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Feeling stuck...just need to vent

(64 Posts)
ExpatTrailingSpouse Fri 27-Jan-17 21:26:45

have posted before, just think i need a bit of a ramble (sorry it's going to be a long one) and any random words of wisdom on any one part... i've just gotten back from counselling and it's clear i can't stay in limbo forever.

very short summary backstory - found out about OW (supposedly only emotional affair, 1 year + long, lots of work trips with added vacations together culminating in a 2 week long europe vacation where he missed DS 2nd bday and lied saying it was all business) 2 weeks before moving cross country in the US. have one DS3, am on spouse visa (we are expat), basically tried for almost 2 years now to work things out. if we didn't have DS, i'd have been gone already. aside from OW, we had the usual couple arguments, but OW has now brought to forefront other issues as well. at counselling we go round and round in circles, he is given advice and specific goals/tasks, and he basically isn't coming up to scratch.

when i make it clear i'm struggling for reasons to say, his standard response is i love you and that he is trying and will do anything to try and make it work. but when told specific things to do - he only does them when he can be bothered or is told (and yes, nagged) to do them, or just doesn't do them at all. has a sudden burst of activity only if we've had a massive blowout and he thinks i'm packing up and leaving that day. then any effort dies off, and he goes back to his normal. mostly small stuff that wouldn't involve much effort on his part, but he's got lots of time and energy for things that benefit only himself.

also, at this point after regular counselling for more than a year, i don't believe his underlying "belief system" is compatible with mine. i gave up my phd and potential career prospects to support his career and move as a trailing spouse, looked after DS basically solo til i found out about OW, and am now in a shit immigration situation if i want to leave. so far, his attitude has essentially been a mixture of i should be happy because i get to spend all his money, he has (finally) taken on some of his parenting duties, and he didn't have sex with OW, so it's not even that big a deal.

i thought i had everything sorted and ready to go (leave) after massive argument and started making preparations, but further talking with immigration and family lawyers, and best advice was to hang about as he is about to be localized and his work will apply for green cards for us (DS is US born) - which would solve my worry about immigration issues if we split, job opportunities, and gaining custody of DS if we split (i.e. not sure i could get court to give me physical custody if i were to leave the US).

i could try and leave the US... but i'm not sure he won't fight me on taking DS out of the country. and i'm not sure i can win... and if i don't win, i'm fucked, because i may have to leave the country.

i could stay and stick it out for the green card and then split... but not sure i can handle it for that long (we need to live together til then). he is under the delusion that things are better and he is trying harder, he wants to stay together etc etc.

main benefits to staying where we are even if we split are that DS will have easier access to his DF, DF will be able to stay in his high paying career and hopefully provide good financial support for DS, lifestyle is cheaper here than the two other countries I could go back to (one being UK) - i could afford a house here by myself if i got a job, etc. otherwise, there's no real benefit for me.

i don't know why, but i'm also put off as i know he will blame me if i leave with DS, and he decides to follow and quit his job here, saying that i caused his career to derail (nvm that mine is completely derailed by being a trailing spouse) - counsellor said, if you're going to split, why do you care? and i don't have an answer. or if he doesn't move back - i'm taking his DS away from him.

in my head, we're done. in my head, we're pretty much co-habiting and co-parenting because of DS, and i'm just waiting out the whole immigration situation. if i could leave without the threat of having to take a custody fight to court in an unfriendly jurisdiction, i feel like i would. but at the same time, i have to admit i'm obviously in no hurry to end my currently "easy" lifestyle. i can't tell how he'd react if i made it clear there is no way toward reconciliation anymore, and because of the immigration situation, i feel stuck not being able to make that more clear.

so many more things i could go on about, but better leave it there. appreciate anyone's thoughts or comments.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Fri 27-Jan-17 21:28:55

ugh, also forgot to add - the current political situation in the US is also messing with my head. i am slightly worried about the way things look like they may be going... i don't know if that is unreasonable or not too. but adds to reasons for not wanting to stay.

Bluntness100 Mon 30-Jan-17 22:08:27

Ok, bit of a long post so I'm struggling a little.

He's having an affair, it's not just friends, you will split but he is as yet unaware of this?

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 22:11:05

bluntness - thanks for coming over. he already had the EA - we've been in regular counselling for over a year, and i just can't see it working out. i'd like to split now if i could, but the custody/immigration issues are clouding my head.

pocketsaviour Mon 30-Jan-17 22:20:29

Have you been to see a solicitor about your immigration/custody status?

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 22:25:37

pocket - yes, both to an international custody lawyer and immigration lawyer, and lawyers in the UK and the other country we are both citizens of. basically until i get equal status here, i'm dependent on his goodwill. unfortunately i live in a state where there is still a chance he will be able to get the court to order DS to stay in the US even if i lose my visa. i would never abandon my DS... so that leaves me in a sticky situation.

PaterPower Mon 30-Jan-17 22:38:32

Just use him / his money. Put some to one side so you've got a fighting fund / safety net and hang on for the green card. Cynical, possibly, but probably your best choice from a fairly rubbish set of options.

