“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 my partner 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 notย 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. Bae 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

My partner 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 him 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!

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

  1. Great post! Alex and I are about to celebrate 10years of marriage and I’m from Aus and Alex the US, so we can totally relate. We’ve lived all over the place and it can be so tough in tiny apartments and even though English is both our first language, we’ve had some epic misunderstandings! It is easy sometimes to jump to conclusions so sometimes if you can taking a moment to ask yourself if that is really what your partner means can be a helpful tip ๐Ÿ™‚

    While it can be a daunting thing to do, I wouldn’t change my life and the amazing experiences I’ve had being in an international relationship!

    1. Hey Bell,

      Thanks and congratulations on 10 years, that’s huge! I completely agree. It’s hard to really listen in the heat of the moment, it certainly takes practice. I appreciate the advice!

  2. I’ve done it once, and was with the guy for 4 years, and am going to be doing the same (for a different guy, 6 years later) this summer. Honestly, I hate the distance, but I love the boy. We *have* already lived together, in the tiniest space, when we both worked in Lapland. Distance seems to create waaayyy more arguments more than small spaces for us. I am moving to Cyprus, he’ll be there for 7 months, and I don’t know how long I will be there (I’m on a waiting list for a small, but potentially important operation), I’m learning Cypriot Greek- partly as a competitive thing with my boyfriend (who already knows some, as well as Romanian, and Hungarian), and partly because I think it’s important to speak a language if you’re gonna live somewhere. I’ll do my own thing, I’ll get a job, and use island life as an excuse to learn to surf or SUP. It’s only gonna be a couple of months before we move back to Sweden. I think having my own plans for Cyprus is what helps me.

    1. I know what you mean! The distance really gets in the way of the good stuff but it’s really forces you to work on other aspects of your relationship. That sounds like an awesome plan — when I went back to Martinique that’s exactly what I did (until a wave tried to kill me). Best of luck, Sammi!

  3. Great post! However, I’ve moved for a guy twice and I’m not sure if I completely agree with it. I think moving for a guy to where he lives is a great romantic idea, but I wouldn’t recommend moving somewhere where you both don’t know anyone – that can easily destroy the relationship ๐Ÿ™

    1. I like to toe the line between pragmatism and romanticism — as I mentioned, I moved to London because of a guy, but I didn’t do it for him! It’s a tiny change of semantics but makes all the difference in terms of how I feel about it! I know what you mean as that was kind of the situation we were in when we went to Martinique, but it can also be an adventure! Thanks for commenting, Anna.

  4. I totally agree with your oppinions ! I think this should be read by every “international couple”. Been there, done that, unfortunately it ended because we weren’t aware of some things that now I can see very clear ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Beautiful story! It is so inspiring that you moved to London because of him! Thanks for sharing! The tips are great! Greetings, Moving Man Ltd.

  6. WOW thank you so much for the good tips! I see myself in what you said, like you i’m a Canadian girl, and i’m moving in two weeks in London for love ( and other goals ;)of course )! To be honest I feel better after reading you, kind of freaking out a bit right now. If you still in London in May I would love to meet and have a chat with you!

    All the best and a big thank you for your wonderful blog!

    cheers!
    Rachel

    1. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. I will certainly be here, so feel free to get in touch ๐Ÿ™‚ Best of luck with the move!

  7. hello… you mentioned canada… and also Morocco. .
    intriguing because im going on a one way open ended ticket to be with a man in morocco that i met while i was in morocco…
    im interested to know if you were in this position?

    beautiful post…

    im leaving my canadian options open… and having enough money to return home if needed… he is a nomad like me and we have established we would love to set up shop in small scale in a few places all over the world..

    wish me luck. wish me love. we are quite special ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Jem! I just mentioned Morocco because I was travelling there. I haven’t been in that position, but another blogger named Amanda (Maroc Mama is her blog) has certainly been there!

      That sounds like a fine plan and I’m sure everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Best of luck & love! xx

  8. i want to also point out i am a black canadian woman and was wondering what your experience was like as a black woman in morocco ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Good question! Well, sometimes I did just blend in, especially if I covered my head. Sometimes I got harassed, but it was more a tourist thing than a black woman thing. A lot of people shouted “Nina Simone!” at me, and once in Chefchaouen a man made a point of telling me that he wasn’t talking to me because I have dark skin (he was trying to sell kif to some white travellers I was with). I think people might be a little more curious about you, but since you’re going to be with a man there you’ll probably get less annoying attention. I’d love to know how you fare with the manfriend and Morocco — I truly loved it there. Shoot me an email once you’re settled in!

