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Athena

To return or not?

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I have been in Australia 8 years and have a good life in Sydney. Two daughters under 3 and an Australian husband I met in the UK. 

For the last two years I have found it very difficult to think of this as my long term home. I want to return and my husband doesn't, but claims to be open to it post Covid.

I miss the culture and real diversity of London, and lots of the small stuff too. I find it very hard to forge real friendships here, and miss my friends and family.

My husband would miss his family and the lovely home we have built, if we moved back.

It is a very comfortable life, I want to love it, but just can't stop missing the UK. I worry my nostalgia is is creating 'rose tinted lenses'

Any one in a similar position or has already made the move back?

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It’s a very, very common situation. With an Australian husband it’s very difficult, because one of you is going to feel homesick wherever you live. 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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There's a 'moving back to the UK' section on this site, have a look in there, you'll see lots of examples of people in similar situations.

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Not unusual, unfortunately and one of you will always be missing out on what you want out of your life - mixed marriages were ever thus.  One thing to consider is whether, in fact, your Australian husband will be able to move with you to UK should you decide to leave.  If he doesnt have a UK passport then he will need a visa and if he doesnt have UK ancestry, you could be dependent on a spouse visa which has a financial constraint (you have to be earning £18.5k or have 62k+ in savings - and that can be hard to prove. 

Mixed marriage here and after 32 years I was desperate to return but my Aussie husband said NO WAY, until he saw my elderly parents and said "we cant leave them here alone" and so in 2011 we didnt return to Aus from our UK holiday - not until March this year, that is.  Best thing I ever did, I must say and the DH enjoyed it too! My only regret was that we didnt do it 20 years ago when we would have been able to build our careers there and probably wouldn't have had a family, split across the world (one son UK, one in Aus)

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Posted (edited)

I can emphathise.  You are in a very difficult position. 

My Australian wife moved here to the UK with me in 2002.  She struggled to settle initially but then came to really love being here.  If it wasn't for family, she'd never go back.  But family is important and she is close to her large family and so every annual holiday is followed my a mini bout of depression (understandable) and in a few years time we are going to be moving back to Sydney permanently.   I do not look forward to it.  There's much to enjoy there but I am more attuned to the benefits of the UK.  But I am determined to re-program my mindset so that by the time I get there I'm excited to take advantage of all the positives and not focus on the other things.

No one can really give you perfect advice because all our circumstances are different.  Your husband might love it here in which case it's all going to work out great.  But he might not and in that circumstance, one of you is always going be be heavily compromised, no matter where you live.  If you're in a position to give it a try and move back if it doesn't work, then perhaps that's the only way you will know.

I wish you well and hope it works out.

[edit: just to add, the sooner you can give it a try the better - we have found that the kids schooling really offers few windows of opportunity.  By the time they start secondary school, you really don't want to disrupt their education and that then means you're locked in until the youngest is 18]

Edited by FirstWorldProblems
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British  | Lived in Australia 2001-02 on 457   | Married Aussie wife & moved back to UK | Plan to return to Sydney 2026 when all kids have finished school

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I certainly wouldn't be moving to the UK in the next year.  So much doubt over Covid response, the economy etc.

When you do move I would keep your house in Sydney assuming you own it.  You may never get back again if you don't.

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PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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Hey there,

Your story resonates with me massively. I’m English but spent 10 years in Oz and after ALOT of deliberation moved back to the UK with my wife and kids in 2018. We loved our lives in Sydney but there was just an itch that we wanted to scratch before we settled for good.

After 10 years in Sydney, the nostalgic vision that I had of the UK didn’t match up to reality. My old UK life was essentially gone and we were left to start afresh which in honesty we’ve found really hard.

Obviously that’s not to say you won’t love it back here and as per one of the other posters mentioned, sometimes you just have to give it a try and see how it goes.

Personally, I’ve accepted a job back in Syders and we’re planning to return in the new year!

 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Hey there,

Your story resonates with me massively. I’m English but spent 10 years in Oz and after ALOT of deliberation moved back to the UK with my wife and kids in 2018. We loved our lives in Sydney but there was just an itch that we wanted to scratch before we settled for good.

After 10 years in Sydney, the nostalgic vision that I had of the UK didn’t match up to reality. My old UK life was essentially gone and we were left to start afresh which in honesty we’ve found really hard.

Obviously that’s not to say you won’t love it back here and as per one of the other posters mentioned, sometimes you just have to give it a try and see how it goes.

