Wedding at Powderham Castle, moving abroad for love
Getting our fancy on at his friend’s wedding in Exeter

“So, what brings you to London?”

I hate when people ask me that question. Being the awkward turtle that I am, I have developed a number of canned responses:

  • The professional response: “I wanted to work in digital and there’s no better place to do that than London — at least where I could get a visa and speak the language!”
  • The grown-up response: “I wanted to continue to live abroad and travel, and it’s easy for Canadians to get a visa for the UK. And it’s London!”
  • The blunt but funny response: I thrust my thumb at Tom and say “That guy.”

Of course every answer is true, but one is truer than the others. I admit it: I’m one of those girls who moved abroad with a guy. I mean, it wasn’t just him. After Martinique I wanted to continue travelling, but London was never a place I would have considered living (I was more into Paris). So, I moved to London because of him, but for him. I moved there for adventure and to see new places, but I could have done that anywhere.

And I gotta say, thank goodness “That guy” is from London because I don’t know what excuse I would have had for moving to, I don’t know, Chichester? shudder

Enough about me. This is about you. Here is what you should do if you’re thinking about moving abroad for love:

Don’t.*

Get out of my face, moving abroad for love
Just say no…

I don’t mean that you shouldn’t move to a new country with him, I mean don’t do it for him. Do it for yourself, because you want to see the world, learn a new language, or challenge yourself. If you don’t find your own reason for moving you will resent him when you’re having a hard time (and you will have a hard time). If he has a job there and you don’t then you’ll need to find a way to keep busy and make friends.

Set yourself a goal to achieve or find a new hobby that will help get you out of the house — start a blog, research some aspect of the culture, get a degree online — just do anything that makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something besides being a ‘trailing spouse’.

If you can’t think of a reason why you want to go for yourself then you probably shouldn’t go.

Again, maybe don’t do it.

Ally Pally viewfinder, moving abroad for love
“I seeeee you!”

I think long-distance relationships can work when you both have a time-frame for your return. Tom and I did the long distance thing twice for about five months each time. Each time it was pretty open-ended and that was the most stressful part of it: trying to figure out when and how we would be in the same place again. If your partner is going on a 6-month job posting you’ll find it a lot easier to be apart than if she’s getting transferred and she could be gone for 3 months or 3 years, and you have no idea which.

  • A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding what I’m saying. I don’t mean you shouldn’t move abroad for love, I’m saying think twice before you do it: First, can we make this work long distance? Second, is there a reason besides my partner that I would move there and would it be without detriment to my dreams, goals, and needs? Because there is no comeback worse than “I moved countries for you!” or “I gave up a full scholarship at Yale for you!”. Your partner may never sacrifice in the same way and will be unhappy if you use that as a trump card every time things are going wrong. It’s why I say, find a reason that ain’t your partner 🙂

Consider whether you really have to live together.

moving abroad for love, Mulled Wine, Christmas market Southbank centre, London
We see each other on weekends…it’s like dating all over again!

If you’ve been living together already, then by all means, go for it. But depending on where you’re moving you may not have the same luxuries you’re accustomed to. You may have to share with strangers or your apartment could be cramped — and if there is one thing I learned from living abroad with my partner, it’s that small living spaces make for really big fights.

Tom and I don’t live together in London now and if he ever decides to join Generation Rent then it will be nice to have separate flatmates and places we can escape to when they piss us off. Besides, house shares are a great way to make new friends!

Learn to speak the language if you can’t already.

moving abroad for love, Amaluna, Montreal, Cirque du Soleil
“I have no idea what you’re saying to me”

There is nothing more isolating (well, besides being put in isolation) than being unable to understand the people around you. It will help you get a job (or a better one) and talk to people while you’re abroad. If you need to take lessons then you may even make some friends that are in the same boat as you.

Be honest with him–and yourself.

Punting in Cambridge, moving abroad for love
“Of course I think Arsenal is the best football team EVER — Not!”
Punting in Cambridge

Hopefully you have honed good communication skills throughout your relationship. Being an expat couple is a blessing and struggle but you go through it together; on the other hand, moving abroad for love and being the only one who is adapting to a new country can be especially lonely. If your partner is a local let him know that you’re having a hard time and talk about what he can do to help you (and how you can help yourself).

Discuss your expectations of living abroad.

"I will only eat British food, forever and ever -- starting with scotch eggs!"
“I will only eat British food, forever and ever — starting with scotch eggs!”