      1. Well Alyssa, thank you for replying and thank you for the info!

        I will definitely shoot you an email..and i will moreso be recording my journey on my first time blog… http://www.artofjempress.com i am The Jempress..im a singer ..dancer… actress…the arts go on…and my partner has many artistic gifts as well.

        i must say a heartfelt thank you… as i never really read blogs before and yours is the third iv stumbled on and wanted to keep reading! ๐Ÿ™‚ i started with your travel entries. ..and later read your intro post…

        well you’ve done just that for me.. inspired me and given me further courage to take my own route..

        my life goal is to truly live honestly.. to the core…with no worry of how im perceived.. – i think im ready.. โ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™กโ™ก

        i view you as a mentor i havent met (hopefully yet) in person! keep inspiring!

  9. Great read! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has made this decision (me- for the second time). You’ve left all very helpful ways to make a life of your own. I am currently living in Poland and taking a French class. I also started a blog and we travel together frequently! Sometimes it turns out to be a great thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Chad! Am I the only one who’s curious as to whether it was for the same person? ๐Ÿ˜› haha

  10. I just found your blog the other day and was intrigued by your writing style. I now find myself sitting here for the past few hours and thoroughly enjoying your posts. As a girl also from Toronto, I feel like I can relate a lot to your posts somehow and your writing has really resonated with me, and not just because we both love T-dot! This post in particular has really struck home with me because I’m facing a very similar situation right now. I just wanted to thank you for your insight on this post and your other posts on love while abroad. It has truly helped a great deal and has inspired a lot of self-reflection. Keep up the amazing work, I look forward to every single post and following you through your writing. All the best!

    1. Hi Kirsten,

      That’s one of the greatest compliments a writer can get, thank you! Best of luck with your situation, I hope it all works out!

  11. i was looking on the internet for someone with my same doubts and i found your blog!
    thanks for this great article!

  12. I found this very helpful as I am moving to the Netherlands next year for love. I am a 30 year old women and have had my family on my back about the whole thing. It’s meant to be something I am looking forward to. I see it as a great opportunity to learn a new language make new friends and start a life out there! I live in the UK so its not really that far! I know my family love me and have my best interests at heart etc etc! Has anyone else been in this situation?

    1. Sounds like you have the right attitude! And once you actually move people will have less to say. Just keep working on yourself! Best of luck ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Thanka for such a great read. I just moved to Singapore for my husband got the second time. But I am going with a positive head and know what I’m doing out there which makes life a little easier. Learned the hard way don’t just fol

  13. Hi, thankyou for your wise words.
    I am considering a move to israel to be with my boyfriend who lives there. There is one big
    thing,though! I am 48 (no kids and not yet married:))! Ok so it’s not the first time i have moved. I lived in many countries
    so I am naturally very flexible and adaptive.And yes I love adventure and yes I have my own plans when I get there.
    But I have also made a big move before and landed right up in a terrible recession so I am terrified something
    like this could happen again. On the positive side that experience has also woken me up.
    Problem is that I have a very comfortable life right now, gorgeous flat, nice job with lovely colleagues, my gym just down the road…
    After the recession all i wanted was to have a nice comfortable life so I am afraid i might be doing the wrong thing by moving again.Just when things are going so well. But to be clear, I don’t think life stops at being comfortable.it’s not enough for me.Do you have any advice for me apart from follow my heart and watch your money??

    1. Hi Juliette,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I understand the desire for a comfortable life, but I believe that to really feel alive you have to have moments of feeling unsettled. It’s easy to get complacent with routine… but life really happens in the moments of uneasiness, the moments of the unknown and the unexpected. No matter what, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

  14. Hi Alyssa,

    Your article woke me up. Thank you for that.
    I’m now at the crossroads of my life where the man I am in love with is leaving the country to work in another. He wants me to move with him, and I’m at a stage where I want to set out and explore the word. But there’s so many factors I’m worried about – I’ve not lived with him before, I may not know him well enough (we’ve dated only half a year), and I’m leaving behind family, friends, a comfortable career and lifestyle. Moving overseas will be a first for me and I’m scared that I wouldnt be able to cope.

    That said, we have a deep connection, shared values, life goals and at some point in our relationship, I had seen us settling down together.
    It’s so difficult to make a choice. ๐Ÿ™

    1. Hi Glynnis, Only you know what is best for you. Things have a way of working out the way they’re supposed to ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I’m going a similar situation right now.
      It would be nice to know if you did make the move? Or how it worked out for you in the end as I’m guessing the decision was difficult for the both of you.

