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I want to move home, DH doesn't... Anyone else had similar?

(93 Posts)
Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 17:44:18

Hi - we moved to the USA 3 years ago. I had one baby at the time and I was happy to be a stay at home Mum in the short term. We've since had another baby. The plan was to move back to the UK this summer as DC1 starts school in September 2016 and we need to buy a house and be living in it before the reception place application deadline in January.

So - here's the issue. DH recently got promoted and it would be great for his career if we could stay longer. And I'm sick of it here! I can't work as I'm a dependent on DH's visa and the green card process takes years, literally. We could end up staying here for another three years and I still wouldn't be able to work... I've manufactured a life for us here - we have good friends and the kids have a great time - lots of time outdoors, lovely preschools etc. But it's not home, this was always meant to be a short term move and I want my life and career back. Financially it makes sense to move as here we'd end up paying for private schools as the local state ones are awful (armed guards on the doors) but DH is reluctant.

Has anyone been in a similar position? What did you do? Living costs are about the same as back home - split differently but roughly the same. I just can't continue to put my own life on hold whilst DHexcels in his career but I stagnate.

BlueMoonRoses Tue 28-Jul-15 18:12:04

Hiya. I sympathise. The chances of you both having careers back in the UK is significantly higher. What's the long game for you both? The longer you leave it the harder it is. I had a three year break when DH worked in Middle East. I loved it but was bored eventually, needed to move back home to work. We're now back in the Middle East and both working. But we talked about where we wanted to be as a family in the next ten years. The way to achieve it was to both work. Good luck.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-Jul-15 18:24:12

Similar but I probably wouldn't recommend what I did. The house was in my name only and I sold it! grin. Dh didn't want to move and I did, he had no choice once the house was sold. However we only moved five miles so not very comparable!

Can you make a big pros and cons list and get Dh to do the same? Put in stuff about finances, paying for schools, dc need stability of starting schools, etc. what are the chances of him and you getting jobs if you come back?

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:25:34

Thanks Blue. Long term we'd be back in the UK crawling up the housing ladder I guess! This move will have already increased DH's earning potential so that all bodes well. It's just hard as he'll have to leave a job he enjoys, for a worse commute and smaller house, but if we don't go back, I'm going to lose the plot! Don't get me wrong, I've had a great opportunity in that I've been at home whilst the children are tiny/young but long term it's just not a feasible option. Every time we talk about it, things get strained and he mutters about looking for a job back in London. I'm more of the 'decide to move and find a job that works' school.

It doesn't help in that DH's job isn't a typical expat job that comes complete with a spousal work permit and school fees paid. If that were the case, I'd be thinking very differently about everything. But as it stands, in this role and with this visa type, I am just marking time now. I miss my family and friends back home and think life is too short to live somewhere you rather wouldn't! Day to day we have a nice life, but I could have that back home, without it costing an arm a leg to visit, and I could work (at least part time) too.

AnotherEmma Tue 28-Jul-15 18:29:18

Go home. He's not being fair on you if he expects you to stay when you're unhappy and want to work but can't.

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:30:36

Viva - well, that's one way to do it!

This may well out me but in darker moments I have considered moving back alone. I'm due to inherit a substantial sum very soon and every now and then, I get to thinking that I don't need DH to move back. Isn't that awful? I don't want us to break up by the way - it's just that at the minute, I seem to have sleepwalked into a situation where I have very little control. Well, actually, we both have very little control in some ways as everything is dependent on his job here - visas/health insurance etc. But if anything were to happen to him, I'd have no right to stay here. I can't get bills in my name, credit history, anything. It pisses me off that we own a house in London (though need a bigger one) but due to having no social security number, I'm effectively a nothing. And come September, I'll be a nothing with kids in nursery and nothing to do!

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:32:49

Well - nothing substantial, anyway. Sure, I could cook and clean loads, go the gym, blah blah, but it's not a substantial anything... I don't want to be a lady who lunches! I'd rather work now and retire earlier at some point in the future. I'm also sick of the temporary nature of things - IKEA furniture and rented houses. We're mid thirties and I want a long term family home!

DextersMistress Tue 28-Jul-15 18:33:52

Yes I have. We lived abroad (although not as far as America). The only difference is we had major money problems over there so in the end dp had no choice but to move back as we couldn't afford to live and I was pregnant with dc2. Given the chance though he'd go back. I don't really have any advice though op, sorry.

vulgarwretch Tue 28-Jul-15 18:36:13

Why don't you start applying for some jobs back in the UK? That would start moving the discussion along and make it clear how serious you are.

