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Stay or Go - Horrendous decision to make

(43 Posts)
LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 10:28:46


I'm new to mumsnet so please be kind to me;)

Basically I have been with DP for 7 years and we have a 5yr old son. I moved abroad to live with him(he's southern european). If I'm being honest from the start the relationship wasn't great and I knew in the back of my head that he wasn't the man for me. Just as we were considering splitting I fell pregnant. At that point I buried all thoughts of leaving him and got on with things. It's been a rollercoaster ride - some awful horrible arguments and other times okay. At times I've even been quite happy cos I've had other distracting things to keep me going.

My life is really quite lonely and boring though. I have 1 friend that I see every couple of weeks but apart from that I'm on my own or with DS. We have little/no social life at the evenings or weekends so I spend most of my time on the computer or watching TV (separate from DP cos I hate TV here!).

I know that we're not right for each other but I do care about him and it would be upsetting and I would miss certain things. I can't really attribute blame here - he's a good person but we're just incompatible.

But how can I split up with him? If I go I really have to go back to the UK cos living here on my own would actually be worse than staying with him, which means splitting up father and son. Much as I can try and kid myself that they'll see each other as much as I can bring DS over - maybe even every couple of months - and I'll make sure they talk every night on Skype I can't even begin to kid myself that it's the same as being close by or in the same town.

I keep looking at my son who's such a happy little soul, playing and laughing and all excited about kid's things and think how can I possibly tear his life apart just for my own happiness. Not to mention doing that to DP as well - if someone was suggesting to me that they take my child away to another country I don't know what I'd do - kill them possibly! so I'm not underestimating for a second the devastating effect it'll have on him and his 2 older half brothers (yes, DP's first wife had an affair and they split up so I also have to live with the guilt of doing this to him for a second time).

I feel so trapped and just fill up with tears constantly. I can't help thinking that if I just got on with things and tried to be happy here then I could be and I wouldn't cause all this heartache for everyone. Just an impossible situation and I feel like the worst person in the world.

Sorry it's a bit long but I have cut out a lot of stuff!

bejeezus Tue 21-Jun-11 10:33:24

sorry- havent got any words of wisdom.

I just wanted to say (in a very small voice)--I'm not sure that you can leave the country with your son and return to the UK to live, without your Hs permission (depending on which country you live in)?

not sure - think I read a similar situation recently-hope someone will answer you, who knows

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 10:40:16

Thanks for replying. I don't actually think that would be an issue. DP is actually a decent person and I don't believe he would ever do something like go to courts etc. He is one of those people who would see that the best thing for the child is to handle it all smoothly without resorting to bitter legal wrangles. Sometimes I think if he was just an out and out b*****d it would be a heck of a lot easier to leave!

You never know but that's not something I see as being a future problem.

MummyFirst Tue 21-Jun-11 10:45:12

I didn't want your post to go unanswered but unfortunately I have no advice or words of wisdom that will go any way at all to help you solve your current situation.

All I can suggest is that you speak to your DP about how you feel, (maybe not yet mention you are considering moving home). I know none of us want to lay ourselves bare, especially to someone we are considering leaving, but maybe it will resolve some of the immediate problems.

I hope for your sake and that of your son that you find a way to make all of you happy, because I can tell by your post that you hold your little family very dear, but you must make sure that you are ALL happy otherwise your DS will eventually pick up on it.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. I had a problem recently and although it was no-where near as hard as yours, the other posters on here helped me enormously, especially when all I needed was a little support and confidence.
I'm sure someone will be along shortly to help you somehow.

Until then keep strong, look to your DS for the strength you need and post everything else you need to vent on here.


CrapolaDeVille Tue 21-Jun-11 10:47:41

As he's your DP I think you can come back to the UK, where did you meet? Do you think the split can be amicable enough that he could come and stay with you in UK to visit or that you can come back out to wherever you are?

revolutionscoop Tue 21-Jun-11 10:55:37

I would probably try my best to make more of a life in the country where you are, really go out of your way to make friends, join clubs, PTA, whatever. Are you working? If not, could you find a job? I would also talk to your dh & tell him exactly how you are feeling, including your desire to return to the uk. Failing all of the above, begin negotiating with him about your return here. Seems only fair to give him a chance to make your situation better before making a final decision. Good luck, it does sound like a very hard position to be in sad

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 10:56:18

Wow thanks so much for replying so quickly.

DP and I have already spoken at great length about me wanting to move back home - not the technicalities of it all because it just gets too upsetting. But I now feel so bad for him cos it's obviously an enormous stress knowing that your other half is thinking of leaving you and taking your son. I'm even crying writing this cos I just think it's the worst possible thing that could happen and it would all be my fault.

I would do everything in my power to make it amicable and I know that once passed the initial anger/upset with me so would he. And I do actually have a job that involves me going between the 2 countries and I work for a lovely company with a very nice boss who I'm sure would be understanding about flexible working etc so I could bring DS over a lot more maybe than other people in a similar situation. But at the end of the day we would still be living 1000 miles apart. My door would always be open for him to visit and stay whenever he wanted.

