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Moving to Ireland with daughter after separation - is this just selfish?

(68 Posts)
galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:04:36

Hi,
This is my first post, but I have been lurking and found the posts really helpful. I separated from my husband a year ago, after 20 years together. We have a 12 and 18 year old. The eldest is in her first year in Uni. I have pretty much come to the decision to move back to Ireland (after 22 years away) and bring up the youngest there. I've lived in London for nearly 19 years (ex is a Londoner), never loved it, but it was home. Now that I am single, I have started having mad, bad nightmares about being on my own here when I'm older. Anyway, everyone is sort of okay with the decision, although I think we're all in denial a bit. What I really want to know is, am I being too selfish breaking up the family even more than it is - I feel I'm going mad, definite one day and in tears the next thinking about it. Has anyone done this sort of move after marriage breakup?
Thanks in advance.

Annarose2014 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:08:28

Will you have a lot of family/friends support there?

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:12:54

Yes, Mum and my sister are there as are school friends.

It's not so much I'm finding it tough at the moment but more worrying about the future. And if I'm going to do it, this year seems perfects as my daughter would start secondary school.

Threefishys Wed 06-Jan-16 12:15:06

How is your ex about it? And your daughter?

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:22:29

Well, when he gave me the heave-ho, one of the first things out of his mouth was that I could move to Ireland. In fairness, I think he was trying to be kind as he knows I'm not a huge fan of London. However, he will be devastated when she leaves. I worry about their relationship and if it can withstand it. My daughter is over the moon at the thought, though have a feeling she is equating it with a long Summer holiday (where it rains all the time). The eldest is in Liverpool, says she supports me but is holding a lot back. I think at the moment she's worried about feeling she has to come to Ireland each holiday (even though I have told her we can split the time any way she wants). I think really what I'm feeling most guilty about is leaving her. God, you can tell I was brought up in Ireland - all the guilt!!

pocketsaviour Wed 06-Jan-16 12:26:21

What plans are there to maintain your youngest's contact with her dad? Will she be able to visit him (or vice versa) fairly easily and regularly?

roundandroundthehouses Wed 06-Jan-16 12:28:39

It isn't necessarily a selfish idea at all. But it may be a good idea to consider things a bit more carefully - the part that makes me wonder is the fact that you're firm one day and in tears about it the next. It suggests that perhaps you aren't fully able to decide things rationally yet. That's hardly surprising, when in the space of a year your long-term marriage has ended and the first of your children has moved away (at least for part of the year). You must be feeling rudderless. You've lost a major part of what, until now, had given your life solidity and familiarity. It could be that your wish to go 'home' to Ireland might be an attempt to regain the familiarity and comfort, rather than a considered decision that this is the best way to move forward with your life. I'd strongly advise talking this idea through with someone trusted, perhaps even someone professional such as a counsellor or life coach.

In practical terms, both of your dds are still young. Even your eldest is still likely to be coming to you during uni holidays (which seem to be about half the year!). Would there be summer work for her in the area where you'd be living? Post-uni may also be a consideration. I remember floundering a bit when I left uni in England, because my parents lived in a run-down and workless part of N. Ireland and I couldn't go back to stay with them whilst I found my feet, as most of my friends were able to do. Would you yourself be able to work in the place where you'd be going?

Of course, if you're likely to have proceeds from the sale of a property in London, this might ease most of the above issues. However the property price differential might prevent you from buying again in London in the future.

I'm not suggesting that it's a bad idea, and I'm sure you've considered all the above anyway. And I do understand that your dd2's stage of education would make this a logical time to change things. But it isn't the case that if you don't move back to Ireland now, then you will be left alone in London in the future. The dreams sound a lot like a panic response. There are six years between now and the earliest date that you'd be left 'alone', and a lot can happen in that kind of time.

TheVeryHungryPreggo Wed 06-Jan-16 12:29:07

I looked into this once during a bad patch with DH. I talked to a lawyer about the possibility of him getting a prohibitive steps order to stop me going. The lawyer said that as long as it's not just a fantasy life you have planned for yourself, but that you have thought it through, the courts won't stop you going.

