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Calm sensible advice needed please, bit long

(19 Posts)
LivingEdwardMunchPainting Tue 16-Aug-11 13:16:55

Bit of a toss-up whether to put this in the Living Overseas thread as my situation is a bit complex.
Currently living in Europe with foreign DH and young DCs. Married 8 years together for 10, all that time spent living abroad. To cut a long story short I want to come home mainly for reasons related to children's education and intense frustration with local environment (lack of opportunities, closed mindsets etc.) Issues affect our relationship on a daily basis and I cope by counting blessings + looking on the bright side. The marriage has been massively strained for years now but both sides have deep commitment to making it work for the DCs.
Things hit crisis point recently (not for the first time) and I basically poured it all out to DH and told him I couldn't stand it here any more and want other things for our children. He is deeply culturally resistant to any kind of move (think: limpet on rock) and although he makes efforts to understand me he really cannot, as he is quite happy where he is.
He told me he is "willing" to move back to UK but it is crystal clear his heart's not in it and since that conversation has been giving me the semi-silent treatment. Cordial but distant. He just doesn't want to go. I am the only one who can make the decision to move and I don't think I have that strength, as soon as anything goes wrong in the UK I will be shouldering all the blame and I think it may be a recipe for disaster.
Deep down I think this marriage is over and has been for a long time but have absolutely no idea how to end it before the divisions between us cause permanent damage to the DCs.
what next?

buzzsore Tue 16-Aug-11 14:13:54

Tbh, I think you should make the move. It sounds like you've given it a good go over there, so it's his turn to do a bit of fish-out-water.

Also, in your own best interests, it would be better for your marriage to break down over here, where presumably you have family and friends and a better school system, than it would over there. It'd be less complicated regarding bringing the children to the UK if you moved back now than if it all fell apart over there, and he perhaps put obstacles in the way of the children and hence you moving back afterwards. Sound a bit hard-hearted, I know, but you've got to think about the possible fallout.

MonkeyJungleConga Tue 16-Aug-11 14:20:21

OP I feel for you. What a tricky situation.

I was wondering if perhaps your own unhappiness is a cause of the malaise in your marriage in itself? Maybe you and your DH might be happier together in the UK, purely because you will be happier here.

I say this because over the years I've come to realise that the family mood seems to rest entirely on my shoulders - when I'm up the whole family is up and when I'm down I bring them all down with me. Not ideal in any respect but nonetheless how it is and maybe you have a similar thing going on too.

I would recommend that you come back to the UK - it could save the marriage. From what you say, staying where you are will definitely kill it.

Have you and your DH lived in the UK at all together? Did you meet and marry in his homeland?

Hardgoing Tue 16-Aug-11 15:26:45

I would come back to the UK, as it sounds like you can't stay much longer where you are before becoming depressed/resentful/leaving anyway. As someone else has said, you can then go it alone here, or it might work better than you have anticipated. I am sympathetic, I don't think I would cope very well in a different culture and it is only because my husband is prepared to stay in this country (not his culture) that we are together. I think a move might well highlight if there is anything left in the marriage, you may be surprised (although you may not and end up facing life on your own).

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Tue 16-Aug-11 20:24:57

Thank you all for your posts. They have helped. They are all things I have been thinking myself. The semi-silent treatment is continuing and now with sarcastic / pointed remarks as well. He is acting like a sulky teenager.

Blu Tue 16-Aug-11 20:31:27

Make the move to the UK.
If he has any fairness he owes it to you to give it a whirl.
As MonkeyJungle says, being back could transform you and improve the marriage - and you never know, once he had got used to it he may limpet himself to this rock, instead!
Or, you may find that you do need to be here and you can offer your children a better life here, and you have had enough of your marriage
Or you may find that you have been hankering after a nostalgic past and that the UK is no longer for you as you thought it was.
But you can't find out any of these possible truths stuck in a miserable rut.

FabbyChic Tue 16-Aug-11 22:52:57

Why not suggest moving to the UK for 12 months to see how it goes? Are you in a position financially to move and rent somewhere for that amount of time?

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Tue 16-Aug-11 22:59:35

I have suggested that already to him. Thing is the DCs education will be messed around, the oldest 2 are 7 and 6. I did suggest moving three years ago before they started school but it was the same response even worse in fact. I'm pretty sure that if we did go for 12 months I would love it, he would put up with it and then want to come home after the year was up and I'd want to stay there.

buzzsore Wed 17-Aug-11 13:24:01

At this stage, 6 & 7, it's not going to make that much difference to the children, moving schools and educational systems. While they're in primary it's relatively easy for them to make friends and adapt, and so I don't think you need to let that weigh with you at the moment.

It will get harder for them as they get older, 'though - you don't want to keep hesitating and giving it time - next thing you know they'll be moving up to secondary and exams etc, when it's a lot tougher (and their confidence tends less resilient as teenagers) and then you'll really be stuck. Better to do it sooner than later.

ShoutyHamster Wed 17-Aug-11 14:42:29

Get them over here, before they settle to the point that you have three reluctant people instead of one to contend with. If that happens, you'll never move back.

Get him to agree to a year. put your all into it - say that you just want some time, a little time, in your home country with your children while they are still small. You need a change, for at least a while, to reinvigorate. You owe it to him to try not to be so resentful and to make a real go of improving things, but he owes it to you to let you all try a change of scene for a year.

