June 13, 2014 - submitted by Trina, Spain
Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #172
My husband and I are from two different countries. When we got married we chose to stay in his birth country because it would be easier for him to obtain a job. We love each other and are soul mates. Though, everyday is misery for me living in another continent and country. I feel homesick and get depressed easily.
I'm struggling to learn the language and to get a job. I feel like an alien with no life here. I have made friends but I continue to feel this emptiness inside, torn and confused. I love my husband so much but living here is so difficult for me. I keep believing I'm just on an horrible vacation that's going to end soon but that's far from the reality.
Is it normal to feel like this? Will I ever be able to accept that this is going to be my life forever?? Of course true love is about sacrificing your happiness for the people you love - I'm doing it, but I feel like I'm dying everyday. Help.
The Oracle replies:
It's obvious from your words how unhappy you are and I feel your pain. I don't know how long you have been married so I don't know whether to venture that it will probably get easier with time - once you have mastered the language and found a job. I also don't know what your country of origin is but maybe you should find if there are other people from your country in your area or jobs that require your language to be spoken.
If not, your independence is going to be important to you while trying to forge a life for yourself. You've made some friends but perhaps you now need to join a Spanish class or meet other people in a similar situation to you. You won't be the only foreigner in the country so seek them out.
Find things you like and enjoy - spend time doing them. Make sure you keep in regular contact with your family & friends back home. Try not to dwell on the sadness, but the joy at speaking with them.
If you think your depression is a medical issue for concern, do visit a doctor.
Finally, who said true love is about sacrificing your happiness for the people you love? How about it being two people working out a mutual compromise for each other?! Marriage is a partnership, a team, a couple - it's not about ONE person and what is best for them. You must talk to your husband and tell him how you feel. Consider options for the future as there may be a solution you haven't discussed yet. Good luck, Trina.
Over to you.
My Mum moved abroad with my father when she was in her fifties. At first she felt completely lost, like you she struggled with a new language and culture and felt she'd never adjust. She also felt very homesick and guilty that she'd left me behind. However over time she began to find her feet, she actively searched out other women from her home country especially those in a similar situation. Through them she found employment, a social life and learned a lot about her new home and how to deal with the changes in lifestyle she had to make. We stayed in close touch by phone and email and she gradually accepted I could manage on my own. I advise you to try to do the same if you haven't already. There are bound to be people from your own country who have felt exactly as you do now, there must be clubs or online groups you could join. As for feeling homesick, if you are missing family and friends make use of modern technology and use Skype regularly to reconnect with them. I don't know how long you've been away but try to give yourself time to acclimatise, it won't happen over night. Stay as busy as you can and try to remember why you moved out there in the first place.
Best wishes to you for the future. Tanya.
I was so moved by your post. I, myself, had to leave my country two years ago. It was for a different reason, though (studies). I must say that I felt the same way at first. The first day here, I woke up with tears in my eyes. I felt like I'm abandoned and alone. It was hard -Â but here is how I managed to start enjoying life in here. First, I believe you have to go back to your country very often (like onÂ holidays), it really helps when you know you'll be home soon and you'll share some of your memories with your husband. Then, I started opening to people and I made friends. I used to tell myself that real friends are the ones in my country... this might be right, but it doesn't mean you can't have new great friends. Also, I have to say that you're very lucky to have the one you love beside you. When I first moved here, I would dream of having someone to stand by me, someone to hold me when I'm down... I believe finding love will make it easier for you. Just remember, wherever you're going with the one you love, you're alreadyÂ home. One last tip: listen to Coldplay a lot, it just makes everything easier and "I have no doubt, one day the sun will come out" (Lovers in Japan).
Living in another country is hard at the start. I've seen more people like you who came over here, to the Netherlands. First of all, it would be wise to choose between these things to set your primary goal: the language or a job. When you go for the language, it will be easier to find a job which fits to you, and making friends and contacts will also be easier. When you choose the job, you'll also make friends, don't worry, and your language will follow as well. When you use another language a lot, you will learn it easier. But without the language, finding a fitting job will be harder. When you made your choice, you must go for it. Let me give you a last advice: stand open towards other people. Most people want to help fitting in the society.
Good luck, Isabelle.
First of all, you are a very strong and selfless person for doing this for your husband. Hopefully he expresses his gratitude for you if he notices your struggling.
My personal belief is that a marriage can't thrive unless you work as a team. Would it be better if you tried to work with your husband at learning the language, or even taking classes? There's a lot of fun ways to learn a new language. Try to keep things positive and learning will come very easy. Another great way to learn a language is to live in a country where it's spoken every day - so you already have that advantage. Just never, never give up. Everything improves upon practice.
With learning the new language, a job will also come in time. It's something you'll have to work at tremendously, also depending on what field you want to work in. Say you want to work in the tech department. In that instance, learn vocabulary in terms of computers and machines and such. Again, never give up. That's the equivalent of betting against yourself.