ZZZenAgain Tue 21-Jun-11 10:59:26

You certainly don't sound like the worst person in the world, knock that one right out of your head.

Do you think your dp is happy with the current situation and your relationship as it is and that he would like it to continue?

What is always so difficult with relationship issues is that you have the emotional side - how will ds react to not seeing his father and stepbrothers and presumably grandparents and friends? How will it hit dp and will you be able to keep things amicable?

Then there is the practical side if I can call it that - what happens when you go to the UK, who is there to help, how will you live, will that side of things be ok for you?

Can you go home and visit your parents and have a good long heart-to-heart about it and how to go about things and try and find out what your and ds' life would be like if you went back "for good"?

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 10:59:35

Thanks revolutionscoop but I've had 7 years of trying to find ways of fitting in etc and there is just nothing. I don't live near a big city and it's a very different culture here with not many activities going on like back in Britain. It's very family based which is nice but not good if you don't have yoru family here.
Job situation is awful here - so bad taht I eventually gave up lookign for a job here and started looking for one with a company back home that would let me work remotely here. And miracle of miracles I did actually find one.

ZZZenAgain Tue 21-Jun-11 11:02:20

what's the problem with dp? You only have good things to say about him so I wondered why you are so sure that you are not compatible or not right for each other...

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:06:01

ZZZenAgain - no, DP is not happy in the relationship either but he does want it to continue because the alternative is losing his son.

I've already thought through the practical side of it and I reckon I could more or less cope - not rich but enough to get by. I have lovely parents and my brother's family who all live nearby and a lot of friends - in fact I'd have a much bigger support network than what I have here - ie zero cos DP's family also live 10 hours drive away from us.

The big thing is the emotional side of it. I'm scared of the effects it'll have on DS both now and in the future. I'm scared that maybe this'll be the most horrendous mistake of my life - I could live with that if it was just me but now I'm responsible for DS's life.

ZZZenAgain Tue 21-Jun-11 11:09:17

and I suppose he couldn't realistically move to the UK since he has two other boys who presumably live with their mother there in southern Europe or at least the mother lives there

tricky. I don't know. Truth is dc do miss their parents if they no longer see them regularly and it does hurt. You have a right to try and be happy too. So hard for you.

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:11:19

ZZZenAgain - I know it sounds like I'm a really ungrateful cow because basically he's a decent person. He's said some really shitty things in the past and had some very southern european attitudes but tbh he has changed and adapted a bit since I've known him. I just miss having proper conversation - we don't talk about anything except for total factual stuff. He moans a lot - he's self-employed which is very stressful here but he really stresses about it so much to the point that it really brings me down. I don't really want to list his faults cos I'm sure that I've got some of my own. But the point is that yes, they are faults that you'd put up with if you loved somebody and I just don't really love him. I care about him a lot and what would happen to him in the same way I'd care about anyone I was going to inflict a lot of pain on. I go home quite frequently but I never miss him when I'm away - I could quite happily go days without talking to him and I don't really think that's good.

ZZZenAgain Tue 21-Jun-11 11:13:55


no, I never thought of you in terms of an ungrateful cow. Don't be down on yourself.

so he's a macho moaner type and you don't love him. Is that why you never got married?

I wonder though if he might not get difficult about having his son taken out of the country , you know. That's the thing. Otherwise, if it is broken and you are going, maybe best get on with it IYSWIM? Rather than draw it out...

hurryup Tue 21-Jun-11 11:14:48

Very tricky, feel so sorry for you but if he's not the man for you then you might need to put your happiness first as when the resentment starts to build on both sides you son may pick up on it. Also its a lot for your son to carry when he's older, the fact that his parents stayed in a relationship that wasn't right for him. Good luck.

curtaincall Tue 21-Jun-11 11:18:56

what a desperately hard situation to be in. Do you speak the language of your adopted country? Any chance of setting up a group teaching English/ study group/ children's play/hobby group where you live so people could come and visit you? Do you have skills to start a cottage industry?

I am closely related to someone who was in a similar situation with eventually very little in common culture-wise, but her partner was immature and there were other problems which brought her back to UK. Although he was a nice(ish) guy, he couldn't get visa to go back if he did visit UK (as he was from a third country and was sort of living illegally) so never saw ds unless they returned to visit him. Eventually he met someone else and had another dc (his fourth I think with different partners!) and he's faded out of the picture altogether though the little boy was only 1.5 years when he left and although there has been much sadness, he has lots of close relatives in UK. Who knows what long term effects are though.

Is your ds close to his half-brothers? Do you have good support network in UK? You do sound like a decent person to be considering everyone's feelings in this.

