persuading DH to move to Australia

(71 Posts)
ceedub Tue 27-Jan-15 17:49:12

I was born in the UK, but moved to Australia as a baby, and grew up there. I came over to the UK in 2005 for work, and met DH, who is British. I returned to Australia, and he and I had to choose who would make the longer-term move to make the relationship work. As I have dual nationality, it was easier for me to come over to the UK - and I was in my early 30s and up for the adventure and opportunities this presented. in doing this, i walked away from a high-flying career, but was a bit swept away by the romance of it.

After a couple of great years living in london, DH and I moved out of London. we had our two DCs and I gave up working in London, and eventually managed to find a job working from home.

DH continued to work in london, making the daily commute. His career has flourished and mine has pretty much gone down the toilet. I tried to kickstart it late last year by going 'in-house' with my current employer, and it hasn't been successful. My daily commute is at least 5 hours and I'm exhausted. There really isn't a local alternative so if I want a career (which I do), this is how it has to be. Moving back to london isn't an option.

I've made some good friends, and feel like I've spent the last 8 years trying to settle here.

then last year, my mum - who lives in melbourne - was diagnosed with cancer. she's in remission at the moment, but i was utterly devastated at not being able to be there with her. we don't know how much longer she has - if the cancer some back it's probably a year or two, otherwise she could expect to live a normal life.

I so want to move back home. DH has the opportunity to do a one-year secondment in melbourne next year - which I've jumped at - but i know that once i get there, i won't want to come home. I want my children to have the childhood i had and I want to be near family and friends who really 'get me'. I also want the chance to do all the things I haven't been able to do in the UK, and which I know I won't do if I stay here.

problem is, I know DH is deeply resistant to the idea of a permanent move. His parents are quite elderly here and would be very upset - but my poor mum has had to get by on seeing my children every other year, which as been so hard for her. he acts as though I'm unreasonable for asking it - but he always knew that one day I would want to go back. I feel like he's had the lifestyle and career he always hoped it would - but that it's come at the expense of what I've wanted.

I've been so homesick, and probably depressed for about 18 months - ever since the cancer diagnosis. i can't see this going away. How do I get DH to realise how important this is - that if we don't move, I know i will be deeply resentful and bitter towards him.

sorry for the long read. any advice very welcome.

OP’s posts: |
MaybeDoctor Tue 27-Jan-15 17:53:53

This is a tricky one, because one of you has to make a 'permanent' move that they are not happy about.
There is also the Hague Convention...

What were the reasons why DH was not keen to move before? Why is it that you can't live in London?

Pooka Tue 27-Jan-15 18:07:40

Sounds like a pretty impossible situation for both of you really.

I totally get your need to be near your mother and your family. At the same time, your dh has the same want to be near his elderly parents.

I have to say that if I were your dh I would be very wary of going on the secondment if I hadn't totally embraced the possibility of staying permanently, or at least until the children are grown - because if you don't want to come back to the uk, and he does, where does that leave his relationship with the children? Either he returns to uk with the kids, with your permission, or he leaves them if you refuse to move back. No winners there.

Obviously travelling home is very expensive - for your trip back to Australia or if you moved, for his trips back to uk. Would it be possible for you to formulate a plan for, say, 2 trips per year, maybe once with kids, once without? For you if you stay here, or as a negotiation with him, should you move.

PossumPoo Tue 27-Jan-15 18:13:05

Tough one. Dh and l have agreed we will move home once l get citizenship. We will re-evaluate closer to the time to gauge when is the best time to make the actual move.

But it's non negotiable in my case.

Tell your dh how you feel, be honest with him and explain it's your 'turn' because sometimes that's how it has to be when you are both from different countries.

Floralnomad Tue 27-Jan-15 18:14:35

You summed it up in your opening paragraph - one of you needed to move to make the relationship work and you opted to do that - your DH has never ( according to your post) said that he would move . Unless he can be persuaded I think you are stuck with your original decision and I agree that a secondment is probably not a good idea if he has no intention of staying in Australia . It's a hard one .

