My partner’s situation here is quite different. He has two young children from previous relationships and doesn’t wish to leave the country until they are 18, which is understandable. He also has a 93-year-old father and a mentally-challenged sister, who live just up the road from us, whom he visits often. Unlike me, he is one of eight children.
I often feel torn between my life here and wanting to be with my family. This is something my partner doesn’t understand. Every time I try to talk about my feelings he takes it personally, accusing me of not loving him and not having affection for his family. This I find unfair and it hurts my feelings, considering I lived with him in his father’s house for two years to look after them and his children share their lives with us. As a result, I can’t talk to him about this matter anymore.
I definitely feel torn between my life here and my family back in India. I know that in 10 year’s time, I will deeply regret not being there for my parents and missing my god-daughter’s childhood. This bottled up feeling is making me very unhappy, and the fact that I can’t share it with my partner is making me resentful. Any words of advice? — Torn Between Two Worlds
What is it that you want your fiancé to say? He has made it clear that he is not leaving Melbourne — and for good reason. I assume you two got engaged with the understanding that you would be building your life in Melbourne. You even bought a house together there. But now you’re saying that, if you stay there, in ten year’s time you’ll regret not moving back to India? What is your partner supposed to say to that??
I suspect your fiancé does understand where you’re coming from, but he doesn’t understand what it is you want from him. Are you asking him to move to India with you? You already know he’s not going to leave his children or his elderly father. He’s just not. And, frankly, it’s unfair to expect him to when he has made clear from the start that he won’t. Either respect that and deal or… move on. But pressuring him or trying to guilt him into …into what — picking up his life, leaving his kids, leaving his father — because you don’t think it’s fair that YOU should be the one to choose one life over another isn’t fair when you’ve already started building your life together where you are.
If you’ve changed your mind, be honest about that. Own it. Tell you fiancé you cannot marry him knowing that you will regret not moving home to India. Tell him that you regret that you didn’t realize this before you got engaged and before you bought a home together and before you invested four years into your relationship, but at least you realized it before your wedding.
And if you haven’t changed your mind and you do want to stay in Melbourne and continue building your future with your fiancé, then tell him that you are willing to stay there but you need him to be more compassionate when you feel sad and homesick. And then be proactive in staying more involved in your family’s lives back in India. If you can afford it, visit more frequently. Schedule regular Skype/Facetime dates. Have some heart-to-heart talks with your parents about their wishes as they age and become less independent. Make plans together for their senior care.
As for your god-daughter, you have to appreciate that, for as much as you miss her, your fiancé would miss his own children so much more if he were to move away. Your god-daughter has parents. You may be close to her, but you are not her guardian; you are not her mother. You are not someone whose presence in her life is fundamental in her emotional well-being and happiness. Your fiancé IS someone whose presence is fundamental in the emotional well-being and happiness of his kids’ lives. He can’t leave them to move across the world with you. So, you have to decide whether to stay with him or leave. It’s not his decision to make. It’s yours. The only thing you can ask of him is to be understanding and compassionate with you. And if he can’t… well, I suppose that should help you make your decision then.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].