I’m in a bit of a predicament and would really like to know if anyone is in a similar situation. I could use some perspective on things. I left an amazing job with good work:life balance within 20 minute bike ride from my house, friends, and family to move overseas to be with my long distance boyfriend. He has 2 kids, ages 6 and 8, and a good relationship with his ex. Because of the kids, it wasn’t an option for him to move to the US.
I’ve been here for 3 months and have been waiting patiently for my 457 skilled worker visa to be approved. Meanwhile, I have a lot of student loan debt and I’m draining my bank account with no money coming in. If my visa gets approved, I’ll be taking a job for a $25,000/ year cut in pay and the cost of living in Australia in 30-50 percent higher than the US. While this has been a shocking reality, it’s not the worst of my problems.
One of the biggest issues is that my boyfriend lives part time in another part of the country for work. He’s gone for 2 weeks and back for 1 week. I’m completely alone for periods and when he’s back, we have the kids almost the entire time. We’ve barely been able to spend any quality time together and haven’t even gone away for a weekend. While he’s not working when he’s home, our lives revolve around kid’s activities.
He’s looking for jobs in the city, but prospects aren’t good. If my job comes through, I’ll be commuting almost 4 hours/ day. There is so much about our situation that is not my idea of a good quality of life and I have no idea where I fit in with his kids. Part of my frustration comes from the fact that I love my career and have always followed my passion and have reinvented myself many times. My partner doesn’t like his work, but he’s not driven to do something he loves. It’s this lack of passion that has forced him to take a job that keeps him away from his kids a significant amount of time – who is ok with that?
I’ve tried to make the most of my free time by taking classes, fostering a dog, cooking, going to meet ups; but I don’t know how much longer I can take not contributing to society (I’m not even allowed to volunteer here). If I hadn’t brought my dog with me, I’d be seriously considering going back to the States to work for a while. Financially, it’s irresponsible for me to stay much longer without work, but it cost so much to get here and will cost a lot to return.
I fight depression daily and it has really clouded my ability to think clearly about things. How can I make my life and our life together better given all of these factors? I’m out of ideas. Ann
Firstly, take a deep breath. You’re smack bang in the middle of a huge adjustment period. My husband, who moved halfway around the world to Australia after we met, certainly found a lot of it challenging and like you, it was a while before he got visas and work sorted. There’s no side-stepping the culture shock you experience from such a big move, or the mourning period for the life you leave behind.
I don’t know the ins and outs of your relationship, but I do know as the one who had to make room for my now-husband to slot into my life when he moved here, I felt some pretty hefty responsibility in helping him fit in and adjust. Maybe your partner has a lot on his plate – too much – to help you in the same way, but could he be doing more? Are you being too stoic when you should actually be communicating to him about your needs more? Do you need to get some counselling for your depression? You’ve been really proactive in building a support network which is amazing given how down you’re feeling, but I agree you need to tackle those bigger issues, and soon.
Let’s look at what you can control. You can’t control that the guy you love is a dad – his kids should come first. You can’t control the work he chooses either, even if it shits you – that’s his journey and you can only offer support and help if he wants to change it. You do however have every right to carve out more alone time for the two of you. Is there any way you can plan a surprise weekend away (no kids)? It wouldn’t have to be anything really expensive; even just finding a gorgeous hidden camping spot and surprising him with a weekend break would probably do wonders in bolstering your connection and giving you the chance to have a debrief about everything.
He must be pretty special for you to move across the world to be with him. Give him the chance to help make things easier on you, if he can – and see if you can take steps towards carving out a life together that makes you both happy. And if things don’t improve, you need to acknowledge that sometimes, love’s not enough and you need to give yourself a deadline on moving back home. Wishing you all the very best.
Love, reality chick