If you're considering moving overseas for a relationship, you might be wondering is this a good idea? Read this expert expat advice on if you should move overseas for a relationship and if you'll be happy when moving to a new country for love.
Doing your research is quite important when considering moving to a new country with a Significant Other. These are the questions I thought most about prior to moving and the ones that were most important in my decision to come along. (Questions under the cut)
Updated September 17, 2017
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A little about me: I moved to Amsterdam from the United States over two years ago. (We are moving to France!) My boyfriend (now husband) had received a job offer here and he asked me if I would be willing to come with him if he took the job. I had a hard decision: to abandon my solid job prospects in the US and enter a new country filled with uncertainty (including unemployment) with my cat in tow. It wasn't easy, but I chose to come with him.
Update (two years later): Moving abroad has been one of my happiest decisions. My husband and I have grown closer, my career has blossomed, and I was able to find a fantastic job in the Netherlands. Moving abroad has strengthened my relationship as well as my own confidence in my abilities.
Some context: Before this major decision ,we had both been graduate students and I had dreams (often while watching House Hunters) of living abroad once I had a solid career (...give or take 20 years). I had just began my post-graduate job search while finishing out graduate school and I had major questions to answer: what type of career was I suited to and what city (within the US) to move to? I had some great job prospects/interviews, but I was open to what the future might hold as I intended to move from the East Coast to Midwest/West. A lot of friends were surprised when I was willing to take the jump for my boyfriend as I've always been independent, but I knew that I had little to lose due to my post-grad status (beyond my modest savings) and I didn't want to lose out on a fantastic relationship (and a great experience!) due to distance. Most importantly, I asked myself some very difficult questions and did my research.
Things to consider when moving abroad for love....
This is obviously a difficult decision, however you should know upfront whether this relationship is stable enough to warrant moving with them and if they're fully committed to you.
Starter questions to consider for moving for love
Vulnerability can make moving abroad tough. If you're used to working in your home country and working in your new country is illegal/difficult, you may be unhappy with an income to support yourself. It's good to think carefully about your level of independence as you are entering someone else's life.
Are you legally allowed to stay in the country for an extended amount of time without a visa?
If it is not legal to join your SO in your new country, I strongly encourage you to reconsider if it's worth going to this country as this can invite chaos.
Are you allowed to work legally? (Or do you plan on not working?)
If you cannot work, what will you do? Similarly, how will you support yourself? Working illegally can result in strict penalties in many countries.
There's a lot of soul-searching that is required. It is good to be aware that reality, at first, is less ideal and more stressful than you realize. When you move abroad, you're often isolated with zero to few friends, vulnerable, stressed, and very dependent on your significant other. It's not a good combination and it's good to know what you're up against if you're considering becoming an expat. You can read more about how to get the best out of living abroad AND make friends here in my follow-up!
Moving overseas is hard enough, but moving for love can be tough. I wish you the best in your relationship and in life!
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Karen & Jacob. American expats and cat lovers from New York City and Kentucky who lived in Amsterdam.... Then, Paris. (Confusing, we know!) Now, we're living in The Hague, the Netherlands.
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