Pooka Tue 27-Jan-15 18:20:31

My dsil is from NZ. She and her sister both live in the uk, while her parents are in New Zealand. She visits with children once a year for 3 weeks, and her mother comes over here once a year on her own for 2 weeks, and with SIL's father once again for 2 weeks. So three meet-ups a year.

It's a big expense, and part of the reason she went back to work after having the dcs - to fund the trips.

antimatter Tue 27-Jan-15 18:25:46

I would def plan to create situation where you with or without the kids can travel to Oz at least once a year. Your mum coming here once a year for few weeks as well.
Your H. has to accept that this is the expense family has to budget for you to stay sane.
When you are on secondment you have chance to save money - put it aside for this expense.
Workwise - look for a job in the future where you can work from anywhere - you can then go to OZ for the entire Christmas or summer holiday.

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PossumPoo Tue 27-Jan-15 18:35:22

Oh unless l get the type of role anti talks about!

ceedub Tue 27-Jan-15 19:22:19

Thanks everyone.

I made the choice to go to the uk because it would have been very difficult to get DH out under Australia's strict visa requirements. As a dual national, I can switch easily between the countries.

DH has never said he wouldn't live in australia - in fact, I think he likes the idea of going out for a year. But australia is still home to me, and I want my children to grow up there.

As for living in London, we'd give up nice house, garden, good schools, and i wouldn't do that just for me to have a career. Moving to australia, we'd have all of that, plus the support of my family. I don't get that support here, and I've found the past few years really, really hard.

OP’s posts: |
chloeb2002 Tue 27-Jan-15 20:47:06

Ceedub why can't you apply for a spousal visa? They seem particularly keen on issuing them at present!
With kids shouldn't be hard to prove a valid relationship.
As far as the whole position you are in its hard. I couldn't imagine bringing my kids up in the uk. They have such huge options here. I also could think of no much worse than living in London! Defiantly not for us.
I guess I would argue the advantages to the kids. If you both work then why not sponser his folks to move over? Money should be good. If he has less than 2 siblings in the uk it's a real
Option. Not cheap to do quickly but an option.
Your mum is sick and travel and moving is not an option.
Altogether hard.
We moved away from both our family's to move to qld. With the agreement that it's our family time, we will build our family. Our kids miss out on extended family. But we had 4 so they have a big family. wink
Not sure how we would go having to choose one family above another. Ultimately I hope my mum will live out here. Will have to seegrin

knightofswords Wed 28-Jan-15 10:36:41

There are so many issues here ceedub. Unfortunately it is very clear from your post that your dh does not feel the same about Australia as you do. He will feel as resentful and bitter as you do now, if you go. Speaking from personal experience, not Oz but current personal experience, pm me if you like.

JassyRadlett Wed 28-Jan-15 10:57:15

It's really, really tough. I'm in a similar situation but without the impetus to go. My family are wonderfully involved and would give us huge support in Australia; DH's family have never provided practical support even when it was possible (it isn't now).

But I think it's really tough to emigrate as a couple if you aren't both completely signed up to it. I know a couple of 'mixed' marriages that have gone south post-emigration and the British partner has been unable to leave Aus/NZ because of children, and have felt really trapped.

I also think it's really hard for the 'trailing' spouse - I've already built my own life in Britain, with my own friends and support system. DH would be starting from scratch in Australia - the only people he knows are 'my' people.

So I think you have to be totally on the same page or it's just too hard. I'm lucky in that DH is open to moving some day for a trial period - but his parents are ill and so we are here for now to provide support. It's nice to know the door isn't closed, but oh, I get how hard it is to be living in your second-best place.

missinghome123 Thu 29-Jan-15 12:36:43

Was just about to come and post about this!
Have been living in London for 11 years now. Met dh in oz and followed him to the UK. Now have 2 DDs- 3.5 and 4 months old. Have 2 brothers and 3 sisters back home. Miss them so much but also feel like I have missed out on so much of their lives and their children's lives too. My parents have been over but my DD1 doesn't really know them and they haven't been as hands on as I would like. My in-laws are great but it just isnt the same.

