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International Separation?

(28 Posts)
charliebear100 Mon 26-Sep-11 21:44:56

Hi, I'm new to mumsnet and really need some opinions on what to do

My partner and I have been together for 6 years - it has been a rocky 6 years, with ups and downs. Hes always had issues with commitment which I had put down to a difficult childhood. When things are good, they are amazing. We don't argue alot, but he just seems to wobble on the relationship - on about a yearly basis - generally before all big steps forward like buying our house, having our son etc. So far, I've tried to ignore it and within a couple of weeks, things are back to normal and ok again.

Last time it happened was last October when our son was just 1. At this time, I faced life as a single mum. I am Australian and living in a small community. I have no family support here. I have friends, but not like at home. I guess I kind of freaked out and never really dealt with it. As usual, he apologized and we carried on. This time however, I never really forgave him. He agreed to move to Australia with me, and we made plans and obtained visas. He started spending alot of time out of the house and with other women - 'just friends' and in groups of other people. I guess I just focused on November which is when we planned to make the move. I spent alot of time organising things for next year.

Things have come to a head again now. He's told me he doesn't want to move there. He also says hes been unsure of his feelings for me for a while now and thinks he might want out......but hes not sure.

The problem is that I feel so unhappy here and I want to go home where I have a massive support network of family and friends. He is a wonderful dad to our son and taking his son away from him would destroy him. However, I feel that its his turn to make some sacrifices and to move out there with us. He could make a life out there with some effort.

We have a relate session booked tomorrow. Can a relationship get over this? We can't seem to talk without it turning into a slinging match. We both love our son but can't seem to work out a solution where we are all happy.

Any ideas or thoughts anyone? Am I being unreasonable?

Thank you. (sorry its so long!)

clam Mon 26-Sep-11 22:08:26

Oh dear. I'm afraid I don't have much to offer, but didn't want to read and run. Someone useful will be along in a moment, I'm sure.


izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Tue 27-Sep-11 02:09:02

How much effort would he need to make a life in Oz? Would he easily find a new job?

Whatever, he agreed to move and you've obtained (or are in the process of obtaining) the necessary paperwork which, as I understand it, will facilitate you selling up in the UK and moving to Oz in November of next year?

The way forward may be to negotiate a compromise; continue with your plans with the proviso that after he's given Oz a fair trial (of, say, 2 years) you will review your situation together and return to the UK if he's not happy.

Frankly, I doubt that he'll want to come back from Oz but I wouldn't be surprised if he bails before departure - is there any reason why you can't bring your plans forward and go this year/early next year?

mummytime Tue 27-Sep-11 07:40:52

If your marriage is rocky, I would strongly advise him not to move out there. Sorry.
Is there anywhere you could move within this country and feel more supported?

When you move you never escape your problems, you just take them with you, and you could be putting them under a big magnifying glass. Also please do not think tat everything will be rosy for you when you get back to Oz, as expats often find life and people move on without them, and they can also have forgotten how some things really were.

windsorTides Tue 27-Sep-11 09:22:30

The biggest issue in your relationship appears to be him constantly looking over his shoulder in the belief that someone better will come along. That's why he gets these "wobbles" every now and then. I'd be very sceptical that he has been faithful to you, especially given what you've said about his nights out with other women and his uncertainty about his feelings for you.

The point is, he would be like this in Australia too.

It's no life for you, constantly wondering whether he is going to go off you again and is about to sabotage all your life plans. He knew the risks of having a child with someone who wanted to return to her home country and therefore, that there would be a fair chance that if the relationship broke up, you would move there. For most parents who desperately want to see their child every day, they make efforts in their relationship. They don't sabotage it, knowing the risks.

So I'd press on with your plans to go back home and tell him that you're fed up of him blowing hot and cold in the relationship. Tell him the truth - the effect has been that it is now you who has had enough, because he has sucked all the love out of you.

charliebear100 Tue 27-Sep-11 17:49:08

Thanks everyone for your advice and opinions....

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy - we are meant to me moving out there in 8 weeks, visas all approved, house will be rented out (couldn't commit to selling). I had agreed to 18 month 'trial period' with him prior to this. I kind of get the feeling off him that he won't even try to like it when he gets there. He has no desire to work as he wants a career change but doesn't know what. I'll be supporting the family and working full time - which I happily would do.....there is a definite pattern with him hey!

mummytime - you could be absolutely spot on and I think this is what DH thinks. My mum is retired and desperate to babysit, my closest girl friends have all had babies within a year of my son......I may have rose tinted glasses on but it really could be so easy. The relationship is rocky and I guess taking him out of his comfort zone could intensify it.

windsorTides - this is exactly what I feel (and am guilty of slinging at him in an argument). Only thing is am I being a good mum by taking DS away? Seems like DH has a limited choice - stay in an unhappy relationship or move to Australia where he doesn't want to live......seems unfair to me, but it is unfair that I have to stay here while he has his cake and eats it too.

