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Desperately lonely and isolated

(48 Posts)
Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 14:51:09

Namechanged for this but I'm a regular

A few years ago I met my husband and moved to his home country. He's a lovely guy, we have a young baby, house, I have a well paying job (that's horribly stressful but that's a rant for another day.)
On paper it all looks great. Except that I'm horribly, horribly lonely. I've lived and worked abroad before and fitted in fine. (I'm quite introverted but have no shyness or social issues.)
Here I don't know anyone. Literally no friends. No one on our estate speaks to me. Culturally it's not done to strike up a conversation with someone. I've tried to get to know people but they're it interested. I've tried the local version of mum and baby groups. No one speaks to me. If I speak to them they reply the bare minimum and ignore. I've tried joining Facebook groups for English speaking mums in this country - no one lives anywhere near me.
Today I did something I thought would be helpful only to be told it was culturally not done. It's upset me hugely and I'm at home in floods of tears. If it wasn't for my little boy I'd be wanting to end it all.
I know there are no easy answers here, but just needed to vent a bit.

Trumpette Thu 04-Feb-16 14:53:06

Where are you?

MatildaTheCat Thu 04-Feb-16 14:59:20

That's crap, sorry. Have a quick hug while no one is looking (()).

How long have you been living there? Does your dh know how unhappy you are and has he tried to help? Introduced you to people and tried to make you feel welcome in the community? If he has or this isn't feasible then perhaps you will need to consider a move to some place where you can both be happy. There are many places in the world and if you cannot settle and be happy despite trying all possible options then move elsewhere and both be happy.

If this is all very new and a temporary blip could you go home for a short visit or have family out to stay?

Good luck to you.

MoominPie22 Thu 04-Feb-16 15:03:28

Hiya, I'm a British expat too and I can totally identify with some of wot u say. Luckily I'm in another European country where the culture is very similar to the UK. Unfortunately I am unable to work as I don't spk the native language, I'm learning but it's VERY slow goin.
This has been the hardest thing for me and has stopped me settling and it's something that makes me unhappy on a daily basis but some days I deal with it better than other days. I've worked since I was 16 and am naturally not SAHM material so adapting here has been hard and I'm a work in progress.
I totally identify with feeling lonely and isolated. Lucky there's lots of expats where I live, British and otherwise, so I've made friends, most frm the toddlers group I used to attend.
It is hard to integrate tho, without the language. Are there not many expats in your area I'm presuming? What was the big Faux Par (sp) u did? It's gonna happen tho, it's inevitable with all Take heart there's plenty of other's out there like u. Feel free to PM me anytime if it helps but pls don't feel too bad. It rarely lasts.chocolate

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 15:11:45

I offered help with something- something polite but trivial (think opening door for someone elderly and disabled, that kind of thing.)
Apparently this is not done confused as it implies the person is unable to cope ... Very many unwritten rules like this. Every time I find I've done something like this it destroys my confidence.

I'm just so fed up of it all. I've been here four years and not made a single friend.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 04-Feb-16 15:12:03

Can you have a discussion with your DH and resolve it somehow?
Can you go to another country where the cultures are more similar to your own?

MoominPie22 Thu 04-Feb-16 15:19:54

Is your husband not helping you meet people? I cannot believe that opening a door for a disabled person is frowned uponshock who told u that??
If there's marked differences in culture I would've thought you'd b aware of them by now, hopefully via your husband?!
So there's no other expats at work or living locally?

MoominPie22 Thu 04-Feb-16 15:22:50

Actually where I live it's the norm for people to shut doors in your face and not say Thankyou if u hold it open for themconfused they're fucking rude but I no longer take it personally cos they all do it. It's bonkers!! But I've said a lot of loud, sarcastic Thankyous and You're welcomes in my time heregrin

scortja Thu 04-Feb-16 15:40:18

Are you in The Netherlands, MoominPie22? (not relevant to OP)

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 15:41:37

There's only so much dh can do. He's introduced me to his friends of course, but I have none of my own.

Oh yes! Barmy as it seems helping people (offering to help, not rudely pushing help) can be seen as rude.. You really don't see these more subtle cultural things till you live here. sad and nobody tells you, they just tut tut and you think "I just did something wrong and I have no idea what.." Horrible feeling.