Lastly, it's hard living away from your family and not seeing them regularly. Try keeping in touch as often as possible. Let them know how you're doing, and ask them questions. Keep up with Skype, texting, phone calls, etc. Communicate at least once per day. Send packages in the mail.
It will get easier. I promise. But you can't submit to your doubt and worry. Don't give up! Everly.
Be Brave. Eyes on the horizon. "...Two wholes when they coincide, That is beauty, that is love." - Lillian Darr
True love is about building happiness together. The sacrifice part should be on an as-needed basis, not necessarily continuously and interminably (from either member).
Perhaps a different perspective, such as a trip home for a couple of weeks, would help you see what you are homesick for when you are in your mate's birth country.
If staying in your husband's home country is the right thing for both of you, you may want to seek out and surround yourself with living 'elements of home' that you can put together. For example, if you had a friendly elderly lady as a neighbor at home, volunteer at a senior center. Find a place that reminds you of home to take a time-out in. Regardless of the language barrier, exploring kindness in other human beings is imperative. When you notice a warm feeling from someone, seek it again and follow up on it; ask to have tea or coffee with the checkout woman at a grocery store you've been going to regularly, for example. Create some memories to start your life, embrace your new place of living...or, find the place and/or career in which you are be happy to reside, establish yourself there, and let your husband join you when he is able.
Also, for depression, check into adaptogenic, herbs such as Rhodiola Rosea and Gotu Kola, supplements of Omega 3-6-9 and sunshine. Tristin.
Sorry you are not happy. It must be very hard to live in a new country especially when you don't know the language, and I am sure you are not alone in your struggle.Â If you really have found your soul mate though, you are very lucky to be together as I feel this is rare.
If he really does love you, as I'm sure he does, then you need to talk to him and tell him how you feelÂ When you spend your life together with someone, there has to be someÂ balance and mutual agreement on the big decisions in life as far as possible, so that you are both happy.Â
I am sure your happiness matters a great deal to him, so perhaps there is something he can do. Perhaps a visit back home, or a trial stay there.Â True love is not one sided, and sometimes meansÂ some sacrifice from both persons.Â
On the other hand, maybe you need to give it some time to settle down there. Feelings and concernsÂ can change a great deal over time and you may come to love it someday!
Best wishes, D.
You are in a really difficult situation. My first advise: Listen to your heart! Is this what you really want? The second advise: Have you been away from each other for a longer period? Maybe you should try and after that decide if a life with your husband is worth all sacrifices. The third advise: ask yourself, what is your biggest dream? Maybe you should study instead of getting a job? Do you like to write or/and take photos? Maybe you should get a blog. This could be the start to get in contact with other people in the same situation.
My last advise: Ask your husband. Would he do the same thing for you? If the answer is yes, you should move back to your country for one year and see how things solves. Maybe your husband gets a good job and then you both ends up happy :-)
The answer is in your heart.
I wish you good luck!
Love, Ann-Sofie, Sweden.
I really feel for you. It must be so lonely to be in this situation. I'm assuming that your husband has a job and is gaining experience in his chosen field. Could it be that he has enough experience to be able to get a similar position but maybe in another country? Life is all about compromises and it works both ways, it sounds as though you've made a lot of compromises and it's not unreasonable for you to explore the possibilities of your husband compromising for you.
If it's too difficult to move back to your home country, is there a middle ground you can reach? Somewhere you'd both be happy?
As for getting a job yourself, we live in times where the world is incredibly small and global opportunities exist that mean you can work from anywhere providing you have a computer and a good internet connection!Â
First of all, I think what a great thing you have done, to be able sacrificing your own life in order to get a better life with your husband, that's what a beautiful thing about marriage is. I believe when you enter a marriage, you begin with one which is yourself, but ends with one which are you and your husband. My parents had the same problem with culture differences, moved to another city with a completely different culture and custom which is sacred in our country. But they always managed to get through whatever came in their way. The key is to never keep it to yourself, always share it with your partner.
It is normal to feel like an alien in a different world, that's natural. But to accept the life you will live forever with feelings like that? It's gonna be hard thing to do. True love for me is not sacrificing your life for your loved one, it is about sharing the same feeling, experiencing troubles and happiness together, and find a way to work as a partner for life. You have to let him know what you feel all this time, that you don't feel same way as he does. Work the way out as a partner for both of your happiness, not just for one of you, and keep supporting each other. When you and him finally share the same misery and happiness, that's true love. Lavina, Indonesia
Vacation is a temporary situation. Seems you are actually living there. So live! Am not kidding about this or ridiculing you.