I think basically for your dh, things are good and he'd prefer to change nothing. So you will have to be the one driving things forward initially. But it's very reasonable for you to insist on moving home now I think. You have made sacrifices to support your dh's career development, now it's time to prioritise yours instead.

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:38:32

Dexters - thanks for posting. I actually think finances will become an issue as time goes on as private school fees are expensive. Ironically, if I could work, we could afford them. However, thinking long term, I'd rather buy a house in a good catchment area and not have school fees to pay, both of us work, and have a significantly higher standard of living. It's an absolute no brainer when put like that!

Atomik Tue 28-Jul-15 18:39:15

This may well out me but in darker moments I have considered moving back alone

I think many have had that thought. Backed into a corner of somebody who doesn't seem to hear what you are saying... it is a natural grab at the one obvious escape route.

Would he give you permission to take the kids out of the country and back home ?

vulgarwretch Tue 28-Jul-15 18:40:12

I'd be very careful about the idea of moving back alone though. I think your dh could probably force you to return the children to him under The Hague convention, especially since the younger one is presumably a U.S. Citizen. I am no expert so I could be mistaken but if you seriously get to that point, please take legal advice first.

juneau Tue 28-Jul-15 18:41:08

Given the way you feel I would move back. You're already miserable, so after another three years you'll be both miserable and resentful, marking time at home and your career prospects diminishing while your DH's are rosier than ever. You're a team and yes, in a team both parties need to compromise, but so far you've done three years of compromise to your DH's zero and now he wants another three? Move back. Staying will be bad for your marriage and your mental health, to say nothing of your employment prospects.

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:45:03

Vulgar - exactly, it's been harder here for me than it has for him, and whilst it's turned out ok eventually, I know I could have had an easier time with two small children back home, and with lots more family help. We had one night away from the children recently when we were over on holiday (kids with GPs) and that's in almost four years! I'm actually on a career break right now - there's a few months left - and I wasn't planning to go back to that employer. However, as a way home, it could work. The one thing that stops me is given my time out, and DH's work here, his job will defintely be the one to determine where we live/mortgage size etc as right now his earning potential is quite high. I'm also reluctant to use the inheritance I mentioned above to sustain a lifestyle here that we can't actually afford. I think DH assumes we could use some of that to pay school fees for a few years if it came to it - which will definitely not be happening!

Northernlurker Tue 28-Jul-15 18:46:54

I think you need to be very clear with him. You've done three years and you won't compromise your career anymore. I know somebody who lived as an expat for considerably longer. Eventually her marriage collapsed because of the husband's behaviour and she came back to the UK needing to start again almost from scratch in the career she'd excelled in previously. The risks both to your marriage and to you personally are considerable if you stay any longer.

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:51:23

Thanks for all the advice re moving back alone - I'm definitely not going to get myself accused of kidnap. We have been back and forth recently more than normal due to dying relative so there's no problem there and have more trips planned this year. I have documentation that states I can take the children in and out of the US alone (mainly due to DC2 being born here - sometimes they ask for it, sometimes not). I really don't believe it will come to that. I guess I feel guilty that I'm dragging DH away from a job that he loves and I'm lucky that we do have a nice life and lifestyle now. It's just not the one I would have chosen, certainly not long term, and I have no desire to stay. It's not for want of trying either. On the surface we have a great set up.

But - it's not home, parents are getting older, I want my children to know their cousins and grow up as part of the culture I grew up in. It's all very well going to the pumpkin patch each year, but my kids don't know Bonfire Night, the classic British seaside etc. Sorry to ramble - ultimately I'll always feel like an outsider here and I don't want to be that person anymore.

castlesintheair Tue 28-Jul-15 18:51:49

I feel for you. I've been in a similar situation. I think you all have to come home if there is absolutely no way you can work. Is there any chance your old employer might re-employ you remotely? Or is it not that kind of job? It sound's to me like it's not just about your not being able to work though.

Nolim Tue 28-Jul-15 18:53:36

Op I presume that you hold an H4 visa as opposed to a L2? Depending on your skills can you apply for a job that sponsors H1b visas?

My situation is not quite like yours op. My oh and i moved to the uk because of my job but he didnt like it here and wanted to go back to the states. But in the end the maths were simple: it made more sense to stay in the uk for at least a few years and then reconsider. Eventually he started to like it here, but i am sure he would like to return to the land where custumer service actually works grin. Another factor in our case is the astronomical prices of houses in london. We may end up moving to cheaper country in a few years.