  15. Lovely post, Alyssa! I think that when moving abroad there are many new things to explore and it definitely is an exciting ะตxperience. I really love the fact that you moved for love! I have always found these stories really inspiring! Thank you for sharing these tips! I hope you are feeling great in London!

  16. Hello Alyssa, I am moving abroad with my boyfriend, too. I am so glad that I have found your blog. Your tip of not losing yourself in the new place is the most valuable one I have read. Thank you for sharing your great experience. Best regards!

  17. Hi my girlfriend and I are in a difficult position where my family is most likely moving to London next year and she will be staying behind… Now we have discussed options and think we will try long distance at least until we have finished our degress (will roughly be 17months apart – but will see her over the holidays) then after this we are unsure of whether or not she should move to London with me and start a life with me there… Her parents say under no circumstances is she moving (ever) and have told her and I that if I truly love her I will stay… Yet I will be passing up on such a great opportunity not only for me but for her and my future (we are currently in South Africa and London offers so much) they have basically said if I love her I will stay and if O move we have to break up… My family obviously is supportive of the move, but now she is unsure who to follow her parents or me and my family and she loves both and has love and connections to both… we feel that was are stuck in the middle… Do we take a chance and love and take the move together? We just don’t know what route to go please any assistance would be greatly welcomed.

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      Thanks for the comment. That sounds like a difficult situation. I’m not sure how old you are, but based on what you’ve written, it seems you’re quite young. When you’re young there comes a time when you have to decide to do what’s best for you as an individual – and that may be working on your career or education or whatever the case may be. Neither of you should have compromise your futures. If there are opportunities for both of you in one place or another, go with that. Simply, I think you should see how the long distance goes and then re-evaluate once you’ve got some more time and maturity on your side. Best of luck!

  18. My fiance and I have done long distance twice now. I’m from the usa and he’s from Australia. Both times I have moved to Australia. I think no matter how logical you believe your reasoning to be for moving it all comes down to your moving for that person. I had things like better healthcare and better economy written down on my list for moving but in the end it’s made no difference. It will be hard, you will miss your home and if you don’t like the country it will be difficult. I think the hardest thing for me has been the preconceptions of Americans. It’s not very easy being teased and taunted even when you have a good sense of humour! I would suggest moving because of love but it would be better if you lived in a town that neither of you are familiar with. If you move to the town he or she is from you will resent them. I would find myself saying why do you get to hang out with your friends and your family while I see mine every two years. Resentment isn’t good for the relationship! Great post btw ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Beverlie! That’s one really nice thing about when I was in London, I always was invited out with his friends and family, so it didn’t feel too bad to be away!

  19. Great post,Alyssa! I love the way you described your reasons. It is so true that you don`t have to move somewhere only for your man. You should do it for yourself. I am so glad that I have found your article. My sister is planning to move to London with her husband. I am going to show her your blog. Best regards!

  20. Hi Alyssa,

    I love reading your blog! I am a Canadian girl too! I would love to hear some insights from you about my current situation. My boyfriend and I met in his last year of university and have been dating for over a year now. He has moved back to Hong Kong to work for his family and I am still in Canada to finish my last semester. I have met his parents and some of his family members on my trip to Hong Kong this summer, I quite enjoyed my stay but the amount of people everywhere was a little bit overwhelming. After coming back to Canada, we both knew that we have to make a decision in regards to where am I going to pursue my career in the future? He offered me to stay with him in his new apartment and work under his family business, but I don’t know if thats such a great idea? Am i committing too soon? I am 22 years old and have not ventured out into the world yet. I am scared that I might lose control over my freedom and independence. Work days in Hong Kong are Monday-Saturdays, i’m afraid that we will constantly be tangled up in work and not have any time to further discover our relationship. In addition, I feel like I would be a burden to the business because of my lack of writing and reading skills in Chinese and having to live rent free with him. I feel like I will be giving up good opportunities here in Canada but at the same time I don’t want to lose him. What should I do?

    Thanks!

    Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Trust your instincts. When you’re fresh out of university, the worst thing you can do is limit or pigeonhole your career options. That said, international experience is an extremely transferable skill — especially if you manage to pick up Chinese while you’re there. In any case, it seems like you know what’s best for your self. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

  21. I am debating on moving abroad from United States, spcifically from Corpus Christi TX to Moldova. If you have no idea where that is, like me when I met my husband…It’s a tiny country sandwiched between Ukraine & Romania. This blog helped me so much and it was a fun read on how to help moving abroad to another country. I really believe in this woman moving to London for her partner. Although I wouldn’t be debating to move if this wasn’t just for me. This reallly empowerd me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I have heard of Moldova! I’m glad you were able to gain a bit of insight and inspiration from this post. Best of luck with your decision!