I'll see what the relate person thinks about it all. I would love to sort it out and be happy together again, but I really can't cope with all the wobbling. I'm fed up and don't want to put DS through his father leaving as he is only 2 now so will probably not remember much. I need someone to look after my feelings and support me, not leaving me feeling alone and isolated. I want him to go off and realise that he does love me and work to win me back! Not sure thats a likely outcome but i can hope!! Ah, its all so hard!!

Thanks for all your advice and support. xx

Downunderdolly Wed 28-Sep-11 06:21:56

Hi Charliebear

I'm in a bit of a dash so sorry for the short post but I just wanted to advise you too look into the legal situation if you split up in either country. I am British and moved to Australia with my DH when pregnant. I had my son here and my husband left a year ago when my son was 2.5. Unless he agrees (which he won't) my son (and therefore me) have to stay in Australia until he is 18. I can't actually even leave the state (nsw) unless he agrees (he won't). I am finding it extremely hard with no family and no close friends and honestly struggling as I had no life here before DH to 'go back to' - it was in London with amazing and diverse friends. My ex would not consider moving back to the UK (to be apart but in same country as our son) and I can't even do a moonlit flit due to extradition agreements. Honestly it would be a hard decision to separate my son from his father anyway but the reality of being a single parent in a 'foreign' country also sucks. So. get advice, irrespective of the emotional part of things (which I am sure are huge) and good luck with whatever you do.

PS I was so in love with DH - his leaving was a shock - OW - we were half way through IVF (nice) - that didn't look into laws but kind of assumed that he would be reasonable anyway. As with most break-up's reason goes out the window.....

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 28-Sep-11 06:59:58

Apologies for misreading your post - it was I spent a lot of time organising things for next year that did it!

As I see it, he's made a firm commitment to go to Oz with you and he should honour his word - it really isn't fair of him to throw a wobbly at this late date especially when it's not as if he's got a successful career to consider; of course it may seem a big step to him and, yes, he may be uncertain and unsure but, ffs, you've agreed it's only for 18 months - and then, who knows.

If he goes and doesn't make any effort, I suspect that you'll throw the towel in and leave him to his own devices especially if you've got the support you need to be a single parent.

I want him to go off and realise that he does love me and work to win me back That realisation may only come to him after you've gone back to your homeland, and by then it may be too late as you may realise that you don't love him.

If it transpires that you go alone, there's always Skype; you can keep in regular contact so that he can see his ds enjoying life down under and this might persuade him to give Oz a try.

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll come back and let us know - and don't forget to mumsnet when you're back home in the sun and we're shivering here.

charliebear100 Wed 28-Sep-11 07:34:21

Downunderdolly - my heart goes out to you. You are living through what I am so scared of happening. Your ex sounds like a first class jerk doing that to you. I know things would be more on my side if I can get out to Australia, but I also couldn't live with myself if I screwed him over like that. I want to reach an agreement where we are all happy and think I know that I'll have to relent and live here.

We had our relate session last night and I think the poor lady didn't know what to say. Just that one of us was going to have to make a huge compromise. Which we knew and guess who that would be?! She also suggested shared custody with our son- 6 months in each country. How ridiculous - no way would I consent to that! Then DP told her I was unreasonable and unwilling to budge! What mother could be apart from their 2 year old child for 6 months a year?! I would definitely rather live here alone than do that! Then I told her about all the other things i felt - like how he wobbled and could never really be committed to me, and she thinks that if we sort that out the Australia thing would be on the backburner. I guess she might be right because had he not been so uncommitted, I wouldn't want to go home as much.

Hopefully we can sort it out once and for all but I need to get home, and want to sort it out on home turf with family and friends around me.

Izzywhizzy - I'll think of you all lying on Bondi beach if I ever get there........ aaahhhh.....!!!

mummytime Wed 28-Sep-11 23:38:58

She does sound a bit of an idiot. I haven't heard of any judge suggesting 6 months in one country and then 6 months in another, even if they are closer. (I did hear of one little girl who spend her weeks in the UK and flew to Belgium for every weekend.)

charliebear100 Wed 05-Oct-11 23:11:40

So 2 sessions of relate done now.....

The counseller asked me and DP last night what it was that attracted us to each other. I gave an answer about his love of the out doors, free spirit, good looks. He looked blank. After stuttering and stammering and umming and ahhing for about a minute, he came up with the fact that I was a 'together' person and had my head in a good spot. (he was going through a difficult time when I met him).

I truly believe that the problem in our relationship is that DP is emotionally unavailable. In 6 years of being together, he has told me probably less than 4 times that he loves me, announces that marriage is a load of rubbish and never hugs/kisses me or tells me even that I look nice. I can't really explain this to him (and I'm probably not doing a good job here too). He just says 'What do you want me to do - I look after you, give you a nice house, have all my money tied up with you, how else can I show you that I am committed?'

