Unhappy with living situation

115 posts in this topic

What you are describing is isolation. You haven't said where you live and why you haven't been able to make friends of your own but I'm guessing your kids are still young and I'm also guessing you are living in a quiet area not far from your husband's family.

 

Are your parents-in-law any help at all? Would they look after the children while you go to the doctor and explain how stressed you are. You need help to build up your confidence and self-esteem and you need the poeple around you to take your health and wellbeing more seriously.

 

Could you look in the longer term for somewhere to live in Germany which offers a friendlier environment for you without your husband changing career.

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I am in exactly the same boat as this and it is tough. Good luck. My inlaws never helped when I needed it.

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Hi Dolphin,

 

I am sorry for what you are going through. I have also been here for almost 6 years in Germany now and fortunately for me things are not going too bad. What made a big difference for me was the acceptance I found in my in-law's family. We get along quite well. I was also strongly recommeded to learn German in the first phase of my stay here, and believe me that has really been a life saver. I stayed in a small town in Mittelfranken and it was hard to find english speaking people. So I made friends with Germans (through playing volleyball in a verein, occasional clubbing, working part time at McD).

 

Where do you live? because that will make a big difference. I understand that because of your husbands job situation, you cannot move. May be it is a possibility to move to a bigger town and he commutes.

How old are your children, if they are going to Kindergarten / School, may be you can look into some upskilling and find some job. While the extra money is nice, do it for the getting out and about part.

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Dolphinears. I truly sympathise with your situation though not sure that I can offer much by way of suggestion. Though our circumstances are a little different, I too often feel a similar isolation and lack of purpose. When I feel like that, it seems like I'm living in a mental cave. I'm not really prone to depression and generally get myself out of these moods quickly. It may be a really good idea to see a doctor who should be able to listen to your feelings and guide you. Even hormonal changes can make things seem worse than they are. Your situation is made more difficult if you feel rejected by your husbands family though you have done really well to make the decision to not allow them to affect your lives anymore. You do have purpose in life...your kids, husband and home. Sometimes it's easy to forgot what makes you happy. Take mini steps. Last time I felt bleak, I wrote down all the things I like about Germany and what I like doing...even small things like gardening, cooking, baking, walking in the forest etc. might it be possible to move home? My mum only lives 10 minutes from where we live though she feels that the people around us are a much friendlier lot. Perhaps get involved with your kids school. Volunteer your help if possible. Arrange a surprise dinner or outing for you and your husband. Or for all the family. Maybe feeling rejected by those around you has more to do with you rejecting your own self worth. Even getting the plastic smile on your face can work wonders to change other people's perception of you

 

Try to find the positives that are closest to home...start with yourself and work outwards

 

I truly wish you all the very best. You are not alone...TT is always there to listen and help make suggestions.

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Hi Dolphinears,

 

I've experienced many of the things you describe and just wanted to say hang in there.

You mention you feel the entire place rejects you and I know it can feel like that, especially when you are being teased.

Don't let a few bad apples spoil everything! There are good and bad folks everywhere and one must know when to bend and when to draw the line...

Like the time a friend of my wife unexpectedly chose to insult me at the Italian restaurant by suddenly declaring that, "die Amerikaner kann gar nicht kochen"

If I had a dime for every dig like that over the years I'd be rich...

 

It really does sound like his friends/family crossed the line with that mail-order-bride and other comments. wherz I'm frum dems fight'n werds!

If your husband is beamtered Lehrer I understand he "could" leave and come back with his position protected for up to 2 years.

If he's unwilling to take your feelings and concerns into consideration...perhaps it is time to for a change?

Sounds like you've made most of the sacrifices...

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Sounds like you need marital counseling, as lines of communication are not open, you do not feel that your partner is hearing you and taking your experiences, feelings, and needs to heart.

You should also consider individual counseling, though as others have said a good first step would be to go to your regular physician to talk about this.

 

Good luck!