Australia is so far away. Now my oldest will be starting school in September. Not sure when we will next go back. Hate saying good bye to family not knowing when I will see them next.

It must be so hard for you with your mum being sick. That is one of my greatest fears. I worry about that feeling of resentment. I often think what would have to happen for me to fly back home at short notice- sibling being sick, neice/ nephew? So morbid i knoe but i feel like thinking through all of this will help me if any of these things do happen. Already missed so many birthdays, granddad's sudden death from cancer and funeral.

I feel like I have never really settled here. Some friends but not many close ones. And I think I have been in limbo between the 2 countries for years. The thought of moving back scares me. What if I don't like it? I haven't been great at keeping in touch with friends in oz.

It is so hard isn't it. Such a unique situation as well. I think it is hard for other people to understand. And Australia is just so far away. I feel like if it was 12 hours I could cope somehow.

ceedub Sat 31-Jan-15 07:19:51

Hi missing, it's an awful situation, isn't it. Thing is, I've always said to DH that I will live in australia again. With small children to deal with, I never felt I had the energy to manage a move back and make it successful. But mum's illness and the children getting older have changed that. I really want them to know my side of the family and to have that amazing australian childhood that their cousins and my friends' children are enjoying.

Dh's reluctance is for exactly the same reasons that I want to go - to be near to family and because he is established in his career. But the opportunities for both of us are so much better out there and we can enjoy them without sacrificing family life, which we're having to do here. I have a minimum 5 hour daily commute to London, which is insane! And totally unsustainable.

Deep down, I know if we don't go, it will probably be fatal for our relationship. I am already so angry and resentful about it. Not sure how to raise this without it looking like threat....DH is a lovely man, but he's always had everything his way and it feels so unfair on the rest of us. My strategy at the moment is to go out for a year, live near my family in a nice house, with him doing an interesting job and see if I can persuade him to stay. Not sure I can get him to agree from the uk, where as far as he's concerned, everything is perfect (though he knows I'm unhappy blush)

OP’s posts: |
ceedub Sat 31-Jan-15 07:23:31

Also, I know what you mean about worrying about not liking it. There will be things that drive me crazy, but I'm hoping that having that lifestyle, family life and good career again will make for some of the things that will jar. Friends who have gone back say some of the redneck stuff is pretty yuk, but then I guess we have ukip here! And there's an oz version of the guardian and I will be able to listen to 6music and radio 4 when I need an antidote!

OP’s posts: |
Mutley77 Sat 31-Jan-15 19:44:28

I would recommend you and your dh have counselling to really thrash this out. If I were him there is absolutely no way I would go to Australia for a year knowing you are desperate to stay as he could eventually end up stuck there if you refuse to return.

We were in the same position but in reverse. Dh went though loads of soul searching before he finally came to terms with living in England and accepted it was our family life. He then got offered a secondment in Aus and I agreed to come because I knew it was a joint thing we were going to try together, not just a return to his old life that I wasn't a part of. And we came from a positive stand point of him having achieved happiness with his life so we could go back to it without a huge wrench. I felt confident that he would return to England if that's what I really wanted. We are still here and one year has turned to three with plans to return still but who knows.

You have established a family life in England and need to consider what it will mean to uproot that. Moving isn't always easy for kids,how old are yours? Personally I would sort your life out in England first, otherwise you could set yourself up for serious heartbreak if you end up facing a return to somewhere you feel you can't make your life work. There are always solutions to the kind of issues you're talking about and actually our experience is career is much better and easier for working parents in England. Less annual leave, much more old fashioned attitude to flexible working and working from home here in Australia plus less sick leave and associated benefits. I've stopped working altogether to support Dhs career, which wasn't necessary in England.

PossumPoo Sun 01-Feb-15 14:02:33

Yes Mutley but Australia is the OP's home so she would re-establish a family life there too.

And it's ok for her to be stuck here but not her dh there hmm

Mutley77 Mon 02-Feb-15 13:12:05

What I was actually saying possum poo is that her husbands perception of the situation might be that. Certainly as the spouse in that position I was very keen to get assurance from my dh that he wouldn't insist on staying if it wasn't right for all of us as a family. If the ops dh doesn't feel it is a shared and collaborative decision to move with everyone's cards on the table he may well not agree to go at all. Plus if op goes with a plan to try and get her husband to stay it might really backfire on the state of their marriage, especially if he is adamant not to stay the op will have raised her hopes and may fall hard.