Personally, I’ve accepted a job back in Syders and we’re planning to return in the new year!

 

Thanks, these stories really do help. If hubby was as keen as I am, I would do it in a heart beat, but there is a 50/50 chance it won't play out as I hope. So much to think about, and won't be in the next few months with Covid.

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, FirstWorldProblems said:

I can emphathise.  You are in a very difficult position. 

My Australian wife moved here to the UK with me in 2002.  She struggled to settle initially but then came to really love being here.  If it wasn't for family, she'd never go back.  But family is important and she is close to her large family and so every annual holiday is followed my a mini bout of depression (understandable) and in a few years time we are going to be moving back to Sydney permanently.   I do not look forward to it.  There's much to enjoy there but I am more attuned to the benefits of the UK.  But I am determined to re-program my mindset so that by the time I get there I'm excited to take advantage of all the positives and not focus on the other things.

No one can really give you perfect advice because all our circumstances are different.  Your husband might love it here in which case it's all going to work out great.  But he might not and in that circumstance, one of you is always going be be heavily compromised, no matter where you live.  If you're in a position to give it a try and move back if it doesn't work, then perhaps that's the only way you will know.

I wish you well and hope it works out.

[edit: just to add, the sooner you can give it a try the better - we have found that the kids schooling really offers few windows of opportunity.  By the time they start secondary school, you really don't want to disrupt their education and that then means you're locked in until the youngest is 18]

Thanks, I certainly hope my husband would come to enjoy it, we had 5 good years there together before coming here, so there is hope. Good point about the kids

 And good luck with your move to Aus.

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On 09/10/2020 at 22:52, Quoll said:

Not unusual, unfortunately and one of you will always be missing out on what you want out of your life - mixed marriages were ever thus.  One thing to consider is whether, in fact, your Australian husband will be able to move with you to UK should you decide to leave.  If he doesnt have a UK passport then he will need a visa and if he doesnt have UK ancestry, you could be dependent on a spouse visa which has a financial constraint (you have to be earning £18.5k or have 62k+ in savings - and that can be hard to prove. 

Mixed marriage here and after 32 years I was desperate to return but my Aussie husband said NO WAY, until he saw my elderly parents and said "we cant leave them here alone" and so in 2011 we didnt return to Aus from our UK holiday - not until March this year, that is.  Best thing I ever did, I must say and the DH enjoyed it too! My only regret was that we didnt do it 20 years ago when we would have been able to build our careers there and probably wouldn't have had a family, split across the world (one son UK, one in Aus)

 

Visas are not an issue we both have both UK and Australian passports. 

Age is certainly a factor, we arein our early forties, so better to do it I  the next few years as work will be much harder down the track. Just wish he was as keen as me, it would make the decision slot easier.

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On 10/10/2020 at 02:21, Jon the Hat said:

I certainly wouldn't be moving to the UK in the next year.  So much doubt over Covid response, the economy etc.

I would just say to the OP (or to anyone else thinking of moving back):  if you're truly not settled in Australia, don't let the economy put you off.

It's far too easy to think, "We've got a nice house and good jobs, let's just save for a few more years and then we'll go".   But by that time, the kids are in secondary school and you're worried about disrupting their education - so you think you'll wait till they finish school.  But oh dear, now the kids want to go to university and they'd have to pay full international fees in the UK.  So you'll have to wait till they finish uni.

But by the time the kid finishes university, they're 100% Aussie, all their friends are in Australia and they may even have an Australian partner and a baby on the way.  So now it's a choice between missing your country or missing your children.  So you make up your mind to stay because, kids are more important.

Fast forward, you're over 50 and longing to spend your retirement in the UK.  But then you discover you can't collect your pension if you move overseas, your superannuation will be taxed by the British taxman, and all in all, you can't afford it. You spend a miserable old age in Australia as your homesickness grows ever stronger, until you die.

I know it seems like a long way in the future, but we've seen so many members find themselves in exactly that posiition.    

It's more important to be where your heart is than to be where the money is.

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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8 hours ago, Marisawright said:

I would just say to the OP (or to anyone else thinking of moving back):  if you're truly not settled in Australia, don't let the economy put you off.

It's far too easy to think, "We've got a nice house and good jobs, let's just save for a few more years and then we'll go".   But by that time, the kids are in secondary school and you're worried about disrupting their education - so you think you'll wait till they finish school.  But oh dear, now the kids want to go to university and they'd have to pay full international fees in the UK.  So you'll have to wait till they finish uni.

