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What to do when..............

What to do when..............

Old Feb 19th 2008, 3:51 am
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Default What to do when..............

One spouse wants to go back to the UK, and the other wants to stay or can`t leave?

Hi, my wife and i currently live in the USA. I`m English and she`s American. I`ve been here for just over 1 year and have tried really hard to fit in here, but just can`t. Sometimes i feel as though i `m fine living here , but then something out of blue sets the severe homesickness off again. I don`t dislike the USA, but i love the UK more. That`s where all my family and friends are, other than my wife. Also, what makes thing`s harder is that my wife cannot leave the US due to having a child from her first marriage who absolutely refuses to leave the US, and obviously i can`t come between my wife and her child. I know that the only real choices i have are 1, stay and be unhappy in the US or 2, go back to the UK without my wife, and probably divorce. Has anyone else been in a similar situation to this or can anyone else think of any other choices?

Thanks.

Gaz
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 4:17 am
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Default Re: What to do when..............

I haven't been in that situation, so cannot give any concrete advice. However I feel for you and hope there is some way you can find a happy middle ground.... I expect others on BE will have some good advice.

Chin up and hang in there..
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 6:55 am
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Default Re: What to do when..............

That is sh1te! How old is the child - I only ask as if child is not a little one maybe you could reach a compromise in that you stay in US until child is old enough to travel by themselves back and forth. Feel sorry for you really do that is a tough one.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 8:27 am
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Gaz you have my sympathies!

I am married to an Aussie - been married for almost 35 years now and the kids are grown and gone. He wont go back and live in UK and, quite frankly, because of the poor value of the Aussie dollar we would be a bit behind if we went back. However I wake up every morning and just feel a sense of despair because I am stuck here, here where most people on this board would kill to get to! I hate it and some days all I want to do is sit and sob, other days I just bust myself and keep myself so busy that I dont have time to think about it.

Bottom line for me is that I am not going anywhere without DH - not permanently anyway - after all I have got him almost trained (apart from his stubborn determination to stay in Aus that is!). I figure if the alternative are living with the man I love in a place I hate or living on my own (likely) in a place that I love then there is no contest, people come first every time.

I survive by taking trips home every year - pretty much on demand although I do try and limit them to at least 10 months apart. This year it will be July and hopefully December though. Going home doesnt solve it entirely but I do love the time I am there and I feel like myself again and not some shallow version of me. Coming back to Aus is really hard - I come back for DH as he usually wont come with me but if he werent here then I wouldnt be coming back.

It works for me but I realize that it wont work for everyone. Is there any chance of a sabbatical or short term work exchange just to get things moving? A short term separation may be liveable with. Sooner or later your stepchild will want their own life and move on so at some stage your wife is going to have to bear that anyway.

Good luck with sorting it out.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

You will just have to try to hammer something out with the childs father. My step daughters dad got a little finnicky of late about letting her go to the UK with us, though he has previously been fine with the idea. Fair enough, we all get along okay and I see him being worried about such a big decision. Some of the points we made are as follows:

The US economy is going to shite.
Most US kids never get a chance to experience Europe and the UK.
Free health care.
Cheap college education when the time comes (cheap compared to the US)
He will no onger have to pay maintenance (though this is not a large concern for my step daughters dad, but I have read a lot of cases on UK-Yankee where this alone has swung it).

On top of all that we have promised to sign any documents legaly binding us to bring her back for summer holidays, to meet at least half the travel costs and to have him visit us during other holidays such as christmas, easter etc (and also kick in some of the travel costs here).

The most important thing is convincing him that you have no intention of disappearing with his child and that you understand how important it is that a child is able to maintain a relationship with his/her biological father. At the end of the day his no means (legally) NO, so compromise is the only way if the child is young. Of course, not all fathers are as willing to compromise as my step daughters - some are outright SOB's. So, good luck and let us know what happens.

EDIT: Apols if I misunderstood your post OP. Do you mean the child refuses to leave or the childs father?

Last edited by Silly Sod; Feb 19th 2008 at 12:36 pm.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 1:39 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by quoll View Post
Gaz you have my sympathies!

I am married to an Aussie - been married for almost 35 years now and the kids are grown and gone. He wont go back and live in UK and, quite frankly, because of the poor value of the Aussie dollar we would be a bit behind if we went back. However I wake up every morning and just feel a sense of despair because I am stuck here, here where most people on this board would kill to get to! I hate it and some days all I want to do is sit and sob, other days I just bust myself and keep myself so busy that I dont have time to think about it.

Bottom line for me is that I am not going anywhere without DH - not permanently anyway - after all I have got him almost trained (apart from his stubborn determination to stay in Aus that is!). I figure if the alternative are living with the man I love in a place I hate or living on my own (likely) in a place that I love then there is no contest, people come first every time.

