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Do I stay? I have a lot to consider! Any advice would be helpful!

Tagged as: Big Questions, Breaking up, Dating, Long distance, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (23 January 2018) 3 Answers - (Newest, 24 January 2018)
A male Norway age 36-40, anonymous writes:

My problem is quite complex and works across a number of different levels and areaa. So i want to break it down and look at some of them piece by piece.

The under pinning issue is that 18 months ago i moved from the UK to Norway (Oslo) to be with my girlfriend who id been in a long distance relationship with for approx 2 years.

There are issues that i have with our relationship and they are what i may look for advice on at a later point.

The current issue that i am struggling with is as follows. In the previous 10 years i had worked hard, built a good reputation in my career field and was very likely to have continued that trajectory. SomethingI nwas proud of.

However, i did not want to be "that guy" who puts his career first. I love the lifestyle in Norway, outdoors, active, plenty of snow, i dont even mind paying £10 for a beer in a pub.

However, i accepted a job here, vaguely connected to my career field, but ive literallt gone back to the start, my experience is hardly valued and progression is slow and opportunities are uninspiring.

More fool me, ive not learned the language quickly enough, fluency is required for almost every job that i am skilled for, so every day i am seeing friends and former colleagues on linkedin progress with their careers while mine feels like ive stagnated or even regressed.

The problem as i see it is the only way that i can think to resolve this is give up on the relationship and go home to rescue my career.

There in is the dilema, at the start i was willing to make a short term compromise in my career for work life balance and to be with the woman i love. However, im 18 months in, i feel stuck, trapped, unsure of my own mind on the whole situation and in some respects if i knew then, what i know about the relationship now, then it is very unlikely that i would have taken this gamble. I may be dramatic, but it feels like ive taken a gamble and its not paid off.

So with all that in my mind im confused and upset. Equally, i think the decision to leave for my job would be devestating for my girlfriend. Equally there are a range of issues there (unhappy in her job, family pressure and desire to live here, lack of confidence to improve her life,trust issues with me and all people she has not met (colleagues of mine for example)). So i am not sure if i should try and fight to save the relationship that will result in me staying here and still facing the issues that ive tried to explain.

Apologies of this is a bit rambling and incoherent, im just a bit lost with it all.

Thanka in advance.

View related questions: confidence, long distance, my ex, trapped

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI think this is actually a common issue with people who are from two different countries/States/areas end up in LDR's. Let me explain why.

When you MADE the choice to move to HER country, you gave up EVERYTHING that you were when you met her. Your career, your friends, family and social circle (while you might still have them you see them a lot less), your culture, hobbies and favorite haunts. She gave up nothing. All she had to do was make room for you, essentially.

And YOU then had to make ALL these new choices and efforts, like learning a new language, new culture, mindset and a new career AS well as adapt to living with her full time.

So YOU really are the one who has had to juggle the majority of the challenges and complications. You jumped in with both feet BEFORE you could swim (speak Norwegian) so you also started out at an disadvantage.

It makes a relationship uneven. VERY uneven.

To top that off you have been a VERY hardworking and career minded person, who feels that you are no longer at the same level you were or the level you should be, career-wise. Which can feel like a loss. It can be frustrating, disappointing, and grow doubts in yourself.

I have been there, done that. Except BOTH my husband and I gave up A LOT - we moved to a "middle ground" (so to speak) He left one career to re-join the military (which we had hoped would make it easier for us to live together in a place (in or out of the US/Europa)... Turns out, planning with the military in mind is well, like wrestling oil up piglets...

I think the reason my husband and I still work out 20 years later is because it wasn't just ONE person making ALL the major sacrifices so we could be together. We both did.

And I think the reason you two aren't working out, is because you feel you have lost YOU, the guy you were and you actually enjoyed being. The hardworking, goal oriented etc. etc. Now you are "just" her BF from the UK. If that makes sense?