But by the time the kid finishes university, they're 100% Aussie, all their friends are in Australia and they may even have an Australian partner and a baby on the way.  So now it's a choice between missing your country or missing your children.  So you make up your mind to stay because, kids are more important.

Fast forward, you're over 50 and longing to spend your retirement in the UK.  But then you discover you can't collect your pension if you move overseas, your superannuation will be taxed by the British taxman, and all in all, you can't afford it. You spend a miserable old age in Australia as your homesickness grows ever stronger, until you die.

I know it seems like a long way in the future, but we've seen so many members find themselves in exactly that posiition.    

It's more important to be where your heart is than to be where the money is.

I definitely hear you re the kids. We came here nearly 12 years ago. Now our eldest has her own 2 kids plus Aussie partner. She was a young teen when we arrived....our youngest was only 2 when we arrived...wants to travel a bit when school is done...any decisions we make are definitely made thinking around their choices. I don't think I'd like to be in a different country. Makes me feel sad that we took the kids away from their Grandparents....ce la vie 

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18 hours ago, Marisawright said:

I would just say to the OP (or to anyone else thinking of moving back):  if you're truly not settled in Australia, don't let the economy put you off.

It's far too easy to think, "We've got a nice house and good jobs, let's just save for a few more years and then we'll go".   But by that time, the kids are in secondary school and you're worried about disrupting their education - so you think you'll wait till they finish school.  But oh dear, now the kids want to go to university and they'd have to pay full international fees in the UK.  So you'll have to wait till they finish uni.

But by the time the kid finishes university, they're 100% Aussie, all their friends are in Australia and they may even have an Australian partner and a baby on the way.  So now it's a choice between missing your country or missing your children.  So you make up your mind to stay because, kids are more important.

Fast forward, you're over 50 and longing to spend your retirement in the UK.  But then you discover you can't collect your pension if you move overseas, your superannuation will be taxed by the British taxman, and all in all, you can't afford it. You spend a miserable old age in Australia as your homesickness grows ever stronger, until you die.

I know it seems like a long way in the future, but we've seen so many members find themselves in exactly that posiition.    

It's more important to be where your heart is than to be where the money is.

This is good advice and something were talking about already with our son about to start primary school.

One idea Im toying with: primary education and upbringing in Oz.   Then secondary in the UK.   So the child has a good experience of both countries and at 18 can decide where they want to live.

Like you say this would enable us to retire in the UK - with the obvious danger that the child wants to go back to Oz for good - would be interested in hearing from anyone whos done it.   I seem to have met a few whove done it the other way around, i.e. early years UK, teenage in Oz.

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12 minutes ago, Johnny Kash said:

This is good advice and something were talking about already with our son about to start primary school.

One idea Im toying with: primary education and upbringing in Oz.   Then secondary in the UK.   So the child has a good experience of both countries and at 18 can decide where they want to live.

Like you say this would enable us to retire in the UK - with the obvious danger that the child wants to go back to Oz for good - would be interested in hearing from anyone whos done it.   I seem to have met a few whove done it the other way around, i.e. early years UK, teenage in Oz.

My advice....don't do it. In my experience the kids need stability and established friendships are more important than you'd imagine. Shifting them at that age can be tricky. They go from one world to another and are desperate to fit in and not be 'different'. If they can do all their growing up and schooling in one country...That's preferable. You'll get other opinions but that's my take on it. 

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28 minutes ago, HappyHeart said:

My advice....don't do it. In my experience the kids need stability and established friendships are more important than you'd imagine. Shifting them at that age can be tricky. They go from one world to another and are desperate to fit in and not be 'different'. If they can do all their growing up and schooling in one country...That's preferable. You'll get other opinions but that's my take on it. 

But if they do all their schooling in Australia, then they can’t do university in the UK without pay full international fees. So when would you move ?


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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1 hour ago, Marisawright said:

But if they do all their schooling in Australia, then they can’t do university in the UK without pay full international fees. So when would you move ?

Good point. I don't know. I think in an ideal.world before they go to.primary or early in primary years or when they're adults and can make own call about where to be. I've seen people messed up by the moves and ping ponging. Young people need stability more than anything else. 

Disclaimer: 'ideal world'....

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50 minutes ago, HappyHeart said:

Good point. I don't know. I think in an ideal.world before they go to.primary or early in primary years or when they're adults and can make own call about where to be. I've seen people messed up by the moves and ping ponging. Young people need stability more than anything else. 