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a friend of my wife unexpectedly chose to insult me at the Italian restaurant by suddenly declaring that, "die Amerikaner kann gar nicht kochen"

 

Something like that doesn't qualify as an insult in German culture, so I doubt it was meant as an insult. But anyway: maybe the OP's husband could find a job (at least temporarily) at a German International school and ask to be delegated? He would still get his German salary and an overseas allowance on top (at least it used to be like that when I talked about it with a teacher of a German school in South Africa).

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I too often feel a similar isolation and lack of purpose.

 

Yep that's exactly what I get a load of the time here.

 

Two things I'd say right now are beware of the seasonal change from winter to summer and vice versa, and not to drink any alcohol as this can exacerbate the situation.

 

We have a hectic week ahead at the moment as next Sunday is my daughter's Communion. even though I'm not Catholic I respect the faith and am doing all I can to make the house pretty for the guests.

 

It may sound very homespun but right now I am cleaning a floor to make it perfect for Sunday. This will mean less crap from my wife and an easier time!

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My husband is an only child and so my in-laws are basically married to us and stick to my ass tighter than a pimple with long lasting super glue.

 

I prefer the expression a fly round a horse's arse.

 

Regards the knocks about the food, you only need to reply with one word "Currywurst". Whilst Germans I am familiar with are excellent at dishing out out they aren't good at taking it back, so you have to be tough and stand up to their crap. They aren't physically aggressive here just verbal bullies so you have to be strong and fight back.

 

Be strong.

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Hi Dolphin,

 

I am sorry for what you are going through. I have also been here for almost 6 years in Germany now and fortunately for me things are not going too bad. What made a big difference for me was the acceptance I found in my in-law's family. We get along quite well. I was also strongly recommeded to learn German in the first phase of my stay here, and believe me that has really been a life saver. I stayed in a small town in Mittelfranken and it was hard to find english speaking people. So I made friends with Germans (through playing volleyball in a verein, occasional clubbing, working part time at McD).

 

Where do you live? because that will make a big difference. I understand that because of your husbands job situation, you cannot move. May be it is a possibility to move to a bigger town and he commutes.

How old are your children, if they are going to Kindergarten / School, may be you can look into some upskilling and find some job. While the extra money is nice, do it for the getting out and about part.

 

I think this is very good advise to move somewhere else within the state if possible. I saw a big difference in how people acted just 6km away from the place I first lived here in German.

 

 

Hi Dolphinears,

 

I've experienced many of the things you describe and just wanted to say hang in there.

You mention you feel the entire place rejects you and I know it can feel like that, especially when you are being teased.

Don't let a few bad apples spoil everything! There are good and bad folks everywhere and one must know when to bend and when to draw the line...

Like the time a friend of my wife unexpectedly chose to insult me at the Italian restaurant by suddenly declaring that, "die Amerikaner kann gar nicht kochen"

If I had a dime for every dig like that over the years I'd be rich...

 

It really does sound like his friends/family crossed the line with that mail-order-bride and other comments. wherz I'm frum dems fight'n werds!

If your husband is beamtered Lehrer I understand he "could" leave and come back with his position protected for up to 2 years.

If he's unwilling to take your feelings and concerns into consideration...perhaps it is time to for a change?

Sounds like you've made most of the sacrifices...

 

I think the problem for Germans that have not been to the US, the only reference points of American cuisine is fast food and ready-made food so they just assume, just like a lot of Americans think all German food is Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. If either of these was your reference point, you probably think neither Americans or Germans can cook. :D I like cooking and most people that I have cooked for seem to think that I am good cook (even the MIL rarely objects other than something being too spicy and/or having too much cholesterol, which is a rare point!) so I won't let those with uninformed stereotypes get me down.

 

As for the money that Dolphin mentioned, it is a really big deal for a lot of Germans to have financial security, even more so than most Americans. A lot of Americans think things will work out in the end and most Germans are more conservative about their money and don't have this faith in what happens in the long run so for your husband, this is probably not an argument you can get around.