  22. Hi Aylssa!
    I’m in a similar position now but my boyfriend is the one moving from Australia to Toronto. We met last year while I was on a working holiday in Oz and now that I’m back home are currently trying to figure how things are going to work out. He is originally from Ireland and is studying in Oz with no intention of going back home. I was just wondering how your partner felt and how the decision came about that you would be the one to move? I have my moments when I feel very guilty because its such a big decision to make. My boyfriend has already made the move once and has started a new life and now to ask him to do it again! Even though he’s made it very clear that he’s more than happy to.

    1. I asked the manfriend, just for you Cristina! He said that he mostly just felt happy that I was coming. As for the decision… it just seemed like the best thing for both of us at the time. I still wanted to live abroad and he wanted to get going on his career (two years teaching abroad holds you back when you want to work in finance and such). I wanted to be a writer and he wanted to work in trading. For him, it was a no-brainer – London is where he’s from and there’s no better place to start working in finance than London; for me, I thought London was cool, digital was huge, and it’s a great jumping off point for travelling Europe. The decision was very practical! I didn’t really push for Toronto anyway because I wasn’t interested in going back. Best of luck!

  23. I am consider moving to Ireland from NYC to be with my significant other of two years. The only reasons I can think of moving there would be to challenge myself and to prove to myself that I can make it on my own.I’m not sure if that is enough.

  24. Hi, I’ve been in a ldr for almost 3 years now, I’m from Mexico he is Turkish. We have been coming and going all this time, we both know each other’s families and it’s gotten pretty serious, the problem is in the beginning he was still in university, I was already graduated and working (I’m a year older), now the situation has changed, he’s the one working and I’m currently unemployed. The thing is since he started working he has changed, he’s become more irritable (kind of mean), less available, and we’ve had less opportunities to meet up, all of this causing a lot of stress and problems. We are working on making things better but I think our time online is past our due date, (we are both very tired of it) we can’t fix anything like this anymore, he has offered me a one way ticket for next January to live together and experience the real thing and try and save our relationship, I’m very anxious and nervous. The other thing that makes doubt it is my family, Mexicans don’t move out from their parents house like in the USA, we’ve been together moving around the country always far from our relatives but never separated from our nuclear circle, of course I understand it has to happen sometime but it’s hard, it breaks my heart to leave them. I mean if it doesn’t work out I can always go back right.? btw I love turkey, I can definitely say I’m in stupified with the exotic culture, it’s beauty and I love the language… I’d love to experience meeting new people and learning new things, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’M TERRIFIED, although the idea excites me. Any word of advice you’d like to share? Thanks, besos!

    1. Learn Turkish, put away enough money for a ticket back home and jump in, full speed ahead! If you have the safety net of going back home, I think you’re lucky. You really have the opportunity to put your whole heart into making it work and that’s a privilege not many people get! Best of luck, Mariana ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Loved reading your blog and all of these helpful comments. I’ve stumbled upon this page because I too, am considering moving abroad for love.
    I’m 22, I would be giving up an established career, we really haven’t been together in person very much and we would be living together for the first time. It’s a lot to consider… I usually fall back on my motto that things will always work themselves out and everything happens for a reason…. I think I want to do this… I just need someone to tell me to do it. Opinions??

    1. DO IT!

      I explain:

      At 22, I question how established your career is. I mean, you can only be 1-2 years out of college or university assuming you went that route. With that said, maybe you meant the path… Unfortunately you didn’t give me the details of where to where you might be moving. Is there a possibility that an international move would be good for your career? Speaking another language, international experience, etc.? You don’t want to be tethered to your partner in a new place, so make sure there’s some other reason(s) for going there.

      I would also hold off on the living together part. That’s about how old my partner and I were when we moved in together while living in Martinique. It was, on balance, pretty bad. And we’d already been a relationship for nearly a year. Be independent, spend more time together as a “normal” couple. Then decide whether you really want to move in together.

