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Should I stay or should I go?

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Hello friend from Toytown.

 

I am writing this post to see if I can get some advice from you fellow expatriates in Germania…

 

I am in the process of deciding whether to stay here in Germany or say goodbye to this country and go back to start a new life in mine again. I want to hear some of your ideas, opinions and thoughts, so that you can help me with this process of making this very difficult decision.

 

I have lived in Germany for the last 5 years. At the beginning I thought that this was the country where I wanted to live and settle down. Things have changed along the way and I no longer know what to do.

 

I have a working contract that is ending at the end of the year. So I have to start to apply for new jobs, but I don’t know if I should do it in Germany or not. I have a relationship here and some friends too but the reasons why I hesitate to stay here are several. Basically, it all comes down to the fact that I am a woman in my early or mid thirties and my biggest concern now is that I really want to have children. I know that I can’t wait much, otherwise it might be harder. I am also aware of the fact that if I start a family in Germany I will most likely stay here all my life. I know that it is unrealistic to expect that my partner would agree to move to my country. He’s very German and very used to living life here. I haven’t asked him what he would think about moving to my country but I am afraid that bringing these concerns up can harm our relationship. I know as well which will most likely be the answer anyways. But in any case, I don’t know if I want to start a family here and stay here all my life. Basically, my concerns are the following. I am an only child and my parents live very far from me. They are still healthy and strong but I would feel sad to leave them behind. I know that they can visit but most likely just for a couple of weeks a year. This would be less as they age I guess and I wonder how it would be if one of them is sick or in need of help and I am so far. I also don’t know if I want my children to grow up so far away from their grandparents.

 

Another reason why I hesitate to stay in Germany is that I feel very foreign here. Most of my friends here are expats as well. I do have some German friends though. They are nice people that I appreciate having in my life but maybe we are too different from each other and too busy to take the friendship to a deeper level. They are also just a few and I feel that the relationship I have with them is very casual and unattached. I feel that they don’t really know who I am. Also, sometimes, when I walk the streets of the city where I live, I find myself feeling unemotional about the whole place. I feel like ‘yes, it’s nice, but I am not from here, this place looks ‘foreign’ to me’. This feeling is stronger in the winter, spring and autumn, and less so in the summer. I also feel very foreign when I spend time with a group of Germans. I do speak some German but I make many mistakes and I don’t always understand what people say. So I am usually not feeling completely at ease in everyday life situations where I interact with groups of germans, like in my pilates class or in parties or get-togethers where I am the only non-German. Many of the people I feel also don’t really care about who I am and they generally see me with a bit of ‘exoticizing’ curiosity rather than as an equal. I can deal with this since I am not a pretentious person but I sometimes think that I would be happier in a country where I can develop a stronger sense of community and deeper relationships.  

When I think of how my life was when I was back home, it was certainly not perfect and I had many reasons that motivated me to come here. My country has a zillion problems that I don’t think it’s necessary to explain here, but let’s just say that it is far from perfect. I also don’t want to chase a non-existing paradise and I know that life can be hard regardless of where I am.  But I would like some input from you, something that can help me make my decision.  Basically, I think that at this point, my options are the following.

To stay in Germany with my partner and deal with the negative or unpleasant aspects of my life here (feeling of isolation, difficulties to communicate, long distance relationship with the family).

2.     To end my relationship and go back to my country and stay there my whole life regardless of what happens with job or love there.

3.     To go where I can find the best job possible and start a completely new life there.

4.     To end my current relationship and try to find a partner from my country or from the country where I can adapt better. This would also require that we both agree to go live somewhere else after some years. And it frankly seems almost impossible that I find someone that does not only love and I love, but also has the same ideas for the future as me.


What would you do in my position? Share your ideas and experiences with me!

Thank you for reading.

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Before you make a decision to end your relationship, shouldn't you talk this over with your partner?  Maybe he would rather move with you than lose you.

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Why do you think you can only find happiness if you are in a partnership? I know a few single or divorced people that are very happy with the life they are living.

 

Happiness comes from within, you seem to have some issues which you must deal with. You don't necessarily need someone else to make you happy. You should make yourself happy.

 

Most  of us here have families in our home countries that we do not see so often. That is the price you pay when you leave your homeland.  