Moving would mean losing my husband, house, job and child. So I'd rather not.

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 15:42:33

Moomin I thought NL too smile

Unless you're where I am (passive agressive-land.)

MoominPie22 Thu 04-Feb-16 15:46:58

Hahagrin I've been outed!! Lol

It was the shutting doors in your face example wasn't it?? You know it!smile

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 15:50:51

Ah the Dutch... So tall... So rude. smile

MoominPie22 Thu 04-Feb-16 16:01:33

It's only really that example where I've found them rude. I've got no other issues really. At least they know how to drink and not start a fight! Very topical with the upcoming carnivalsmile That would never happen in the UK! Drinking on the streets with NO police presence??shocklol
OP I can't believe you've stuck it out this long with no expats nearby! Sounds like a miserable existence and I commiserate.
Are you also far frm the UK? Do family and friends come visit?
Are you in China? Only guessing, u don't have to play....
I'm trying to get out of a bloody Dept store but my daughter's glued to Frozen on the telly.....hmm off to exert my authority...

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 16:07:36

Not Chinasmile I'm in Europe in a country everyone thinks is perfect :/
I hate it here!

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 16:09:56

Friends have never visited. Very few keep in touch. Which doesn't help my paranoia that maybe it's me that's the problem...

Family visit very occasionally- they have significant caring responsibilities at home so I understand it's hard for them to take the time.

barnet Thu 04-Feb-16 16:21:09

Thats tough OP. You have to talk to your Dh about moving. You sound very sad.
It could get better though, i had a very miserable time when the children were small. Now after 8 yrs i know people from the school (not friends, but people i like).
Now i just get hugely irritated at the rudeness and passivity here, and rant. Are you in Norway?

juneau Thu 04-Feb-16 16:22:40


Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 16:25:10

Sweden... I know I can't be the only person who feels like this- I've seen other people on here ranting about how cold people are here.

Moving really isn't an option. I need to find ways of coping

fruitscone Thu 04-Feb-16 16:56:35

Aww Unhappyexpat - couldn't read your thread and not send a hug. Funnily I guessed Sweden when you said 'everyone thinks it's a perfect place'!

You say you have a little boy. I am in rural Germany and I find it bloody hard work getting to know people here. We are in Bavaria and my DH is not a Bavarian (outsider!) so I had literally no inroads to making my own friends here. I did the whole toddler group thing and it was torture (I am shy too which makes it harder). I found the locals largely unfriendly, disinterested in anyone that hadn't been to school with them and most of the other mums I initially found quite ignorant in their complete lack of interest and curiosity about someone not from the village.

Roll on a few years and I think I am now as integrated as I will ever be. I have some good friends and my kids are well integrated (although they still don't have the 'right' accent!) What I am saying is somewhere like this, I think making friends is such a slow-burner and sometimes it takes one kind person to give you the inroad to having more of a support network. As your child gets on to school age, you might meet another group of parents and find someone more your wavelength.

Sorry if this sounds patronising. I really related to you feeling thrown off kilter by someone's crappy remark and the whole not really getting the 'done thing' of a place. I have these moment still where someone's unBritish response to something feels to me like complete bloody rudeness and I replay it in my mind for days trying to make sense of it.

I really get where you're coming from, if that helps!

RickJames Thu 04-Feb-16 17:15:15

Just wanted to say, as a fellow migrant, I feel your pain. Best thing I ever did was start teaching English - now I can have a group of 'them' hanging on my every word! Very good to counterbalance all the shit days xx

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 17:24:41

Ahhh alas everyone here speaks perfect English. I have nothing to teach them ..,

antimatter Thu 04-Feb-16 17:31:41

I really feel for you.
I wonder if you could perhaps find some hobby which isn't "native" to Sweden with a hope of meeting more outgoing people?

(Eastern European dancing folk group pops in mind... smile )

DreamingofSummer Thu 04-Feb-16 17:32:13

Have you thought about inviting people from the baby group round to a tea party or similar? Then they have to speak to you.

Unhappyexpat Thu 04-Feb-16 17:39:04

I stopped going to baby group blush it just made me so sad...

Inviting people found for tea is also Not Done here. A less friendly set of people I have never encountered.

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