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Fear of not being able to go back

Fear of not being able to go back

Old Apr 27th 2015, 10:40 pm
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Default Fear of not being able to go back

I have searched the forum to see if this has been mentioned before and couldn't find anything.

I read some posts and wonder why I don't come on here more often as it is so refreshing to hear like minded views or at least intelligent alternatives.

I will admit before I came I would log on and think ... what a load of moaners what are they all talking about NZ is fantastic... well that has bitten me on the bottom!

I also apologise as I feel a wee bit selfish only jumping on here when I am down/lost and need a prop up.

Does anyone else lay awake at night thinking what on earth have we done? We sold a house in the UK that we couldn't afford to go back to now, my husband is self employed so the chances of getting a mortgage in the UK easily are slim (although haven't fully researched that) We have spent tens of thousands getting here, bought a house to get out of the terrible rental we were in (I like my house though) and still we lie awake every night unable to sleep.

We have family here and sadly struggle to assimilate with them, they too are expats from 50 years ago but have a big distaste for POMS (that acronym makes me cringe every time i hear it). We just find no one listens everyone dictates, so much so we have found that two very lively sociable people are now hiding themselves away not wanting to see anyone for fear of them bringing us down. I don't like speaking to my family on Skype anymore for they just do not understand the enormity of being the other side of the world and feeling lost.

We are fine when we are on our own exploring/climbing mountains seeing the country but just come crashing down when the reality of what we have done kicks in.

Things are so bad we are having to have counselling to try to resolve issues ....... however we are very conscious that going back may not fix things and may make it worse.

I just wondered how other people coped with these types of feelings (if anyone has them), I don't believe its homesickness its more than that way more.

Last edited by sazzle1979; Apr 27th 2015 at 10:42 pm.
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 12:24 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

sorry to read this and seems you have been unhappy since at least this time last year, after just being here 6mths?


Don't feel guilty about it, where else would you get honest opinions from people that might be going through the same things.

I agree about the sadness of selling property in the UK, so miss my UK house even though it was terrace and had a small garden. They just don't do houses here as well, or you could say they can't build them here like that, or if they did they would cost even more. You were probably in the same situation as us and could not afford to move unless you sold.

I'm not convinced I want to stay in NZ, especially with the possibility of having to duck under tables in my dotage, but I agreed with MrF that we would at least try and get citizenship before we make any moving plans, and I know we would not be able to go back to the area we were in and to be honest I think it would be a bad idea as it caused MrF problems and his desire to move was based on rat race and travel. We had been looking at moving within the UK but then he went and got a job offer here so that was that.

I think you could do well to try and find some people around you own age and like to do the things you do and realise that your family left UK so long ago their memories will completely different to yours and NZ would of been so different when they arrived to how it is now that they have just acclimatised to it so comparing it would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Hopefully the counselling will help
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

I dont understand why you think you cant go back.
You cant go back to what you had but you can definitely go back and be a damn sight happier that you sound right now.
Part of the reason my ex buggered off was because she wasn't happy in NZ (not enough men here for her apparently)
and that fuelled a whole heap of other stuff, so you can see where this could lead for you if you dont sort it out.

If things for me had been as bad as they sound for you, I would just go home.

Sounds like your choice is,
a) be here with nice house, no friends and lots of misery
or
b) Go home to what you know, buy a house thats not what you had but gain a chance of being happy again,

I'd go for (b) every time, stop punishing yourself, theres no shame in admitting you got things wrong.
I have done it myself in the past with a disastrous move to Australia, I went home and started over and was very happy
for the experience I had had. sure it cost me a lot but you can get that back eventually.

Go Home !!

Last edited by Justcol; Apr 28th 2015 at 12:59 am.
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 1:16 am
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Smile Re: Fear of not being able to go back

I can understand this desire to travel to and live in other places...but the UK?

Look its perfectly possible to move half way round the world and be equally miserable with slightly more sunshine. More than moving it often seems that changes in lifestyle are at least equally responsible for people enjoying the expat experience. Let moving to New Zealand be the moment you change your life. Some people grow a garden and keep chooks, take up a sport or rekindle their love of arts.
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 1:29 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

I have the same question as JustCol - why can't you go back????

It sounds as if the country isn't for you. Personally i'd go home. You've had 2 years here, just accept that it's not meant to be. At least you've given it a go, try and see that as the positive from your experience. We came, we saw, it wasn't meant to be

If you're too scared about the whole experience, how about a trip back to Blighty and see if you could settle back there??? Do you have the money to do that mind since that could be an expensive way of deciding whether to go home or not.

There's still mountains, views, rocks, green fields, wildlife and small populated areas in Blighty.
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 4:03 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Hi All, thanks for you responses.

Yes you are right, we could afford to go back but just not to the area we grew up in however this may be a positive thing as there are some lovely places in the UK that may offer us what we are looking for.