He's fucked her, as I'm sure you already know. You don't take a woman you're having an "emotional" affair with on a two week holiday without getting in their knickers (or at the least trying to). If he can't even tell the truth about that then he's really not got any respect for your intelligence (or for you full stop).

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 22:43:24

pater - have got my half of money safe, no worries there. but jurisdiction i'm in may take a jury trial to get custody because of good ol' boy style judges - we're talking costs of $50k and up... immigration lawyer basically said suck it up and be nice til you've got the green card in your hand. that still leaves the power balance on his side - if he decides he's had enough in meantime, he can have me taken off the application (it's through work), and i don't have a basis to apply on my own. without taking trump and new govt into account, application is something like 12-24 months long.

wibblywobblywoo Mon 30-Jan-17 22:45:33

What sort of time scale are we talking for you having to stick it out until you get sorted with GC etc.? Is it months or years? I'm guessing months in which case I'd say tough it out, engage as little as possible to keep stress levels to a minimum and get out of it what you need before you LTB.

I'm sure some will say that's wrong but it sounds like he's been very calculating and monumentally selfish, never mind unfaithful and you need to be selfish now. I do appreciate that it may not be something you can actually manage to do if all you want to do is be free of him but otherwise you are risking losing so much just because he's a twat and you need out. If you can tough it out until you have all the paperwork you need the future for you and DS will be a lot easier to handle.

Very best wishes OP flowers Stay strong

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Mon 30-Jan-17 22:47:39

Oh love flowers

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 22:52:58

wibblywobbly - lawyers said minimum 12 months, more is likely, at this point i'd guess close to 2. we'd be lucky to have it finished by end of 2018. possible delays if the first step is rejected and lawyers have to pursue different route, plus complications with timing (expiry of current visa), and the likelihood the change in govt is going to add in more time (hiring freeze, etc).

PaterPower Mon 30-Jan-17 23:17:07

I'm very conflicted in suggesting this - my exW took our kids 180 miles away (within the uk but it's 3.5-6 hours each way depending on accidents / traffic etc. I hate her for having done it. I hate seeing my kids so infrequently as a direct result of her selfishness and her need to control access.

However...

Is the second country you could settle in (not the U.K.) a signatory to the Hague Convention? That's the main bit of legislation that would force you to return the dc if you skipped with him and your H decided to pursue it legally

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 23:32:48

pater - yes, both countries Hague signatories, hence the need for his agreement to relocate. i'm not a complete asshole either, i wouldn't restrict his access to DS if he's making the effort. it's just that i can't count on HIM not to be the asshole and screw me over.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Mon 30-Jan-17 23:33:56

and actually there's a 4th country he has access to, that i don't, and he in retaliation in a counselling session said "well maybe i'll just take him to country 4!"

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 31-Jan-17 03:06:15

Oh my God Expat, what a situation. Awful. I have zero advice but am here to vent on / hold hands. Am in Canada so slightly more in your time zone probably too compared to all those snoozing MNers across the pond smile

Sticking it out sounds like the unpalatable way you have to go with the whole sorry mess. Ugh.

flowers and gin in case either helps!

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 03:30:50

Hearts - was trying not to post too many details on MN, but don't actually think too many irl will be on MN anyway... Canada is the other option. how i miss it, especially now...

Atenco Tue 31-Jan-17 03:50:54

I'm in Mexico, Expat, and no real knowledge of US immigration issues, but could you possibly get back into studying while you are waiting for the bloody green card? Or even take your Phd online?

Everything indicates that you are going to have to fake it till you make it, and having other things to think about apart from your child might help you get through.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 04:13:59

i've looked into finishing my phd, and i think it would be too hard now. first, i hardly made any progress trying to finish long distance before i had DS. now, so much time has passed, i have DS, and my supervisor is actually completely retired so i'd need to find a new co-supervisor and jump through some bureaucratic hoops. also, realistically looking at a future as a single mother, i don't want the lifestyle of a phd level job. and i'm honest enough to say that with all of life's changes, i've probably not got what it takes to finish it now - my priorities are completely different. i had a brief look to see if i could find a prof down here in the same area, but i was actually in a really niche area and haven't found anything yet.

i'd rather just get a job and start socking money away - i've got a work permit but that's tied to the visa which expires soon, and a continuing work permit depends on the green card process. and that all hinges on staying together.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 04:18:21

ugh, and it makes me sick to think of the pension contributions i've missed these past 5 years following H for his job... with his enormous pension that i will prob never see a penny of.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 04:19:27

also, did i mention i'm surrounded by rabid gun toting trump supporters?

SingingInTheRainstorm Tue 31-Jan-17 05:55:14

OP I really feel for you, I jumped across from other thread. Do you think you can stay 2 more years with what you have to put up with? If you left him are you thinking of living in the US for ease of custody, or considering your other 2 options? As I'm guessing if you live in Trump country you're also surrounded by militant Christians who wouldn't support you taking DS. From what I've seen they expect the women to be SAH slaves for their DH's and never go against his word.

