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Ex Pat Life and the impact on my relationship and life

(16 Posts)
JennaP Thu 29-Sep-11 16:03:54

My partner and I moved with his job. At the time we hadn't been together for long but it seemed like the right thing to do and we were/are happy. He's been happy with the new job, colleagues, location etc but i have found that I have become increasingly down, insecure and lacking in confidence. I have a lot going on; trying for baby, work etc.

His company provided lots of support for finding me work etc but other than this site i don't really have any emotional outlet. Can any expat wives/spouses recommend groups etc. Is this normal? What can I do to pull myself out of this? Do companies do ANYTHING to help women that follow their partners!

My partner has noticed the change me and i know that I have lost my sparkle - please help.

flimflammery Thu 29-Sep-11 16:06:40

Which country are you in, Jenna?

JennaP Thu 29-Sep-11 16:12:29

London, UK

squeakytoy Thu 29-Sep-11 16:14:50

Which country are you from? smile

Arion Thu 29-Sep-11 16:19:44

What about voluntary work whilst you are looking for paid employment. We wen to Singapore in 2001 just as the recession hit over there and I couldn't even get an interview!

I joined the friends of the museum and became a docent (volunteer guide) at the history museum. I learned loads about the are that I wouldn't av done otherwise and it kept me busy. I know the National Trust are always looking for volunteers at their properties if that interests you.

ExpatAgain Thu 29-Sep-11 16:35:11

google "trailingspouse" for some online support.

try also "Internations" and heartily recommend some kind of evening class - local college, language, art, wine-tasting something sociable where you'll meet likeminded locals. Volunteer at your local Oxfam?

My husband's company did bugger all for me, think fairly typical yet apparently the no.1 cause of expats leaving their roles is due to the unhappiness of their spouse not them, so would be worthwhile for companies to sort but hey ho, not their priority.

Love London but it can be a tough unfriendly place even for the locals, it takes time to crack it but is a wonderful city once you have a circle of friends and there are bound to be loads of likeminded expat spouses!

BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 29-Sep-11 18:27:44

I feel for you. We regularly move countries and it does take a toll. I can't imagine doing this in a fairly new relationship, so you are braver than me. Personally, I think finding yourself a job is key. WIth work comes your own social circle and independence. We really only look at places these days where we know we can both work.

That said, there's a lot going on in London (and if you do have a baby that in itself opens up whole new social groups). The rule I gave myself was to be much more upfront than I would have been at home. If I met someone I liked, I'd be honest and say, I'm new here and don't know many people, fancy going for a coffee? Or if someone said that to me then I'd actively follow up on it.

Good luck - it isn't easy.

spacester Thu 29-Sep-11 18:32:16

We moved country for my job, unfortunately my wife did not get on there. No expat community to speak of (village in the hills) and a fairly closed society. We moved back to UK after 3 years. Should be easier in London - large expat community from all places. Try googling for expat groups in London from your home country.....

squeakytoy Fri 30-Sep-11 16:07:50

Bump in case Jenna comes back. smile

brodanbell Fri 30-Sep-11 16:16:43

Just suggested this on another thread in Relationships. I'm an expat in another country but have used to forge new friendships. There were plenty of ex-pat groups and other groups that interested me, so I just had to jump in. In fact I just did a search on there, and London has tons of expat groups for whatever nationality you are.

Maybe can you suggest to your husband that he invites some of his colleagues with their wives etc for dinner?

garlicslutty Fri 30-Sep-11 16:54:12

Hi, Jenna, welcome to my favourite city smile

The things everybody needs in London are:
An A-Z
A Tube pass and a Tube 'map' (there's one on the back of the AZ)
Time Out magazine (website here )

London's organised like a lot of small towns or villages, overlapping at their borders. Each has its own character. Most Londoners really only "know" their home district and the one they work in - plus, perhaps, Soho/Covent Garden or Hoxton/Hackney if they socialise there. Get involved with some local communities in your home district - if you use a combination of a regular pub, health (sports) centre and your church, school or community centre, you'll have it pretty well covered. Read the noticeboard, talk to people, find out what's happening. Join in stuff.

Every district has hidden nature reserves, which are always crying out for ecology volunteers - if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, you'll discover London's green secrets and meet some really sweet people. They usually put flyers out for help on projects.

Use Time Out to identify events that appeal to your special interests. This will put you in touch with a more geographically diverse group, who share your interests.

Google for fellow expats: something like "Bostonians in London" (if you're from Boston, obv) should get you some links to people from your home town. Also search for native-cuisine restaurants and pubs!

Despite its reputation, London is a reasonably friendly city and is teeming with interesting stuff to do. Enjoy!

JennaP Sat 01-Oct-11 08:40:11

Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement. I will check out the links.

I'll never take my friends and family back home for granted again! smile

mummytime Sat 01-Oct-11 09:08:13

Evening classes are another good way of meeting people (as is church or religious groups if that's your thing). Also do use your friends back home, someone probably has a friend/cousin etc. working in London, just meeting for a coffee might be a good source of future contacts.
Also just take opportunities that come along, so do go for a drink with colleagues on Friday, do go to the local fun-day at the park, do do touristy things, take up a new sport etc.
Do plan to go to the big tourist sights, but also take in the one off events eg. Lord Mayors Show.

blackcurrants Sat 01-Oct-11 16:43:18

Also, Jenna, I am going to make a huge assumption here, which is that you might be from America. If you're not, ignore everything I'm about to say and please forgive me making an ass of myself with the assumption and generalizations to follow:

I've gone in the other direction (Brit living in NYC and NJ, been here for 7 years now) and I think it is harder to get to know British people than American people, specially if you don't have a ready-made network to slot into (eg baby, church). BUT! and this is key, I think British people are supremely friendly once they have been persuaded that you would like to be friends with them .Whereas American people are just supremely friendly from the get-go. From travelling home a bit I've noticed that while people in the UK are pretty reserved, not immediately friendly and chatty, that reserve is actually considered a form of politeness (not pushing yourself on someone, not getting into someone else's business) - even a form of friendliness, if you see what I mean.

Erm, OKay, I've stopped making sense to myself now. I suppose what I'm saying is that you might find you have to make the first move a lot (As in, 'I'm new here and don't know many people yet, fancy getting coffee' - excellent suggestion) BUT once you do I think (and hope!) you find people really nice.
And is ace. And good luck!

garlicslutty Sat 01-Oct-11 16:58:12

I was thinking about that too, blackcurrants, but can't work out the right way to say it either! In many other countries, people will be really direct and say stuff like "Are you on your own? Come and sit with us!" which just won't happen here ... although I do it sometimes, having been so grateful for it while travelling.

It tends to work better with brits, I think, to make some relevant but non-personal remark. I got talking with a woman out shopping the other day, when we both laughed at the "incontinence" advertisement on the loo doors. Umm ... that's not a very good example, is it? I'm trying to show that we get a bit freaked by people talking about us, but are fine if you talk to us about something else. Maybe that's why we're so keen on discussing the weather! It's definitely helpful to be in a 'group' focused setting of some sort or another, because then you've got ready-made subjects.

JennaP Sun 02-Oct-11 19:02:37

thanks for the tips smile i'm pretty open to talking to strangers but it's still hard work. Anyway, I will follow up on the links and sites smile

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