He has also told me that he wants to try and work it out, but now I feel so fed up with him that I feel like I need to scrape what little self respect I have and leave. I honestly feel like a door mat - I have always done what he wants, lived where he wants to live, made sure that his life never changed when DS was born - in fact I was so worried throughout my whole pregnancy about how HE was going to bond with DS, and frightened he would leave if his life was too affected.

My question now is (bearing in mind the complicated international factor)
Would you stay with this man and give him (yet) another chance if you were in my shoes?

I feel so much resentment to him.

Thanks again :-)

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 05-Oct-11 23:39:08

Don't worry, honey, you & ds are going to be on Bondi very soon!

For starters, take absolutely no notice of silly cows counsellors. Where the fuck does Relate find them - Planet Moron? Jeez, I hope you post a complaint to Relate from one of the Heathrow postboxes on your way home.

In describing you as 'together' it seems like you came along at an opportune time for your DP - but not such good timing for you in meeting an emotionally stunted selfish dickhead.

Go with your instincts and unravel your feelings for him when you're on your home turf. Nothing ever seems as bad in the sun, but I suspect there won't be much to scrutinise once you're fully 'you' again.

At the moment there is no 'complicated international factor'. If your dp states (or has stated) categorically that he's not going down under with you next month, tell him that you can't let your dps down and you've changed your plan to you and ds going for a few months to introduce him to your family and escape the worst of the British winter.

In other words, don't have any compunction about lying through your teeth to get you and ds to where you want to be because your dp has had, and will have, no scruple about lying to you.

And FGS don't waste money going back to Relate for more useless drivel; you know everything you need to know about your dp and what you need to do to have the life you and ds deserve.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 06-Oct-11 04:18:18

Would you stay with this man and give him (yet) another chance if you were in my shoes?

It occurred to me that I didn't answer you question but no doubt you've guessed that my response is a resounding 'no'.

Apart from any other consideration, you've stayed with him for 6 years here in the UK and given him a wonderful ds but he's not prepared to keep his word to spend 18 months with you in Oz.

If you abandon the plans you made together based on his promise and elect to remain in the UK, you'll resent him and feel even more of a doormat than you do now.

If he reneges on his promise, go to Oz with ds and review your options while you're sunning yourself on that beach. Absence either makes the heart grow fonder or the memories fade faster.

It could be that, once you're home, you find yourself longing for the life you had in the UK, but I suspect that your dp will find himself longing for you and ds and that he'll get himself on a plane to join you.

It's a gamble, but what the hell - you won't know the strength of his feelings for you until you've put them to the test, and you're best advised to test them now rather than waste more precious time waiting on him.

Be warned; he might make all sorts of promises when he realises you're going to catch that plane but you already know that, by reneging on the promise he made to go to Oz next month, he's not a man of his word and that any vows he makes at a time of high emotion will be shortlived.

savoycabbage Thu 06-Oct-11 04:48:30

I think you should go home where you will have the love and support of your family.

There is no solution to your problem. I am in the same situation but the other way around and we have been trying to find an answer for years. We have considered the six months here and six months there plan. There is only that, splitting up or staying together but one of you being in the wrong country and the wrong life forever every single day.

arrivehopefully Thu 06-Oct-11 04:55:25

If you break up here in the uk, you may not be allowed to move to Australia with your DC. My dsister is having a terrible time with her abusive XP in the courts right now (different situation but I know a lot about the relocation law by osmosis). If she does win it will have cost her tens of thousands of pounds. If you go to Aus together it's three months til your DC are habitually resident and then you're safe and if your H is determined to hate it the onus is on him to decide if he wants to stay for his DCs or return to the uk.

Don't get trapped in the uk by separating now unless you are certain he won't try to stop the relocation. Even if you suspect it's the end of the road for your marriage, try to get to Aus together.

DontTellAnyonebut Thu 06-Oct-11 05:53:45

Ask him to get his stuff arranged and meet you out there. That way you're not officially breaking up over here?

shocked2 Thu 06-Oct-11 05:55:37

Hi charliebear - I agree with all those who say go to Australia before you are in a separated situation where you have to stay here because of your ds. Your dp agreed to go so you are NOT taking your son away, you are merely following through with a long established plan. As others say, your dp will then have the chance to think about his choices, but you will not be in the horrible position of having to stay in this country until your son is 18.
When you say that you want to reach an agreement where you are all happy and you know you will have to relent and live here - how does that fit in with how indecisive about you your partner seems to be and his nights out with groups of women etc? It sounds more as though your staying here would mean he has his cake and eats it while you on the other hand are far away from your primary support network.
I don't think going to Australia would be unkind - it is already an agreed plan and
you are going there to test the waters as it were. If it then transpires that you do break up, at leat you are on your own home soil.
I wish you all the best.

shocked2 Thu 06-Oct-11 05:57:02

least not leat!

charliebear100 Thu 06-Oct-11 09:56:36

Thank you everyone.