It's tricky but I think for ease of life, you need to stay, with his habits you mentioned elsewhere do as I think you or someone else suggested, find a place to hide treats so he doesn't eat them in one sitting. Also think what other things are at the top of your 'I'm losing the will to live because...' list, try and make amendments there, or if you must, I'm going to get flamed for this, try and train him like a puppy.

He is undoubtedly in the wrong, he can say what he likes about OW, but it was an affair. But again guessing where you are, he can do pretty much what he wants and you should be, yes dear, no dear, 3 bags full dear.

In the meantime to vent your frustrations you could start a private blog. You could also hopefully keep this thread open so we can support you. Obviously you need to keep things low key, but that doesn't mean to say you can't come on here and say I'm so pissed off, upset, drained etc.

You could play happy families and go 'on holiday' to the UK and make it say 3 months or whatever the maximum time you'd be allowed to leave is. That time apart may get him to recheck his priorities. Although he may decide to emotionally connect (love that excuse) with another woman, which is sure grounds for a divorce.

Benefits of staying local, you can argue you were used to a standard of living and DH needs to maintain that. Plus he needs to provide for your son. You have up a lot to be with him, he should be bloody grateful. Where is this other country he can move to? Is it in Europe/Middle East/Australiasia?

It's vindictive for him to even suggest well if you leave I will take DS to 'X' that's simply spousal abuse. You are now scared to act as you're in a country with a tit for a President & government, plus a state where I'm assuming misogyny is normalised.

Personally I don't live in the country and I'm concerned for the future, can't imagine how you feel.

springydaffs Tue 31-Jan-17 07:25:22

Hope old is ds?

TitaniasCloset Tue 31-Jan-17 11:55:35

Oh gosh. What a bloody nightmare. I have no good advice as I know nothing about emigration law. Sorry you are going through all this flowers

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 13:56:35

springy - DS is 3

ExpatTrailingSpouse Tue 31-Jan-17 16:47:11

Singing - i could probably stick it out if i knew for sure i'd get that GC in the end. but that is entirely dependent on HIS goodwill. which if i'm not playing nicey wifey, is unlikely. and the main reason to stay in the US is really that there's still a chance i would lose a custody battle which leaves me up shit creek. it's probably not the worst state for crazy christian woman haters... but i've been warned by several people and have seen fb posts from mums groups that this is a particularly conservative jurisdiction. as the one lawyer warned me, if i went to court and got assigned judge X, i'd have no choice but to opt and pay for a jury trial instead. i've tried the training like a puppy thing. it took me a long time to realize that i wasn't being unreasonable in my requests for him to do stuff, like clean up his own piss off the floor (that's a whole other thread), clean up after himself in general, actually parent his own child, etc etc, because i was either being gaslighted or the disagreement would turn into a discussion about how i didn't ask him nicely enough and was so mean to him.

The affair would maybe have been surmountable, if he actually as genuinely remorseful and took responsibility. i got months of, well it was your fault you didn't know about her (for ludicrous reasons), you were rejecting me because you were looking after DS 24/7 so i felt lonely, you never want to do anything fun (despite basically doing whatever he wanted all the time), you don't give me enough sex (several times a week in reality, even with young DS) etc etc. counsellor thinks he is basically incapable of empathy - he hasn't once said to himself how does DW feel about what i did? all the times we were at his DPs house, never considered how shit i might feel about having to put on a facade (they don't know what happened), etc etc. even when pointed out, i don't think he truly gets it.

i'm starting to get worried about my eventual financial situation (and really long term, retirement), so i'm looking at jobs here to see what i can get. that will put travel out of the question for a while probably. i fear if i wait any longer to job hunt i will be really unemployable (the us market is not exactly friendly to women who have taken maternity leave etc). and i can't divorce until i have my own status here (GC or own work visa, which is less likely), otherwise i will need to leave the country immediately.

the standard of living here is quite good, and if i were able to get a steady job, it wouldn't change too much, i.e. i could afford a single family home, whereas in the UK or other it would be too expensive as a single parent. There is no spousal support in this state, and the child support is capped regardless of his income. so unless he agrees to provide more, there is no legal requirement to do so.

he has citizenship in the caribbean - he's just spouting crap to be an asshole. admittedly i have said i want to move out of the States, and really the only reason i haven't is because i'm worried about custody/immigration issues, so he was retaliating to that. (and i've said that, because he's complained about me not having a job, and spending all his money, and a bunch of other crap - my response is, well i can go ahead and get a job in a country where i have the legal right to work and live permanently where i don't have to depend on him for my visa status).

i went to see the counsellor because the politics was starting to get to me. it worries me how the future will pan out, not just for me, but also do i want to raise DS in this atmosphere? it's such a mind fuck - my neighbours are really lovely people, but at the same time knowing they really support trump and the things he's doing is really hard to reconcile.

whew that turned into a long rant... guess i needed to get it off my chest.

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