    2. Just do it if you truly love the person. Your still 22 so and its a perfect age to move. I think leaving your career is a risky move, so better apply for a new one before you move with your partners help. Good luck! Michelle

  26. Great blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Im 26, I live in England And tried online dating a few years ago, which lead to a couple dates with out any end result. I started getting frustrated that I couldnโ€™t find that spark. I was just about to give up until I got a message from a Spanish girl who lived in Spain! Well.. Long story short we started chatting to each other on a regular basis which then lead to skyping each other. Then after a year of getting to know each other online, i finally made the decision to go over to Spain and meet her. We clicked instantly and from that moment on and with a few more visits to Spain we both fell in love with each other. BUT sadly just recently i decided to end it and go are separate ways due to complications and responsibilities at this time in are lives. Complications being distance, language, work and cultural differences. I thought about moving to Spain to be with her but in reality I would need to learn spanish and try to find work which is near impossible in Spain at the moment. But the main problem is up rooting my life and leaving my family in England which would be very difficult for me as it would be for her. The only other things that attract me to Spain apart from her is the weather, lifestyle and the people seem really friendly. Im at a crossroad in my life where i have a good business opportunity to start up in England or move to Spain and sacrifice all for a girl i love. It really has been a difficult stage in my life with my head telling me to stay in England and my heart telling me to go to Spain. Who knows what will happen in the future, I guess โ€˜if its meant to be, its meant to beโ€™. ๐Ÿ™‚ Any advice would be much appreciated. thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Don’t I know about the trickiness of long distance relationships! Why can’t she move to England? It’s likely that the opportunities will be better there in terms of work, right? I’m leaning towards you not moving there (THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION). Spain and England are SO close that I think it’s better to continue seeing each when possible and taking the time to work towards a situation you both are happy with. Whether that means you starting your business and getting it to a point of success where you can employ others, or take yourself ‘location independent’, and go live in Spain; or where she can come to England. Long distance relationships are a challenge, but shared goals bring people together. If there’s no time in the near-future that you can see yourselves being in the same place then you may just have to call a spade a spade and look for someone with less of an obstacle to overcome. But you say you’re in love, so maybe it’s worth seeing what happens. People’s lives and situations can change so much with little notice–you never know, maybe her company will send her to England for work!?

      1. Thank you Alyssa! Your comments have helped me a lot. Sadly due to certain events in are lives at the moment there is no realistic opportunity of us crossing paths in the near future. It could be a couple of years before we are both ‘stable’ and could look at are situation again. So it may be best in the meantime for both of us to move on and live are lives. And you never know as you say ‘Peopleโ€™s lives and situations can change so much with little notice, you never know what may happen.

        Many thanks Alyssa.

  27. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m 23 and met my boyfriend while I was living in France in 2014 and he is from the England. We have been doing long distance for over a year. We see each other about 4 times a year for 3-4 week stints. (minus the time we saw each other while I was living in France). I am thinking of making the move to go over there. I have a long history of working for the government and currently hold a contract that could be permanent. I always wanted to go back to Europe and live, work, and travel. I am just worried about choosing a career over love. I feel like I am either choosing love or career. I am still so young with a good resume.. do you think it is worth going?

    1. Choose both! I am guessing you are Canadian. Commonwealth citizens can work in the British public service/government. You are also eligible for the youth mobility visa for the UK. This means you can live abroad and continue your career, gaining new skills and international experience which will only make you more employable in Canada. Lucky you!

  28. Hi Alyssa! I just wanna say that you’re blog is perfect for the situation I’m currently in. My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years now. We’re both from Alberta but he moved to Toronto 3 years ago and during that time we did long distance while I was finishing school. I moved to Toronto last year so that we could finally be together and everything has been amazing. I love him so much and we are so happy BUT he recently got the news that he needs to move to London by the summertime for his job. (once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe this is happening again! I don’t know what to do. I work in the healthcare industry as a Medical lab technologist but it’s just a diploma program and not a degree so I’m worried about the whole job situation and if it would be hard to find a job. I was thinking that I could continue my education with an online degree which I could finish in two years. Any advice on making a decision and what type of visa did you obtain? (We’ll be there at least 2+ years).
    Thanks for all your help!

  29. Hi Alyssa,

    I love your blog and maybe you could help me by giving some outside perspective on my situation. I just turned 24 and my boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years. Initially, we are both from Alberta but my boyfriend moved to Toronto for work 3 years ago, so we as hard as it was we did long distance while I finished my school. Last year I finally made the move to Toronto and everything has been better than I could have imagined. HOWEVER, now he has been chosen to be apart of an expansion to London for his business. I’m so happy for him but I’m left feeling really confused about what I should do. I want to go with him but I only have a diploma in medical lab so I’m worried about finding work. I was thinking about maybe finishing and getting my degree online while I was out but I don’t want to be seen as “the girl that will always follows her boyfriend”. Any advice or insight?