Not at all. I lived abroad for three years, have been here for over fifteen years and my husband has been asked to transfer to head office which means a transatlantic move for all four of us in about a year. I don't want to leave my friends and family and uproot our kids but also know we'll be fine. This is how I look at it. Get a large piece of paper and colourful crayons. Draw a big mindmap of all things that make you happy, energize you. And work from there. In my case it's having fun with other people, enjoying pretty or tasty things, happy boys, feeling fit. In my case this works out in joining some group of people (work, volunteer, committee), indulge myself in (or try to create) art and good food, get involved in a soft landing for our boys and join a gym. For me it's important to be in expressive activities, as I do recognise the emptiness and feelings of being far away from all that is dear. Sitting at home does that. So. Go. Out. Meet. People. Laugh. Paint. Sing. Dance. Life is for living!
Love, Dorine, The Netherlands.
I heard someone say short sayings last through the ages because they are profound, and the one that comes to mind:"Home is Where the Heart Is". I have a sister that moved to the mid-west 25 years ago when she got married, and she has been home maybe 5 times within that time frame. However, I hear two possible scenarios from your description that could be masking as homesickness for you to consider.
Is it the transition of learning new skills that is making life so difficult? When I first went to undergrad, I was miserable. It was a cultural shock, and I was depressed and wanted to quit. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had not weathered the transition. My environment required me to learn new skills, but I did not have to become another person which leads me to my second point.
Home may be the last place that you felt like yourself which could be what you are really longing for. Isolation with minimal adult contact is enough to make anybody feel depressed, but forcing yourself to accept this as your life will turn what was once love into resentment. This can be especially difficult when you lack the financial ability to return home for any respite/ reflection. I urge you to volunteer or start/join a group with other women transitioning into the culture until you can figure out what's best for you. Be Well, Trina. DH
Normally I'd say homesickness tends to pass, though it might never go away completely, but that rule doesn't apply to everyone. I don't know how long you've been living there, but if you're feeling miserable and things aren't getting any better, I suggest you talk to your husband about this matter. Maybe he can find a job in your home country too and wouldn't mind moving there? Or maybe you can visit your country more often? True love isn't about completely sacrificing all of your happiness, its also about compromises. Both of you will have to give things up and I'm sure discussing these feelings with your husband won't make him love you any less. Good luck! Amanda.
Trina, my heart is with you. 11 years ago, I also ventured away from my homeland in the States to accompany my husband to his homeland of Indonesia. With a 5-month old baby and nothing familiar, it was the most challenging thing I've ever experienced. I lost myself in the loneliness and isolation. My marriage did not survive, yet my son and I stayed in the country for 10 years.
Please know that what you are feeling is very normal. It's like being uprooted. Part of you is still in the place you left and part of you is where you are now. It takes time to find our place in a new land. We often think that love requires great sacrifice. Often with sacrifice comes resentment a breeding ground for toxicity. The most beautiful expression of love is to be honest with yourself, listen to your truth, and share that truth with the ones you love. When we sacrifice our happiness for others, we're not giving them the fullness of who we are.
Allow yourself to feel the feelings that arise with this. Share with your husband and reach out to other expats. There is always a hidden gem in the most challenging situations. I am so grateful for my decade on "the other side of the world." I uncovered things about myself that I never would have if I didn't experience what I did abroad. There is beauty even in the pain of it all. Sending you love. Alia, USA. *Alia also sent a link.
I'm in a very similar situation and it's been hard. We had to move because of my husband's job and have been here for four years. We moved from my "soul" country... the place that I love and dream of and want to be forever. When we found out that we would be moving away from everything I love I was devastated. There are times in our lives when we have to make sacrifices, especially for people we love. It may sound harsh but the only way you can and will be even remotely happy over there is by deciding to be happy. Nobody can change things for you. You have to dig deep and find the strength to make it through. If that is too overwhelming and you just can't help yourself then you should go talk to a professional, like a doctor. You also need to do things for other people... get your mind off of you and your situation. I have learned that I won't find another best friend in my new city but I have some pretty amazing friends there that I have learned to be so grateful for. You will always have those times of despair and depression. Don't push those feelings away but at the same time don't let those feelings determine the direction of your life. You have the strength to push through this. You can do it. You've got to try. If you never try you'll never know just what your worth. Carrie.
While I have never moved to a different country, I can deeply relate to how you are feeling because seven years ago, I moved from one state to another. My family and I moved nearly 15 hours away from my old home, far away from everything I knew and loved. The sea and the forests, a major part of my life, vanished into thin air and I was trapped in this new place that appeared to have nothing going for it. I hated this new place and convinced myself that I would never be happy where I lived now. I felt depressed and torn, and my relocation and the culture shock haunted me for months, even years. And then, suddenly, without me even realizing it, I began to get used to my surroundings and even like them. The constant pang of homesickness happened less and less until it only arose here and there. I made friends, friends I wouldn't trade for the world. I had opportunities here that I would have never had where I used to live. In the end, it all turned out, and while I still get homesick sometimes, it's never as bad as it used to be. Give it time, Trina, and I promise it will get better. It feels miserable at first, but everything improves. Remember, too, that your happiness is just as important as your husband's. Talk to him about how you feel.
Be happy, Trina. You've got so much life up ahead. Brooke.
Thanks to all those who replied to this week's question. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.