I survive by taking trips home every year - pretty much on demand although I do try and limit them to at least 10 months apart. This year it will be July and hopefully December though. Going home doesnt solve it entirely but I do love the time I am there and I feel like myself again and not some shallow version of me. Coming back to Aus is really hard - I come back for DH as he usually wont come with me but if he werent here then I wouldnt be coming back.

It works for me but I realize that it wont work for everyone. Is there any chance of a sabbatical or short term work exchange just to get things moving? A short term separation may be liveable with. Sooner or later your stepchild will want their own life and move on so at some stage your wife is going to have to bear that anyway.

Good luck with sorting it out.


You really wanna return here after 35 years in Oz?
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Thanks for your replies.

Just to clarify my position.

My step daughter is 9yrs old, she`s extremely attached to her Grandparents,so doesn`t want to move to the UK. Her father,(my wife`s first is dead so there`s no legal reason why she can`t leave the USA). I have really tried to beat the homesickness, but i just can`t seem to shake it off. My wife knows how i feel, and it`s caused conflict between us sometimes. It`s kind of weird cos in my late teens and twenties i did a lot of backpacking thru Europe, Asia and OZ and was hardly ever homesick. What makes thing`s worse is that i`ve just started a new job, and this being the USA, means i can`t take any holiday for the first 6 mths, and only then i can take 1week! So, i can`t even go visit the UK. I did go visit in Oct2007, and it was wonderful, i didn`t even mind the cold weather, especially as we were living in Florida at the time. I was planning a trip over in March 08, but with the new job, that`s obviously off now.
I guess, i just to work out what i really want. IE USA= wife,marriage,stepdaughter,dire homesickness or UK= home, sense of belonging, the UK, family and friends and probable divorce.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Quoll,

Why doesn`t your husband want to move to the UK? Especially as he`s seen you so unhappy in OZ?

In my case, there`s no chance of a short term separation. My wife told me it`s all or nothing.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by gazza64 View Post
Thanks for your replies.

Just to clarify my position.

My step daughter is 9yrs old, she`s extremely attached to her Grandparents,so doesn`t want to move to the UK. Her father,(my wife`s first is dead so there`s no legal reason why she can`t leave the USA). I have really tried to beat the homesickness, but i just can`t seem to shake it off. My wife knows how i feel, and it`s caused conflict between us sometimes. It`s kind of weird cos in my late teens and twenties i did a lot of backpacking thru Europe, Asia and OZ and was hardly ever homesick. What makes thing`s worse is that i`ve just started a new job, and this being the USA, means i can`t take any holiday for the first 6 mths, and only then i can take 1week! So, i can`t even go visit the UK. I did go visit in Oct2007, and it was wonderful, i didn`t even mind the cold weather, especially as we were living in Florida at the time. I was planning a trip over in March 08, but with the new job, that`s obviously off now.
I guess, i just to work out what i really want. IE USA= wife,marriage,stepdaughter,dire homesickness or UK= home, sense of belonging, the UK, family and friends and probable divorce.
I hear you on the job thing - the 1 or 2 week a year thing is definately brutal for an expat. My first 2 1/2 years here as a resident, I didn't leave the US once for those reasons - and the fact that you just can't get away for a break really doesn't help matters. Over the last year, I've been self employed travelling globally, and while that has its downfalls too; just before Christmas, I worked back in the UK for 5 weeks and it was great. I'm actually heading back for another 3 weeks on Friday to finish out the contract. However, I don't actually want to move back to the UK permanetly (on balance I do quite like life here in the US) - but going back there for a bit has been/is very theraputic.

I think an extended trip back to the UK would probably do you no end of good with living here in the States - but how you get round the job thing, I don't know - any chance you could take a month off unpaid or something? If not now (as you've just started), within the year? Good luck with it, I know its awkward. The other possibility would be to get some visitors to come and see you of course.

Last edited by Dan725; Feb 19th 2008 at 6:43 pm.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Dan,

There`s virtually no hope of me getting time off, paid or unpaid for at least 6mths.
I have thought about going to the UK for an extended break, but my wife has insisted that if i do go that`s the end of the marriage. She`s ok with short 1- 2 week holiday`s, just not anything longer.
My wife and i have talked about moving to the UK, but not until my step daughter goes to college, which given her age at the moment is 9 yrs away.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 8:51 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by Londonuck View Post
You really wanna return here after 35 years in Oz?
29 years in Australia - I sure do want to return! Would go this afternoon if I could!

No simple answer there for you Gazza is there? Marriage or a sense of belonging. I can see that a kid would be attached to their grandparents but US is so much closer and cheaper to get to that your SD could do quite regular holidays to the grandparents from UK. However that does seem to be a deal breaker for your wife at the moment.

My Dh does know that I am unhappy but his rationale is that if we went to UK he would be unhappy and he has just what he wants here. To some extent even staying in Canberra is a compromise because if I dropped off the perch tomorrow he would be selling up and moving into the bush at the arse end of nowhere to be self sufficient. I refuse to move out into fly ridden dusty bush away from any sort of amenities = a flush loo is a non negotiable! So at the moment we are both compromising to some degree.