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According to him: If he leaves to the US we will be in a bad financial situation and he says that I will still be depressed (resulting in him being depressed) and I'll be a burned out mom working 40 hours a week. That I will spend all my earnings on child care, a probably OK insurance and to pay back my ridiculous college loans, etc.

 

So he acknowledges that you are depressed, but it currently does not make him depressed ... it would only do that if you moved to the US? Or is he saying that he's already depressed because you are depressed? And why should everything you earn in the US go on child care... what about his earnings?

 

 

...Sorry that my friends and family were nasty towards you, not everybody is like that. ...

I suppose ideally he would indicate to his friends and family that he was sorry they were nasty towards you.

 

If the 'friends' with the smart remarks about Latin America are ever in your home, perhaps you could get in plenty of tabasco sauce in advance and serve them up some 'ethnic' cuisine! ('Friends' can be strange: I was attending a friend's wedding once and, on the bus hired for guests, overheard a couple of her churchy friends, whom I didn't know, pointing out her parents' house as we passed by and saying "look: the low ceilings must have stunted her growth ... hahahahah". She's small, you see. But it didn't exactly seem the kind of comment you'd expect from friends.)

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When a couple of his 'friends' met up one day at a Cafe, they made jokes about how he purchased me from my mom. I obviously look like a mail-order bride from Latin America and not like a US Citizen. Do you think that hubby defended me? There I sat and smiled.

 

 

 

Dolphinears, sorry to hear you're having a hard time here.

 

It doesn't sound like you and your husband are on a united front. From what you described, it sounds like your expectations and interest are not being met or even realized in your relationship and you're depending on many other people for the happiness in your life you're seeking and you are being let down, instead of being uplifted.

 

It sounds like your husband who you're confiding in is not giving you the emotional support you want or need to resolve a multitude of family and social issues. It sounds like you're giving and giving to your relationship but you're just not getting back what you need to feel happy and validated.

 

The first thing to come to realize is you're not going to change who your husband fundamentally is, so you may want to consider changing how you react or how you deal with what's going on in your relationship. If you both are truly committed to making your relationship work than something or someone is going to have to give. There has to be some compromising and there has to be an ability to listen. I mean really listen and hear what the other person is feeling and acknowledge that there's an understanding of how each other are really feeling. Perhaps the counseling suggestion someone else mentioned may not be a bad idea. You two are out of sync and you may need someone impartial to help you out. It sounds like the underlying problem is an inability to communicate in a way you feel like you are being heard and taken seriously. Effective communication is one of the hardest and one of the most important attributes of a good and sustainable relationship. It's like anything else in life, you get out of an relationship what you put into it

 

Regarding your husband not defending you when his friends say stupid and cruel things to you, what I say is don't wait for him to defend you. You're going to have to speak up and out and defend yourself against people saying hurtful things to you. When he's not with you and people are outright disrespecting you, pick and chose your battles wisely, but don't hesitate to be assertive when the situation calls for it and don't take that crap. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel when you are pushing that shit back instead of taking it.

 

There's an old adage, you have to teach people how to treat so start today speaking up for yourself don't expect your husband to be the one who's going to jump in and always protect you as you seen already what happened and you know the disappointment you felt when he didn't.

 

You're a long way from home now take some control of your situation and don't let these people in Germany get you down. The emotional energy you're spending on feeling down has to been turned around and used in a positive way otherwise you and your relationship with your husband and other people will continue to languish and stifle your life.

 

P.S. It also sounds like you could use a mommy break and take a trip to a spa to be pampered or even try some date nights with your husband where you two go out to rekindle your relationship. If you chose the spa, It may not take the place of your husband being more supportive or emphatic, but it may help by giving you a short break from your present reality to gain a different perspective.

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Individual counseling would help you to discover just what your problems are and which ones can be solved.

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Sounds like you need marital counseling, as lines of communication are not open, you do not feel that your partner is hearing you and taking your experiences, feelings, and needs to heart.

You should also consider individual counseling, though as others have said a good first step would be to go to your regular physician to talk about this.

 

Good luck!