I guess we are just so terribly sad that this isn't working for us and shocked at some of the attitudes and opinions of those around us. Whilst I think we could stay a while in the knowledge we will return one day half of me thinks what is the point.

We do have some lovely friends in our town so we are not completely isolated so we try to make the best of things.

On paper it all seems so logical and easy to just up and return but emotionally this journey has drained us so very much and to come to terms with what we have lost on this journey is something else.

We are off to the UK at Christmas, will have had residency for 2 years in March (travel conditions lifted) so I think once that paper work is done we will make a firm decision.

I have dreamt of living in NZ since I was a little girl (and did so for a year in my early twenties) I guess it is sad realising the grass isn't greener.

Thanks again everyone
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 6:13 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Hello there! How long have you been here? I am reading in your posts above that you like your Kiwi home and you like the stuff you can do here (tramping etc) but you are struggling with the people, the loneliness, and the feeling of belonging - does that sound right? All three of those can be a strong indication that this isn't the place for you but also they can be a part of culture shock, which is a much longer process of coming to terms with emigrating than I think any of us expats imagine it will be. You can read the posting patterns of people on here and find that for some they cycle through the first stages in a matter of months, whereas for others it can take years. That lying in bed ruminating over it all is all too familiar You really have two choices and you should make a choice as soon as possible to spare yourselves the awful will-we-won't-we emotional rollercoaster that can be a marriage wrecking ball: make a plan to return to the UK as soon as possible OR commit to settling here. Unfortunately neither is actually a guarantee of happiness or a safeguard against waking up in the night in a decade time and wondering, "what the **** have we done?".

If you choose the former, it can be useful to start over in an area in the UK where you might get more of what you hoped to get from NZ or at least won't be three streets away from the home you once owned in a crappier rental. If you choose the latter, it can be a really useful tool to decide on a date in 1-2 years time at which point you will sit down and decide whether you are really here for good or not, which allows you to be here without feeling trapped. Being here and feeling like you are stuck can be terrifying so it can be weirdly helpful to settling to know with certainty that at such and such a date you will return to the UK come hell or high water if you haven't settled. In the meantime you put all energy possible into building a life here that you will choose over the UK.

I really feel for you and know exactly what those dreadful nights are like. We returned to the UK 28 months ago because we had been in NZ for 6 years and just felt we needed to return with our kids to where ultimately felt like home (we do love NZ ). To do this we sold our lovely Kiwi home and went through real heartache to make the decision and do the deed. So it was a dreadful blow to find within a few short (and very happy) months in the UK that for reasons we could not have anticipated our stay in the UK could not be permanent (too complicated and personal to explain on a forum but could not have been anticipated and was a very sad situation) and we had to return. Our kids were amazing through it all, trusting us and staying close to us and each other despite the distress of finding our local property market had gone crazy and we were unable to purchase back our old (and much loved) home when it came back on the market the day we landed. In fact, we weren't able to buy a home at all and have ended up in a small and rather sad little rental having to replace furniture etc from op shops and start from the very beginning. It has been very hard to come to terms with that we will not be returning to live in the UK, that we lost our Kiwi home, and that we broke the hearts of my family in returning and then snatching the kids away again so suddenly. My husband also became estranged from his parents and we have had to manage without their financial support, which we had come to rely on in the past couple of decades

So I know about lying in the dark with the gnawing feeling of fear, regret, and grief, and I'm really sorry you are going through it too. But slowly, slowly I am beginning to feel like we might make it through this (I always knew we would but am I only just beginning to feel it, iyswim); whatever you decide, hold on to the belief that you will too - the night is always darkest before the dawn
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 6:51 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Originally Posted by sazzle1979 View Post
Yes you are right, we could afford to go back but just not to the area we grew up in however this may be a positive thing
as there are some lovely places in the UK that may offer us what we are looking for.
For completely different reasons to yours I am also considering a move back at the moment
and after visiting 3 times in 4 years, like you, I couldn't return to the place I left (Manchester).
I quite fancy Norfolk, south wales or Devon. These are all places I wouldn't have considered
before coming to NZ
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 7:55 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Originally Posted by sazzle1979 View Post
Hi All, thanks for you responses.

Yes you are right, we could afford to go back but just not to the area we grew up in however this may be a positive thing as there are some lovely places in the UK that may offer us what we are looking for.

I guess we are just so terribly sad that this isn't working for us and shocked at some of the attitudes and opinions of those around us. Whilst I think we could stay a while in the knowledge we will return one day half of me thinks what is the point.

We do have some lovely friends in our town so we are not completely isolated so we try to make the best of things.

On paper it all seems so logical and easy to just up and return but emotionally this journey has drained us so very much and to come to terms with what we have lost on this journey is something else.

We are off to the UK at Christmas, will have had residency for 2 years in March (travel conditions lifted) so I think once that paper work is done we will make a firm decision.

I have dreamt of living in NZ since I was a little girl (and did so for a year in my early twenties) I guess it is sad realising the grass isn't greener.

