring and respectful.

Good news about the possibility of getting your DH to work from home to try and make up for false promises. I hope it comes through for you. wine

costamum Thu 30-Jan-14 22:47:53

FrequentFlier..I've been in a longdistance marriage for the last 5 DH spent 2 years working in Haiti and at the time it didnt seem wise for the family to move over there and luckily he was able to come back every 4 weeks or so for 10 days. Now, however, for the last 3 years he has been based in Africa and only ever gets back every 6 months or so (and with a 2 day journey to get back because there are no direct flights). Again we did contemplate moving over to be with him but financially the move would have been quite difficult and the fact that there is a lack of job security resulting in the situation changing from one day to the next, we felt it could possibly be too unsettling for the children.

Here they are well settled at school, have their friends and activities as well as having DH's family around. However it is difficult being the sole parent...having to make all the decisions on your own, being the only one to discipline them etc etc. They miss not having their father at home and whilst we do settle into our own routine, I do feel for them and for DH who is missing out on them growing up ..DS1 is 12 and DS2 is 9 and rapidly changing! Everytime he comes back he sees how much he is missing out on.

I absolutely do understand what you say about the weekends, they always seem to be the hardest. As you said, it seems that everyone is off out enjoying family outings together (even if that isnt necessarily the case) and you feel like the loneliest person in the world although in reality I feel it more for the children. If we don't have anything planned with friends or family at the weekend, I always try and make a point of going out to eat somewhere..we choose somewhere different everytime or go to the cinema or some-such.

His contract has just now come to an end, and he's decided to come back and take his chances in Europe. Unfortunately his job is pretty specialized too and I don't think he'll find anything in his field but we will live in hope!

desertmum Fri 31-Jan-14 15:53:29

Another one here ! We have been living this way for 5 years, with the kids and I in two different countries during that time. It IS hard and I so sympathise about the weekends. My kids are older teens and have their own lives, so I spend a lot of time pootling about at home alone. We Skype every day, text, email and occasionally call on the phone if an important issue needs sorting. I also ensure the kids speak to him regularly on Skype - even if it's just hello and goodbye. We are lucky that he can get over to see us every 8-10 weeks, but it still sucks. I would love us all to be together again, but due to college and Uni and the country DH works in that isn't going to happen. It is easier with older children I think - we can get away for a night just the two of us and know the kids are OK and will dog sit for me. It is certainly not ideal, but I do feel most of the time that I have the better part in this situation, I have the kids with me who are funny and entertaining. DH goes home to an empty house each day and his weekends feel even longer than mine. However, his golf has improved! It is hard being, in effect, a single parent, as disciplining long distance is hard - although mine are getting to he age where they make their own decisions - within the family boundaries. Hope you are having a better day today.

FrequentFlier Sun 09-Feb-14 02:20:34

Costamum and Desertmum, thank you so much for posting. I meant to reply earlier, but life got in the way. Good to hear from women who have been doing this for longer than I have; 5 years is a long time. You have it much tougher than me: my DH gets a generous leave and travel allowance, so we see him every two months at least. The lack of job security you mention is familiar; that's exactly what we are grappling with and makes the decision to move tough.

Indeed, being the sole discipliner is sooo hard. In the first year, I used to go crying to my DH for every little thing. Now I have decided to wing it on my own, and do what I think is right. I am struggling with a cranky 14 year old at the moment, and I think a move might make her worse, but dealing with her alone is tough too.

The good news is that DH's boss has agreed to let him visit us more often and work from home. I am not sure whether to rejoice or not though, because in practical terms this may not always work out as he often needs to work with a team. We shall see.

I had a bit of a wobble last weekend when I tried to arrange going out for a drink with friends, and they cancelled last minute, for a good enough reason, but it made me feel awful. I suppose one of the things I like most about being married is having someone in your corner who won't cancel on you ( at least, most of the time) and I did feel like Johnny no mates for a bit. Today I have given myself a stern talking and organised a meal out with the kids. Baby steps.

My mother is visiting my sister in the US at the moment and my 9 year old son cried when she left; unexpected. In a way, I feel really glad that they have been able to build a bond with her that they would not have had if we had moved with my husband. Sigh, it's all one big emotional rollercoaster.

It would be lovely if we all checked in here from time to time for some encouragement and

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