So you need to have very carefully considered:
1. Schooling and extra-curricular activities for your youngest
2. Where you will live
3. Chance of finding work for you
4. Family and friends support nearby
5. What your finances will look like if you move compared to if you don't move
6. Ease of access arrangements

I don't think you're too selfish. Your marriage has broken down, your eldest is an adult, there's only you and your youngest left to really think about. Your family has broken up already, I'm afraid. Don't be afraid to move on and start a new life. Being around your parents as they get older, and your family as your child grows up is also a big benefit to your child. I'm raising my children in London and miss my family at home a lot. I often feel they are losing out on a relationship with their grandparents and aunts/uncles that all the other cousins seem to have. An Irish secondary education is superb too, and as you say it's at the right time - at 12 Irish children are just starting secondary, many coming from isolated national schools, so they'll all be new together.

If my marriage broke down I would move back to Ireland.

Epilepsyhelp Wed 06-Jan-16 12:38:13

I have seen this happen in two families and it has been absolutely fine. The dad makes the effort every other weekend to go over there and in holidays they share the travel to bring DC to England for contact.

The DC will be best off if both their parents are happy and it sounds like you would not be in London. Clearly ex-h supports your choice so I would definitely do it.

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:44:47

Thanks for your replies. One of the main things is I have to sell the family house and it is nigh on impossible to get 2 places for the sale amount. I'd have to move way out, change schools etc. But I would be able to get a nice place outright in Ireland. Ex is insisting he should get a far greater percentage of sale price as he has to find somewhere for him and eldest when she's in London. This part is causing a hell of a lot of friction (we're not going down the legal route for various reasons, I know I'd get 50:50 in that case). I'm offering him 60:40 on the sale, but not enough apparently. I'm not too worried about that as house is in my name - just could do without him calling me a money grabber.
Jobs will be hard to come by in Ireland but mortgage free I should get something to cover bills.
The biggest upheaval emotionally will be for the eldest. I know she understands why I want to go, but she finds Galway really boring at the moment. But she has her dad and grandparents in London so optimistically I'm hoping she sees Galway as an alternative when she is thinking of settling down (and realising she can't ever afford anywhere in London). She's brilliant but doesn't want anything to change!
I think a bit of me still can't believe it - but I've gotten much better recently, helped by the fact ex has got a girlfriend.
I think there will be a lot of Dad coming to Galway, eldest doing half her holidays in each place (or us going to London), visits to Liverpool etc.

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 13:01:13

Yes, you know I think it's that until finances are sorted there will continue to be a level of animosity between us, making it hard to plan visits etc (I've said in past fits of being pissed off, that he'll not be staying in my house when he visits).

He is using my 'money-grabbing' to make me feel guilty that eldest will not have somewhere nice in London.

Thanks so much everyone. Just seeing things in black and white is helping me come to terms with what I have to be sure of before making any move.

Annarose2014 Wed 06-Jan-16 13:18:57

Galway is an awesome place to raise kids!

ravenAK Wed 06-Jan-16 13:27:06

I moved to Egypt (full on court case & drama).

It wasn't easy & I have one very cross ex-twunt to negotiate holidays etc with; however, it's working out brilliantly for me & the dc.

I'd probably be guided by what the dc think - tbh, your younger dd is old enough that if she wanted to stay/go her wishes would be pretty much the end of the matter if you ended up in court - provided your ex could offer her a home.

louisaglasson Wed 06-Jan-16 13:39:29

The good thing is that he is ok with your decision should you go ahead.

Depending on your circumstances you may well be entitled to more than 50/50 as your 12 year old lives with you. It would be well worth you getting some advice on that. Is he paying maintenance? How often does he see her?

Ignore the money grabbing comments. IME they come from people who are actually the ones being money grabbing. And if he is saying 60/40 isn't enough and he isn't the one who will be housing the 12 year old then that backs that up. Unless there are other factors involved like savings or other assets etc.

Have you written a list of pro's and con's for each option, and how you will support yourself and your 12 year old in each scenario?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 06-Jan-16 14:08:38

Don't be a mug about money. You've been married for 22 yrs and you've earned it and if you were staying here, he'd have to make lifestyle adjustments anyway.
Yes housing is cheaper than London but you will have the cost of two sets of health insurance immediately plus GP's bills, dental and all sorts of other things. So work out your numbers and stand your ground. Who is going to cover your DD1's airfare or ferry/bus to Ireland too?

It's a good time to move, plus Uni in Ireland is currently cheaper than the UK. It's worth checking that your DD2 will be able to access UK financing should she choose to go to Uni in the UK though? She may not thank you then if it's a commercial loan or nothing.

Is your daughter comfortable that she will/will not be able to return to London to live with her dad if she decides that Galway is not for her? It might be better to rent out the London home for a year and for both parents to go into rental properties. Bit of distance and perspective. Ireland may drive you cracked after 22 years away.

