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3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Old Jan 28th 2020, 9:43 pm
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Default 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Hey everyone,

It's my 3rd year in NZ and I've experienced regular bouts of unhappiness and homesickness - there doesn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel and I'm wondering whether anyone else has experienced similar feelings? Just looking for some general advice on my situation and interested in whether anyone has overcome similar....

I moved here in 2017 to join my Kiwi partner. We met at work in London and he was coming to the end of his OE; ultimately he wanted to move back to be with his large extended family. I have never lived abroad before, but am very open minded so of course wanted to give it a go for the sake of the relationship. I'm originally from Manchester and have a large family spread all over the UK - despite the train rides we are all very close. The pull to go home is now unbearable but my partner doesn't want to go back to the UK, and in fact, he can't as we aren't married... I love him very much but I wonder whether I can mentally survive here and what my identity is now.

So what is wrong? Although we are very lucky and managed to buy a house in Auckland 2 years ago, I took a huge hit on salary and career when I moved here. I lost around 40k GBP a year and that has hurt me much more than I expected in terms of freedom of choice. I was often headhunted for roles in the UK, but here I'm left feeling like I graduated 10 years ago and have no valuable skills (which certainly isn't true). I just can't seem to break through the "lack of kiwi experience" barrier. I resent the high cost of living and backwards processes here. I worry about healthcare here and poor access to the same drugs and treatment as back home (lots of cancer in my family). I used to travel abroad every few months from the UK and loved exploring the world, we just can't afford to do that from here. I've had no visitors to NZ yet in the time that I've been here - family in the North of England will probably never have the disposable income to be able to visit. Many of them simply can't face the 24 hour + travel and that saddens me. I haven't met some of my nieces and nephews yet which also feels wrong. It's not enough to go back every two years. I'm not and never have been an "outdoorsy girl", and so get little joy from beaches, walks, scenery etc. I try to keep up with my UK hobbies here and have done things like join the Auckland film society, attend fashion week, go to painting classes...it all seems so behind the times and small scale. I really miss the rich culture of the UK and Europe. It sounds ridiculous, but the buildings, history, social scene, fashion, choices...they all give me such stimulation that missing all of it makes me feel increasingly trapped here. My partner simply doesn't understand that, and has expressed that I sound spoiled when I mention something as small as the architecture of a place. I hate the winters here. They're cold and without the hope and joy of the Christmas period. Although we've taken steps to heat our 1900's bungalow home, we are fast running out of savings which will get it up to the standard I am used to. I've made a few friends, mainly other Brits, many of them who are deciding to move home once they start a family. Friendships feel even more transient than in London which is shocking. I had a decent group of solid friends at home. Although some of my partners friends are lovely, I feel as though there is an unspoken dislike of Brits and I'm tired of the "toughen up" advice I receive when I'm honest about how I feel living here. I'm not sure what joy I do get out of being here. I don't understand what is so fabulous about it.

What is right about being here? My boyfriend who I love dearly.

I'm 34 this year, my partner 36. We are probably on the cusp of marriage and children. I'm worried that if I mention all of the above to him, the proposal won't come and our otherwise strong relationship will be at risk. The truth is, I cannot imagine raising children here and in my heart would rather move back to the UK. I feel as though my kids would be missing out on art, culture, news, the world in general by growing up in NZ....not to mention they'd miss out on having a relationship with my large family. I worry that I'd be at massive risk of post-natal depression if we went ahead and started a family here - I already feel so cut off. I worry that we wouldn't be able to afford to live a decent lifestyle and that trips home to the UK would be sacrificed. When my parents start to age, what will happen? I've already missed some huge milestones like my sister's 30th, Dad's 60th... The truth is I would never have even bothered visiting NZ if it wasn't for my boyfriend. I just don't like it.

I feel like I have three options:

1. Stay here and work even harder to build a life, hoping that it'll work, and trying to take my happiness from the relationship alone in the meantime
2. Convince my partner to try life in the UK again, get married and move back there
3. Partner isn't interested in moving back, and I make the decision to split and salvage some life back at 34

Has anyone overcome this type of dilemma?
Thanks in advance!





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Old Jan 29th 2020, 2:42 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Been through all of this and more my friend. And, I wish someone had told me what I needed to hear when I was going through it.
I wanted certain things and I gave them all up for love, which in the end, wasn't enough. It wore me down until I was an empty shell of myself. I worked really hard on myself and I chose to go after the things I wanted, and my relationship didn't last the distance. It was the best thing I ever did, to choose what made ME happy, not him, not anyone else. I'm 36 and it has taken me just over 6 months to rebuild what I thought I had lost. Don't stay somewhere where you can't make it work on your own terms. Life is too short.
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Everything in the end, will be ok. I promise.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 4:44 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Crikey that's a tough one. I would be inclined to agree with Ange. It sounds like you are deeply unhappy and it's just not working for you but not through lack of trying.