Thanks again everyone
As Justcol mentioned, there's nothing stopping you going back to the UK. There are so many nice areas and the big advantage is that you can now pick the one area that ticks all boxes.
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Old Apr 28th 2015, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Originally Posted by sazzle1979 View Post
Hi All, thanks for you responses.

Yes you are right, we could afford to go back but just not to the area we grew up in however this may be a positive thing as there are some lovely places in the UK that may offer us what we are looking for.

I guess we are just so terribly sad that this isn't working for us and shocked at some of the attitudes and opinions of those around us. Whilst I think we could stay a while in the knowledge we will return one day half of me thinks what is the point.

We do have some lovely friends in our town so we are not completely isolated so we try to make the best of things.

On paper it all seems so logical and easy to just up and return but emotionally this journey has drained us so very much and to come to terms with what we have lost on this journey is something else.

We are off to the UK at Christmas, will have had residency for 2 years in March (travel conditions lifted) so I think once that paper work is done we will make a firm decision.

I have dreamt of living in NZ since I was a little girl (and did so for a year in my early twenties) I guess it is sad realising the grass isn't greener.

Thanks again everyone
I agree, go back. Just because you decided to leave the UK for somewhere new thinking it would be everything you wanted it so often isn't. Often you realize its the same crap different place.
We sold our house in the UK in 2006 and took our 3 kids to NZ forever! I was walking down the road one day when I realized if we stayed there we would never visit France and all the other places in Europe we had wanted to go to because we wouldn't have the money. We liked NZ and were happy enough but it wasn't the best thing ever for us. Why stay and try and make yourselves like it?
It took us 3 years to come home, were from the midlands and picked somewhere off a map in an area we had never visited. We secured a rental while still in NZ. It felt so much harder to come back but I have never regretted it. What an adventure we had for 6 years though and who knows what the future holds. We are renting here as we spent so much money going and coming back but hope to buy soon.
Onwards and upwards, make the decision and move forwards with the rest of your lives.
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Old Apr 29th 2015, 3:03 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

I have been in NZ for 10 years and haven't returned back yet. Always assumed I would have by now.

Last year I got sick and was in hospital in the ICU and I didn't know if I'd get out of the hospital let alone go back to England. I was a fit 44 year old and was playing in a football team with guys half my age, so I thought I was 10 foot tall and bullet proof until that point.

The thought that I might never go back to England crossed my mind and I am at peace with that idea. You have to live in the moment. The fact that you are living in a country on the opposite side of the planet means that there is a real chance you'll never go back. You really could get hit by a bus a lump of ice from the toilet of a 767 or anything.
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Old Apr 29th 2015, 11:15 am
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

But thats the whole point, the OP isn't "at peace" with it.
Its easy for those who are happy and content to say "live in the moment", but what if that moment is only bringing upset and confusion.
Its going to lead to a very sad and painful existence and no one needs that.
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Old Apr 29th 2015, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

We know exactly where your coming from.
Having lived in NZ for 4 years, we have always had that temporary feeling of being on a long holiday (which is great!) but that emptiness of not having any family support.

We have toyed with the idea of buying a house, but the housing market in Auckland is ridiculous and quite deflating. House prices are crazy for what you actually get, then there is the commute.
So we toyed with the idea of moving away from Auckland, but why move out of Auckland to somewhere else in NZ when I real desire is to move back to the UK and be part of wider family that we so dearly miss.

The problem we have had is the fear of making the wrong decision. NZ is a great place, we love the out door activities (especially the kids) can get involved in. The landscape and the scenery, the closeness to the countryside etc.

Ultimately though that doesn't fill the void and our hearts are moving us back to the UK, boiling it down to what is going to really make you happy. We just need to make a firm decision!

That where we are coming from, I think for you OP, make that decision to move and start planning. The rollercoaster of shell we, won't we will eat you up inside (trust us, we know)

thanks for reading.
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Old Apr 29th 2015, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Originally Posted by LukeandJo View Post
..... is the fear of making the wrong decision.
I think for many that are or remain unsettled in any way, the above is so true.

We don't move ourselves and our families with the expectation that the move will not be a good fit for us in some way. So it stands to reason there would be caution about another huge move back to your homeland.

We have some American pals here. Lovely people . Integrated on the surface. Very much part of the community and their church. However, for him it is not home. It has never felt home . A part of him feels outside looking in. Separated by a common language. So they will return in a month's time after over a decade here. Not an easy decision for them at all but now it is made, they are at peace with that.
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Old Apr 29th 2015, 10:14 pm
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Default Re: Fear of not being able to go back

Agree, as soon as a decision is made you can "make peace" and have that weight lifted that a decision has been made.

Turn the decision into an exciting opportunity to start again. Expats have the benefit of being able to do that! Moving countries provides great opportunity to reinvent ones self and take on new ventures.
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