(Closed) Not sure about life as an expat wife (long and emotional)

posted 7 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 4
891 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Trapped:  Hey! I am so sorry for you going through this! It can’t be easy trying to find your way in a different country, with so many things that isn’t “in balance” and your Fiance is really working alot, with a language to learn etc. 

I really think you should follow your heart and your gut instincts. Your heart’s feelings never lies. Sure, on paper, it might seem perfect, he is a catch etc. But does he make you happy? Have you sincerely tried to work on the relationship? Have you talked to your Fiance about moving back home? Do you get to visit your country often? 

Have you considered trying to visit your family and friends for some time? Can you afford it or will you have to ask your Fiance for the means to do it? It sounds to me, that you are a bit homesick. I have that feeling all the time, even though I am just 3 hours away from my country. 

Your Fiance seems very absorbed in his work, that he forgets the woman that is YOU, and a time for only you two alone, without work and just to spend quality time together. Have you voiced your concern about his abscence and how it makes you feel? Maybe he tends to work hard to try and take care of you and make you happy so you don’t need to think about the financial part of your relationship, some guys are like that, practical and what not. It doesn’t sound to me that he is neglecting you on purpose, but he sounds to be a hardworker.  

I must say, the prenup deal sounds a bit strange, and you are doing the right thing looking this up with another (your own) lawyer! Just in case so you have yours covered.

Please take care of yourself! That doctors appointment seem to be a good idea. And I really hope you have someone there that you can confide in, until this clears up for you. I think you should just take one thing at a time for now. Don’t try to jump into all of this at once. I know it’s easier said than done but it will help things seing things in another perspective and help you cope with what you are feeling!

I am sending you all of my positive vibes! 

Post # 5
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Sometimes two people are just not compatible. It’s ok. You two can be the most wonderful human beings, but maybe your lives don’t mesh together. Have you guys had a serious talk about what you each want from your life and what you see for the future?

Post # 6
2401 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think that many ex-pats go through this, and it is a huge risk to move to another country without much stability. I really dont have many recommendations, but I think you need to really think it through. Part of your post screams home sick. It makes me think you are starting to resent your Fiance for certain things that may not have bothered you if you were in a better position.

Post # 7
664 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I know how you feel! I’m an expat living in Haiti–a country that is nothing like the States where I grew up. I struggled a lot before we got married with thoughts of “Will I be okay living here forever?” I still remind my husband that I am not Haitian and I never will be. He often reminds me that he is Haitian and thinks like a Haitian. 😉

Ultimately, I think my issues boil down to the language. I don’t feel like a competant adult in public because I can’t communicate with people. I’m totally dependent on my husband and friends. I am NOT comfortable going places by myself. And I find ways to get other people to speak for me. Isn’t that pathetic? I’m not working very hard to learn the language… my husband and I always speak in English at home. And there aren’t any formal classes I have found take. Mostly I learn the language from interacting with my students at school.

But something that’s different for me is that I absolutely LOVE my job. I teach English and computers in a rural mountain village. The organization I work for has a church, school, and medical clinic that serves the poor. I am fulfilled by the work I’m doing in this village, so dealing with the language barrier is worth it for me.

Maybe getting a better handle on the language will help you feel more comfortable. Maybe taking a vacation to visit your family and home country, by yourself, will help you gain some perspective and help you figure out if you really can remain in Spain.

And I also suggest the book Your Intercultural Marriage. It explains different models of intercultural marriages and I found it to be very helpful when considering how a marriage to my husband would work.

Post # 8
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Your post makes me think of something a friend of mine said once, who’s in a similar-ish situation to you (expat in circumstances she’s not 100% happy with). She said: as our life is going, my SO has everything he needs to make him happy, so there’s no incentive for him to change anything. And I’m left trying to fit in my wants and needs where I can.

That isn’t a good way to run a relationship, IMO. Of course your Fiance is totally zen — he’s got everything he needs! Of course you feel like an emotional wreck — you don’t have anything that’s really fulfilling you at the moment, apart from your relationship, and it doesn’t sound like you’re getting much of that.

I can’t tell you what to do with your relationship because, obvs, I don’t know you, but I just wanted to say: don’t be ashamed of how you feel. You keep talking about how you’re a giant stressball and he isn’t — of course you are! You’re in a really difficult position! You have the right to want — and demand — more.