I think you need to have a good heart to heart with your partner and be brutally honest with him. He may surprise you with his response, he may not. Once it's all out in the open, have a good long think about what you want to do and go from there. You could always seek professional advice from a counselor, sometimes it helps to figure out your feelings from someone who doesn't know you or who isn't involved in your situation.

Hope things improve for you soon!
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 6:36 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

It's super tough for all of us working through the changes in work culture, the cut in wages, the lack of friend etc as most of us go through that and I can only sympathise and nod my head in agreement recognising the issue you face at work etc as just being fairly typical of life in NZ. However, it must be doubly tough when when your other half is a Kiwi. It's a common theme through dozens of posts on this 'ere forum and among people that I know in real life; it is bloody hard going when you can't rely on your other half to see it through the same critical lens or even offer any comfort to you during what is / has been a huge period of adjustment. What is life if you can't have a good old whinge and subjective, honest heart to heart, to laugh or cry about what's not so great about living in NZ. Unfortunately it's ingrained from birth in Kiwis that NZ is the be all and end all and very few will ever see, far less acknowledge any shortcomings. That typical harden up / suck it up princess type of talk certainly does not help.

You need to have it out with him, lay it all out and let him know how unhappy you really are and see where that goes; try to get yourself onto an even keel before further talk of marriage and kids as that will just complicate matters further.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 9:44 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Unfortunately, your situation (as others have pointed out) is all to common in this forum, in fact we saw a similar case posted about a week or two ago. You are far from alone with this experience.

I think the three options you outlined sums it up but regrettably none of them are good or easy.

You have given NZ an honest go. Three years is putting in a lot of hard yards. It is not from lack of effort on your part.

I think option #1 is not really viable for you. I think you probably need to head for the exit and the question is, if your partner comes or not.

Marriage counseling is a great idea. If he refuses or is unmovable, I think you need to think hard and critically about whether to just leave.

Sorry. Good luck.

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Old Jan 29th 2020, 10:09 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Originally Posted by northern_anon View Post
I'm worried that if I mention all of the above to him, the proposal won't come and our otherwise strong relationship will be at risk.
If your relationship is as good and strong as you say, then talking to him about how you're feeling shouldn't put anything at risk. I can't imagine considering marrying somebody that I couldn't talk to when feeling so unhappy, if he cares about you then of course he'll listen and hopefully consider your needs and compromise. He may not agree to move to the UK, but I think an open and frank discussion about just how miserable you are and how you don't want to stay in NZ is essential.
​​​​​​​
Originally Posted by northern_anon View Post
my partner doesn't want to go back to the UK, and in fact, he can't as we aren't married
As an aside, you don't need to be married to be able to sponsor him for a visa, if he'll agree to give it a try.
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Old Jan 29th 2020, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Originally Posted by northern_anon View Post

I really miss the rich culture of the UK and Europe. It sounds ridiculous, but the buildings, history, social scene, fashion, choices...they all give me such stimulation that missing all of it makes me feel increasingly trapped here.
,.

It doesn't sound ridiculous, it sounds very familiar. These things together with the atrocious climate were what had us on the plane back to Europe 3 days after I retired in Toronto.


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Old Jan 30th 2020, 12:33 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
,.

It doesn't sound ridiculous, it sounds very familiar. These things together with the atrocious climate were what had us on the plane back to Europe 3 days after I retired in Toronto.

I have been here in NZ for 15 years. I have issues with life in NZ for many a reason, but my children are here and I made my bed so I need to lie in it, to be accountable and get over ‘my issues’ with Aotearoa. NZ does also have huge positives for me, so my shite bucket is fortunately outweighed by my ‘happy bucket’. Which is nice.

I am very close to getting a good NZ pension, so there are many reasons for me to stay.

You by contrast are young, not been here long and I feel your unhappiness. You wrote your post with so much feeling and passion. I get you entirely!

I get the feeling that the sub text in one or two replies are ‘Go home’. I would, with or without him. Given what you have written. Obviously I guess you would like him to return to Blighty with you, but if he will not or cannot you should go back, just purely on what you have written.

I have learned that one’s life is what REALLY matters, not a relationship, well not a relationship if it is a relationship in a country where you appear to be deeply unhappy. New relationships will happen. What is important is YOUR life. What is important is YOUR happiness. You only have one life.

Life is all about compromise. But from what you have written it sounds like you will be over compromising if you stay here and that could end up leading to you feeling resentful, go home and be properly happy. With or without him.

