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  #101  
Old 01.11.2010, 14:12
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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I miss work

I miss my own hard earned disposable income

I miss the feeling that I've contributed or accomplished more than having the washing done and the house tidy.

Leaving a career in Australia where I was respected for what I could do and what I contributed to the company to come to a country where I don't understand the language and am back to reciting 1 = une 2 = deux 3 = trois is demoralising. Its easier if you're at work as you have wins every day and a sense of accomplishment that I just don't get doing housework. I also miss the company of others in the office and someone to chat to over the water cooler. Whilst I don't feel ready to have children yet I also envy women who have them as they have company and the home doesn't feel so empty whilst their husband is at work.

I've not sat on my arse at home alone; I've joined clubs, taken french classes and created a network of friends but this hasn't given me purpose and for someone who thrives on being driven; floating around without any real structure is a new form of torture.

Also as others have mentioned; spending my husbands money is hard. My pride took a beating for at least the first 6 months just using the money my husband earned on groceries. I'd supported myself from the age of 16 and undoing 14 years of being proudly self-sufficient to rely on another was hard. I still have trouble spending money on myself (one of the reasons my husbands wardrobe is currently much nicer than mine) and I feel a need to justify everything I spend. But at least I don't have to worry about my husband griping (like many other men I've heard) about how much I spend . My husband is awesome and doesn't begrudge me anything. He'd be happy for me to spend more of his hard earned money. But I still feel bad about it.

I've taken over running the household, paying the bills and anything that falls outside of my husbands work. But I still don't have the sense of accomplishment that I'd get every day at work or at school.

So I've decided to continue studying with the Open university in Australia. This way if we move I can continue my studies and I can also stay sane and focused on something other than cleaning the house (which seems designed to keep me insane).

I'm coming to the conclusion that trying to shoehorn myself into the mould of the 1950's housewife just isn't going to be a good fit for me long term. We'll deal with it and work around it. But I'm not going to be happy if my whole life is cleaning a house and running after kids. And thankfully my husband can see this. So I'm going about trying to create the life I want

It seems like quite a few of the women on this forum have and/or are creating the lives they want. Thanks for providing me with some inspiration
Again, something I could have written myself too.

Well said nic!! You definitely have eloquently and accurately voiced out how alot of us are feeling, and you know where to find a listening ear in future. *over here*
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  #102  
Old 01.11.2010, 14:56
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

I've been thinking about this a lot the last few days... not that I wasn't thinking about it before, but what happened / why has my mind-set with regard to the situation I'm in become something so different than what I'd imagined?

Back in my single days, I remember talking to one of my guys about what I was looking for in a relationship. I wanted to be able to have my life and for "him" to have his. I am terrible at making sure bills get paid so I wanted someone who could and would do that. I wanted someone I could enjoy spending time with but who didn't feel the need to be in my pocket or keep me in theirs... to have some independence from each other.

I think that if hubby and I had been more patient and he had come to the US, things may have worked out that way. I never wanted to "need" someone to do things for me but rather a true "partner".

I've written my story here some, but everything I went through the first year and more after I arrived, really threw me for a loop. I didn't know anyone aside from my husband really. I couldn't communicate with my mother-in-law, but yet we lived in her house. Even the times I had serious problems, I couldn't depend upon her for help and my husband is simply not that type of guy. I try not to paint him in a bad light, he is a great guy, I try not to paint my m-i-l poorly, she's pretty awesome too... but for the situation as it is, I could not depend on them to be "who" I needed. I still don't think I can.

I didn't (and to be honest, still don't, not really) know where to turn. I still don't feel comfortable turning to some of the people I've met who DO know about the type of things I need help with. Part of the problem is that I don't feel comfortable admitting to anyone exactly how "bad" it feels for me, not even to myself. The person who has offered help in the past is only too quick to vilify my husband... I know things aren't his fault, even though some moments I *want* to blame him, I know it's not fair, and help or no, I can not afford to bring someone further into my life by accepting that help if they are going to make me feel worse in my relationship.


