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To move kids abroad to a country you dislike...

(104 Posts)
Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:09:47

Hi all,
I've changed my name for obvious reasons.
My husband is Norwegian and has lived here 10 years and had a good job. We have a toddler and a 4 year old.
I'm happy here, although we barely have any family as my parents also live abroad. However, DH has been recently made redundant and has now got a new job in Norway, which he is loving. Up to now, he's been coming back for weekend visits once or twice a month. This is obviously very upsetting for our little family as he is constantly leaving and it takes us a few days to settle back into our routine and to 'get used' to not having him around.

This was meant to be a short term plan until he found work in the U.K...he has now sprung it on me that he wants to stay there and wants me and the kids to move there.
For any possible Norwegians, I don't mean to offend, but I just really don't like Norway. The culture/weather/lifestyle/people/language is very different to here in the U.K. I don't speak a word of Norwegian and neither do my children. Our 4 year old has recently started a very good school and feeling settled.
Being apart it obviously no good for our family but I feel that tearing my kids away from a place they know and going to a foreign speaking country is just awful. Every time I'm in Norway, I feel extremely isolated and homesick and just can't wait to get home. DH arguing that we could have a better life there etc etc but just the thought makes me feel sick.
As of now, he's unwilling to leave his new job in Norway and not backing down.

HerRoyalNotness Mon 24-Oct-16 15:13:53

I would go with a timeframe. If you're not settled in 2yrs you head back. Norway is close enough you can pop home for visits frequently.

I'm currently having cross words with my DH as he would rather keep a working away Job for the next year than all of us move to a third country together. It's not a great setup to be living apart with small kids. As you say it's unsettling and all they understand is that their dad is not around.

pinkmagic1 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:17:14

Such a difficult one. Your children are young enough to adapt quickly and would easily pick up the language.
Have you spent any considerable time in Norway or has it just been the odd week here and there? Can you pinpoint what it is that you dislike so much about it?

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:28:12

Thanks, ladies. I feel like going with a timeframe would be very hard, mostly because of my son's schooling. The English speaking school is so expensive there and I wouldn't want him falling behind, if we decided to come back.
We'd also have to sell all our things and have a car on lease, stuff like that.
I've been going there for 2 weeks at a time for the past 13 years, once or twice a year, so I know it enough to know how much I dislike it.
Besides the obvious language barrier and how difficult that language is, I really dislike the small stuff. I don't like their tiny food shops with no selection at all, their weather, the unfriendly nature of a lot of people, the cost of living there and mostly how conforming everybody is here. They wear the same clothes, eat the same food, have the same hobbies, furnish their houses in the exact same way, etc. It's like a country of clones which is just so unlike what's encouraged here. I feel like the odd one out every time I'm there and so, so alone. Gives me a lump in my throat just thinking about spending the rest of my life there but at the same time, I'm sick of being alone with the kids here with no help and crying for a day every 2 weeks when he leaves

InTheDessert Mon 24-Oct-16 15:29:24

How long have you spent in Norway? Living somewhere is very different to visiting. You will find things to do, still have to do the supermarket shop, find Halloween costumes etc etc. Nothing will change the weather, but I have adjusted to the really high temperatures here to an extent I never thought I would. In some ways it is just "same shit, different place".

Have you looked at DHs salary, and what it would cost to live in what I believe is a very expensive country? It may not be financially viable for you all to live there.

Kids are remarkably adaptable. If you decide to go for it, and are positive about it, they are most likely to adapt, and it would give them a chance to learn their fathers language (after a year here, the kids know more Arabic than me).

Norway sounds good to me, having never visited, as its closer to home. But I'm currently living somewhere that gets pretty unanimous vilification on here!! The grass is always greener!!!!

Only you can make the final decision, but can you and DH make a list each of pros and cons, and see if one list is much longer than the other. You've already mentioned some positives - being with DH. How many jobs are advertised in his field at the moment in the UK???

Sorry, that's not a very coherent reply, more like a brain dump. I hope it is of some use.

agatha45 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:40:40

I have some experience of Norway ... I imagine living in Oslo or stavanger would be more like the uk ... More international & diverse. Also, I've always thought living there would be easier than visiting someone's home. The sports facilities for children are fantastic and the commuting times are short so there is potentially a lot more family time...
Good luck with your decision

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:41:09

Thanks, in the dessert, you do make a lot of valid points.
One thing I'm also very scared of is going there and hating it so much that I want to leave and that DH won't come with me and makes it very difficult for me to leave. If we had a mortgage there and the kids were in school and that little bit older, it would be even harder to come back, especially to nothing. I wouldn't even have anyone to stay with here while we found somewhere to live, etc.
Is it also bad that I don't want my kids to be 'foreign'? If we stayed there long enough, my kids would be Norwegian, not English, and probably never want to come back here. Even if DH and I separated, I would have to stay there in that country I dislike so much just so I could be in my kids lives.