    1. Hi there! First off, you’re a brave soul! It takes a lot of courage to move to a new city. Now, I don’t think you should be concerned about how you’ll be seen. No one can really know what goes on between two people and your relationship, your life, your business. That sounds like an exciting prospect for your boyfriend’s business. I’m not sure if you mean London, UK (if so, see my YMS visa post) or London, ON. Either way, making the decision to uproot your life is a big decision. Here’s what I’ll say: 1) Have a talk with your BF about why you’ll be moving if you do. Make sure you’re on the same page about commitment, building a life together, what it means etc. 2) Come to understanding about support. It seems that he’ll be gainfully employed while you’re looking for work. You BOTH should be okay with the possibility that he may have to support the both of you until you finish your degree and/or find a job.

      If he wants you to be there and sees this as a step forward in the relationship (or you’re both on the same page that it’s for adventure or something), and this won’t cause you any undue hardship, then I say do it! Just make sure you talk it all out beforehand ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Nice Post! I’m also having trouble finding out what to do. Last year I did an internship for 3 months in Arequipa, Peru. As in the movies, I found a girl over there. We were together for about 2.5 months (love on first sight, yes). Then I had to return to Belgium, to finish my studies. After 4 months I returned to spend my vacation (two weeks) with her and to think about the future. I really miss and love her. I’m considering about moving over there. The biggest problem I have, is that it is really hard to let go of my family. My brother committed suicide about 4 years ago and since then our relationship is really indestructible. I’m afraid that if I leave my family, it will feel for them like they lost two sons/brothers. That really is my only concern. Since I went back in September, my girlfriend doesn’t believe much in our future. She already has a kid and is 29 while Iโ€™m 23. She said to me she couldn’t wait forever and I said that she shouldn’t wait for me because it really isn’t sure that I go back. So we decided not to skype anymore (because it hurts her too much that we don’t know if/when we’re going to be together) and we only talk in Facebook. But we talk at least 3 times a week and I sent her a message every day. I really do love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her. I also really love the country and the food and the way of living over there. I worry a lot that if Iโ€™m going to do it, will I earn enough money to come back at least once a year to Belgium? I don’t really care about a big career or earning much money, I just want to be happy. In Belgium after my brother died, I wasn’t able to feel the same way of happiness like before. My three/four months over there was kind of a relief, I found a new happiness and was really happy for the first time in years. What do you think?

    1. Hi Joshy,

      I’m very sorry to read that about your brother. It must have been very hard on you and your family. You say that you’re afraid of what your family will feel, which means you don’t know that they will feel that way. There’s no sense in living a life based on fear. Your family knows true loss and will most likely to be happy to see their son living a dream and being happy. As far as your relationship, that’s a tough one… You’re still young so there’s two ways to look at it: 1) You have plenty of time to get your life together and moving to Peru would allow you to try something different, gain more world experience, etc. 2) Now is the time to work on getting your life together because it only gets harder as you get older.

      I know how it feels to be in that situation with a person you love–talking to them every day without knowing when you’ll be together. What I find helps is talking about different options to be reassured that both of us are thinking about how we can make things work. Perhaps you can try spending another three months there? Look for work (or start one online to earn in Euros?), see if you will be happy with the day-to-day, mundane experience. Then make your decision. I think you’ll find that things will become clearer when you’re there.

      Hope that helps!

      P.S. I’m no expert so take this with a grain salt and a dash of personal experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hi Alyssa,

        thank you for your reply. I’m just considering things and I’m graceful for everyone’s responses so if other people have advice for me, feel free to post. I’m also a bit afraid to talk about this subject with my family. Last week I talked with friend and found out that it would be easier to talk with them about it if I’m certain of my decision and that is how I will do it. I’m an optician so starting online would be something difficult but yeah you never know. For the moment I think I’m going to try it and if I find a decent job than it will work out I think. I know it will be difficult I so many ways but it just feels like something I have to do right now. Thanks a lot for your advice and if I move I’ll let you know

  31. Thank you for your tips!
    After reading your post, I think twice to go back to Romanian. My husband is Romanian, and I’m a Chinese, we married for several years. we love each other. But it is difficult for me to find a job and integrate with the Romanian culture, I come back to China for almost 1 year. He came after me and we stay in China for 1 year, now he went to back to Romanian. My only reason to go back to Romania is Him, I can’t find reason for myself. Just like you said, if I can’t find any reason, then will not be happy in Romania, but I really want to stay with him. Maybe you have some good ideas!

