In our previous post you read some great tips on moving overseas and how to prepare for an international relocation. By now you have also learned how to wrap, double-wrap, and bubble-wrap your possessions to protect them en route. But many relocating couples fail to consider how packing up their relationship and moving it to another country will affect them. The fact is that relationships on the move need safeguarding against breakage as well.
Moving to a new country isn’t easy and the impact of culture shock, multiple pressures, and unforeseen dynamics can take a heavy toll on a relationship if you are unprepared. Here are some of the complexities often involved in relocating as a couple:
- Leaving friends, family, and familiar support systems behind
- New career challenges
- Difficulties finding a job/getting licensed to do the same job in a different state/country
- While working spouses/partners meet people at work every day, non-working spouses/partners face a greater challenge in meeting people and making friends
- Non-working partners often feel isolated or left-out while the burden of unpacking and setting up a new home falls on their shoulders
- Young couples face both the challenge of moving in together for the first time and settling into a new location
- Some couples face multiple relocations throughout the years
- Language barriers are yet another stressful hurdle to pass
- Relocations frequently involve feelings of lack of control/power as well as feelings of disorientation and isolation
So how can you overcome the internal challenges inherent in moving overseas as a couple and how can you avoid the strain on your relationship brought about by frequent relocations?
According to the experts, keeping your eyes wide open and being aware of the physical and emotional challenges you’re about to face is an excellent place to start. Similarly, problem-solving together as a couple and adopting the attitude that you are in this together can go a long way in minimizing the stresses of relocating and in safeguarding your relationship.
Here are some more tips on how to survive relocation with your relationship intact:
- Do your research so that you know what you’re getting into
- Understand the role each of you will play in the relocation process
- Understand the role each of you will play in building a new life together overseas
- Support each other’s needs during the relocation process
- Set up common objectives as a couple as well as identifying and supporting each other’s individual goals
- Ask your employer about spousal assistance for a non-working partner, including career counseling, resume assistance, job leads, etc
- Use each other as a support system to make it through the move
- Keep a positive attitude by staying open to what new people and places have to offer
- Keep up with familiar hobbies/sign up for your favorite extracurricular activities
Perhaps the best advice of all is that amidst the sea of changes, uncertainties, and unfamiliar situations you will be facing, make your relationship the one constant thing you can rely on, using it as a rock to strengthen and support you as a couple.
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.