Perhaps you totally want to become an honourary Moroccan–you plan on learning the language and how to cook couscous–but your partner doesn’t. If you’re both moving to a new country he might want to experience the culture in a different way than you or won’t be as willing to make himself uncomfortable in a foreign country. Everyone has a different expat style and adapts to new places in their own way.

If you want a partner in crime, let her know. If she just wants to continue living like she did at home but with better Instagram opportunities, you have to decide if you’re cool with being the one who orders the food, talks to the landlord, and does all of the engaging with your adopted home.

Don’t lose your identity.

Golders Hill, London, moving abroad for love
“I really don’t say ‘a-boot’!”

Keep your cultural heritage alive by sharing the food, music, and history with people. Your partner, and people who care about you in your new country, should be interested in where you come from because it’s a huge part of who you are. I’ve made Tom and his family pancakes and we’ve had lively discussions about the differences between the US, Canada, and England. And when I start to feel homesick? I eat ice cream drowning in maple syrup while watching TV shows and movies that remind me of home…

Have you ever moved abroad for love or considered doing it? What about moving to a new country with your significant other? If you have advice, leave them in the comments!

151 thoughts on “Thinking About Moving Abroad for Love? Read This First.”

  1. Alyssa you are spot on about ‘the giving his life to me phrase’ as that was his explanation as well as to what he meant 🙂

    Thank you for telling me about your mum’s friend in Canada, it really did allay some of my fears and after reading your extract and also that of Thomas, I feel more sure of what decision to make!

    Great blog indeed!

  2. I met my husband through friends in common. he’s from Italy and I’m from the US.. we met through FB and after 6 months we got married. I moved to Italy. Obviously due to the fact that we didn’t live together and the long distance relationship, we really didn’t know each other. I’ve been living in Italy for a year and because of our differences and changes I left for 2 an half months to visit my family. Now I’m back in Italy and I really don’t know if I can stay here, make a life, have kids and raise them so far away from family, friends and my lifestyle, culture etc.
    It’s not easy and I don’t know if it’s worth it.. he says he will move to the US but at the same time he tries to convince me that our lives could be better in Italy. So, i have to make a decision.
    Thank you for your post l!

    1. Why are your lives better in Italy? Unless your dude’s got a wicked job and a house and stuff, why stay there? It’s not quite Spain or Greece in terms of the economy, but it’s close… and if he’s willing to go to the states, go build a career and life there where opportunities are ubiquitous. Good luck!

  3. Thank-you for sharing your story! I met my Australian boyfriend in Canada and we have been together for 2.5 years now. I have traveled to Australia for six months to live with him, and now he lives in Canada with me until I finish school. Ultimately he wants us both to live in Australia, but I have a fear of leaving my family behind. I only have my mother and twin sister for family, so we are really close. It will be very hard for me to move overseas for most of my life and I have my worries about if it’s worth it. I love my boyfriend very much and I couldn’t imagine living without him. How do you cope with living away from your family?

    1. Hi Lilly,

      Based on your email, I’m guessing you’re barely out of your teens? Maybe not, maybe you just really liked that year. But if you are, you have loads of time to figure it out. Just get through the rest of school and see what happens. Life can change in an instant especially at that age. For example, one day at 21, I just decided I wanted to move abroad. And I did it. If you had asked me at 19 what I would be doing after I graduated, I would have said doing a masters/PhD to become a professor. You just never know.

      My point is, you don’t need to decide right now. On that note, I haven’t actually answered the question you asked me. Long story short… I don’t know! If I’m honest, it never bothered me much to be away from them. I missed my friends and family and such, but it was strongest in certain moments – like when you wish someone was there for an event or that you were able to support them through/in something. I know that wasn’t terribly helpful – sorry!

  4. Alyssa, you are so right. I moved to California Bay Area for my husband and him only. It has been 5 years of homesickness and struggle for me. I have good friends here but the work opportunities are lacking because it is highly competitive here. Taking a menial job, I was injured and hurt my back carrying wine cases. I am now unemployed with a back injury. I feel that this place has been hard on me. Health care is badly organized and expensive here. I have decided to return to the UK but my husband will not come with me due to his work. On a positive note I have had some fun and have learnt that the grass is not greener. I think the UK is a better place to live for myself and my values. I don’t care about the weather and love the seasons. My husband feels terrible about my experience here but at the same time may not make a sacrifice for me. He is right and should only do it because he really wants to. Thanks for sharing your story. Where are you now? Are you with your partner?