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 14:13:55

I see it as having a mortgage-free place, not so great job but enough to get by on, ex would pay pretty much all dd expenses and give me a bit towards maintenance. He earns a good salary and problem is he can't understand why I don't buy in Galway and give him the rest from the house sale (which would be a 70:30 split in his favour when you take into account the exchange rate). I do think I need some money to tide me over, be able to visit my eldest etc.

BogusCatAndThePunk Wed 06-Jan-16 14:18:44

Seriously you will need a 'cushion' of money so don't let him away with that.

And remember even not great jobs won't be too east to come by in Galway. My sis worked for a large Irish supermarket; yes that one. And even trolley collector jobs would have queues of people applying.

Other random thought does your daughter speak Irish? I don't know if it's changed but you had to take Irish as a subject to pass the state exams, has that changed?

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 14:22:40

TreadSoftly, everyone thinks I'm being a mug about the money - and him in the other ear calling me a money grabber. But you're right, he really doesn't understand about the extra costs in Ireland, couldn't believe when I said we'd be buying school books! And I've never driven, so will have to learn and buy a car (he has a company car).

If I make the move, I can't see that I'd move back. However your idea is a good one about renting it out for a year.

DD2 was born in UK so it shouldn't be a problem about Uni funding. I had a right hoohaa with DD1 though. She was born in the USA, has an Irish passport so I had to account for her every waking move for 18 years. The money only came through last week!

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 14:28:27

BogusCatAndThePun - no Irish and no religion. I'm pretty sure there is an exemption if you weren't in primary school in Ireland on the Irish front. Jobs wise, I've worked in training/uni's administration, so I figure with a bit of pull maybe, I'll get some sort of office job. But I do need a cushion finance wise.

Thanks all so much, money wise I'm holding my ground and going to concentrate on ensuring I see DD1 as much as possible.

Epilepsyhelp Wed 06-Jan-16 14:34:09

Money grabber?! He is crazy. Why should you lose out just because you chose to live somewhere cheaper? He can clearly afford a mortgage and will simply have to have one.

BogusCatAndThePunk Wed 06-Jan-16 14:39:36

She'll be popular.........grin, nah as I understand it once you're out of the Boglands they're nearly in this century ( I say this with love, as a true culchie).

Sounds like you've thought of most things, go for it. I've always said when we win the lottery the first holiday house with be in Barna so I can wander down to Sliver Strand.

Heaven.

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 14:47:24

OMG, this Mumsnet talk really works! I honestly am so much clearer in my head now. I will have a million and one things to worry about, but the guilt has evaporated.

Learning how to drive at 45 - palpitations!

perpetuallybewildered Wed 06-Jan-16 14:47:36

Follow your instinct to go home. I was born in Ireland & moved with parents to the UK as a child. I missed out on being part of the extended family and didn't see my lovely grandparents nearly often enough (it was really expensive to visit in the olden days).

My parents never felt settled here and they finally decided to go home when I was a similar age to your eldest. They were far happier as they grew old amongst their old friends and families.

galwaygirl1971 Wed 06-Jan-16 15:02:26

perpetuallybewildered - what did you do? Did you go with them, had you other family still left in UK?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 06-Jan-16 15:18:45

Learn now and buy a car before you go. You'll get much better value in the UK than in Ireland especially in London as the mileages are much lower. If you have it for 6 months before you go you won't have to pay any import taxes.

I'd start a second thread asking people who have moved to Ireland/moved home to ID all the extra stuff they have to pay. Or not [council tax] as the case may be and try to put together a detailed budget.

There was a piece in the Irish Times this week saying that house prices outside Dublin are now starting to rocket* again. *Long way to go before people will be out of negative equity though

As a previous poster said, he has a cheek because you want to live somewhere cheaper to try to squeeze a better financial deal. Sod. That.

Tell him that you've decided to pursue 50:50 or more and stay in London. That you've decided that returning to Ireland with your employment prospects there means the impact on your pension is too great alongside a mortgage......

Seriously though, I would establish what you are entitled to so at least if you accept a lessor deal you have your eyes open. If there is no legal settlement in place what actually happens if maintenance is not forthcoming? Can you pursue him through the CSA from Ireland easily? etc etc

No requirement to study Irish at 2nd level if you haven't been there for primary. In most schools though she'll just have a free period rather than the option to study something else but there must be so many foreign nationals now, that may have changed. If she wants to train as a primary teacher she will need it though. Not sure if there is still a language exam for the guards/civil service but I suspect so. Plenty of crash courses available then though.

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