Last edited by quoll; Feb 19th 2008 at 9:00 pm.
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by gazza64 View Post
Thanks for your replies.

Just to clarify my position.

My step daughter is 9yrs old, she`s extremely attached to her Grandparents,so doesn`t want to move to the UK. Her father,(my wife`s first is dead so there`s no legal reason why she can`t leave the USA). I have really tried to beat the homesickness, but i just can`t seem to shake it off. My wife knows how i feel, and it`s caused conflict between us sometimes. It`s kind of weird cos in my late teens and twenties i did a lot of backpacking thru Europe, Asia and OZ and was hardly ever homesick. What makes thing`s worse is that i`ve just started a new job, and this being the USA, means i can`t take any holiday for the first 6 mths, and only then i can take 1week! So, i can`t even go visit the UK. I did go visit in Oct2007, and it was wonderful, i didn`t even mind the cold weather, especially as we were living in Florida at the time. I was planning a trip over in March 08, but with the new job, that`s obviously off now.
I guess, i just to work out what i really want. IE USA= wife,marriage,stepdaughter,dire homesickness or UK= home, sense of belonging, the UK, family and friends and probable divorce.
To me, and this is just my opinion, it sounds like you are headed for divorce either way. You have to be happy in yourself to make your marriage work. What is the point of you staying in the USA being miserable (especially now you are tied to your job for at least 6 months) and having your marriage break down as you are distant as your heart is elsewhere? (I am talking about it being in the UK BTW just to be clear)
No-one really wants to get divorced but staying in a marriage to keep one person happy is not fair on either of you (or the child) in the long run.
There seems to be a real lack of compromise on your wife's part (from what you have posted) and again this leads me to think that divorce will be inevitable. An extend holiday to the UK seems to be exactly what you need to find out if moving back there is really what you want (home sickness can make things seem better than you remember them to be) and if she is not willing to let you do that....... (again just my opinion but I wouldn't stand for it)

I hope that everything works out for you, whatever the outcome
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Old Feb 19th 2008, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by Steve&Tanya View Post
To me, and this is just my opinion, it sounds like you are headed for divorce either way. You have to be happy in yourself to make your marriage work. What is the point of you staying in the USA being miserable (especially now you are tied to your job for at least 6 months) and having your marriage break down as you are distant as your heart is elsewhere? (I am talking about it being in the UK BTW just to be clear)
No-one really wants to get divorced but staying in a marriage to keep one person happy is not fair on either of you (or the child) in the long run.
There seems to be a real lack of compromise on your wife's part (from what you have posted) and again this leads me to think that divorce will be inevitable. An extend holiday to the UK seems to be exactly what you need to find out if moving back there is really what you want (home sickness can make things seem better than you remember them to be) and if she is not willing to let you do that....... (again just my opinion but I wouldn't stand for it)

I hope that everything works out for you, whatever the outcome

You know, I was thinking that too. Gazza - I have to say, and I know this could be causing some trouble - but what you wrote about your OH's attitude towards you only going back to the UK for little short breaks of 1-2 weeks, made me feel very angry. As SteveandTanya said, I would not stand for it. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is a very difficult time for you. Best of luck.
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Old Feb 20th 2008, 12:01 am
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Thanks all for the advice, i really appreciate it.

I do love my wife very much, but i do have the pull of the UK. Seems i`ve got an important decision to make!

Anyway, Cheers for now.
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Old Feb 20th 2008, 12:13 am
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Default Re: What to do when..............

Originally Posted by ElaineQ View Post
You know, I was thinking that too. Gazza - I have to say, and I know this could be causing some trouble - but what you wrote about your OH's attitude towards you only going back to the UK for little short breaks of 1-2 weeks, made me feel very angry. As SteveandTanya said, I would not stand for it. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is a very difficult time for you. Best of luck.
When people only get 1-2 weeks annual leave per year, taking any longer would probably mean you would lose your job. Not ideal when you have a family to support. His wife probably sees an extended trip back to the UK as the beginning of the end and she will lose him that's why she wants him to stay.

Gazza, I really think you are feeling pretty low at the moment because you had to cancel your planned trip back to the UK due to a change in job. Do you like you new job, or is that adding to your problems too? We know what the 2 weeks annual leave is like, living here in Canada.

You can't blame your wife and step-child for not wanting to leave their homeland and emigrate to the UK. They have already suffered the death of a husband and parent and have a strong relationship with their own family who no doubt supported them through some very difficult years. Emigrating is a personal choice and not for everyone.

I am always pro-family and would never suggest family split up without giving it 110%. You should try and work through your home-sicknesses as hopefully it may be temporary. Seek some changes in your day-to-day living, take up new sports/hobbies/family activities. Try to maintain a positive attitude even though some days it may not be so easy.

You may want to consider seeking some medical help too as you may have some mild depression which may grow deeper and nobody wants to be in such a dark place.

I wish you all the very best and hope things work out for you all.
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