Meanwhile, what I really had wanted in a relationship, I know my husband is capable of providing, and would love to do it. That IS the type of person he is. I need to get back to being me though... the hard part for me is that in order to get there, I need his help, and he's not that type of guy.
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  #103  
Old 02.11.2010, 23:50
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Nic80
I know how you feel
and yes i know my husband is not thrill with our
relation as i am not myself here!
I also feel the same way,i miss working,i wish i had my salary
to pay the house expense even if my salary is two times smaller
then his,i could buy my familly and hubby gifts.
I miss the fact that at work i was a Manager and had collegues
under my supervision,i miss my clientes ,i miss giving advices to peoples
like i used to do at my job.
I also feel like the only thing i do now is cleaning and look like a fool who dosen t speak the language,even if i speak three others ,i do speak two official language of Switzerland but not German
But after having a bumpy start we moved here and had our condo for sale in the US and sold it after been here 6 months then hubby lost his job ,and no more German courses for me and a lot of stress,and my hope to go back to the US where he didn t wanted to go back
Well he found a job and i start a German school in October.
Do something you like,maybe volunteer i had try here no one want me,i guess because i do not speak German,not even pet shelteer !
Sign up for a Course to learn the Language,it will help you a lot and will bring you to the road to get a job!
Don t worry about your 30th drink Birthday do what you can,i was only with hubby last year for the big 40 LOL,Yes when you feel down pick up your phone call familly friends it help!
Spmeone had say we should start a group of non working lady s yes we should.
Belive me i love peoples and laughin,it is normal to feel this way when you are in a different country ,not speaking the language and you do not have yet friends .
With time everything happen.
You know there was a phrase very true from French president Francois Mitterand,you have to give time at the time,sorry not certain at the translation,but in french it is il faut donner du temps au temps.
He was so right.
I m here if you wish to chat.
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  #104  
Old 03.11.2010, 01:21
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

I think what makes the situation of expat and trailing spouses very sticky is the fact that no matter how long one has been here, we train ourself to be self sufficient. Too much. To expect a lot from ourselves, from our partners, like some modern Robinson Crusoes. Just the two of us, patners, to make up for a batery of friends, family, work coleagues, acquitances, everyone that we have left home...And that is really hard, on us, on our partners. It's unrealistic, stressful and unfair, in a way.

Back home, we had a bunch of people we hand picked, for different reasons, to hang out with and destress, to play gigs with, to drink with, to get inspired by, to laugh with, to bitch at.. Now, here, we expect too much at times from our partners, who on top are working like mad (and I am not talking about expecting chipin in with housework). It's easier to realize, it is not just me and my partner, but a bunch of people around us, who we can also turn to, ask for advice, exchange..And if they are hard to find, call friends back home and share with them, it's ok to say things are hard to deal with to your friends back home, eventhough everyone thinks you are posh and things are groovy, champagne for breakfast, skiing in the afternoon..

We don't have to pull through a couple of months of solitude, just waiting for hubby to get back from work to have some life, to help us, to coach us, because we would be embarrassed to just feel ok with not coping absolutely 100% and confident with how things are here and having to reach out, spread out wings, speak that weirdo language... Reaching out to others, creating a home like scenario, getting up some support network, surrounding ourselves with personalities. Often, our partners already have this going here, so it is only smart to catch up with this for ourselves. It brings opportunities, for work, for other meaningful interactions and help. Our own independence off our parnters makes us at home here, really, and brings us back to ourselves, as we know ourselves from before, eventhough the props are different, friends are new and we haven't had the time to test them yet, etc. I think people should never feel alone, in a community. Either they have to work at opening up, or community offers help, usually it's a mix of both. There is never a place completely shut off to newcomers, though..
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  #105  
Old 03.11.2010, 17:21
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Thanks for your thread. Arriving in Switzerland I've also felt the of a new situation.... and it is quite boring and uncomfortable...! But we get to learn on ourselves this way also. Good luck everyone!
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  #106  
Old 04.11.2010, 11:00
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

There are immense pressures on both partners when they relocate to work in another country. These pressures will amplify any existing problems they may have as well as create a whole new set of issues.

The partner who is working will be in a very pressurised job which involves long hours and little praise. The partner who is not will often be feeling isolated and alone. Children can provide a purpose but can also make the stay at home parent feel trapped. The working partner will have a community to belong too at work. They will have a purpose and a reason to get up every day. The partner at home may find it difficult to find friends and a sense of belonging. The inability to speak german can also add immensely to this sense of isolation. When the working partner returns home tired and stressed and not wanting to talk to the lonely other person the scene is easily set for discord. In my experience these issues are common in the expat community.