I think multiple moves and constant ping ponging can certainly mess up lives.  I'm not so convinced that one move would be a big deal.  Kids are resilient.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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3 hours ago, Johnny Kash said:

One idea Im toying with: primary education and upbringing in Oz.   Then secondary in the UK.   So the child has a good experience of both countries and at 18 can decide where they want to live.

Like you say this would enable us to retire in the UK - with the obvious danger that the child wants to go back to Oz for good - would be interested in hearing from anyone whos done it.   I seem to have met a few whove done it the other way around, i.e. early years UK, teenage in Oz.

Does everyone in the family have citizenship of both countries?  I'd say that's the fundamental essential.   After that, my question would be - why stay in Oz at all, if you feel your ultimate home will be in the UK?   


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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8 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

I think multiple moves and constant ping ponging can certainly mess up lives.  I'm not so convinced that one move would be a big deal.  Kids are resilient.

Very dependent on the individual child I think and other family circumstances. Never say never. 

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1 minute ago, HappyHeart said:

Very dependent on the individual child I think and other family circumstances. Never say never. 

True.  However if everyone followed your advice, no one with children over the age of 5 would be able to migrate, ever.   I think that's unrealistic!


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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3 hours ago, Johnny Kash said:

This is good advice and something were talking about already with our son about to start primary school.

One idea Im toying with: primary education and upbringing in Oz.   Then secondary in the UK.   So the child has a good experience of both countries and at 18 can decide where they want to live.

Like you say this would enable us to retire in the UK - with the obvious danger that the child wants to go back to Oz for good - would be interested in hearing from anyone whos done it.   I seem to have met a few whove done it the other way around, i.e. early years UK, teenage in Oz.

We have 2 boys. Eldest, now 31, was 2 when we came, youngest 25, born here. 

Honestly never gave a thought to how they would be affected by our move. Obviously they didn't have any say in the matter but it's mine and the wifes choice. When they grew up the eldest has travelled a lot, been back to the UK, lived with his Grandad for a while,cwhen I say lived, he used his house as a base while he travelled Europe. 

I don't feel that they missed out on anything to do with their grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. I lived close to mine when we grew up but as a kid used to dread going to grandmas every Sunday. Boring. I have lots of cousins but because they're family doesn't mean that they were my best mates growing up. My best mates were my mates from school, my relations I caught up with now and again. We all got on well, but just because they are family doesn't mean you have to be close.

I think you have to take your and your husband/ wifes concerns first and the kids will get used to it, grow up and find their own way.

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2 hours ago, Marisawright said:

But if they do all their schooling in Australia, then they can’t do university in the UK without pay full international fees. So when would you move ?

That's assuming they want to go to uni. Neither of ours wanted to. Eldest did an apprenticeship as an electrician straight from school. Never been out of a job when he's wanted one, in between his travels. Youngest has autism, so uni probably not a choice anyway. He's worked as a waiter, kitchen hand, whatever they give him to do in a local restaurant since he left school. Loves it and it's made him socialise, which he struggled with. 

Saved us thousands I reckon.

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3 hours ago, Marisawright said:

True.  However if everyone followed your advice, no one with children over the age of 5 would be able to migrate, ever.   I think that's unrealistic!

That's why I said in an ideal world! Just an opinion. In my own very limited experience. Our daughter was 11 when we moved and it was tough for her. 

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6 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Does everyone in the family have citizenship of both countries?  I'd say that's the fundamental essential.   After that, my question would be - why stay in Oz at all, if you feel your ultimate home will be in the UK?   

yes they do.

re your second question, Im one of these strange people who likes living in the UK and Oz and can see advantages to both.   In my experience, young (or young ish) working years in the UK you can have a whale of a time living in one of the vibrant cities.    When you get older and have a family, the space of Oz appeals.   Thats where were at now, plus Oz is far better for us career wise just now.   Its also a cleaner, safer and overall child friendly place than the UK IMO.

Older/nearing retirement  when the above becomes less important I think where we are now (Adelaide) would be a bit sterile plus the pull of my roots, ageing family/parents who might need us on hand a bit more, financially we are invested heavily in the UK in terms of pensions etc.

Lets face it these really are first world problems but when I hear of people being 'trapped' in Oz, I can see exactly how that would creep up on you and by that time its too late.

 

 

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4 hours ago, HappyHeart said:

That's why I said in an ideal world! Just an opinion. In my own very limited experience. Our daughter was 11 when we moved and it was tough for her. 

But do you really think she's been scarred for life? 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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