Long distance marriage

pam.mMarch 5, 2007

I could use some opinions on a problem I am having. My husband and I have been married for nearly 8 years. We have a 7 year old son and are still very much in love. We lived in the U.S. until 6 months ago when we moved to Australia. He is from Australia and his family all live here. I have decided that I hate it here and want to go home. My son wants to go home as well but my husband will not. He is happy for us to go if it makes us happy but he is staying in Australia. He also thinks that we can have a long distance marriage and plan to visit each other. Obviously there will be alot of cost so that will not be as easy sometimes. I will have my family around so there is support there as well. Has anyone experienced this or have any ideas on the subject.


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I was married to someone from another country and we lived abroad for many years. I didn't like it - I couldn't speak the language very well and had a hard time finding work or anything to do. Everything progressed on his schedule only. I was bored silly a lot of the time and that lead to jealousy and weirdness and a profound loss of self esteem on my part. I didn't handle it well.

But I stayed with him. And I'd say that you have to figure out which risk you want to take - there is certainly pro and con. If there is any way on earth for you to learn to like or at least tolerate the place where you are, do it. I know it will be hard but you are doing it for yourself as much as for him. Strike out on your own; find your own interests. Get a job if possible or at least take some classes - do something to attach yourself to the place on your own terms. Make a life FOR YOURSELF where you are if you can at all.

If you separate there will be other issues. And it is awfully hard to maintain a close relationship when you are separated by thousands of miles and time zones. Will he stay faithful? Will you? When you do get back together whose rules go for your child? How do you adjust to managing your household?

During my marriage we were apart for months at a time - his choice. It was always very difficult to get back together. Going from relative independence to the give and take of a relationship like marriage is hard to do. Good luck, whatever you decide.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 9:55PM
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As you can see from my posting name, I am in Australia. So I admit to being somewhat biased, in that I love it here. But this did not happen overnight. As an eight year old, I emigrated here with my family from the US. For a long time, I hated Australia, thinking the US was totally superior. It took a visit (some years later) back to the US for the scales to drop from my eyes and for me to realise Australia has many good qualities. Now I prefer it here.
When you and your husband first planned the move to Australia, how did you feel about that? If you were not happy about the move from the start, no wonder you're not happy here.
If you can afford to run two households in separate countries with all the other expenses involved in a long distance relationship, could you afford instead to remain in Australia with your husband and visit your family annually? (This is what an acquaintance does, an American woman married to an Australian man.)
It does seem to me that since your husband lived in the US (presumably away from his family and firends) for eight years, it is a little precipitate for you to call it quits after only six months.
Have you made any new friends in Australia? This might affect how you feel about the place. There is a group in WA called the American Women's Club for US women (though they do have some Australians as well) living in Australia, and it seems to be a good support group. They have monthly get-togethers as well as range of other activities, some charitable works and family events, July 4 and Thanksgiving celebrations etc. I'd be surprised if there wasn't something similar in your state- I could find out if you liked.
What is it you don't like about Australia? Is it mostly that you're away from your family and familiar places/customs? Other things can be surmounted if you want to give it a go. Email me through the link on my page if you want to talk some more. I would like to help if I can.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 10:01PM
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I, too, would like to know more about what it is that causes you to want to flee Australia. I'm life-long American but have spent some months in Australia as a young man and regard the country as very interesting and the people as irresistably friendly and disirable as company on any/every level.

Can you say more about what repels you? Or, if that's not stated properly, why the pull back to the US has become so irresistable after six months?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 10:34PM
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Perhaps you did not want to come in the first place, you had already made your mind up that you would not be happy here. These feelings are influencing your child.

Try to imagine what would make your situation more enjoyable ? Perhaps you are lonely, so get out and make some friends.

Its a global community these days and flying off back to the US every-so-often maybe just the tonic to make you more settled in Oz.

I am also Australian, and love it here, email me, too, if you would like to chat.

Is it in your son's best interest to grow up with his dad not being there a lot of the time ?