    1. That seems like a tough situation! At the moment I’m back in Canada, doing a Master’s. We’re still together…in theory! He got transferred to Germany for work so we’re doing long distance until we can figure out a way to close it! Thanks for commenting and I hope things work out for the best with you 🙂

  5. Hi, I’m from Venezuela and at this moment my country’s situation is not good. I met my long distance boyfriend in Berlin last year (he is living there) and wants me to go live with him in Germany. I fell in love with Berlin during my vacations and I feel that said country can offer me much better opportunities than Venezuela. As all latinos I am very close with my family, however, they are happy that I’ll be able to have a better future in Germany. Right now I’m learning German to be ready for my adventure next year and I am willing to work and study the language at the same time when I get there. The only problem is that me and my boyfriend don’t really know each other that much since we have only seen each other 8 days last month since he came to my country for a quick vacation. I want to take things slowly but I believe all these feelings are getting ahead of me and he feels the same way…I hope things turn out as expected. So here goes nothing

  6. Hi Alyssa! Thank you for this post, it saved me from my overriding feelings. I’ve been scratching my head over this issue lately. My situation is worse because me and him are quite sure it is hard to know exactly what it is we are feelings unless we are near each other. So far, we don’t call it a long-distance relationship. We met 5 months ago in another country, spent some time together, and texting daily since then. We are absorbed in each other’s lives with a great deal of interest. However, it has been very depressing lately that we can’t spend time together in person. I have been considering moving out of my country before we met, but my plan was interrupted because of a new job I landed. I don’t like this new job, regardless of how good it seems to be, or the society I live in, but there is something about leaving my job behind that is really scaring me especially that I can’t go back once I leave. Right now, I’m working on my Master’s and so does he, so in a way we are still tied to our countries for quite some time to come. I wake up everyday so confused about what is going to happen to us or if we are going to drift apart out of sheer hopelessness. We discussed this a lot, but we always ended up more confused and/or hopeless. I have stared to loathe everything and everyone around me. Apparently, subconsciously not being able to be with the person I have strong feelings for is destroying me and deepening my repulsion of what I am doing and where I am. It would be great if you have any advice for me.

    1. Hey! I know what you’re going through! I think it’s hardest when you’re in the beginning phases of a relationship – that honeymoon period is always best spent together, no? Here’s what I’ve found has been life-changing since going back to long-distance with my partner: we’re both really happy with what we’re doing in our lives. I’m studying for a master’s and I love it; he’s finally training for the job he wants. It has made being apart SO MUCH EASIER. When he was unhappy with his career, I was so mad. I thought ‘Why are you doing something you hate instead of being with me?’. But it has made a big difference now that things are going well, and I wouldn’t ask him to give it up for the uncertainty of moving (and the same for me – he wouldn’t want me to stop doing something that made me so happy). So that’s my advice: build a life that you’re happy living. Make decisions and choose things that make you feel good about where you are in life. From there, your life stops being an impediment to your relationship but a means to being together again. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you for your very helpful reply. We talked about it again and we found that we have some stuff in common in terms of the lives we aspire for. This gave us a long-term goal. Currently, we are trying to focus on not being too sad where we are, as you said. I am also planning to visit in a few months. We also started having video calls because yeah we miss each other so much. Alyssa, you are the best! Thank you so much for helping me out.

  7. I met my Danish girlfriend whilst she was studying in London. She was supposed to go back to Denmark and do her Masters but ended up staying in London and moving in with me. Before she did this I made it clear that she needed to do it for the right reasons and she was adamant that it was as much to do with her pursuing a career in the Film/Media industry as it was for me and love. 3 months down the line, she is struggling to land a perfect job so is currently working early morning shifts at an office far from our home. I can see she is lonely but we pack our lives with interesting trips and go out and see my friends a lot. I feel helpless but I also don’t know what more I can do. Is anyone else in this position, or has anyone been in this position and did you make it through/how?

  8. Hi Alyssa,

    I met my boyfriend about a month and half ago and we have been inseparable ever since. I live in New York and he lives in London. How did you manage with the visas? How was your process in finding a company that would sponsor. I work in digital media as well and would love your advice. Also, how do you manage the feelings regarding uprooting your life?