Work wise, he's on a good salary there and could no doubt make more. I could work there as there would be his family to help babysit and kindergarten is very cheap there, not like paying for childcare here

kilmuir Mon 24-Oct-16 15:44:35

You are sounding a bit unreasonable
Your DH was made redundant but found another job and that's a good thing. Can't be easy for him to be separated from you and the children.
I would give it s go.

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:46:33

Thanks, Agatha. Yes, it's Olso and I know there are potentially a lot of expats there that I could meet but I would feel like that's all I'd want to do; as soon as I got there I would be desperately searching for British people to befriend so I didn't feel so alone. I've lived abroad before and never felt this way. The problem is Norway and besides the reasons I've said, I just don't know why I hate it so much.

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:49:06

Kilmuir, I know it sounds that way and my husband thinks so too. If we had no children, or perhaps just a baby, i would go. There's no way I could get my son back into the school he attends here, it's a very much sought after school with a waiting list. I don't want to wreck my kids heads, they should have stability and a place that feels like home where they can make lifelong friends.

misscph1973 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:54:50

I live in England in spite of not being English (I'm Danish). My DH is English. It's really hard for me to keep my DCs other native language (they were born in Denmark) active. There are lots of things I don't really like about England, and it took me a while to settle. The worst was the difference with childcare and schooling. But there are also lots of positive things about England that I appreciate.

I can understand that you worry that your children will be more immersed in Norwegian culture than you could ever be. But if you do move, you do have the option of supporting your children's other culture, ie. the English. You can still sing happy birthday in English, have Christmas on the 25th of December etc. English expats tend to find each other abroad. Also you would presumably go back to England at least once a year for holidays.

Imagine what it's like for your DH that his children are "foreign" to him. It would do your family good to support both of your DCs nationalities. It's important that they know their roots.

I am surprised that you have visited Norway so much and that you really dislike it so much. My sister lives in Norway and I have visited a few times. It sounds to me that you only focus on the things in Norway you don't like and that you are not open to anything that you might like.

I think you need to give it a chance. It's your DH's job and native country, and you don't seem to appreciate that at all.

SpotTheDuck Mon 24-Oct-16 15:56:14

We came close to relocating abroad a couple of years ago, so I've thought a lot about these issues.

If you just don't like a country, after spending a reasonable time there, then honestly I don't think that will change.

Obviously it would be better for your family to be together, but if you dislike Norway so much I suspect you'd feel very isolated and unhappy there, and it could ultimately affect your mental health. Deprsssion would have a much worse impact on your children than their father working away, especially these days when it's so much easier to keep in touch with Skype etc.

Your DH has his reasons for wanting to be in Norway, but your reasons for wanting to stay here are just as important and valid.

You're also right to worry that if you move, and then the relationship breaks down, he could potentially prevent you from leaving with the DCs so you'll be stuck there.

In your shoes I'd stay here. You don't want to move, you think it would be bad for you which ultimately affects the children, and you're just not going to. Tell this firmly to DH, and he can then make his decisions about what to do.

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 16:06:15

MissCPH, thanks for the input. I know that Norwegian is an important part of my kids roots and you're right, I tend to focus on only my British side.
In my defence, I told my husband before we got married and before we had kids that I wouldn't be willing to move to Norway so if he wanted to go back home, I wasn't the one for him. I've always been really clear about this and when he originally took the job in Norway, he promised me he wouldn't want to stay and suggest us going there.
I 100% understand why he'd want to go there; it's his home; all his family are there and he has a job.

Spottheduck, thanks. I do feel like I could potentially get very depressed there. If I feel so lonely and disconnected after only 2 weeks, I can't really imagine how bad I'd feel after a year.

InTheDessert Mon 24-Oct-16 16:06:30

If DH was to find a job in the UK, would you staying the same place??? Is this about moving to Norway, or moving away from where you are?? Some of what you are saying will be relevant if you you move to Oslo, Oxford, or Oxted if DH was to get a new job. Moving, within a stable family environment, won't wreck your kids heads. It can be an amazing experience to open their eyes to the wider world around them. But it doesn't actually sound like you want to do this, at which point it becomes a bad idea. But how are you going to balance that with the kids wanting to see their Dad, and the tears when he goes back to work after a visit?? Something is going to have to give somewhere. DH is saying he needs to give this job a go, and wants to stay in Norway. You are saying the family needs to be together in the UK. Those are not mutually agreeable possibilities.