Post # 9
532 posts
Busy bee

I agree with @hobbitsvselves. He is so calm because he is in his home country, comfortable with the language, and has a fulfilling job and his family and friends near by. You are a mess because you are trying to fit into the life that makes him happy.

I lived in a foreign country for six months, and I understand your frustration with the language and not being able to comminicate. It gave me real empathy for others that come to my country and are not native speakers of the english language. I also understand the lonliness that you can feel when your SO is wrapped up with work and not on the same wavelength as you emotionally.

I am sorry I can’t be more help, but my only advice is to visit home and take some time for yourself. Maybe then you can weigh the pros and cons of continuing this relationship rationally. 

Good luck 🙂

Post # 10
7291 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Since I don’t know your situation very well , its not for me to judge wether or not your Fiance is a good fit for you ( he seems very accommodating and caring) but I can say assimilating and learning a new language is HARD! I am trying to tackle spanish ( Argentina) myself and my lifes goal is to become confident in the language and culture

My best advice for you would be to not give up! If you fear it or fight it, it won’t happen, the mental stumbling block is just too much. If your Fiance does not really need the help, I would suggest cutting back on the work and just taking a step back. Embrace your life right now!

Also there are expat groups/forums where you can meet up with some others from your native land who are living abroad. It will be a fabulous way to vent and also always have someone who you can identify with and work with.


Best of luck!

Post # 11
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

I really empathize with this post. Even though I haven’t left my country and luckily don’t have to deal with a language barrier as a result, I have moved cross country to be with an SO who works incredibly long hours and has very little time and energy for us. I’ve been unable to find work so I don’t have that as an outlet or a way of meeting people. It has made me, too, question the future of this relationship. I don’t have any real words of wisdom as I am still struggling with many of the same issues that you are, but know somebody in New York is thinking of you! ((hugs))

Post # 12
533 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

hi there!

I totally see where you’re coming from! I’m going to move to be with my Fiance halfway round the earth and starting to feel all the issues you’re dealing with, except that in my case i know the language of the country he’s in. Culturally we’re pretty much the same, but there are still issues and i also worry that he’ll have it all, while im stuck trying to make it livable there. Plus he’s also hugely workalcohic while i perhaps wont be able to work there…

I reckon life is never perfect and everyone has to sacrifice always something, sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes he sacrifices, but sometimes you do. I’ve told my Fiance that i can move with him now, but then we need to move to where i want to be. That is, i believe the whole picture has to be a balanced thing between the two of us. The world nowadays is a global, international thing, people travel loads, we all move around, thus a intercultural marriage is part of that development, but there has to be two way roads. Now, only you can answer whether you can take it or not.

I’d suggest doing something that you really love and which fulfills you where you are, not just things to keep you busy. And talk to him about moving to your country eventually.

and take care of those legal issues! Best!

Post # 13
533 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

eta – yes, definetely meet some friends of your own. There’s Internations which organizes things all over the world. And even the Hash House Harriers which is more like a sports/drinking thing. Also check out organizations of your country, or check your embassy. Or be open to making friends in randomn places, at the shops, grocery store, coffee place. There’s always people who are nice. Thats how ive managed to survive in the 5 different countries Ive lived in!

Post # 14
1557 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m sorry about your situation. I think the stress of the move and your new surroundings and culture have magnified your stress and feelings and I think that is completely normal.

1. As for as the language barrier is concerned, don’t feel so unsure of yourself! I bet you’re doing a better job than you’re giving yourself credit for. Maybe if your Fiance took you out with some of his friends you would have the chance to work on the new language plus meet some girlfriends? Tell your Fiance you need some exposure to make yourself feel a little more integrated into your new life/

2. I think it’s normal that your FI’s life seems so zen compared to your’s, which has been turned upside down. I’m sure this is frustrating. You have to learn all these new things without your friends and fam and your Fiance gets to go about his daily life like nothing happened. I think is something that only time will tell, I would give it some more time but voice your concerns to your Fiance.

3. I know your job is stressing you out but I do feel like young people (esp. brides) bust their butts these days and have a lot more on our plates than our mothers and grandmothers. I defintely think our younger days are the days to work hard and sock away the money, though this often seems to come easier to some than others. But I also think social networking sites also play into the fact that everyone’s life is so grand and exciting with vacations and dinners out etc. I think you have to remember that 99% of people only post the good stuff and many are in the same daily cattle call that we call work and are busting their butts too, even though their homepage may seem like unicorns and flowers. There’s so much pressure to establish savings and retirement funds. Could this be why your Fiance is working so much? I think integrating you into his daily routine is key but it something that may not come naturally to him, so maybe just voice this and maybe he can make more of a conscious effort?

