Saturday, February 02, 2008

Come to France and get divorced

A strange phenomnenon.
I know of 5 couples that have emigrated to France only to have their marriage break down.
Two close friends of my wife have hqd their husbands leave them, and we have another aquaintance for whom this disaster has just struck last month. All 3 women now find themselves alone in France with young children.
Another couple in the next village had the reverse, the wife took the kids back to England leaving the husband behind in France.
Some other good friends had a split, the wife carrying on with someone else and the husband took the whole family back to Wales and they are still together, tho it's not happy.

I know of many, many UK men here who spend all their time in the "English" bars while their wives wait at home.

I think in many cases the "French Dream" is not shared by both partners. One or the other leaves their friends, family and job to follow their partner into rural France. There, they find themselves isolated, unable to speak the language, spending time watching Eastenders and Corrie on Sky.

There are many couples who have moved here and one partner has to commute weekly to the UK to keep earning. It's very hard on a family when dad is only seen 2 days in every 14. And when he gets back to the family he can't rest because there is a pile of repairs and DIY to be done.

Often, the project of renovating the ruin they have bought keeps them occupied. Once the last radiator is plumbed in, and the last window double-glazed, they find they have nothing in common and nothing more to do together.

There is a big difference between the France we know from holidays and the France we have to live in. The house renovation shields people from that difference.

I'd love to see figures for divorce rates for UK immigrants, to compare with the averages.

I'm a cheery chappie aren't I?



At 5:36 pm, Blogger dND said...

It's an interesting point to raise. Most sites (and that probably includes mine) concentrate on the plus points.

I'm lucky in that I'm in this on my own, it's my choice but there are days when I wonder if I'm ever going to get it straight or work my way through the paperwork.

If you are a couple coming over, you need to both want to make the change and be realistic about what you both expect from life here before committing yourself.

I on the other hand should probably just be committed! :-D

At 8:13 pm, Blogger Living the Dream said...

Hi you Happy Chappie. Richard and I have recently moved here to beautiful France so wish us luck. We have an old house to renovate but at the moment, we are fine. Watch this space...... We are retired, does that make us different or just mad, not young retired, OAP retired!!

At 7:52 pm, Blogger Breezy said...

Weird we were discussing this a while back. We thought it might be a case of people whose marriages were already a bit iffy trying to outdistance their problems and make a fresh start in France

At 7:32 pm, Blogger travelling, but not in love said...

My old Boss when I worked in Orleans was an englishwoman who had moved to a small village in La Beauce (possible the dullest part of France) when she was 22 to marry a french boy she'd met at university.

She lived in a tiny village and had few friends. 20 years on, her husband left her for a younger, frencher model and she was left alone.

Her kids had left home, she had no life in the UK to go back to - her life was in France. But she'd been so busy with career, husband and kids that she actually had no life anywhere.

I found her rolling on her office floor, surrounded by ripped up paperwork and upturned files, crying 'ils m'attaquent, ils m'attaquent'.

Bless her. Apparently she's much happier these days.

She moved to Paris and found a young beau to cheer her up....

At 3:39 pm, Blogger Debra in France said...

Hi Stew, as a mobile hairdresser I meet all sorts of people, and I have come across loads who move here, find out one of them loves it and the other hates it, and want to move back to the UK. It must be really awful to know that whatever move you make, one of the couple will be unhappy.

The most commen problem seems to be that the men (generally those in there 50's and upwards) get on with the DIY, and the women have nothing to do. They cannot speak the language and often do not have neighbours to chat with. The shops are very different and there are very few shopping malls to mooch round. They often do not drive and as a result of all this they are bored, lonely and feel that life is passing them by.

It is really sad.

At 5:02 pm, Blogger Adam Cope said...

bonjour stew

yes i've watched this in ex-pat couples as well ......

-'cabin fever' being couped up 24 hours a day with spouse, doesn't allow for small domestic annoyances to blow over & calm downwith a bit of distance & coooling off.
-too much cheap wine
-too far from long standing friends & children & grandchildren
-no work place social life
-not really understanding that france is not the same as Uk
- home sickness & roots
-familar places & people make for 'home'
-not appreciating that adaption must be made to the french way of doing things
- early retirement & lack of self-direction
- your partner realising that you can be really ....
-that grumpy but sexy madame who will fondle the croissants before she sells them to you?

nice to visit chez-vous le blog

hope you have lots of fun


At 6:23 pm, Blogger Mouse said...

Well, I'd say that any total change of lifestyle/culture/scene is tough once the novelty has worn off.
Other than the flippin' fonctionnaires, the lunchtime closing and missing the kids, nothing here gets me down
OK, maybe the Brittany weather
and the way the French drive right up my rear end
and I miss Waitrose and M&S
Other than that....

At 9:07 am, Blogger The Lehners in France said...

Hi Stew, only just found your blog thanks to your comment on mine. I've not kept mine upto date recently, too much to do battling ronces and pointing stone work. Me and my husband have been out here for 2 1/2 years and quite honestly believe most of the Brits leave their brains at Dover. We have watched many British train crasshes and are waiting for others to unfold. Lots of breakups and lots of DIY disasters. I think a lot of people come out for a new start coz things aren't right already. All they actually achieve is to intensify the already fragile relationship. Good luck with your blog, you've given me the inspiration to keep mine going.


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