The stay at home partner needs to find a place in their language community. This community is often open and welcoming to new members. It's existing members have themselves had the very same problems (and continue to have) as new members. It is important to be brave enough to go up to people and say hello to them. Attend coffee mornings, go on organised activities and events, find people with a common interest.

Having children can be a great aid (especially when they are young) as schools such as International School Basel have many opportunities to meet and get to know other people. Wining and dining the working partners' colleagues and partners can also find you friends. In Basel there is a group called Haussmanns Group which was a huge help to me when I first arrived and before I started to work. Within a few weeks I had a group of highly supportive fellow men who knew and understood the issues of being the one who cares for the children. Cenrepoint is also a place where you can network and find other people to relate too.

It is vitally important to get out and about and keep yourself in relationships with others who can talk and listen too you in your own language. You have to make yourself happy before you can help anyone else. Most working partners simply don't have the time or energy to hold both themselves and their partners heads above the relational waters. The stay at home partner needs the help of others. The first step is often for them to take personal responsibility for their own emotional and psychological health and happiness.

For those who need it a good therapist can also be invaluable.
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  #107  
Old 04.11.2010, 11:35
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Yes a move i think is alway s a good think you start fresh a new life
but you also have the courage to admit that it can be difficult,
i know for myself been the daughter of a depress mom who past away couple of year ago it has been very hard for me to say i was not doing well!
I am certain i am not the only one here,i also am guilty of taking care of everyone else and put myself last and that include familly friends and co worker and that made my husband mad.
It is hard for me to say yes i am sad and alone,i guess it is also a reflex of surviving,i didn t had a usual childhood neither as teenage years because of my familly situation ,my mom battle depression since i was born and when i turn 16 became an alcool dependant person,it was very hard to see her going that road at the end it did end up killing her,in a way i alway s feel i was responsible for it ,even if i know deeply in my heart it was not me,she just had herself a very sad chilhood but yes been away from you loved ones can be tough and i agree you have to go and be with other peoples that are away form home and that can relate to you.
I was silly not to join the American club in Zurich when i first moved to Zurich as i was afraid not to learn German,but not doing so isolated me and now i decide i will join,even if my German teacher told me no more English speaking,sorry i can t be lonelly,hey i had try to volunteer here with Swiss organisation but so far my German is so bad no one wish to have me lol.
Sorry if i had say too much about myself but maybe it will help others

Last edited by tititita; 04.11.2010 at 11:36. Reason: speeling sorry about mistakes
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  #108  
Old 04.11.2010, 12:34
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

I am one of those that have a child at home and make me feel isolated because of the nap schedules, housework, etc.

But I found out that I am also responsable of my isolation. I could call people but I don't. I could accept help but I don't. we have some great friends without kids. We see them once in a while and I know the girls are not working and how often they told me to call them and we will go out and do something during the week.... I don't. They don't have kids, they don't know how kids need structures and time. And my daughter loves them very much and won't let them alone for 2 minutes bcause she doesn't have someone her age to share the time with too. So I feel bad because I don,t want them to be annoyed that my daughter wants so much their attention.

Most of the people that I know who do have kids, have also the nap until late afternoon. And the time left before dinner is too short to make some plans. So it is pretty difficult to meet.

I am pretty sure I could do more effort and get more often out of my bubble but I guess I am a bit too down, tired, etc... See?

Sigh!
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  #109  
Old 04.11.2010, 12:51
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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There are immense pressures on both partners when they relocate to work in another country. These pressures will amplify any existing problems they may have as well as create a whole new set of issues.

The partner who is working will be in a very pressurised job which involves long hours and little praise. The partner who is not will often be feeling isolated and alone. Children can provide a purpose but can also make the stay at home parent feel trapped. The working partner will have a community to belong too at work. They will have a purpose and a reason to get up every day. The partner at home may find it difficult to find friends and a sense of belonging. The inability to speak german can also add immensely to this sense of isolation. When the working partner returns home tired and stressed and not wanting to talk to the lonely other person the scene is easily set for discord. In my experience these issues are common in the expat community.