Whatever you do I wish you the very very best of luck
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 2:32 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Go home. It clearly isnt working for you.

one word of caution, if you go back and he comes with you, do allow enough time for him to settle before it gets more complicated with children, otherwise if in a further two years you both decide it is unbearable being away from respective families one of you WILL be trapped, or the kids will suffer...
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 10:36 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

I tend to take a selfish and simplistic view of these situations.
Do yourself a favour and go home. There'll be tears, but if you don't make yourself happy no one will do it for you.
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 1:06 pm
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

You don’t need sympathy and you don’t need daddy to look after you you’re a grown up. Take charge of your life. Make some life Goals and deliver on them, your starter for seven:

Move to a city centre apartment (No body under 60 lives in a bungalow)

Gym (Get some compliments and some confidence)

Sport (Win)

Party (student style, kids will crush you so do it now)

People (Don’t see anybody you wouldn’t shag the arse off regardless of sex)

Places (If you don’t like it don’t go back)

Fashion (Buy a sewing machine, own it)

Sort you out family and career will sort themselves out. Nobody personally or professionally likes a depressive. My ex-wife is a depressive and refused to get help. I was diagnosed with secondary depression and got the help I needed, but she still would not get help. Mine is not a story you want to be telling so get some help.

P.S. Unless someone is shooting at you this is not the site to complain about locations.
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

only you can truly know what you are capable of doing, been here 8 years and I understand completely the comment about being a shell of my former self and the depression comments, although the little white pills have not really helped. I have kids that are at stages of their lives that to move them AGAIN, I think would be more damaging and as a parent my responsibilities are to them first and foremost.
Promises are said and broken so as others have said do something now before you have the added responsibility of children.

You say you are waiting for a marriage proposal, hey girl its 2020 you can do the asking but before any proposals you need to suss out what you really want in life, maybe go back yourself for 6months and see how you feel.
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Thanks for all the honest responses everyone. We had an open chat about the way I'm feeling and my bf's main concern about leaving is his dad. His dad is single (only 60 mind you and in good health) and he is worried about leaving him as he's "all he's got". My boyfriend has a huge Indian family here who would be there for his father. I suspect that if he actually asked his dad, he'd tell him to go ahead and live his life and not worry about him at this point.

On the plus side, he said he will consider the UK but that it is a very hard decision. We've agreed to go back to the UK in July, and see how we feel after that. I was clear that I'll have to call time on things if I still feel the same way at the end of this year. I think he understands, but I'm really hoping it doesn't come to us splitting. I've also suggested we go to a therapist in the meantime. I really don't want to lose the relationship and I wonder whether he is hearing my concerns properly and think it might help to hear things from an objective person. Equally, it might help me to hear some home truths and have any of my own issues flagged by somebody else to give us the best fighting chance.

In the meantime, I'll keep trying as best I can to integrate and see the positives. Thanks for all of the food for thought!
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Old Jan 30th 2020, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Originally Posted by northern_anon View Post
Thanks for all the honest responses everyone. We had an open chat about the way I'm feeling and my bf's main concern about leaving is his dad. His dad is single (only 60 mind you and in good health) and he is worried about leaving him as he's "all he's got". My boyfriend has a huge Indian family here who would be there for his father. I suspect that if he actually asked his dad, he'd tell him to go ahead and live his life and not worry about him at this point.

On the plus side, he said he will consider the UK but that it is a very hard decision. We've agreed to go back to the UK in July, and see how we feel after that. I was clear that I'll have to call time on things if I still feel the same way at the end of this year. I think he understands, but I'm really hoping it doesn't come to us splitting. I've also suggested we go to a therapist in the meantime. I really don't want to lose the relationship and I wonder whether he is hearing my concerns properly and think it might help to hear things from an objective person. Equally, it might help me to hear some home truths and have any of my own issues flagged by somebody else to give us the best fighting chance.

In the meantime, I'll keep trying as best I can to integrate and see the positives. Thanks for all of the food for thought!
Unfortunately I can't help you as I haven't been in your shoes but there have been some good replies on this thread.
I do agree your partner having a good talk to his dad may be a good thing, it might be his own fears of leaving and his father might see it different. 60 is still quite young and dad will probably be living it up for quite some time yet! I'm in my 50's and my oldest girl is nearly 22 and moved away from me (then I moved countries!) a couple of years ago. Most of us parents want our kids to spread their wings and live their lives, I'm sure he's the same.

A big red flag for me is him not listening to your concerns. Relationships are a two way street and it shouldn't all be you making the compromises. You both need to meet each other half way, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that!

I really hope you can work it out but I'm also of the opinion that if after 3 years you feel like this, it's possible you'll still feel like this and should reassess and go home. Going for a trip is a brilliant idea. Life is too short and you're still young.

Good luck with it all

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Old Jan 31st 2020, 12:44 am
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Default Re: 3rd year in & unhappy - will this change?

Sorry, that was meant to be a ❤
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