    1. Hi Landy! Thanks for sharing here. For some people, being with your partner is as good a reason as any to move abroad. I just think it puts a lot of pressure on a relationship–new, old, married, unmarried alike. My first thought was to try moving someplace entirely new together? I know that’s not an option for a lot of people but if it is, then think of places where you both have work opportunities! I hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Hi Alyssa,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story ๐Ÿ™‚ I was wondering if you/anyone else could give your perspective on my situation? I am 23 years old, from Australia. I met a German man in October of last year when he was travelling in my country on a short vacation. It was supposed to be a short fling but we both grew quite attached. I ended up taking a trip to Europe (mainly to see him) but also just to travel in December. I’m now back in Australia finishing my law degree…but I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about him and moving to Germany…basically a new life over there with him. We message each other several times a week and he is keen to spend his next vacation with me. He hasn’t talked about the future too much aside from this, and neither have I. It seems as if we are both too afraid to admit that we want something more than an international fling as it seems impractical. I have spent a lot of time researching ways for me to practice as a lawyer in Germany. The prospects are quite bleak. I don’t speak German, and will graduate with a common law degree…they operate under the civil law there…so my degree is looking more and more useless. I have read things about common lawyers finding work in the transactional space (as jurisdiction matters little), but this is usually only possible after the lawyer has built up several years of experience in his or her home country first. The chances of me finding a job in Germany as a lawyer fresh out of law school without having to requalify and/or become proficient in German are not fantastic. I’m not really sure what to do. I fell in love with the country when I visited and would love to live there..but I don’t know whether I would be able to get a job commensurate with my educational level. I’m not dead set on a legal career, but the only other degree I have is one in French literature (not particularly useful)! I am not even sure that I would be able to get an ordinary paralegal job in Germany without language skills. I have started taking beginner lessons but it would take at least a year to become fluent to a professional standard (even though I generally pick up languages easily). It’s not like I have a job lined up in Australia after graduation, so I’m not really giving anything up by moving overseas…aside from the chance to get a job as a lawyer. I am open to other career options, provided it does some service to my education (I have spent 6 years at university already, studying extremely hard to obtain high grades and gaining relevant experience as a paralegal). But I would give it all up if I knew that I could have a future in Germany with him, with some sort of decent office job. He works in finance and has been employed in that industry for 2 years, so I don’t see the sense in him moving to Oz for me since I haven’t got a job yet. I feel that we have a special connection and that we would already be in a proper relationship by now if distance was not an obstacle.
    Any advice at all would be appreciated.
    Apologies for the long post!
    Hayley

    1. Hi Hayley! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m going to keep this one brief: Methinks you need to discuss this with him! If there’s one thing I can say about long-distance relationships, it’s that it forces you to communicate–and often at an accelerated speed than a “classic” relationship.

      Not this: “It seems as if we are both too afraid to admit that we want something more than an international fling as it seems impractical.”

      This: I want to see where this will go, can we talk about some ways we can make this work?

      Then re-read this post to make sure that if you do decide to move, you have a back-up plan and that it’s a good thing to do for YOU, not just the relationship.

      Just my $0.02! Good luck!

  33. This was a very inspiring post. As a male who might end up taking this leap it was very insightful and I loved the way you explained why this can be a worthwhile experience not only for your relationship but for your growth as a human. I’ve gotten into a serious relationship over the past few months with a girl originally from Spain. Every summer she goes home for a month but she told me a few weeks back that she will be going for longer and will quite possibly stay. This is because of a combination of visa problems and not being able to start a career here. As you can imagine this was a very tough thing to hear. She got emotional telling me and we’ve agreed to keep this thing going.
    We haven’t discussed it since, but it’s been on my mind. Particularly, I’ve been thinking of what it would mean if she stayed and I decided to follow her. At first it seemed crazy but after more contemplation it actually makes sense for where I am at in my life; I’m a writer and artist, I work part time jobs so I’m not stuck in a job, I’ve never traveled outside the US and am eager to do so, and from how my gf talks about Spain I think I could actually be ultimately happier there. Nobody has ever made me think of doing such a thing but I k ownim not being totally absurd. I’m 25 and she’s 28 so we’re both mature enough to know when we’re being stupid and I truly don’t think this would be stupid. I haven’t brought this up to her but I k own it will come up on the next three months before she leaves. Any advice on how to bring it up? I do t want it to be one sided of course.

