(Closed) Help! Living abroad and relationship pressure!

posted 5 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Lnette91:  Virtual hugs! I am so sorry you are feeling hurt and confused right now! Sorry if this is just as long as your post! 

I think a lot of relationships go through periods of struggle, often because one or both partners is going through a change. It seems like your education abroad time worked because you were both in school and pursuing goals. Additionally, your lives weren’t always as intertwined and dependent on one another as they are now.

That being said, there are some tough questions here that only you can answer.

1) Are you ok with the idea of never becoming a lawyer? Or taking on a business-related job? Is being a teacher enough? Yes,there’s always a chance you can pursue these dreams even if it’s not right now. You have made some tough choices in the past, and only you can know if being a teacher will be rewarding or cause resentment,

2) It seems like you are starting to feel resentful and it’s a big deal that you are addressing that. Resentment is poisonous when it goes undiscussed. I think you need to take a moment for yourself. What is a reasonable timeline for you? You know your situation the best. Do you think it’s reasonable to get engaged by the time you finish your program? Within the first year of being a teacher? Confirming financial priorities might be a part of that. You had talked about getting a house so it’s a good sign you have this conversation. Engagements, weddings all cost some money so that could be a consideration when you consider a timeline.

3) Once you have processed your thoughts about your career and a timeline I would encourage you to sit down with your significant other. You could start by saying that you love them but you have made tough choices in order to remain in this relationship. Could you appeal to his emotional side by asking him to put himself in your shoes? Would he have made your choices if the situation was reversed? And, can he see that you have shown how committed you were through making those choices and how important it is for you to have a mutually agreed upon timeline?

One of the hardest parts of relationships is really asking for what we need. There is a real chance he doesn’t see how his lack of planning for the future has hurt you. I agree that you need to bring up your choices without throwing it in his face. No, he didn’t specifically ask you to make all of the sacrifices you have. You did all of these things to remain in this relationship because you thought about the future and made sure your plans included him. Now you are asking him to work with you to realistically plan the next step in a shared future.

To his comment about worrying things won’t always be as good as they are. Maybe I am overlooking something, but that is part of marriage. It’s part of life. We make choices with the information, deciding we what feels right/makes sense and we go from there. That’s exactly what you did when you extended your studies there. Nothing is guaranteed. That’s the beauty of marriage- telling the person you love that you are committing to certainty in uncertainty with all of the love, respect and consideration you can.

I empathize with your situation having moved to a city I had been to once (we visited together) when my fiancé was accepted into law school. I got a job and managed our household. It was tough but I was able to find a job I liked and build a life there. It was implicit that we made that choice because he would do the same for me. It wasn’t easy talking about our future and asking each person to make sacrifices but it was worth it!

Best of luck!

Post # 3
7556 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

It sounds like he honestly hasn’t thought about it enough. This is fair since you yourself thought you didn’t want to get married. I would give him some more time (maybe a few months) and then reapproach the topic. Take that time to figure out your own side – do you want to live in this country? What would need to happen for you to feel happy there? 

Post # 4
216 posts
Helper bee

First of all – good idea to put the key bits in bold!

OK, now on to what you’re asking. Perhaps this is a bit cut and dry, so please just remember this is just my tuppence worth.  I’m going to ramble a touch about my experience to give a bit of background about why my opinion is as it is.

SO and I knew each other for a number of years before we got together, and when we did, we were living in different countries. After a year, I quit my job (which I wasn’t hugely happy with) and moved to where he was, took some time off. We recently relocated again, this time together, and to be honest I am struggling to find a job here – mostly because I lack the language requirements, and making good friends here…. don’t even get me started.

Up until we got together, my career was THE most important thing in my life and I was pretty successful in it. I thought I would never compromise it unless I had a ring on my finger.  The practicality of it was however, if we were going to make a good go of it, being in the same place made sense.

The ONLY reason I moved then, and this time, is because we were both on the same page about our future – marriage, kids and the whole shebang.  He will propose, and although I’m going around the twist waiting, it’s more because I am impatient than because of any uncertainty.  Sure, we are not going to get hitched right now but we’re on that road. So what I’m trying to say is – it has to be worth it, because it is a trade off.

You need the certainty from your SO, and if he cannot give it to you, you need to look after yourself and your future first. If he is still there after, then that’s great.  Bear in mind that I made the sacrifices I made after several years of my career – whereas you are on the precipice of a career adventure. Sure, you may not love it – but you may thrive in it, and you should give yourself the opportunity to find out.

One starts thinking about marriage because of the person you’re with, not because your friends or siblings are thinking about it. It’s a rubbish reason and probably something he came up with on the spot. To be fair to him, if he’s not thought about it before, but is willing to, then fair enough. But, if he’s digging his heels in and shying away, I’d really reconsider if this is someone you want to prioritise over all else in your life.

My mother always told me not to marry someone/commit fully until you are in your career, because you walk into an entirely new world, new people and new ideas and are still developing yourself. (FWIW she and Dad have been married 35 years and they got married v v young so…*shrug* )

PS: Good luck for your exam! 

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by  CountingSheep.
Post # 5
2394 posts
Buzzing bee

I haven’t read all of the comments here yet, so I’m sorry if this is repetative, but I have to tell you that my fiance said the same types of things to me the year before we got engaged! Honestly, I thought that he was avoiding thinking about proposing and he wasn’t seriously planning our future together – it eventually made me start to question where our relationship was going (despite being absolutely happy with everything else about our relationship).

You said:

Later he made some really promising remarks, even mentioning something in passing about perhaps getting engaged next year. He said that the idea of marriage didn’t scare him but the idea of planning a wedding didn’t really appeal to him.