The stay at home partner needs to find a place in their language community. This community is often open and welcoming to new members. It's existing members have themselves had the very same problems (and continue to have) as new members. It is important to be brave enough to go up to people and say hello to them. Attend coffee mornings, go on organised activities and events, find people with a common interest.

Having children can be a great aid (especially when they are young) as schools such as International School Basel have many opportunities to meet and get to know other people. Wining and dining the working partners' colleagues and partners can also find you friends. In Basel there is a group called Haussmanns Group which was a huge help to me when I first arrived and before I started to work. Within a few weeks I had a group of highly supportive fellow men who knew and understood the issues of being the one who cares for the children. Cenrepoint is also a place where you can network and find other people to relate too.

It is vitally important to get out and about and keep yourself in relationships with others who can talk and listen too you in your own language. You have to make yourself happy before you can help anyone else. Most working partners simply don't have the time or energy to hold both themselves and their partners heads above the relational waters. The stay at home partner needs the help of others. The first step is often for them to take personal responsibility for their own emotional and psychological health and happiness.

For those who need it a good therapist can also be invaluable.
or it can just work. Most of the people I know have arrived here with partners who mostly settled in and the few that really don't like it move again, with their partners to somewhere else.

For me (us) we landed and just got on with it. Which sometimes is the best way forward instead of signing up to self help groups / counselling / therapy / reading the internet about how it desperate it all is.
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  #110  
Old 04.11.2010, 13:00
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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or it can just work. Most of the people I know have arrived here with partners who mostly settled in and the few that really don't like it move again, with their partners to somewhere else.

For me (us) we landed and just got on with it. Which sometimes is the best way forward instead of signing up to self help groups / counselling / therapy / reading the internet about how it desperate it all is.
This is true, sometimes draggin it all out just makes it an issue...

On the other hand, it is usually the working partner who says we got on with it, when it's the trailing spouse who has to get on with it and keeps quiet about being eaten by the whole isolation thing, inside out.
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  #111  
Old 04.11.2010, 13:14
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

At the risk of sounding flippant, you ladies should switch off the computer, stand up, put on your big girl pants and get outside a bit. Get off the forum and take the kids outside instead of tapping away at the keyboard.

There are millions, no billions of women in the world that would give their right arm to be bored housewives in one of the wealthiest countries on earth.

You have the privelige of choices as well as the time and resources to enact those choices. You are all lucky enough to have partners that can afford to keep you and your families living a comfortable lifestyle.

The glass ladies, is certainly half full
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Old 04.11.2010, 13:20
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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This is true, sometimes draggin it all out just makes it an issue...

On the other hand, it is usually the working partner who says we got on with it, when it's the trailing spouse who has to get on with it and keeps quiet about being eaten by the whole isolation thing, inside out.
Are partners really that timid ? My partner will tell me in no uncertain terms if she isn't happy with something and the chances of me telling her to 'just get on with it' are about zero if I want to have any quality of life for the next month at least.
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  #113  
Old 04.11.2010, 13:55
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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At the risk of sounding flippant, you ladies should switch off the computer, stand up, put on your big girl pants and get outside a bit. Get off the forum and take the kids outside instead of tapping away at the keyboard.

There are millions, no billions of women in the world that would give their right arm to be bored housewives in one of the wealthiest countries on earth.

You have the privelige of choices as well as the time and resources to enact those choices. You are all lucky enough to have partners that can afford to keep you and your families living a comfortable lifestyle.

The glass ladies, is certainly half full
Oh yeah. And wash those stairs and windows too, darling, while you are completing the appreciation mission...

I think you have missed the point of somebody being relocated from a familiar environment and bitching over hesitation of jumping right in and obstacles that come with not knowing what will happen next, in a few weeks, months. Priviledge or not, it is a question of personal situation. Besides, I don't have big girl's pants, mine are pretty extra small.

I have been outside a lot today, thank you very much, pondering why on earth did I get paid less than last year, for a job bellow my edu and experiences, why do I have to prove myself worthy when somewhere else, we have worked hard on being in a great situation and were able to work full time, in our languages. Wealthiest countries? For everyone? Really? Some people's living status is lower here than before. Some people do not like it and are trying to figure out how to attack the task. It's cool to hang here and share our stories. You still want to shoot down our efforts? Because you think we are lucky? Everyone should feel this way, right? No matter how their life really is, what do you know.. I don't even want to get into this.