    1. Hi Karen, I wasn’t sponsored, I went on a Youth Mobility Visa which is available to citizens of certain countries under 30. I’ve written a few posts about job hunting and such in London – have a look through them! As far as those feelings… I never really felt ‘rooted’ so to speak. I had been living in Martinique for two years prior to going to London and before then I was a university student. I just saw it as another adventure. I think that for the most part – tragedies notwithstanding – your city, your family, and your true friends will always be there when you want to visit or move back. Think less of uprooting, more of extending those roots!

    2. Be really careful…you are in your honey moon phase right now and I wouldn’t rush into anything. Think with your head rather than your heart!

  9. Hi Alyssa!

    My boyfriend and I lived together by 2 yeas in Lima- Peru; recently he moved to Cincinnati-Ohio by job, still he doesn´t know if is just by 3 years or the company will renovate his visa.
    I’m lawyer and I’m thinking to move with him by 6 months (tourist visa), as you see I couldn`t work in my career, so I think that is my biggest problem, I was thinking to study something new there but I’ve search and the education in USA is so expensive, so I would aprecciate your opinion.
    Pst. Thank you for reading me =)

  10. Native to Canada and now on my 3rd day of 6 months living in Brazil with my boyfriend and his family. I envy those in safe countries, who can go wonder the streets, meet people, and see new things.
    This would be too dangerous for me and so I rely on my boyfriend to go anywhere. The culture and language is overwhelming for sure, even though Im able to speak and understand, I’m by no means fluent.

    My boyfriend is doing everything he can to move to Canada and Im really here to just pass the time together instead of in a long distance relationship.

    This is my second time here.. the first was very hard but I ended up making some great friends and memories. I thought it would be easier this time but I still have really overwhelming moments of feeling like an outsider or that I really don’t belong. My boyfriend is having a bbq party at a beach house for his graduation and I have the worst anxiety about feeling this way there, and not being able to escape. I dont even want to go.. 🙁

  11. A really interesting and useful blog post.

    My boyfriend of a year is moving back to Australia in April after two years over here in the U.K. so I need to decide whether to go with him or if we should break up (I’ve ruled out long distance already because of there being no fixed end date to it).

    He’s keen that I should only go if it’s something I want to do, I.e not just for him, and although I do love the idea of going there, I need to decide whether I want it more than I want my current life in the UK.

    Thanks for writing on this difficult topic!

    Charlotte

    1. You’re welcome! Frankly you can’t know whether you prefer it until you go. And at the moment, my partner and I are back doing long distance Canada/Europe – we’re both working on goals that are very important to us as individuals. No ‘end date’ in sight yet, but we know we want one. Until then, we see each other about every three months and it’s an excuse to travel! Good luck 🙂

  12. Loved this post, I am currently thinking of moving overseas to be with my fiance in Australia. Having done this before to be with a fiance in UK and it didn’t work out partly due to feeling so isolated in a new country I so know what I am getting into.I loved how refreshing you put things and it is very hard to imagine what on faces uprooting their lives for love but the key thing is to me to try to remain positive

  13. My boyfriend and I have been on and off for the last 7 years with a long distance relationship. He lives in Zimbabwe and I live in the UK. I am also Zimbabwean but have been living in the uk all my life. We finally met this year in September and it was everything we imagined and more. Being with him for just 2 weeks was worth every year without him. But since we met the last 2 months being away from each other has been awful. Our relationship is currently on the brinks. He was very positive and constantly reminded me how we can get through this from the beginning even though I suggested multiple times to move to him because I was taking it really hard. Now it has hit him how difficult the long distance is and he’s been avoiding any real conversation about this and we haven’t spoken much in the past couple of days. We have an end date in 2 years when he’ll move here because at the moment he is studying. But I have pretty much decided that I no longer want to be in the job I’m currently in and I’m having a rough time with life in general, I want to leave and study something. So I have thought about moving again to him for a few months while I figure out my own life. I can study online. But because of the country’s political situation he is so against it. But I have the financial funds to support myself out there so I can’t understand why he won’t allow me to. I cannot see things from his point of view. What should I do?

    1. That’s a tough one… but I think both partners need to be willing to have someone move. It’s a challenge for each person. I would suggest talking to him about it more – only he knows why he’s resistant to the idea. Good luck!