AppleMagic Mon 24-Oct-16 16:08:55

I've moved abroad twice for dh's job and would never go to a country I wasn't keen on. Especially one where I didn't speak the language and where dh had a massive natural advantage in building a social network.

You're also right to worry that if you move, and then the relationship breaks down, he could potentially prevent you from leaving with the DCs so you'll be stuck there.

Plus this is a legitimate fear. I think there is a poster on mumsnet in this exact position.

Lake2 Mon 24-Oct-16 16:12:58

I would be willing to move elsewhere if it meant being together as a family, as long as it was an English speaking place. I feel like the kids could adjust a lot quicker if they could speak to other children etc.

user1474627704 Mon 24-Oct-16 16:13:00

I would go with a timeframe. If you're not settled in 2yrs you head back. Norway is close enough you can pop home for visits frequently

The children are young enough that in 2 years time they will be considered to be domiciled in Norway. If OP wants to leave and her husband wants to stay, he will be able to keep them in Norway with him.

He took a job under one understanding, and now wants to change everything. I would not dream of moving to a country I didn't like, didn't speak the language, children already settled...and all because he wants you to? Not a chance.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 24-Oct-16 16:16:04

Your kids are 'foreign', they're half-Norwegian. On that point I think you are being utterly utterly U. They'll still be your kids, no matter where they live.

Zaurak Mon 24-Oct-16 16:16:59

do not move there unless you are a hundred percent sure. once the children are deemed habitually resident there you cannot take them out of the country without his permission

I'm resident in Sweden and thankfully have a happy marriage but there are several women on a Facebook group I'm on who are this exact position - they moved, husband shacks up with someone new or just won't go back home and they are stuck - unable to find a job because the Scandinavian countries are really hard to work in unless you are totally fluent and have the correct degree. No maintenance because if you split here it's 50:50 and no CM. they end up skint, alienated from the kids as the in laws push them out.

do not do it! do not do it for 'a trial' either. Children can be deemed habitually resident after just a few months. Please think very carefully

iPost Mon 24-Oct-16 16:18:48

I would go with a timeframe. If you're not settled in 2yrs you head back

A timeframe is meaningless unless when it expires the OP is 100% sure her husband will

a) accept it and move back to a country he doesn't seem to want to be in.


b) will at least allow the children to move back to the UK with their mum.

If neither A nor B come to pass, the OP could end up stuck in a place she doesn't want to be, in order to live in the same country as her kids.


He has plonked a unilateral decision on you. Out of the blue. With no discussion.

You know him. I don't. But should you decide to live in his country, IMO the above is not exactly a comforting feature of a man who will ultimately be in a position to make unilateral decision, should he so choose, about wether you can go home with your children, or not.

I cannot tell you what you should do.

But I can tell you what I would do. I have seen too many trapped women in the last three decades of of being an immigrant. No question, I'd sit tight. I'd cross a national boarder, establish habitual residency there for my children, with a man who had presented me with a fait accomplis readily as I would repeatedly stick a long, sharp stick in each of my eyes.

iPost Mon 24-Oct-16 16:20:33

X-posted mucho

cansu Mon 24-Oct-16 16:21:14

No I wouldnt go. If u went and disliked it you would be stuck. You would not be able to bring kids back without your dh agreement. You would be completely trapped. Say no and mean it. Your dh knows you dislike it. Moving there was not on the cards when he accepted he is taking the piss.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 24-Oct-16 16:21:44

Is it also bad that I don't want my kids to be 'foreign'? If we stayed there long enough, my kids would be Norwegian, not English

Errrrr they are half Norwegian whether you like it or not.

ANewStartOverseas Mon 24-Oct-16 16:22:41

Ok as a mum whose children are bicultural, I would like to say that Norway is NOT a foreign country to your dcs. It's their country, just as much as Britain.
I'm actually surprised that your dh never tired to speak his language to them. It must be hard for the dcs when they go and visit their family there.
As for the language, I'm afraid I'm off the view that it's quite normal to make an effet to learn your partner's language (regardless of whether you are planning to go and live there or not)

Zaurak Mon 24-Oct-16 16:22:54

And yes, if you don't like it now, you'll never like it. I love dh to bits but the clone thing drives me crazy. No individuality, no eccentricity, and no fresh bloody vegetables. I have struggled terribly moving here and I moved willingly.

Don't do it. There's a very real chance you could lose your kids.

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