I could have written that myself. When a mutual friend asked him when we was planning to propose to me, he turned to me and made a comment about how “next year may be a big year for you!” … and then never mentioned it again. When I finanally confronted him about it (which sounds bad – it was a reasonable conversation not a fight) he said that he was totally ready for marriage but was worried about the financial strain and stress that came with planning a wedding.

He proposed two months after that conversation.

It turns out he had been planning the proposal for over a year, and had avoided any conversation about marriage because he was so afraid he would give it away. Like you, we know each other inside and out and I would have thought it was impossible for him to keep something like that from me – turns out he’s a better secret keeper than I thought!

I say all of this for no reason other than – don’t let the resentment take over. Have serious conversations about planning your future (and this should ABSOLUTELY include conversations about your career path!!!) but don’t get too discouraged if he seems reluctant to “commit”. If he’s a wonderful partner in other ways, and you’re approaching your future as teammates, that’s really what matters.

Post # 7
2160 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Lnette91:  It seems like a shame that you’ve given up your dream of becoming a lawyer for a guy who ”might maybe want to marry you in 6 years, but might not”.. And to say ”I guess” when you asked him if he wants to stay with you…

I think really the best thing would be for you to move back home to your family and pursue a long-distance relationship with him for a while alongside doing your law degree, and see if things are really meant to be or not.

Post # 8
17 posts

I guess you have to take into account the European (Northern European) culture and society. Women have a lot of rights that extend outside of marriage. Religiosity is lower and marriage rates are far lower than in North America. In Europe, it is common and acceptable to cohabitate for long periods of time, and even start a family before getting married, some don’t get married at all. Social benefits for everyone. You don’t benefit more from being married, insurance wise or tax wise.

In countries like Iceland, Norway, Sweden, France and Denmark, the majority of childbirth occur outside of marriage to cohabiting parents. Now I don’t know which country you’re in. This number is lower in countries with more religious presence like Italy, Spain and Greece.

Cohabitation is not perceived as taboo, lack of commitment etc. Long term cohabitation is common. It’s totally different than what it is over here.

It’s not better or worse necessarily, but I think it would be a good idea to sit down and discuss your expectations. Your folks back home may not understand that this is the norm in Europe, could perhaps be a reason to compromise. But if you’re living in a progressive socialist country in Europe and planning on establishing life there permanently, it may not be a bad idea to consider the local customs. You don’t have to agree with it, but to understand why you Fiance feels that way. 

Another thing to consider is do you need marriage status to gain permanent residency? Other than that, if you live in one of these progressive European countries, congratulations! I think you got it made whether you’re married or not.. but good luck!

Post # 9
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Do you have dual citizenship? How will you stay in Europe for 6 more years without marriage?

Post # 11
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Lnette91: Oh good! I hope everything turns out well with your residency application.

I live in Europe with my SO too and I understand where he is coming from in terms of long-term cohabitation being the norm and less focus on “needing” to be married by a certain age. That being said, living away from your family and giving up your plan to go to law school is a BIG commitment. I feel a lot more secure in my relationship now that we are getting married. Even if it is just a piece of paper, it does mean something. If it is important to you I think you should explain your fears about not being legally committed and hopefully he will see your point of view.

Post # 12
2160 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Lnette91:  I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe and to be honest men are the same everywhere. As in – if a man is serious about you, he will want to plan a future with you and marry you. If he is not serious about you, he will put off any kinds of discussions about the future, be vague and essentially lead you on.

I’m not saying you should break up with him but I’m saying don’t plan a future with him if he is not willing to plan a future with you. You’re making it very easy for him by jumping through hoops to be with him.. he hasn’t had to change anything about his life at all. I think you should follow your dreams (no matter what they are) and if he is really the one for you then he will make that clear to you down the road.

Post # 14
17 posts


Wow. That’s quite a revelation. I have similar experience in trying to explain to my boyfriend that one can not be 110% sure, that there is no fullproof way of knowing. The difference is that he had been through a divorce before and I don’t know what it’s like but there’s nothing you can do.

I’m also living abroad, away from my family, and from the very beginning I made it very clear that even though I live far from my family they are not any less important than his relationship to his parents. I spend pretty much all my vacation traveling back and forth between countries. And I repeatedly told him that if anything were to ever happen to my mom and if she required care, I would go immediately. I don’t expect him to follow, we’d have to come up with some temporary arrangement. If we’re going to share a life together, we have many more years ahead compared to my parents time.

I would flip my shit too, if my boyfriend had said something like that. He’s worried about vacation time of all things. You’ve made a lot of sacrifices to be together. I hope he takes some time to reflect on that and good luck to both of you

Post # 15
419 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

Wow I am so sorry you’re going through this : ( It really sounds like he hasn’t put much thought into the future at all. And that comment about having to visit your family all the time?? That sounded very selfish, especially given you’re considering changing career for this guy! Not to mention everything else.

It really seems ( from an outside perspective at least ) that you put way more into this relationship that he’s willing to give. I think it’s good that both of you are seriously re-evaluating your relationship at this stage, before it’s too late. In your mid-twenties, there is still time for law school. the same cannot be said if all of a sudden, after 9 years, he decides not to marry you in the end. I mean, it’s always possible, but once you have an established career it’s much harder to switch in your 30’s.

I’m a lawyer and I can honnestly say that I love my job, even more than I thought I would. I made a lot of sacrifices to be where I am today but in the end, they were all worth it because this was my childhood dream. I actually never dreamed of being married, I just wanted to be a lawyer and travel! Now, I get to be a lawyer, travel, and marry a man who supports me. More than I could have ever hoped for! And you can have that too. It just really doesn’t sound like your SO is supportive, and you would need it if your entire family is abroad.

Best of luck to both of you. I actually can relate to you because I lived abroad too for nearly 3 years and I know that it cam come with its challenges.


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