  14. Hello Alyssa and lovely people in the blog,

    Its super interesting reading yoir stories and i felt like sharing mine. My British bf and I ( I am south American) met online some 8 years ago. Almost nine months later we met in person and chemistry was undeniable. We did the distance for 6+ years, travelling and meeting whenever we could. We broke twice, tried our separate ways and then back together. Yep, we were young and crazy as it needs to be keep a LD relationship for that long. I guess it took a lot of imagination and naivette. But I can only see that now.
    Last year, I lived in UK for 9 months and those months were enough for him to pop the question. What a decision! It was very easy in the end, break up and stop this madness, settle for the normal, or get married. Ok.. yes, we went for getting married because we had tried to be apart and it had not worked.
    And they lived happily ever after!…. Errrr… Wait! Thats just the beginning. Who moves? Was the ultimate question. Either we decided it together or I just gave in, but thing is I am the one who is moving to UK. Yes I will leave my job, friends and most importantly family to bet on this relationship. Biggest bet a person can do. Am i scared? Like hell!. Is it like? Of course not! My family are devastated and it is hard to see that I might be causing such pain to the ones I love. Is it worth it? Hmmmm I am following my heart i guess, that life energy that pushes us to those things we never regret.
    Thing is we are getting married next year and if there is something I have learnt is that nothing is ever completly positive or negative. We just have to make the best of what is given to us.

    Wish me luck!
    V

  15. I should have read this before hoping in the plane… I will always be the type of girl who will give it all in a relationship but because I’m that blind, I often misread the red flags. I met my recent ex a year ago in Brazil and we managed to be in a LDR for less than 6 months. Since the beginning, I knew he was the one (or wanted him to be). I was super focused and wanted to go back to NZ so I finally got a temporary Visa by the time that I met him. Needless to say, of course I gave it up for the guy. We decided to put him first for some important needs: he was depressed, was also sexually abused by his brother during the teenage years, didn’t have a job or a girlfriend for the past 8-9 years. Because he was a world traveler, I thought the relationship was exciting: we would focus on his job and I would follow him after. He finally settled down thanks to my influence while I tried to keep up with the ups and downs of him saying “everything is changing too fast”. Still, he wanted us, then I left my job, my house, donated everything I had and spent all my money moving in with him (we found a house, I made it a home). The next couple months were a complete disaster, finding the hard way he was not attracted to me (I needed fake boobs, pierced nipples, anything hard core porn related) and he was also on Tinder all this time. He wanted someone active and into sports even though he was only interested in his art, his video games, TV shows and Tindering, trying to find someone better looking than me. Both our families were supportive into marriage, turns out he was not (even though he knew it was my only option in American territory). I managed to get job interviews but was politely and sadly declined the opportunities due to a Visa. I had a great potential and everyone could see that, even himself. So we thought to get married so we could have an easier financial life and soon enough I would certainly adapt myself into the American culture (since this was not my first time living in the US). Because of all his uncertainty, I managed to go from the rock solid partner to the deeply depressed one. I couldn’t work, I didn’t have friends, I couldn’t drive for the longest time and also couldn’t enjoy myself doing things by my own since I was living on his paycheck (just like he did with mine when he lived in Brazil). Not being free and isolated at home, he couldn’t manage anymore since his life was improving and mine was going downhill. Before coming to Brazil, he then got one knee, proposed and we got married the same day, only the next day, after calling me wifey, asking me to cancel flight tickets, he then managed to say he was not happy with me, he couldn’t fake it anymore and he wished me the best. I was back in my country the next day, I lost everything I had including my NZ Visa, my clothes, my house, all my money (even though he had promised to help me out financially if things didn’t end well – guess what happened?). Everything you wrote about your experience is the absolute truth. I’m always happy with the exceptions but we need to take of ourselves and not rely on “maybe” people, no matter how much he loves you, or how much his family convince you to go with no guarantee. Listen to your gut and don’t settle for the unknown like, protect yourself at all costs because in the end you might end up not only being alone, but with no food on the table once he kicks you out of your home. Protect each other, girls! Then be the one moving abroad for someone who will value you enough to keep you safe (by allowing you to be free as well). I’m pretty sure I will do this again, because that’s the lifestyle I want for myself and how I picture the concept of “partners in crime”, by taking chances everywhere in the world with someone who’s on board just as I am. But the lesson was learned: that I MUST protect myself and my rights before putting effort in a relationship which will leave me with nothing at all. So thank you for your points, from now on I’m sure I’ll be stronger to keep them in mind (and paper).