Whichever way you do it, you really really want to be HERE, with the kids in schools, if there is any chance of the marriage braking down. Otherwise it all gets very very messy.

ShoutyHamster Wed 17-Aug-11 14:42:36


ShoutyHamster Wed 17-Aug-11 14:44:02

If he has said that he is 'willing', just go with that, all out - be happiness personified, make plans, sweep him along with it, and call it 'our year out' - anything to get it done!

Blu Wed 17-Aug-11 15:19:06

Unless you are happyenough to continue living where you are, with all your concerns about education and your own fulfillment, and in a less than happy relationship, for the sake of the children not having to deal with a break-up, then make the One Year Move.

At the end of that year, if the situation is as you expect, he can then decide what is more important to him: being with his children or being in his home country. At the moment you are the one making this compromise - and you seem to have reservations that his home country is the best one for the children to be educated in anyway?

Blu Wed 17-Aug-11 15:21:38

We're all willing to make compromises when the overall benefit is clear and important in our minds - most of us live with ane factor which 'not ideal, but but overall it's the best solution'.

You don't give a sense that you feel that the environment is frustrating,' but it's all worth it because...' , you sound as if you thik that the bad outweigh the good, not just for you but for the children.

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Wed 17-Aug-11 23:02:02

yes indeed shoutyhamster I do need to be back here if there's any chance of it going tits up.
Blu you are spot on, I have definitely reached the point where bad is tipping the scales over good points. We have made progress this evening though, he was looking at car insurance for foreign-plated cars in England. It was about number 34,672 on my to-do list but each to their own I suppose.

springydaffs Wed 17-Aug-11 23:34:45

wow, that's huge OP re the number plate thing. imo that's a real indication that he is seriously considering the move.

Just one thought: where were your children born? I know someone has already said this but if you split and they are foreign nationals he can legally insist you stay in his country. Then you'd be divorced but stuck in a country you hate, legally prevented from leaving with the children - awful.

You have to be sensible - if you move now and the marriage fails while you are in britain but the kids are settled here and want to stay here that would possibly (? sorry, don't know for certain) go a long way to ensuring you can stay here with the kids.

Your OP appears to believe that if the marriage fails you can leave his country and move back to Britain with the kids - I very much doubt you would be able to do this. I think you need to do a bit of research about what your options are and think carefully about what you do next. re if you think your marriage is in jeopardy, do everything you can to get back to britain and get the kids settled here so you have a better chance of being able to stay here.

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Mon 05-Sep-11 15:50:56

I'm resurrecting this thread as am in need of more sensible advice please!!

Me and Dh have had many conversations about this over the past few days and he came up with a suggestion that I originally liked but am now having misgivings about because I think he's just stalling for time.

He has suggested spending each summer in the UK until 2015, when the oldest DC is ready to start secondary school, the youngest will be starting primary school and the middle DC will have 1 more year of primary school, with a view to finishing the oldest DCs education in the UK. However this would mean waiting 3 years before making the transition, in which time DD1 in particular will have put down more roots re friends etc. etc and I may have cracked up completely...
If we moved back in time for 2012/13 academic year the 2 oldest DCs would be about 3 years into primary school. If we stayed for 1-2 years they would not complete primary school in the UK and would then have to finish it in the country we are living in now, something I am keen to avoid. Also I know (and DH also knows) that the minute I get back to the UK I will not want to leave. He is actually being very fair about it but, DH being DH, keeps coming up with alternative suggestions and trying (nicely) to get me to change my mind and/or postpone the departure.
We cannot leave earlier than next June, partly for financial reasons and partly because it would be unfair on everyone apart from me. They haven't even gone back to school yet ...
Congratulations if you've read this far, anyone with a bit of perspective advice gladly welcomed!

doradoo Mon 05-Sep-11 19:31:52

I live overseas too - and just want to throw a couple of thoughts into the ring.

OP - when did you last live in the UK - things and people move on and though it's great going back to visit - it's not the same as living there. (we did this and swiftly moved back overseas.)

What are the job prospects for you/DH in the UK - and the quality of life you will be able to afford? The UK is hugely expensive compared to most of Europe - and now probably isn't the time to be moving jobs/buying houses etc.

I'm semi curious as to why you think a UK education would be better for your DCs - presumably they are bilingual and continuing with their education in the 'foreign' language may well be beneficial later on. If you are in an EU country - your children would have the same opportunities regarding university in the UK as UK residents AFAIK. I'd certainly envisaged my DCs going to university in the UK but they've just axed the fees where I am so we may rethink that one.

It is a very difficult place to be as your families are separated by nationality - you would be taking your DCs away from one side to be closer to the other (we're both British and so are miles away from all our family!)

I think probably what I'm trying to say is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and that a move back to the UK might not be the cure all for your ills.

Good luck whatever you decide.

LivingEdwardMunchPainting Tue 06-Sep-11 07:42:51

doradoo it was 12 years ago... yes I know things have moved on since then but I think that's part of the reason why I want to go back. I feel like I'm "missing out" in some way.

We have "portable" internet-based freelance jobs so work is not an issue. Also our language skills are essential for our jobs and I am beginning to struggle with fluency in English.

Re education... there are many many reasons why I'm not happy with the schools - particularly secondary schools - here. The DCs English is not what I hoped it would be at this stage and I'm finding it impossible to get the time to teach them. Two months in the summer might not be enough to bring it up to scratch. If we postpone the move I'm very worried that the DCs will really struggle to adapt to a new country aged 10 and 11.

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