So, stuff your little lecture, hahaha...

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Are partners really that timid ? My partner will tell me in no uncertain terms if she isn't happy with something and the chances of me telling her to 'just get on with it' are about zero if I want to have any quality of life for the next month at least.

Well, good for her, really.

Yes, some partners do not want to make the main breadwinner's life even more complicated and feel guilty for not being able to cope with flying colors..Isolation sucks, kinda prevents people from using a lot of normal, self-preserving mechanisms...so, good for your wife.
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  #114  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:02
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

I am really glad a fresh thread like this exists. Thanks nic80.
I think there was one similar to it back in 2007, but not since until now. For as many responses as the OP received, there are still more lurkers who will read this thread, don't reply for whatever reason, but they know they're not alone.

I was thinking today that moving abroad is such an original experience, and it's such an emotional coaster ride. You think about back 'home' wherever that may be for you, and it's literally not your home anymore (as in your life is no longer there), but here, for us non-working spouses, we don't have a place either. As a result it feels as though we don't fit anywhere.
So I imagined meeting an alien from outer space and telling it, "Ich komme aus Earth." At the very least, we come from the planet Earth.
Sorry if that's a strange thought, but it somehow comforted me.
It is too easy to advise the trailing spouse to just somehow "find her way." You have to be creative. Someone mentioned earlier that you can't even volunteer at the Tierheim without knowing the language! So in this respect our experience in this time of life is especially challenging. You have great days, content days, and days where you just want to give up.

You want to feel sexy and attractive for your husband, and you know what helps is for him to see you happy and finding your own niche, special spot, 'thing you do', and it also provides you with great stories to tell, or stories that match his work-day ones, during dinner.
I really wish there was some non-profit business that helps ex-pat wives/husbands find friends, acquaintances, or work, wouldn't that ease the burden off the shoulders of the trailing spouse to pull a life, like a rabbit, out of the magician's hat?

Last edited by orangeappled; 04.11.2010 at 14:12.
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  #115  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:04
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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At the risk of sounding flippant, you ladies should switch off the computer, stand up, put on your big girl pants and get outside a bit. Get off the forum and take the kids outside instead of tapping away at the keyboard.

There are millions, no billions of women in the world that would give their right arm to be bored housewives in one of the wealthiest countries on earth.

You have the privelige of choices as well as the time and resources to enact those choices. You are all lucky enough to have partners that can afford to keep you and your families living a comfortable lifestyle.

The glass ladies, is certainly half full



hahahahah AWESOME. Thanks for reinforcing and representing the reasons that this thread was started.
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  #116  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:26
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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hahahahah AWESOME. Thanks for reinforcing and representing the reasons that this thread was started.
I agree, totally awesome. Nothin' like big mama slapping your cheek and saying "Quit your whining fool!"

Greener. Grass. Other side.
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  #117  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:31
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Ueberlol! Same here. Your partner would get along with mine....

(and we're doomed if they team up against us......)

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Are partners really that timid ? My partner will tell me in no uncertain terms if she isn't happy with something and the chances of me telling her to 'just get on with it' are about zero if I want to have any quality of life for the next month at least.
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  #118  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:47
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

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Ueberlol! Same here. Your partner would get along with mine....

(and we're doomed if they team up against us......)
Oh yeah? Well my partner's got both of yours trumped put together. I'll bet a round of drinks on it.

Gotta drink fast though- can't stay at the pub for more than an hour and we'll have to put it off till next month as my (once) monthly allotment is already used .

Just kidding hon, really! No, really... no no noooooooooowweraktfg
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  #119  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:50
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Oh, man...look at them, creeping in our little playcorner...What have we done, hahaha...Shush! Go!
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  #120  
Old 04.11.2010, 14:58
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Re: Have you made yourself and your husband miserable?

Ok, girls (!), where were we...Back to how to make ourselves useful, happy and make a difference and good use of time in a foreign place...Inspirational rants and ocassional nagging welcome!

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