  16. I have a tough situation on my hand.

    My wife is from Brazil and right now shes currently living at home with her family. She had to wait for her temporary green card to come in, in order to work. So we was living at home with my family for the time being due to financial situations.

    Toughest part for her was staying at home with not much to do and little cash on hand to experience a lot. Long story short she got her temporary green card and started working at this time I lost my job (go figure, everytime one of us worked one of us was without).

    So now I was home looking for work and nothing popped up. She saved enough to book a trip back with her family for 3 months. Right now we are on 1 month away and shes contemplating on returning back tonthe states.

    She wants me to live with her in Brazil, but the issue is I dont see any opportunity there for me. I tried starting a business over there already and customs are far too strict so me being a natural entrepreneur it isnt going to work. My thing is at this point im out of solutions and have no clue what to do.

  17. Hi Alyssa,
    I was wondering if you have any advice for me. I have been living with my boyfriend for over 2 years now, we are very much in love and have always had dreams of living abroad together. We enjoy the same things and have the same attitude towards life.
    Recently, my boyfriend got made a very good job offer for a role in Singapore. He is absolutely over the moon, and feels he will never get a chance like this again. I supported him throughout the whole job process, but now that he actually has the job it all seems very real, and I am scared to make the move! Although I’ve always wanted to live abroad, Singapore seems very far! (I am based in the UK).
    I don’t have any particular job tying me down in the UK, the only things I would really miss are my friends and family, all of whom I am very close to.
    I know I should never move abroad for a partner, as I know I would probably be unhappy, but as I have nothing particularly else tying me here apart from family and friends, I am thinking “Why not Singapore? It isn’t a place I would have considered before but it would still be the adventure I am looking for”.
    I just want to make the right decision as right now I am in two minds. Go on a new adventure with my partner to Singapore, or stay in England to be with friends and family.

    1. Hi Nadia,

      Oh jeez, I’ve replied to this three times! Unfortunately I’ve been having some website issues and they kept getting removed. The gist of what I was saying is: you’re in a great situation. I don’t think my advice has ever been not to move abroad for a relationship, rather to think long and hard about it. On top that, you’re moving abroad together, achieving a goal the two of you have been working towards in tandem (him applying, you supporting it). Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a back up plan. Try to get a work permit and a job for yourself. Don’t look at this as a permanent decision, ignore the faux-inspirational quotes about travel – you can go home again (but it’ll cost you). Have enough money saved up so you can return to the UK if things go sideways. Good luck!

  18. Thank you for your post Alyssa! I am in similar situation, I don’t know what to do…I am living in Argentina for 2 years now with my local boyfriend. I am from Europe and we met while I was working there. I decided to come here for an internship and see how the thing would go. The internship ended, I got a job, but I lost it after one year. The social and economic situation is not very good here. I can’t find any job and I would be so happy to move back to Europe. The problem is, my boyfriend can’t move because of his job. So actually I am sacrificing my own life and career, to be with him, because he says there is no chance we move out from here, ever. We really get along very well, I can’t imagine life without him, but I am so unhappy living here, seeing all my friends leaving to Europe. Every time I travel abroad, coming back here is harder for me. Maybe you have some idea, what should I do, or how can I change my attitude to towards this place?

    1. Hi Sue! That’s too bad about the job. It sounds like everything was going well until then.

      Your boyfriend is telling you very clearly: no chance. What’s the deal with his job? Is it so hyperlocal he couldn’t find something similar in Europe? I find that hard to believe but maybe it’s the case. A life and a career is important for anyone to feel fulfilled – and so is a relationship. I’m assuming you have spoken to him about the issues and tried to discuss alternatives. If that’s the case, he’s saying no chance to the opportunity to create a better life for yourself while you’re in the relationship. If he knows you’re unhappy and there’s still no way he’s going to leave or help find a solution then you need to do what’s best for you. I hope that helps!