I do also think it's massively significant that the op agreed to stay and have her children in the uk. To me our nuclear family always takes priority over the extended. It is really hard to be away from parents and siblings especially if they are ill but it should always take a back seat to the overall needs of the nuclear family.

ggirl Mon 02-Feb-15 13:17:51

OP I could have written your post 15 years ago except my family are in Canada.
I don't know what to suggest but I wish I had pushed for us to move back to Canada then.

PossumPoo Mon 02-Feb-15 15:15:27

Well no offence to the OP but if she really wants to go home and her DH won't consider it after the time she has put into the UK then l don't think she has a great marriage.

Dh and l were talking about this yesterday as our situation is similar in that l agreed to have dc on this side of the world (long back story ) but never agreed to it being a 'forever move'. I said that if l was miserable and ready to go home and he wouldn't discuss that l would leave him. Sure l might be stuck here until dc were old enough to make up their own minds but l wouldn't be stuck with a selfish twat.

Mutley77 Mon 02-Feb-15 22:55:29

I think we're just projecting our own experiences onto it possumpoo, the op makes no mention of having an agreement with her husband from the start that they would return to Australia at some point.

I think it is just the way it is with mixed marriages. You can consider the person wanting to move selfish for wanting to uproot a happy family just for them self, or you can consider the person who won't move selfish for not giving into the other. It doesn't say that the ops husband hasn't considered it but maybe he simply doesn't want to.

There is an argument to say why go through all the expense and distress for the children if you may just have the same situ in reverse in another country (one being unhappy).

It is why many mixed marriages don't work.

PossumPoo Tue 03-Feb-15 07:24:59

Yes l think you're right Mutley.

Good luck OP, it is a difficult decision for the whole family to have to make.

spockaroundtheclock Tue 03-Feb-15 15:35:51

The hardest thing about this is you both have different places where you feel like 'home'. Your mother, at the moment should really come as a priority and I'd suggest maybe you didn't pose this to you DH as a 'permanent move'. Instead why don't you come to an agreement? You moved here in an attempt to make the relationship work and it's all gone really well, BUT, now you need him to make the effort for you. At this time you need to be near your mother and that's completely understandable. So why don't you suggest you move (providing you have the finances) for a year or two? Suggest that you try it and re-evaluate things after say a year and if it's not working then you discuss a new option. You can suggest that you've made massive sacrifices to allow his career to flourish and now you really need him to make the sacrifice for you.

Good luck.

missinghome123 Tue 03-Feb-15 20:05:13

I think Spock's suggestion is good. I have always said to my DH that when we move to Australia, it wouldn't be 'moving back'. It would be a 2/3 year trial to see how it works for us as a couple/ family.

I think if your DH doesn't take the secondment you will always be wondering what if. He might end up loving it there! Sometimes I worry that my DH might end up liking Australian life and me prefering UK! He is very sociable and good at making friends.

I have come to realise that when you are both from separate countries, your relationship both as a couple and a family is so important. It sounds like your job is causing massive problems. Regardless of where you live could you be happy working/ commuting like that?

HerRoyalNotness Tue 03-Feb-15 20:44:30

Go on the secondment and brace yourself that it will only be a year, with the view to moving back. Prepare for the return in your mind. Spend the year with your DM. During that time make plans on how you can better your life in the UK and feel happier there. It is better than not going at all. You'll always be thankful for that year I imagine, especially if your DM should have the cancer return.

I'd love to go home (NZ) like many from downunder, to give my DC the childhood I had. They have cousins and aunts there, and a bustling big family of 2nd cousins and great-aunts/uncles. There is no work for us there though and the closest we'll get is Aus. May be heading there this summer. It'll still be a 7.5hr flight home, but it's better than 24hrs! I think actually DH (english) is more keen than me to move to Aus.

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