He is saying he will come to Australia. He is planning to do a course over there while we are there which finishes in April so he is at least committed to going for now. Don't know how we will work out the accommodation - apparently my mother is the root of all evil for wanting us home!

I know if I argue him about coming back I would have a better chance of staying in OZ if I do that when I get there, but I couldn't do that to DP. We need to reach an amicable solution. I can make my life here, it will be hard to have a life as a single mum without support but its doable, and if that means DS will know his father, I think its worth it???

I have reached the decision in my mind that we need to separate. I hope that he goes off on his course (we won't see him for 13 weeks), has a bit of time to reflect and comes back a different person. I hope that happens but I am seriously doubtful. Either way, I hope I am a stronger person by the end of April and can see more clearly which way I need to go.

Told once by a good friend 'You can't make someone love you'. So going with those words and going to scrape my little self respect and separate (but still go to Australia).

Thanks for your support.

bottlebank Thu 06-Oct-11 11:32:44

You couldn't do that to him and being miserable is better than your son not knowing his father?

I think you have this the wrong way round, honestly. Why shouldn't HE try to 'make a life' in Aus. it's the least he owes you after you've given six years of your life prioritising him. Should you seperate, it would be HIS choice whether his son had a relationship with him. He could stay in Australia. Why should you be the one to live somewhere you hate when you've already done that for years and years?

why is the 'amicable' solution you giving up the dream he promised you?

charliebear100 Thu 06-Oct-11 16:42:18

So spoke to DP today, told him that I wanted a separation and he agreed, although he did look quite sad about it and actually teared up (though it was when he was talking about DS).

Now he's left to go out for a bit and I feel so alone and sad. Have a done the right thing? I can't stop crying. Hes still coming to Australia with me but obviously expects me to come back in April. He is moving out throughout the week (staying at his sisters) but wants DS at home every weekend with him which means I have to go away. I don't have anywhere to go except friends sofas. We're talking of flying out end November so I guess its not that long.

windsorTides Thu 06-Oct-11 16:45:48

I think you're going to have to be honest with him and say you're not going to come back in April. You're not, are you?

charliebear100 Thu 06-Oct-11 16:51:58

I think I'm hopeful that I'll feel stronger about it all in April. I can't face it at the moment.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 06-Oct-11 17:40:25

What is the point of having a 'separation' (which is, effectively, in name only) at this point when you're going to be flying together to Oz in a few weeks' time?

What are you trying to achieve? If you're hoping that by this 'mock separation' he's suddenly going to realise how much you mean to him, fall on his knees, declare his undying love etc, it just ain't gonna happen because there's no time allowed for absence to make his heart grow fonder - or, in his case, make him realise that his lack of commitment and/or verbal demonstrations thereof is preventing you from being happy with him.

As for you having to move out at weekends so he can be with ds - words (almost) fail me. Seems like that silly cow at Relate has clouded your mind with her ridiculous ideas of 'shared custody'. FGS, him spending weekends with ds does not involve you sleeping on sofas either in your own home or elsewhere.

What you should be doing is continuing what's left of your life in the UK together as usual while sorting, packing, saying goodbyes to friends etc, getting yourselves and ds to Heathrow and then chilling in Oz until he starts his course.

Given his 'wobbles', there's always the possibiity that he'll change his mind at the last minute in which case you and ds should simply go alone

As for telling him you're not coming back in April or whenever, what is the point of committing yourself now when it may be that, once you're back in Oz, you may find that you miss your UK life - and he may find he prefers life down under.

We don't have to set our future lives in tablets of stone. Life happens, it unfolds, we're continually learning and growing, and one of the things you should have already learned is that making irrevocable decisions at times of heightened emotions is not a good idea.

You're making something that should be straightforward unnecessarily complicated - it's almost as if you're hoping that something (a proposal of marriage from him, maybe?) will give you reason and cause to stay in the UK.

charliebear100 Thu 06-Oct-11 22:45:08

No marriage proposal wanted believe me!!! I just feel so angry and emotional - I go from raging at him to moments of clarity when I can hold it together in front of him. I just want him to leave so I can be emotional and grieve without having him around and I guess sort of 'mock get on with my life on as individual as possible'.

You are absolutely right about the decision in April - I will make it then and hopefully be strong enough to resist the family input!

Thanks for the hand holding through this, I don't feel like I have anyone to discuss it with apart from my poor old mother who is particularly one sided and been through a messy divorce herself. Plus I don't like worrying her because like any good mum, she gets upset about it all.

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