Love-expat: Creating a meaningful life abroad (Part B)
In our previous article we covered some important aspects to take into account when deciding to move abroad for love. Today’s article is for those who have taken the leap… or are about to! Here we give some pointers on creating a happy life in your new location, whether it’s a neutral country or the home country of your partner.
Top tips to happy love-expats
- Keep communication with your partner open and honest. Hiding the challenges you are facing, or being afraid to bring them up, will merely allow your feelings to build up until they start to affect your relationship (whether your communication, sense of intimacy, trust, or even sexual desire).
- Set realistic expectations. Your partner can’t replace other significant people in your life; he can’t be your family, your group of friends, your sexual partner and your ideal match all at once! Though your partner will be a wonderful source of happiness, it is not fair to expect all your happiness to come from one person – which is why the next point is so important…
- Rediscover your identity. You are not only “someone’s partner”. You are “you” in a new environment and you are now challenged to be yourself in new ways or to develop new sides of yourself. Enjoy the process of getting to know these other aspects of you.
- Seek out the expat community in your new location. Meeting other expats will open up personal (and often professional) opportunities and give you space to discuss your unique challenges as an expat.
- Make local friends too! We encourage you to put yourself out there. Finding or rediscovering a hobby is a great way to overcome shyness as you already know you have something in common. Joining a club (anything from Rotary International to hiking) is fantastic for socializing as events are organized for members.
- Try to learn the local language – particularly if you are planning to stay for several years. As we mentioned in Part A, being unable to speak the local language feels a lot like being illiterate. Time to get learning!
- Know your legal and financial rights in the new country should the relationship not work out. No one who moves for love plans for this scenario, but it is always empowering to know your options.
- List five things that make you feel happy no matter where you are (e.g. listening to your favourite music) and have this list on hand when you are feeling down.
Relocating a relationship takes some work. Sometimes it is hard to separate personal unhappiness in a new place from our own resentment at being the one who had to pick up and relocate. This may not have a particularly positive effect on the relationship you’ve moved thousands of miles to preserve. It can help to understand that relationships exist in an emotional ecosystem, supported and influenced by the friends and circumstances that surround them. When the external variables change– introducing a new friend group (or removing friends from the equation altogether), plus new jobs and a new neighbourhood – the relationship often has to adapt.
If you are struggling to make the transition, remember that you are not alone. Expat Nest is here to help you. We understand the ups and downs of an international move and are inspired to help expats experience love and joy in their new location.
Above all, remember this: prioritizing that beautiful thing called love is a wonderfully brave step to take. Enjoy the journey!
Have you moved for love? What helped you live happily in your new country? We love to hear from you.
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