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6 minutes ago, White Rose of Yorkshire said:

Why do you think you can only find happiness if you are in a partnership? I know a few single or divorced people that are very happy with the life they are living.

 

Happiness comes from within, you seem to have some issues which you must deal with. You don't necessarily need someone else to make you happy. You should make yourself happy.

 

Most  of us here have families in our home countries that we do not see so often. That is the price you pay when you leave your homeland.  

 

The post that I wrote is not about having to have a partner or not. The need to have a partner or not is another topic and this post is about staying in Germany or not. But thank you for your answer anyway, I guess.

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5 hours ago, White Rose of Yorkshire said:

Why do you think you can only find happiness if you are in a partnership?

 

 

- probably has a lot to do with her wanting to have children!

 

Five years is not a long time to be here, and maybe the OP has kind of "hit the wall" , realising that if she doesn't make changes now, she will be here forever...

I think that making new friends is quite difficult at her age too - most people already have their set group of friends, and are settling down to play happy families in their early thirties, so this is a time where making new friends is not on their list of priorities, so it can be difficult.

However, I would recommend doing as many activities as possible without your boyfriend being there - that way, you will have to practice your German, and people will interact with you, rather than your boyfriend!

Of course, there are benefits to staying here and having your children grow up here, but if you heart isn't here, then there isn't much point in staying, is there?

I would recommend you take a longer holiday in your home country, and take the time to sort out for yourself what you actually want in life, and how to go about getting it. Whatever you decide, there will be compromises to make, and hurdles to jump, but it is your life, and if you are not happy with it, then you have to make changes.

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I think most people do leave.  Those of us that stay are the outliers.  Many people here are on 4-5 year terms and then they go.  And their lives move on.  I am a British woman in my 50s here.  There's a few hundred of us in Germany.  We are an incredibly isolated group.  I think of that statistic a lot.  For all the middle-class fetishising of migration we get fed as a lifestyle choice,  that's how it ends up.

 

Some of it is down to your choices.  Of course it's easy to feel like an "expat" in an international city like Hamburg.  While many people regard it as Germany's top city, you still won't be seeing "real Germany", rather an international city, as it always was.   You'd have to go somewhere else.

 

Times have also changed rapidly.  Germany 2013 was very different.  Massive gentrification since them.  In 2018, many of us would be moving to a very different place than the one we moved to and we might find it less alluring.    However, what this also means is that major population centres in particular are going to be more transient and full of incomers who often do not stay long (German and foreign). The new normal.

 

I basically have partly left where I settled but I did stay in Germany.  I moved to a locale that's 97% German.  I have my 2006 feel back.  Most compatriots (UK) I met then are long gone. like right back in 2010-12. Time moves fast.

 

We have to grab at what we want.  If you want to have a family, get on with that.  Don't link it to location or other.   That's how most people achieve their various life goals rather than waiting for perfect solutions (having it all).  They would wait forever.

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Well, I can be wrong, but reading what you write, it seems like there are some options that you like less / don't want to pursue. 

I am already feeling concerned if you are so uncomfortable staying with your partner and in Germany, then maybe having a child with this partner is not a good idea ? You don't really seem to believe in your relation ship.

 

On the other hand, you say you want children. Seeing your age, your current partner is maybe your only chance. Who says you will find a new partner quite fast, and that he will agree to have children so fast ? At the time you are settled again, there is a risk you are too old to have children. 

 

I agree with swimmer: perfect world does not exist. You will have to focus on priorities. What is the more important for you ? 

 

In general, if you really can see yourself in the future with your current partner, I would discuss the topic with him. 

 

About option 2, think about it: your parents will disappear at some point. Will you not regret at that time having moved back to your country, maybe to get single without children and no good job ? This is of course the pessimistic scenario, but just saying...

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11 hours ago, Red tulip said:

I haven’t asked him what he would think about moving to my country but I am afraid that bringing these concerns up can harm our relationship. I know as well which will most likely be the answer anyways.

 

Have you asked him if he wants children with you or do you know the most likely answer to that, too?  Have you two discussed marriage or a future together?

 

There are already communication problems in your relationship if you are afraid to ask him a question. From where I sit, that looks like a big, red flag.

