8 Tips for When Your Partner is Moving Abroad to Be With You
While it might be what Hollywood endings are made of, the reality of moving to another country for love can be a lot harder, especially if it means adjusting to a new language, culture, and city. Is there a way to make the transition for your new partner easier? If you’re the one who is relocating, what can you do to ensure the change isn’t the beginning of the end of your relationship?
Love might seem enough until you find yourself a thousand miles from home, from family, friends and everything you know. It’s a massive change and how you approach it could make or break the relationship, so be prepared for the good, the bad and the terrifying.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your romance stands the test of time, and travel.
Make a list
Believing everything will naturally fall into place when you arrive in a foreign country is sweet, naive but sweet. No matter how much of an optimist you are, we suggest you make a few lists before you leave. Write down what scares you and what you’re worried about, itemize everything you’re going to need in your new home so it doesn’t become overwhelming, and even list the things you’re going to miss. If you’re the one making the move let your partner know what they can do to make things a little easier, and let them support you. If you’re the one welcoming your partner into your environment listen to your partner and try to be as empathetic as possible.
Technology is a wonderful thing and nowadays, no matter where you are in the world, you’re a Skype video call away from your loved ones. Put a schedule together of days and times you’re going to chat, and stick to it. If necessary invest in a VoIP phone, sign up to Google Talk and Skype, and if you’re so inclined, create a Facebook page. There is no reason to feel disconnected from family and friends. Allow your partner this time to laugh, cry and everything in between, without feeling resentful.
Learn as much as you can about your new home
A friend of mine recently moved overseas to be with the love of her life. What made it easier for her was she had gotten the chance to visit his hometown a couple of times, meeting his family and friends, and building a small support system, before finally relocating. If this isn’t an option for your partner, help them find out as much as possible about your country, from the language and the special traditions and customs, to possible work opportunities and setting up bank accounts.
Be prepared for huge frustrations with a country’s bureaucracy and its systems. If you’re from a city or town where things happen timeously, moving to a new country where the general attitude is “mañana” you’re going to be left feeling helpless. Give your partner as much information as possible with regards to the legalese including employment, citizenship and healthcare. Get all the necessary documentation in place before they arrive, if possible.
Getting a job
If you’re able to start working straight away, do it. If you’re waiting for the correct paperwork to come through, then volunteer wherever you can. It’s not necessarily just about the money; it’s about fostering new friendships with people who have similar interests to you. See where you can assist your partner with this – ask friends and family if they know of any work opportunities.
Most countries have smaller communities of ex-pats, whether they’ve relocated from South Africa, Australia, or the States, and make friends with them. Talking about familiar places, having someone around who shares the same culture and traditions is comforting and gives you that connection to home. However, don’t let this little circle become your crutch. Have a combination of friends that include locals and ex-pats.
Kids in the equation
There are cases where your partner isn’t moving across the world on their own, they have children and want to make it as easy as possible for them. Make sure they have a support system too. Introduce them to their new culture (and possibly language) in fun ways and let them get involved with their community. While children do adapt quickly, it’s hugely traumatic for them too, where you can, establish a routine for them, and help with finding schools, clubs, and other activities that will help them integrate into their new life.
Love your new home
You might have moved for love, but once the honeymoon period has passed and the reality sets in you might start resenting your partner, your surroundings and all the sacrifices you feel you’ve had to make. Find your own reasons to love your new home that doesn’t include your partner, from the architecture and the food, to its attractions and unique charms.
At the end of the day, while it might seem daunting, moving to another country to be with your soulmate is the beginning of an exciting new adventure and should be embraced.
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