I wish we’d never moved

(136 Posts)
IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Fri 19-Jun-20 15:16:58

I am so so homesick and have been for a while, I just want to move back to the U.K. we’ve been in the stages for 8+ years and DH has always been anti a return back but the intention was never to stay forever. We are at a total stalemate even being able to talk about it so we’re going to couples therapy to try to navigate our way through.

We’ve had a good life here but now it’s tarnished by me feeling totally trapped and I just want out. I honestly wish we’d never come in the first place.

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TARSCOUT Fri 19-Jun-20 18:33:30

Obviously timing dependant but can you come to uk alone for a few months? That way you'll know if you truly are.missing UK or it's not actually as great as what you have in your mind?

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Fri 19-Jun-20 20:15:12

No I have DC so that’s not an option

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atotalshambles Fri 19-Jun-20 20:17:29

Where are you? Europe or further afield? Can you get back to the UK on a regular basis. I think moving anywhere will be tricky for the next year or so as the global economy is going to be hit

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Fri 19-Jun-20 22:29:59

No, we’re on the west coast of America. We usually visit every summer and not being able to this year doesn’t help but I’m honestly over just visiting, I want to come home properly

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Hotchocolatemonster Sat 20-Jun-20 05:47:32

OP- I totally sympathize with you.

Do you move here as the trailing spouse? Do you work now?

CA is great for holidays and short visit, or when you are young, motivated and come to experience the lifestyle. For familie, in the long run, the UK is better. If I am a single 20's, I would love CA. I do enjoy many aspects of our life here in southern California but the life quality overall is not necessary better than the UK.

Follow your feelings. Make a solid plan to move back. There is no need to stay and suffer. I think the longer you stay, the bigger the cost (visible and invisible cost). One friend (from Scandinavia ) we met here just told us they are moving back this summer for better life. They have been here for 5 years. I think for most Europeans and Brits, there's always a time when they will feel the pull.

Good luck!

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Sat 20-Jun-20 16:52:58

Yes I was trailing spouse initially and 3 years in was ready to move home but then got my green card and didn’t want nothing to show for being away. I work now and am in a place where I can work when we get back.

I wish we could just agree together to go home, but he gets so defensive when I bring it up. We’ve agreed to see a marriage counsellor to help us navigate the conversation together as it’s just become so fraught. I just want to pack up and come home though

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nicobean Sat 20-Jun-20 20:08:08

I know exactly how you feel Pirate Ship. I’m on the East Coast and am feeling so trapped and desperate to come home.

I’ve felt homesick before but never this bad. I’ve been here nearly 6 years with American DH and 3 DC’s. On the surface my life looks lovely but my heart’s not happy.

I’m hoping to get the house on the market in August. It feels very selfish as my middle DD doesn’t want to move (the other 2 thankfully are open to the idea) and obviously my DH wants to stay.

I wish you all the best and hope you find a way though.

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Sat 20-Jun-20 22:04:20

@nicobean you too. Feel free to keep posting in support. My DH keeps moving the goalposts on me - one minute saying yes let’s properly look at it and the next saying things like “now I finally have friends who understand me and you want to take me and the kids away from our community, you just want to drag us all back when we don’t want to go”

It’s not great....but we’re both feeling positive about using a therapist to help us navigate it

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nicobean Mon 22-Jun-20 02:11:30

Glad you’re seeing a therapist with your DH PirateShip, sounds like a very good idea.

I think my DH is hoping that I’ll give up on the idea, but I do know he’s realised I’ve been struggling lately.

All of the practicalities makes my head spin though. I’m trying to just take things step by step.

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 22-Jun-20 02:18:26

How do your kids feel? I imagine they either are or consider themselves American so their opinion would definitely matter. If old enough they may lose more than they gain by returning to the UK. I agree with a previous poster that you should actually return for a winter, just by yourself, for a few months to get the real experience of being back. In many ways the UK is a better option if you are struggling financially as a family, but if you are rich you can pay for a far better lifestyle in California than you can ever hope for here.