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:19:54

Yes, at first there was no way he could move to the UK cos his sons were still quite young but now they're 17 & 21 so getting to an age where he could consider moving away. But he won't do it - he said last night that he maybe would have considered it if he thought our relationship was good "if I was a different person" but now he says no way he'd take the risk. TBH I think that's an excuse - he'd never have done it cos he's just not that kind of person - way way too cautious to do anything as financially risky as moving abroad.

curtaincall Tue 21-Jun-11 11:21:24


curtaincall Tue 21-Jun-11 11:24:32

"if I was a different person" sounds a bit judgey to me. The person I know was also at odds with macho culture. If his other sons are that age, maybe your ds doesn't play with them everyday and wouldn't miss them quite as much ?

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:32:42

That's why I've never got married. Everyone thinks that I'm just one of those folk that are cool about marriage and don't think it's necessary but truth is I would love to get married - to the right person. I've always avoided it adn any discussion about it cos I could never stand up there in front of everyone if my heart wasn't really in it.

yes, DS is quite close to his brothers but the older they get the less they come round to see him. In a way they'll be more like close uncles than brothers really.

I am really worried about drawing this out. I don't rate our chances of lasting until he's 18 but am really worried that the older he gets the worse effect it'll have on DS. Not to mention what he'd think at 18 when he realises I've just hung about for him. I don't actually think that he has picked up on anything between us cos we do generally keep it quite hidden. So I can't even really use the excuse that it would be better for him to have 2 separate happy parents than 2 warring parents together.

Maybe if my life was different outwith our relationship I could stand it and I would be more distracted and less concentrated on it but my life both in and out is jsut nothing.

tadpoles Tue 21-Jun-11 11:35:04

I have had a few friends who lived abroad with their partners while bringing up children. With one or two exceptions they seemed quite miserable as they were separated from their social networks and family plus also felt isolated by language/cultural difficulties. There seems to be more of a trend now for the husband to go off and work abroad and the wife and kids to stay at home. Not an ideal situation but a compromise that seems to work better. I know of quite a few families that are doing just this and although it is not ideal, at least the wife and children are settled in their social network with family around.

Perhaps you could try this option for a bit? Don't think of it as a separation though, at this stage, just think of it as a more practical way of living where you will have your support network around you. This will give you the option of some space and distance and you and your partner can then re-evaluate the relationship. Who knows - maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder? Maybe, when you are happier at home, you will be able to find a way to make things work or, alternatively, decide that the relationship has run its course.

A friend of mine who went to live abroad with her husband and three children ended up splitting up with him because she was so miserable out there. The stupid thing is, the country was only an hour's flight away and she now wishes that he had simply worked there during the week and come back to the UK at weekends. She never saw him in the week anyway because he was so busy working and networking. I know this option is more expensive (two homes) but if it keeps everyone happier then it has to be a better one, surely?

curtaincall Tue 21-Jun-11 11:37:32

Don't agree about him not picking up on anything. Kids have amazing antennae and 'just know' what's going on. He will have a background of two unhappy parents and take this as a blueprint for a normal relationship. Also, he'll know you are hiding all this from his so he will feel excluded even if you don't think he does. Sounds like you are close to having made up your mind.

LubyLu2000 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:42:24

Tadpoles - thanks that's sensible advice. I've tried to say to him how would he feel if I said that I was going to live in the UK and I wanted him to come - he would then have to be the "baddie" who would have to make the big decision but he just doesn't get it.

It is totally isolating. I remember once reading an article about being a new mum and being cut off cos you no longer had work colleagues and remember thinking what about no work colleagues, no family, no friends, no activities, no ante-natal pals............!

calypso2008 Tue 21-Jun-11 12:33:24


Would it make you feel better to know that I could have, word for word, written your post?

I am in Southern Europe also, with a 3 year old and a husband who is from here. I have been here for 7 years, the isolation is horrendous and me and my husband are not happy with each other - I hate feeling responsible for his upset as well as mine. I don't know what to do.

We also, do the separate parenting thing in order to protect our DS, he would be so, so unhappy to not see his father, he loves him very much and my husband is a fantastic father but not a good husband! I am beginning to feel like a lousy wife.

Like you I have one friend, but can't rely on just one person, I don't like to burden her. I am very lucky to have her though. I know everyone else in the town, it is a very small town mentality which I hate and everyone knows everyone elses' business. Like you say, if you had family here it would be an amazing lifestyle, if I left I would miss lots about it. It is much better for children here than in the UK - no doubt about that. Plus, my DS is bilingual, if I left he would forget his second language, I worry about that too.

I just can't see me now going back to England as I don't see how I could afford it, plus, all you said is so true - the guilt about taking away DS... it seems like I am totally trapped. I speak the language to a greater or lesser extent but I will never, ever totally fit in here.

So, so true what you said in your last post about reading about people who are first time mothers feeling isolated at home - try taking away every sort of support! Then it really is bad!.

Sorry, I can't help much except to say you are not alone - I understand completely but think, ultimately, I won't leave - I don't think I have the courage or the confidence anymore plus I don't think I could do it to DS.

Thinking of you.

curtaincall Tue 21-Jun-11 12:34:08

I get cabin fever if a couple of days go by without sharing a coffee with a friend and a chat in the playground let alone having DH around all the time.

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