I dont know if you have already answered this op but how are your dhs prospects back in the uk? Can he transfer within the company to the uk?

Atomik Tue 28-Jul-15 18:57:10

I have documentation that states I can take the children in and out of the US alone

I may have misunderstood the nature of your documentation, but I would get some advice to check out exactly what it permits you to do.

I have docs. that allow me to take DS in and out of this country (European).

But they are intended for holiday/visits and don't extend to moving back home with DS based on my unilateral choice to do so. I would still need DH to permit me to take DS home for an extended period/permanently.

Canyouforgiveher Tue 28-Jul-15 18:58:19

Yes we had similar. Came for 3-5 years and ended up staying here. one o us wanted to stay, the other wanted to go back. It was a source of real pain and stress for both of us for years. We are in the US, in a place where you can send your kids to the local public school very safely and we both had green cards so I worked from the start. I honestly don't know how you have done it without working and I can't imagine staying long term someplace where I could not work.

From making the decision to stay/go, I learned that you have to think about all the factors and then after thinking you realise that here is one issue which is going to be the determining factor. Frankly, in your case, I think you not having a visa and being unable to work is the single most important issue here and trumps your dh's nice job etc. you aren't contributing social security, have no way of getting independent health insurance, have no pension or 401K. Really this is just not a way to live longterm for you - surely your dh can see that?

From a logistical point of view, you are right to want to go back before your children start school. once you get sucked into school etc it seems harder to go and gets harder every year.

I think you are going to have to force a decision. It is very hard living away from family/home etc. doing it in a situation where you are not able to experience a full normal life with choices about working or not is just not fair. It is one of those issues where there is no compromise (except maybe stay one more year and then go back). You sucked it up for 3 years, it is now time to make the move you want. A job is only a job in the end of the day. You want to move back to the UK where there is plenty of scope for someone in a high powered career - your dh will be fine.

Namechangenell Tue 28-Jul-15 18:59:00

On another note - if we mention any of this in front of DH's parents, they just will not see my point of view. Not that it's any of their business ultimately, I just don't like that fact that I know they'll be dripping poison in DH's ear re me being the one 'forcing' the move back when his career is flourishing. Never mind that I'm bored out of my head (and I don't actually think a bored, frustrated stay at home can be a good mum really). Last trip back, I said something about being back by Xmas and his mum said 'Pigs might fly' and his dad something about us being here for five years at least. At which point I said I'd be coming back alone and there'd be a divorce in the pipeline. This was all sort of in jest but there's no way I'm staying here that long. Infuriating!

Duckdeamon Tue 28-Jul-15 18:59:48

I am biased - lived in the USA a long time ago (pre DC) and DH has had opportunities to work abroad in the USA or elsewhere and might have done it if I agreed, but I wouldn't, partly due to my career and that I wouldn't want to live somewhere where I uad no legal right to seek work.

Your DH has already had major career benefits from your willingness to live in the USA, and presumably covering lots at home, to the detriment of your work opportunities and earnings capacity. You had an agreement. It's worked well. It's now time to see it through. Fair is fair.

Aspects of life in London and the SE aren't great, but nor is not having good school options or being without a chance of paid work.

Duckdeamon Tue 28-Jul-15 19:02:30

As for the in-laws, lots of people of all generations have crappy 1950s attitudes about women and equality - "stand by your man and suck it up" - sounds like they're amongst them! As you've said, their opinion isn't relevant, nor is what they say to him, it's his job to handle them so you don't have to listen to it!

VenusRising Tue 28-Jul-15 19:04:57

It all sounds very strained between you and your DH.
I'm wondering if you sat down and laid out all your cards and planned the next few years, would it make it easier for you both.

I think you need to talk and talk some more.

Get a mediator if you seem to be flagging and no dates / timescales are being set up to follow through on.

Fwiw, I think you could do a lot worse than stay put until the kids are ready to go to school.

Try volunteering- life is always greener where you water it.

No need to be hasty about moving, but I think you and your DH are becoming enmeshed in your own narratives, and you need to calmly renegotiate a shared future.

PositiveAttitude Tue 28-Jul-15 19:05:31

Sympathies, OP. We moved to South East Asia, but I desperately wanted to move back before DH was ready to. I ended up moving back with DS while DH stayed there for another year with DD4 (she was 16 years old at the time) It was a tough year apart, but we are now back as a proper family again. DH is wanting to go back again - I don't want to go long term, so I expect we will be apart for times in the future. It works fine for us, although we have had some hmm looks from others who just don't understand why we did it.

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