Make your relationship last when moving overseas with your partner

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moving overseas with your partnerYou may think moving overseas with your partner won’t affect your relationship, but a life change of this magnitude test even the strongest unions.

While some couples do start a new life in a new country and come out of the experience stronger, other couples find themselves struggling to keep things together after a while.

The reason why some relationships fall apart? Packing up your life and moving to another country is stressful! You’ll have a million things to tick off your to-do list in the application stage and have to deal culture shock, uncertainties and homesickness in the settlement phase.

None of this is impossible to overcome though, as is evident in the many relationships that do survive a move overseas.

Here’s how the successful couples do it:

They communicate

Relationship experts all agree that communicating effectively is key to having a successful relationship. Keeping the lines of communication open becomes even more important during a move to a new country.

What you do:

Raise your concerns, fears and worries. That way both partners know what kind of headspace the other one is in and you can support each other. It also prevents little issues from becoming huge arguments.

Don’t forget to mention the good stuff too, whether it’s complimenting your partner on how they handled a visa issue or sharing a story after your first day on the new job.

Balance is key!

They have common goals

Not everyone find living and working overseas appealing for the same reasons. For some the drawing card is making lots of money, while others see it as an opportunity to travel more. These goals aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but when there is no compromise, it’s a recipe for disaster.

What you do:

Sit down and discuss what each of you are hoping to get out of your time overseas. In an ideal world, you’ll have the same goals, but if you don’t, discuss how each person can compromise a little bit to give the other one what they want.

They have a plan

It’s not just having a plan but working on the plan together, so that both partners are on the same page.

What you do:

Start from the beginning, from the visa application. Then work your way right through to finding a house once you’re in your new country.

Your list should also include who’s responsible for what, so that things get done but more importantly, so that both partners know who’s responsible for what. That way there doesn’t have to be ‘But you were supposed to do this’ fights.

They make big decisions together

You may be responsible for finding a new home, but you should never sign on the dotted line without first speaking to your significant other. Life-defining decisions should always be made together.

What you do:

Exactly that – make the big decisions, like where to stay or whether you’re going to buy or rent a house, together. Sit down, go through all the details together and make a decision before going on with your day.

They make time to have fun

Successful couples know that emigrating can’t only be hard work and make time for some ‘time out’ along the way.

What you do:

You set aside time to relax while going through the motions of moving. Go see a movie, have dinner with friends or go hiking, whatever takes your fancy.

Once you’re settled on the other side, take time out to visit the tourist sights, explore your neighbourhood and taste the local flavours.

They spend time apart

Most couples are not used to spending all their time together or being dependent only on each other. Most couples also know that not taking a break could eventually lead to frustration and tension.

What you do:

Take a break and give each other some space at least once a week. Go have a coffee at a corner café, go see a movie, explore a part of the city on your own or join a hobby group. Your options are virtually endless!

They reach out

Being homesick and lonely happens to couples too, so couples who do it right reach out to new friends, but also keep their ties with family and friends back home strong.

What you do:

When you miss home, send a text to a loved one or arrange a Skype call. When you want to make new friends, reach out to other expats or join a Meetup group.

They decide if and when they’ll return home

Unless it’s a temporary work contract, with a definite end, the question of when to return home, or to do it all, is sure to pop up. Unless both partners are clear on the answer, this issue could lead to fights down the line.

What you do:

Discuss if your stint overseas is permanent or temporary. If it’s temporary, how long do you want to stay? Talk about what happens if one of you decide it’s time to go home, despite all that’s been discussed. Also chat about the possibility of moving to more countries.

In summary…

The most important thing you can do for your relationship when moving overseas with your partner, is talk. Talk about how you want this adventure to play out, talk about your feelings and definitely discuss the big decisions.

When you keep the lines of communication open, your relationship is sure to survive The Big Move.

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