 

I'm sorry to be so blunt but there it is. You definitely have some tough decisions to make so I hope that the comments here will help you decide.

 

I do wish you the very best.

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14 hours ago, Red tulip said:

What would you do in my position? Share your ideas and experiences with me!

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

I would try to get some professional counselling - if you're lucky you'll find someone who can help you to find the answers for yourself and who will support you in the process.

Good luck. Definitely not an easy one.

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15 hours ago, Red tulip said:

I haven’t asked him what he would think about moving to my country but I am afraid that bringing these concerns up

 

I've always said, a Truth not told is a Lie.

 

I'd read your posting to him.

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On 6/8/2018 15:47:09, catjones said:

 

I've always said, a Truth not told is a Lie.

 

I'd read your posting to him.

I will tell him.

 

But I would also appreciate hearing from people here how you deal with this... how you handle the distance from your relatives,  and how you manage the challenges to integrate to this society.

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On 6/8/2018 13:08:30, LukeSkywalker said:

Who still remembers the song "Should I stay or should I go?" from the 1980s:

 

I DO!! :D

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Dear Red Tulip,

 

Argentina is a different world. Different social values, customs, different ways of relating  to other people, family, friends and acquantences, different food, drink, everything!!

 

I lived in Brazil for 3 years and knew plenty of European people who lived there and regarded it as their permanent home. They were normally fluent Portuguese speakers and had strong personal relationships with Brazilian people, sometimes through marriage, but not always. They looked on me with pity when my employer decided to transfer me to New York!

 

So I suppose my message to you is as follows. The place where you are at the moment is not as important as who you are with, and indeed,  who you want to be with.

Maybe in your case, the old saying "Home is where the heart is" would be true.

 

 

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These days, distance is not a barrier to family contacts. Everything from Skype, Face Time, etc. Plus, fares are not  so expensive that  someone with a job cannot afford trips over, or help pay for a relative to visit.

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On 06/08/2018, 00:05:05, Red tulip said:

I sometimes think that I would be happier in a country where I can develop a stronger sense of community and deeper relationships.  

 

 

2.     To end my relationship...

 

Your post is absolutely lucid RT and to me, these are the two most important sentences.

You seem to know yourself and what you want.

The fact that you even contemplate being able to end your present relationship suggests that maybe he is not The One...

I think you want to move back to your source.

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14 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

These days, distance is not a barrier to family contacts.

Beg to differ. When your parents age and you have your own commitments it gets really tough to do a satisfactory juggling act and split yourself three ways trying.

Sadly kiddo barely knows her grandparents. Yes it is easy to pick up the phone or get on Skype in theory. But reality is different.

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36 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

These days, distance is not a barrier to family contacts. Everything from Skype, Face Time, etc. Plus, fares are not  so expensive that  someone with a job cannot afford trips over, or help pay for a relative to visit.

 

Unfortunately, I've got to mostly disagree on this too - based on the age of the contact.  Distance is still a huge barrier when your 80+ year old mother has just gotten a new iPhone, is arguing with Siri on a regular basis (since neither she nor her support group know how to turn it off), Skype / KakaoTalk / Face Time are a foreign language to someone who doesn't use email and only uses the tablet to play cards (despite many hours of icon creation and teaching) and they don't have any idea how to use the scanner that you bought them to send you the latest letter from the tax or pension people so you can see what issues they might have.

 

Fares, when well planned, are not too expensive but the visits are only temporary and even if you were retired, you'd run up against the 183 day residence / tax rule in the attempt to be there enough to really have an impact - add a few urgent trips and you're talking a chunk of change ... even for the well employed.  And, as many people get older, they don't want to travel as much and getting them to come to you many times just doesn't work.

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2 hours ago, Red tulip said:

 

 

Red Tulip, one question: did you come to Germany because of your partner or did you meet him here?

I think this is an important question. If you traveled to Germany to be together, there is more of an onus on him to reciprocate if you want to return to Argentina.

 

I was at a crossroads in my life and had the good fortune to be able to walk the Camino de Santiago alone. Maybe it's not for you but I think to take a short break from Germany and see how you feel about your partner and how you feel about German life when you are away from daily life here would be extremely beneficial for you to chose the next path to take. 

 

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