Step out the door, and look for opportunities, there are a lot out there.

Take care

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 4:02PM
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6 months isn't long enough to give any new situation a chance (school, a move, a new job). It can take up to a year to really adapt to a major life change.

Seems to me, it's pretty unfair to not give your husband, your family, your child a better chance than you've allowed. Your son should get to know the other side of his family, his cultural heritage. I agree with the poster above, who suspects that your son is just following your lead, that you've influenced him to want to go home. And you've probably not set a good example for him of how to make this work out.

And I was thinking the same thing--that you need to get out, get involved in local life, make some friends, find the wonderful things about your new location. It's up to us to make our own happiness--and if we develop that skill, it doesn't matter what our address is, we can be happy anywhere. I truly believe that.

I don't see how a marriage where the partners aren't committed enough to each other to want to live on the same continent can possibly survive if you move back home. I've been married 33 years. Certainly, I have my 'comfort zone', but if push came to shove, and I had to make a choice--there is NO physical place on earth that I'd choose over being with my husband. He's SO much more important to me than WHERE we lay our heads at night. You need to seriously look at yourself, your husband, your marriage, and decide what's important. If you don't have that kind of marriage (the kind where you'd rather be with your husband every minute of the day, than anywhere else), then it's much more important that you work on your marriage or resolve it, than try to make a bad marriage work from thousands of miles away.

Sorry, I don't see living separate as a viable solution to your problem. Most important of all, your son won't see the example of how a married couple relates and solves their problems on a day to day basis. Do you really want to doom him to possibly never knowing how to conduct his own relationships when he's grown? It's been proven that we all are very influenced by the examples our parents set when we're children. That's how we learn how to be good (or bad, in some cases) husbands, wives and parents.

Whatever you decide--I hope you find the happiness you're looking for, and that your son is okay.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 8:22AM
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How long is this separation supposed to be? A few months, a year, for the duration of your marriage?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 5:11PM
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I don't know that I'm qualified to give any advice but I do think it would be very sad if you and your husband lived apart. I can't imagine that it would be good for your little one either.

I hope you can find a way to be interested and happy in the place where you are living. Australia sounds so exciting and interesting to me. I'd love to go there for a visit. Of course it would be different if you moved there and away from all you are used to. I'm sure that is a hard adjustment.

I do think it is harsh for your husband to just decide that he will NOT leave his country while he expects you to leave yours. What problems does he have in the United States? Can he work here or is it just a matter of opinion? If so, I think you are entitled to yours as much as he is to his. Maybe you could work something out where you both live for a while one place and then the other. That might not be great for anyone's career but it might help your peace of mind and your marriage.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 10:21PM
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Just wanted to add my two cents. I am an Aussie living in the US - and I found it very hard living here at first - it really took about two years to settle in, and understand how the basics of life here work. I would say that 6 months definitely isn't long enough trying. The cultures really are very different - and I found that I did have culture shock at first, probably because you expect the two countries to be so alike, so it's a surprise when you realise they are not. Also, it is important to find a town or suburb that you feel comfortable in - both the US and Australia are big places with differing feels in different places.

If you are having trouble meeting people that you relate to, it'll also make things more difficult. Can you meet people through your son's school? Canteen duty? What about community groups? Can you work, or do some volunteer work? Do you get along with your husband's friends and family? If not, it is important to develop your own group of friends, and typically we Aussies are pretty open and friendly. Another thing that might help if you are stuck at home while your son is at school and your husband is at work - get a dog or a cat. Seriously - it helps a lot.

My husband and I have spent quite a bit of time doing the long-distance thing (before we were married), and I can tell you that it is not easy at all, and I would not recommend it. We have also each moved to a certain place purely because the other one was there, and it is important to balance those compromises.

Stick it out, and try to think about the good parts of your new home. As someone suggested before, try to find some Americans to meet - then at least you can get together to comiserate! Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 3:53PM
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I suspect the OP has abandoned this thread, having not heard the answer she was looking for.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 8:50PM
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