  19. Hello Alyssa! Very interesting post 🙂
    I’m 26 years old and struggling to graduate law school. I always wanted to do a master’s abroad (I’m from Greece). The guy I’m involved with (boyfriend to be, I hope), is from Germany. We were talking online for 7 months before meeting in August. He seems to be a lot into the idea of us being together, as I’ve told him that I would like to move to Germany for studies in the near future.
    Today he told me that he’s anxious about us because he didn’t know if I wanted to move indeed or not. And that in any case I shouldn’t make a decision like this just because of him, but I should consider what’s best for me. He also mentioned that he hopes I’m okay with the fact that he likes to go out with friends a lot, because he’s not going to give up on them. Very justified thoughts in general.
    However, my main concern is the following: does all this mean that I will have to figure out everything alone when I move to Germany? He is local and of course he has his studies, job, life and friends there, but regardless of the fact that I won’t be moving only for him, I will need some support at first. Germany was always on my list, but it’s one of the most challenging options because I will have to improve my german within a short period in order to deal with my studies successfully.
    So I don’t want to move JUST because of him, I see it as a challenge for personal improvement. But of course I’m also scared. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. Hi Irene!

      There are (at least) two red flags for me on this one: 1) “boyfriend to be” – so you aren’t in a committed relationship? Maybe you have been talking for awhile but both of you need to be on the same page about your relationship – i.e. that it has a future – before you make this kind of decision. 2) What he said about his friends and going out. Sure, it’s a justified comment, but it seems to me he’s saying ‘You won’t be a priority if you come here, so don’t be upset because I told you upfront’. That’s not the kind of thing a supportive partner says, especially about friends. It’s one thing to manage expectations – for example, before I came to Switzerland my partner told me that works longer hours than he did in the past so we needed to come up with a strategy so that I wouldn’t just be at home waiting around for him all day. It’s another thing to warn someone. My partner was being practical and supportive – he wasn’t saying that to warn me, but to get ahead of potential problems and ensure that we worked together to adjust.

      Maybe Germany was on your list, but going there to study is a long and possibly costly commitment. He said it himself: don’t make this decision for him. If you’re truly interested in learning German and a master’s course will help your career or personal development, then go to Germany. Choose the best university for what you want to do, not because it’s close to your boyfriend to be. Make friends, find a place to live, support yourself. Once you’ve got that sorted out, give a relationship a shot – if you’re still interested anyway.

      Good luck!

      1. Hey, thanks for the reply!
        I wrote boyfriend to be, because it’s not official yet although we are exclusive! We haven’t really made THE conversation because we haven’t met since August, but I hope we will clear it up in a few weeks that he will visit me in Athens.
        To be honest, since I’ve been single for a few years, I’ve learnt to prioritize friends as well. But yes it sounds a bit like a red flag that he won’t give up on his friends for me. I wouldn’t even demand that he ditches everyone and be with me 24/7. Besides I need my space as well.
        As for my life in Germany, I already know people, that’s why I travelled there in summer and not because of him, to begin with. He also happened to be there because it was a metal festival (we’re both big fans of the genre). It was my second time in Germany and I felt like I wanted to start a new life in that country and improve my language skills so as to blend in with the locals.
        I started attending German classes again this week and I’ve been really enjoying myself so far. Of course I will apply to universities of other European countries as well, because I want to have many options and I’m not holding on to a potential future with him. It will be nice if it works out, but I’m very skeptical and I won’t sacrifice my future for a guy who wishes not to give up on anything for me 🙂

  20. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you for writing this. I’m currently going through anxiety even thinking about this. I’m from Canada, and I moved to South Korea to experience working abroad and travelling. I’m 33 years old, and I met someone over here. He’s not Korean; he’s English, and he’s told me that while he’s ok with moving to Canada for a few years after we’re both done in Korea, he inevitably wants to move back to England to take care of his parents. I understand it completely, as I am also a very family oriented individual. I’m open to moving to England with him because, while I love Canada, I’ve had a hard time living in Vancouver and I didn’t want to move to other parts of the country that are very, VERY cold during the winter. So…with the rising rental rates, the almost impossible goal of owning a house in Vancouver, I know I wasn’t happy there. So, like I said, I am open to moving abroad. But we get into a lot of arguments about family and friends. I got resentful last night because I was angry that it felt like I had to give up everything (my family) so that he could be with his. It was awful, and I felt horrible, because I truly support why he wants to do it. Also, I do enjoy England.

    I’m clearly talking myself into circles again.

    Regardless, your article really help me quell some of my anxiety, and knowing that someone else has gone through something like this gives me a breath of relief. So thanks…

    1. Hi Jess! Yeah, it’s one of those things that’s difficult to agree on in international relationships, but there are compromises to be made, e.g. spending holidays with your family, etc etc. In the end it’s just a matter of what each of you are willing to sacrifice and what you think will make you happier in the long-term. Good luck!

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