Moving across the globe to be with the person you hope to spend the rest of your life with seems romantic, but the reality can be less rosy, if not still exciting and worthwhile. There are a number of factors to consider before crossing oceans to be with the one you love.
Weigh up the pros and cons
When deciding who should move and when, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.
Some careers are easier to move than others and it’s definitely not easy to move mid-study unless your course is transferrable to another country (spoiler alert: not many are). You also need to take into account what languages you both speak.
Move because of your partner, but not for them
Don’t make your partner the only reason behind your move. Move because they’ve given you this opportunity to do something you may have always imagined, but never been able to do: live abroad. Move because you’re excited about learning a language and living in a new culture. If you can’t find reasons beyond your partner, you may eventually develop a sense of resentment towards them. Not so romantic, hey?
Create your own network
As welcoming as their friends may be, it’s nice to socialise with people who aren’t tied to your partner in any way. Take up a new hobby and join a meetup group or book club to force yourself into new situations, while also taking the time to chat to your local barista and the girl at the shoe shop. You never know where these connections could lead!
Find your own financial independence
Many expat spouses rely heavily on their partners financially, especially in the early months. Finding your own source of income gives you security and confidence, so you can look after yourself in the event that something goes wrong. It also gives you the sense of purpose that you may have lost when you made the move. A new job can also expand your social circle and illuminate different sides of the city that your spouse may not know about.
Don’t keep score
Remove the phrase “I moved here for you, so...” from your repertoire immediately. It’s not helpful to keep score of who is doing more for the relationship and can lead to a break up. This can hurt the person on the receiving end, even if said as a joke.
Ensure you recognise their sacrifice
If you’re staying in your hometown, it’s important to appreciate how difficult it can be for your partner to move across the globe, often away from their family, native tongue and more secure job opportunities (many expat partners are freelancers or english teachers, as their options are usually limited). You can do this by organising trips back to their home country or hosting their friends and family when they visit.
What happens if you break up?
There are many stories of people moving abroad for love, only to realise they want to remain in the country post breakup. Just as many choose to fly home. Have an open discussion with your partner about what you might do if the relationship ends, especially if children are involved.
Hold onto your identity
No matter how many years you live in your new home, you should hold onto as many traditions from your home as possible. That might mean having a favourite food posted to you regularly or cooking a family recipe at Christmas time. It could even involve annual movie nights that are dedicated to movies from your home country.