 

I agree 100%. I was in a similar situation, especially in the communication department. I pushed for counseling for years, but the GerMan resisted. Crisis ensued, and couples counseling came after my threat of divorce [we both also go by ourselves, to different counselors]. I hope your situation won't go that far.

 

My husband says Germans 'don't do counseling', because they see it as a failure. He now thinks quite the opposite. Our marriage had deteriorated into a complete failure before getting outside help.

Find a way to make him go! e.g. Promise not to bring up moving to the USA for X months. ;)

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I agree 100%. I was in a similar situation, especially the communication department. I pushed for counseling for years, but the GerMan resisted. Crisis ensued, and counseling came after my threat of divorce. I hope your situation won't go that far.

 

My husband says Germans 'don't do counseling', because they see it as a failure. He now thinks quite the opposite. Our marriage deteriorated into a complete failure before getting help!

 

And if he doesn't want to go to counseling than go yourself and get a different perspective. I have a friend whose husband told her he wasn't going to counseling. She said to him "So that must mean you don't want to married than". He ended up going, there was too much at stake.

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Welcome to the club, Dolphinears! I don't have a magic answer to your problem - there may not be one - but here are a few practical reflections...

 

 

When I talk to my husband about it (the whole situation emotionaly and moving to the states), he always seems to go into defense mode.

 

How about if you tried writing him a letter, so that you can express yourself well, and read it again the next day to make sure that nothing could be read as an attack on him? Maybe try to use 'I statements', like they say you should - not 'Your family is nasty to me', not 'I think your family is nasty to me', but 'I felt sad when your mum said X because I wasn't able to answer back', etc. Point out if you know there is no solution and you just want his sympathy. Tell him he doesn't have to defend his culture.

 

 

 

He has always refused the thought of moving to the US, because he simply can't. That is what he says, and he isn't necessarily lying, but it is so hard. I feel like I am married to his job and his state, and town. We simply have no choice.

Maybe neither of you have much of a choice. Many of us don't. If you went to the US, what job would you both get, realistically? What hours would that involve? What childcare would you arrange? You can find out a lot online these days; how about if you really try to work out, in detail, how it could work if you moved? Even if it just convinces you that things would be much harder, that might help you come to terms with your situation and enable you to stop scratching away at this wound and leave it to heal. Or maybe you can even persuade him that it could work out. (Would he have to come with you? If you split up would you realistically have to stay here?).

 

 

When he says these things to me I just feel like crap

You have some degree of control over that by cutting down on the number of times you make him say those things, even if it just by saying 'Yeah yeah, I know all the rest and I still hate it here' before he gets to that part!

 

 

 

My problems with Germany are quite emotional, and that is what it is. I don't hate the population, but I do feel that it rejects me.

Sometimes it helps just to hate the place. A much less complicated emotion. Do try to look out for the positive stuff too, though. If you deliberately try to notice nice little things (someone opening a door for you, whatever) it can help reduce the tendency to compile a mental list of nasty events and replay them in your head every time there's a setback.

 

 

There are other things, too. When a couple of his 'friends' met up one day at a Cafe, they made jokes about how he purchased me from my mom. I obviously look like a mail-order bride from Latin America and not like a US Citizen. Do you think that hubby defended me? There I sat and smiled.

Maybe your husband was taking his cues from your behaviour? Is he generally good at reading your mind, or could it be that he honestly had no clue that you would take the comment so seriously? Are you able to answer back yet in German? If not, maybe just do so in English so that they get the general gist from your tone of voice and hand gestures?

 

Start out with the short term. Where do you live? Are there any other foreigners you could meet up with just for a chat? Can you organise some childcare so you get some time off to do a hobby or just go for a swim or something? Can you get any home comforts - TV, radio, phoning family, food, visits abroad? Can you make your everyday life nicer, e.g. by moving to a sunnier flat or decorating? When you are stuck in a prison it helps if it is at least a bit of a nice prison.

 

It does also sound like couples counselling could help - maybe to make your conversations more effective or just change the record for once.

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