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UPDATE IN PROGRESS
Had a lovely sleep-in morning and have been busy since I got up. Ek Family update is in progress and should be finished momentarily. All new pictures from May to present for friends and family back home.

We had friends over for dinner last night and in the midst of discussing a mutal friend's (American) problems with a cheating spouse (Swedish) and the impending divorce, etc., Emily turned to her husband and said emphatically, "You see?! This is why I'm afraid of having children!" Whereupon we all cracked up, but it lead to a serious and interesting talk about the unique problems faced by inter-cultural marriages when they break up and children are involved. I personally know of more than a dozen people (both men and women) who came to Sweden for love, married, had children and then ended up stuck in Sweden when the marriage fell apart because the Swedish spouse refused to let them take the children back to the States.

One person I know of on Amerikanska has been faced with the situation of his American wife going back to the States with their 2-year-old daughter, ostensibly for vacation, and then filing for divorce while there and refusing to come back. :( An ugly situation to face, no matter which side of the pond you call home.

It's not that inter-cultural marriages have more problems than others (although they may have an added stress factor) or that one person gives up "everything" to move to the other person's country. It's that when you have children in a foreign country, the laws of that country apply if that's where you and the children reside and you cannot remove your children without your spouse's consent without being in danger of being charged with international kidnapping.

I've thought about it myself, when Anders and I have had rough patches: what I would do if faced with a similar situation. I think that the person who has moved a foreign country for love, and had children there, really needs to think it through and be ready to face a worst-case scenario and be comfortable with their decision about what to do in such a case. For some, it may mean never being able to go home unless they want to leave their children behind. If your children are young, as mine are, that may not be an option.

I do know some people (Americans) who have had their first marriage with a Swede fall apart, with and without children, and have managed to stay in Sweden and continue with their lives, and in at least one case, marry again to a different Swede, with a happy result.

What would you do if faced with this situation? I think I'd end up staying here. But I have the luxury of a good job, a good support system and the knowledge that my husband would be reasonable on many levels. Not that I'm worried about this ever happening, since Anders and I are committed to each other through good and bad and determined to make our marriage, our family, and our lives together. But, still.

And now, off to work on my collage book! :)
 busy
mood: busy
music: Joan Armatrading—Eating the Bear


Comments

What would you do if faced with this situation?

I've thought about this from time to time, but more along of the lines of "how on earth would I manage?" because it seems to me that the only possible choice would be to stay. I think it would be unbelievably selfish even to entertain the notion of taking my kids back to the States and separating them from their father. I hate how the Swede who "refuses" to let his/her children be moved halfway around the world is so often made out to be the bad guy (I'm not saying that you're doing this, but I've seen it often enough on Amerikanska and elsewhere). If the shoe were on the other foot, I can't believe many of the Americans would think it were A-ok for their children to be taken thousands of miles away from them. :/

I agree with you totally. I'm not trying to make the "Swede" out to be the bad guy, I think that ANYONE would not want their ex to take their children out of the country, regardless of whether it's Sweden or the States. And I agree with you, too, that it would incredibly selfish of anyone to take their children so far away from the other parent. Some people, however, feel that they have no economic possibilities if they are left "on their own" in a foreign country, especially if they don't have a job or friends/family, whatever. I just think it's a horrible situation to be in, regardless of which party you are, and that it's something that all expatriates, especially "love immigrants" should be mentally prepared for, in some basic way.

I know exactly what you mean about the "no economic possibilities" thing ... that's mostly what I meant when I wondered how I would manage. I'm an at-home mom and have never worked in Sweden (and don't have plans to at this point, at least until all my kids are in school full-time--and we want to have at least one more). I would be in a world of hurt if I could no longer rely on my husband's income (he has life insurance, thank goodness, but if we were to divorce -- yikes!). I guess what we have to do is stay married! ;)

My first marriage of 17 1/2 years fell apart over an 18 month period. I had never dreamed that I would not be spending my entire life with my ex. Luckily we had no children to complicate things. So I came into this relationship with eyes wide open. The fact that my fellow is 19 years younger than me also makes things more precarious (in my mind, not in his *laugh*)I knew when I moved here, it was for life, since I could not separate our son from his dad, even if things between us ended. Ibo missed 15 months (he moved back to Sweden when LL was 3 months old and we moved over when LL was 18 months old) of the kidlets' life and it was a long period for us all. I know that I could work at something and support myself if the need arose, but I could not take LL across the ocean away from his father ever.

Good lord, Kissekat, how awful! 17.5 years!!? I'm glad you've gotten through it so well. Sounds like things are good now. I know what you mean about not being able to take your kids away from their father. But, like my friend whose husband is an asshole and cheating on her, there are all kinds of situations, and sometimes things aren't so black and white. :(

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