4. Definitely get a lawyer to see about the financial aspect of marriage. Many small businesses face the fact that they can be sued, and have all thier savings, assets and homes etc. at risk. This is why so many small companies decide to become LLC’s, to avoid this risk. Maybe your Fiance could look into something like this if it’s available, it would also protect his non-business assets so it would be beneficial to him as well. But in the end if it’s not possible, I don’t think keeping seperate accounts is that bad of an idea. It sounds like it would protect you. Last thing you need is to have your Fiance sued and you going into extreme debt and having to file bankruptcy. I say this as long as you guys work something out for bills, savings and some “fun” money for you guys to use together.

5. Get out and meet some friends. Try not to think of the language barrier. I love meeting people from other countries. I’ve found that even if I have a hard time understanding them at first, it never stops me from wanting to get to know them. Plus I feel like people adjust to accents much better even after a few short weeks. Plus, a language barrier always leads to a few good laughs in the end. It will be good for you. Maybe join a gym or volunteer or something?

6. I think that after you exhaust all routes and if your feelings haven’t changed then it may be time to just follow your gut. But I would suggest giving it some time, you’re going through so many changes all at once, it would take anyone a good amount of time to come to terms with these adjustments. Good luck to you!

Post # 15
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this way. Im an expat myself. We’re not married yet either (and neither are you, remember that). I had a very similiar experience when we first moved (8ish months ago). We were living in NY and moved to Singapore for his job. He went to work the day we landed (18 hour flight, mind you) so I can understand being with someone who takes his job really seriously. While he doesn’t work on the wkends, it’s only because the market is closed. I felt so resentful at first. I gave up my job, my masters program, my family (with whom I’m very close) and NYC. I didn’t feel like I was connecting with people here, the food was hard to get used to, the climate is so bad (hot humid and rainy ALL THE TIME) and Asian culture is just so different. There are a lot of expats here but it’s still very much Asia. I felt really lonely and angry and because he was working and I wasn’t, I had so much time to just get inside my own brain. I was crying constantly, picking fights, just totally losing my mind.

Here’s my advice: give yourself a deadline. Life won’t get easier when you’re married, it’ll only get harder. Try to do a couple of things to improve the situation before tied together by law. I’m certain that Internations has a outlet there. Sign up. Look into an American club or group. There is definitely stuff out there and it’s much easier with the internet. You have to make some friends. Look for different job opportunites. I finally got a job (wasn’t easy because they’re quite strict about hiring ex pats) that just barely covers our rent so like you, I am totally dependent financially. Like, he pays my student loans and my credit cards. He’s incredibly generous though and doesn’t even think about it but my point is, I work to keep busy. If you’re dependent anyway, might as well have a job you at least like.

Can I ask how long you’ve been there?

I dont know you, of course, and I dont know your Fiance. But that fact that you two have such different energy levels may be an issue no matter where you are. If it wasn’t like that when you were both in the states, it may be because he wasn’t in his own territory and the way he is now is who he really is. Also, if you feel like you’re always waiting for it to be over, always waiting to go home, you need to rethink if you can do this for the rest of your life. Lastly, if you’re planning on having kids. Do you think it’s something you can do there, without your support network? I can absolutely imagine how hard it would be to leave but the decision won’t ever get any easier and if you’re unhappy deep down, be honest with yourself. You won’t ever regret that.

Post # 16
1064 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think all the answers you got from your emotional post are all brilliant so i am not going into advising..I am really, really sorry you’re feeling this way..i would feel terribly traped as well. I know me. I know how fundamental my inner peace is and  i fight for it. Because in the end, we’re all we’ve got. Friends may go away, family members pass away and where do we stand then? By ourselves. So for me it’s crutial to follow my heart. On the one time i did not i was miserable for years until I decided i could not live another day feeling in an abyss.So I took the first step, crazy with fear but still went on and on and when i looked back..wow, what a distance i had covered!! I found happyness :-). A Happyness i thought i would never feel.

Have you tried to find people who are from the same country as you?? I have an english born friend who lives in Spain, near Granada for years and she’s married to a spanish, has 3 kids, a farm, etc,etc..she has a wonderful network of british people around her who have adapted so-so to the country and they help a lot because they share the same problems..

Either way, my blessing and i truly, truly hope you feel better soon

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