I’m an English girl who just came across your website; hope you can help. I met and fell in love with my Spanish partner three years ago while I was teaching in Spain. I was dying to go back home at that point because I was unhappy and missing everyone and my partner decided to sacrifice it all and go back to the UK with me. He’s been here close to two years now and he’s not coping (much in the same way I wasn’t in Spain).
I don’t want to lose such a great man and he doesn’t want to lose me. We’ve been through loads together and I’m not sure I want anyone else, but if I go back to Spain with him, I’m so scared of being unhappy again and feeling alone like I did when I was there first. I have all my best friends here too and there was no-one in Spain like my mates. I couldn’t help comparing the friends I made there to the friends I have in the UK.
We want children one day and I’m only 30, but I don’t want to mess up their lives. (My dad didn’t want me when I was born and left my mum holding the baby). Thanks for any advice or help you can give me. J
I’ve written before about how there’s a mourning / adjustment period when you leave your home country to live elsewhere and sure, making friends – true friends – as an adult can take time and effort. You can’t compare budding new friendships to those you’ve nurtured for years; of course they won’t have the same weight – but you can carve out a new life that you treasure just as much as your life in the UK, especially if you’re with the one you love. It just takes time. (And can I say, the Wassapp messenger is a brilliant way to stay in touch daily with far-flung mates – you can create conversation groups of say, five friends. You can really feel like you’re connected and in each other’s lives, even if you’re on different continents.)
On a practical level, Spain isn’t that far from the UK (meaning you can visit regularly, and can’t your mates visit you?). I’m guessing you speak the language too, which is a huge bonus. What I would discuss with your partner is whether this is IT – the indefinite, long-haul move, or another trial period. Will you be able to get work again without a hitch (especially considering Spain’s current economic situation)? If you can’t, can your partner – and can he support you? Is he prepared to return to the UK later on? Would you want to raise any kids you have in Spain or the UK? Do you agree on how to raise them? Do you want to get married? Does he? Do you share similar values and goals in life? You may have had these discussions before in a light-hearted way, but put them on the table again – especially before you start packing.
If you do decide to move, I’d really go at it with a positive mindset. You could also consider putting a time limit on it of, say, 18 months to 2 years. If you pull your finger out to make it work, to meet people, to create a support network and a social network but find yourself still struggling and miserable when your deadline rolls around, you have to reassess. While your love for someone can be very strong, the pull of your homeland can be stronger – and you might need to accept that your place is back home, rather than trying and failing to make it work in his.
Love, reality chick