Onesailwait Mon 22-Jun-20 02:57:37

I'm just dropping in to say I totally get what you are feeling. I feel the same and sometimes it's all consuming. I'm in Canada on the west coast. We have a good life here good jobs beautiful house & life is good....but it's not home it never will be. Do you think it's hitting a little harder because if covid? It certainly makes me feel like we are a long way from home. My mum usually comes for 3/4 months every year but with all the restrictions I don't know when we will all see each other again or when I'll be able to go home for a visit. My Dh is adement he never wants to return to the UK. Sometimes I feel so homesick it's like a physical pain.

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Mon 22-Jun-20 04:06:28

One child is happy to move back, the other is not (he’s older and an introvert and a homebody so I understand why and would absolutely talk to him about his fears and worries and actually do quite often - also if we don’t move in the next year or two I will def stay put for his sake)

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BaeArea Mon 22-Jun-20 04:22:27

I totally understand how you feel, although our kids are too young to have a say & dh is more open to moving back. We were 2 years into a 3 year assignment for dual national dh when CA locked down and we decided to come back to the UK (temporarily in theory) as our second baby was nearly due. Our families had been coming out regularly and the idea of potentially not being able to see them whenever we wanted really changed how I felt about being there. We have a lovely lifestyle when we are there (although dh is not happy in his role & works crazy hours) but when the chips were down we realised where we really needed to be. Luckily dh's work have been fine about him working remotely while everyone is - albeit he logs on for PST - but we'll have to decide really soon what we want to do and it's stressing us out, especially in the current economic climate with me being a sham with a month old baby...

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Mon 22-Jun-20 06:30:05

@Onesailwait Covid def doesn’t help but I’ve felt this way for a while, I’m so sorry I know how much it hurts not knowing when you’ll next see your parents, I’m used to seeing mine every 3/4 months and have now hit the longest I’ve gone in my life without seeing them

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Limpshade Mon 22-Jun-20 06:40:25

I'm also a trailing spouse although I work now too. I've been fairly happy up until now but Covid has made things harder. I've always had that reassurance of, "If I want/need to get home, I can be there within a day." Now, it's not that simple. I'd have to quarantine on the way out. And even if I was allowed back in (which at this point in time, seems unlikely) I'd have to quarantine too. As would my family (including two toddlers). It feels like that fail-safe has been taken away.

I know you have been feeling like this for a while, I just wanted you to be conscious of the fact that even some "happy" expats are struggling with this so what you're feeling may be unusually heightened.

pigeon999 Mon 22-Jun-20 06:46:16

I lived overseas for many years, it was a wonderful life, but there came a point when the longing for home felt like a physical pain, like a desperation I had not felt before. Everything about home made me weep and want to come back. It does come and go, so you could wait to see if it eases.

Or pack up and come home as I did, I never regretted coming home and felt such relief to be back. The safety net of being able to fly home whenever you need to has been taken away, and being in a crisis and away from home is horrible. I was very ill and in hospital whilst living overseas and it was one of the lowest points of my life.

Your children will adjust, but if you are coming back do it sooner rather than later, the older they get the harder it will be. There will come a point when you will be stuck for a good long while (exams, teens etc) You may find you can never come home, particularly if they apply for universities in the US. You will then be torn with one half of your family overseas, and you wanting to be at home. Go home if you see that as your future, if you see yourself growing old with your own family, old friends etc.

Good luck

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Mon 22-Jun-20 16:54:01

I really appreciate all the responses. @Limpshade you are right that it’s heightened right now but I have been feeling like this for well over a year to be honest. I’ve had homesickness before but it’s never lasted as long nor felt as physically painful, as @pigeon999 says. And yes I’m very very aware of the age of the children. I’m already worried about that - DS is 11 and about to start middle school. I genuinely feel if we don’t move next summer then that’s it, we’re stuck here forever

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steppemum Mon 22-Jun-20 17:32:52

I have lived overseas with and without kids, and did as a kid too.

It is incredibly hard when you don't botht want the same thing.
My parents were in exactly your situation (different country). My mum had a great job too where they were. But it wasn't a long term option anyway (middle east) and she knew my dad would just keep putting it back and back because he had a great job, and finding a job in Uk after all those years overseas was going to be hard.

In the end, she told him she was going, and planned and moved. It took him 6 months to finally follow (although a lot of that was him finding a job and wrapping up what he was doing). He did have to take whatever he could get with work. We had a house in X town, adn I was at boarding school nearby, my brothers had finished school. I came to live at home so mum satyed in X town. Dad was 300 miles away in Scotland, great job, lousy location (compared to where we were). We did lots of travelling up and down between the 2. He gradually moved jobs closer and closer to home.