The things that initially attracted HER to you, you no longer are (to a point) and whatever attracted you to HER -well it might not have really BEEN her. (as she is now) but the version you saw for 2 years. My guess is while you two were LDR you would visit each other and it would be "little holidays" together, so they were fairly short and enjoyable. LIVING together is a whole other ball game.

And maybe some of the issues that you are now faced (like her unhappiness with her job, trust issues with you over coworkers) you didn't NOTICE before you made that big move. Because you were both caught up in the "happily ever after, we can finally BE together!!" fantasy/reality.

You can keep TRYING to make things happen, but you CAN'T change how she feels, how her family feels. You could potentially "fix" the trust issue with your coworkers by finding a way to introduce her, but that can also backfire.

You have given it 18 months and it's NOT working. While I do agree that learning a new language (like ANY of the Scandinavian languages - I'm Danish btw) is VERY hard as an adult. As you probably know most of us in the Nordic countries are polyglots but the age of 12. With at least 2-3 languages. And often a 4th by the age of 16. You can't really expect to be totally fluent after only 18 months unless you have extensive lessons and training.

You have to decide, DO I want to pull a Don Quixote and KEEP fighting windmills, or have I reached a point where I no longer feel THIS is what I want in life.

CAN you see yourself IN this life (that you are living right now) in 2 - 3 - 5 years from now?

You don't sounds like you are really enjoying the cultural change, your new job NOR your GF. You don't sound like you are fulfilled at work or at home. The language barrier is an obstacle not a challenge for you.

And while I get that you do not want to hurt your GF, if you stay so SHE won't be hurt, you are still hurting.

Some times life doesn't work out as planned. It happens. All you can do is adapt and roll with the punches and make the BEST of it.

Chin up, and take your time thinking it over. I think you already know WHAT you want to do. Make it happen.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (24 January 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntFirst of all, I would advise you to stop comparing your career progress with that of your colleagues. It is not a competition or a race. Everyone chooses a different path in life. They have not chosen to go and work in a different country and learn a foreign language. All respect to you for giving it a go.

Secondly, if the only thing holding you back in your career progression is your lack of fluency in the language, then concentrate on that. Take classes, mix with colleagues who don't speak any English so that you HAVE to practice. Give it your best shot then see how that helps.

It sounds to me like you decided to give this new path a go in the heat of excitement about a new relationship. Now that the relationship is not quite so shiny or perfect, you are having doubts about both the relationship and your decision to move. You feel you have given up a lot on your career front only to find the relationship with your girlfriend is not what you expected.

Remember no decision is irreversible. Life is about learning and adapting. What seemed like the right decision may not always turn out to be so. That is just life. You can only know by trying.

It seems to me you have several choices here. Either stick it out longer, making a concerted effort to learn the language and, from there, progress in your career, or cut your losses (as is best if you truly feel your gamble hasn't paid off) and return to the UK.

Off the back of this decision, you need to decide whether you and your girlfriend have any future together. If she has severe trust issues with you and your friends, then that is going to put a big strain on your relationship. Do you think it might be best just to draw a line under the whole experience (job AND relationship) and return to the UK for a fresh start?

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A male reader, Been there Now over it United States +, writes (24 January 2018):

It doesn't sound like your problem is very complex, or at least as complex as you state in your intro: I only see two issues here: 1) You are unhappy in Norway and would like to move back to the UK, 2) you aren't satisfied in your relationship.

If you stay in Norway, how do you see things as having progressed in five years? Ten years? From what you write, it seems things are becoming more and more unsatisfactory as time progresses. The only reason you've given for staying in Norway is that you don't want to hurt your girlfriend. Well, you really have to look out after your own best are the only one in your life who can and will do so. You only get one life...don't live it out in compromise.

You have two options to happiness: 1) Move back to the UK by yourself, 2) move back to the UK and take your girlfriend or at least offer her the opportunity. It appears that #2 is not really a viable option. So it is time to take #1.

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