It is not easy, and I don't think there are any easy answers.
I do know that depsite haveing lived overseas for years, I always knew I wanted to return here eventually.

How old are your kids?
I now work with kids who move countries and struggle with transition, it is hardest for teens, not surprisingly. Having been there for 8 years they will be pretty American.

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Mon 22-Jun-20 17:40:12

D.C. are 8&11, we need to move home by next summer or we have to commit to staying here based purely on that

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Raella50 Mon 22-Jun-20 17:44:15

What is it that makes you want to move back to the UK? Is it anything that you can sort out over there? Or family?

DisobedientHamster Mon 22-Jun-20 17:47:45

Tread carefully because he can stop you from removing the kids and the courts in the West don't favour women over men as they do here.

This is the big problem with moving overseas if you're not both 100% on board.

I emigrated of my own accord and it was hard as hell, no way I'd do it as a trailing spouse because you could find yourself stuck in a place for good due to kids.

steppemum Mon 22-Jun-20 17:49:16

D.C. are 8&11, we need to move home by next summer or we have to commit to staying here based purely on that

I would say you are right that you need to move sooner rather than later.
At 11 he would start high school in UK this September, so he will already be going in a year after the rest.

BUT, although it isn't easy, it is perfectly possible to move a bit later. Life is seldom ideal, and we do learn to adapt. Even at 13/14 he would manage, especially as he has visted every summer, but it would be fairer on him to do it next summer.

A lot also depends on him and if he is positive about the move or not.

We advise companies on moving families, and we would say if kids are 13+ don't do it, unless they are going into the same school system (eg British school overseas) even then the loss of friendships is an issue.

If he is struggling with the move, can I highly recommend that you get some debriefing as a family at some point during the first year. It really helps kids process.

megladon2020 Mon 22-Jun-20 18:02:36

Op I understand how you feel. I moved to the uk 15 years ago to be with my now dh. Plan was for 1 year then we'd move to my hometown. The years went on, I studied for a masters and PhD, have a great career. We git married, Have dd8. Although We live in a nice house, nice area there's always something missing. Dh has always been very reluctant to move. Dc8 starting voicing (independently) wanting to live near all her cousins and grandparents. She sees them having fun and she's missing out - she's an only child. Dh doesn't have a big family and they're not that close and they live 1.5 hours away from us anyway. I gave dh an ultimatum - either we move within the next year, or I'll stay here until dc is old enough to make their decision (to come with me- I would never leave without her), or I'm going to continue resenting him and I'll leave anyway and he'll be alone. I know it was tough but I was sick of being told different things over the years. He has now agreed to move, we had planned pre COVID but it's on hold now, though it needs to be by start of the academic year 2021. He has now told dc and my family it's happening and I'm sure he will not go back on his word. Once he started doing some independent research he has realised (I've tried to tell him over the years but it fell on deaf ears!) that we can have a house double the size of ours, in the best part of the city and be mortgage free. He also had interviews lined up pre-COVID and he knows he should be able to secure a job with his skills.

I do hope you find some resolve. It's a terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that never goes away.

IJumpedAboardAPirateShip Mon 22-Jun-20 20:32:42

@DisobedientHamster I was 100% on board with the move here. I was brought up an expat brat and pushed for the opportunity for our kids to experience life abroad. But I never thought or intended it to be permanent, we left specifically saying we imagined it would be 3-4years. I really wish I’d pushed for us to move back a few years ago but DH was even more reticent then.

@steppemum that’s actually hugely helpful - what is it that you do or how do you do it, helping teens with these transitions? FWIW DS is a true homebody, I think he’s worried about friendships so I would be very careful to try to choose a school and area where he could integrate well, but he’s also very attached not just to our family unit but to his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins and also a lot of our adult friends from home who he has close bonds with so there’s a lot of support. He’s not great with change and he’s an introvert but aside from having a few good friends here he’s not deep into the culture - ie doesn’t play sports or surf or anything that can’t be found or replicated back home. But yes he is my biggest concern and I have nightmares about forcing a move and totally fucking him up

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