    1. Hi Gabriel,

      It’s great that you’ve met someone lovely and it sucks she has to leave. I LOVE Spain – I actually considered moving to Barcelona before I decided to go home to do a masters. Folk wisdom would say…just let the topic come up naturally. But personally, that’s not my style. When I need to talk about or know something it stays on my mind. I obsess about it. If you think moving to Spain could work out for you, you can heed the above advice (and that in other post about moving abroad for a relationship), and you would like to know where you stand, then I say just tell her! If you work for yourself and can continue to do that online (unless you speak Spanish and can get a visa) then it sounds like you’re in a good position. Something like “I would really like to experience living in Spain, and I would love to do that with you by my side. What do you think?”

      Talking about it is the easy part. But getting the money together and all the logistical stuff is hard. Make sure you discuss your expectations and think through all options in terms of visas, jobs, and living situations. Just so I don’t seem like too lofty an idealist, I might suggest spending a few weeks there on a visit first. Going to London for a few weeks, meeting my partner’s friends and family, and exploring the city really helped me feel like moving there would be a great experience.

  34. Hey there! I’m about to do the same, but the exact opposite! My girlfriend is Canadian and I’m British. And I will be moving to Canada in the next few months as soon as the visa is approved (Fingers crossed!!!) But I found your post as I am getting more nervous by the second as I start to think about moving and the reality of it all, looking at notice periods for my current job etc, and then I ofcourse have the doubts of OMG! Am I sure about this, will this work out, how do we REALLY feel about each other, we say we know and all, but DO we really know each other at this Long Distance stage? I’m 99% certain I love her to bits, but with it being a long distance relationship, you nevertheless wonder! I guess all sorts of doubts are normal at this stage, but it will be good to hear from others. The move itself I tell myself im not too worried about, as I like traveling and experiencing new things. Jobs wise, yes im moving to a smaller city, maybe slightly less pay, but then everyone says the quality of living is better in Canada. P.s. im moving to British Columbia, where she is living. Anyways that was my 2 cents….

    1. Oh and I’m currently working in London during the weeks if you are around and fancy a chat about your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Hey! That’s so exciting! No sense in worrying (who am I kidding, I’m one of the biggest worriers I know – ha!), you won’t know until you try. When I was moving, I wasn’t worried about the relationship aspect, I was just really excited about going somewhere new and the adventure. But we had already lived together and such. In hindsight I think we should have clarified expectations and what it meant that I was moving there. But we were young, what can you do! Living in Canada is great, though BC can be very expensive depending on the city. I would have loved to, but I’m in Martinique doing research – moved back to Toronto last September to do a Masters. Best of luck!

  35. Dear Alyssa. Thank you for this post. I’d love your advice, if you have the time!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m 27 and I’m Danish. I graduated law school last year and landed a great job as an associate attorney at a law firm. I like my job. I have an apartment, my good friends and family within an hour or less of transportation, and everything is actually going well EXCEPT the fact that I am very much in love with my American boyfriend, who I met when I studied abroad for a year three years ago. We’ve been together for almost 3 years, and everything is great except for one important thing: he wants to live in America, I want to live in Denmark. We’re both willing to live “for a while” in the other person’s country but we can’t imagine living away from home forever. In other words, he wants to grow old in America, I want to grow old in Denmark. We both want marriage and children, and he’s a great man and we share the same values… I speak English well enough to land a job in LA (would have to pass the CA bar exam, though), and he doesn’t speak Danish. I love him but I am so so worried that I’ll miss my family (especially my parents) so much that I will be miserable. I don’t like the idea of getting children far away from my family. I have three siblings, and we’re close, and my parents have always been such a great help and support and they help out with my nieces and nephews, and I really want the life my siblings have… A home where I’m close enough to my family, so I can help them whenever they need me, and they can help me if (I hope when!!) I get children. I dream about becoming a wife and a mother, and for the last 3 years, I’ve only imagined my boyfriend as my husband-to-be. We both have thought that that’s how it’s gonna be. But for some reason, we just can’t agree on what to do now. I’m terrified of the idea of leaving him and NEVER finding anyone as great as he is who wants what I want. I’m also afraid of moving and being lonely. I’ve spend a lot of time in California, and it’s lovely and I have a few good friends there too, I could live there for 2-5 years but the thought of moving FOR GOOD is just… heart-breaking. I would miss my family so much. My parents would definitely visit at least once a year, and we would visit Denmark too, but I’m used to seeing my parents every other weekend… Also, the flight is 11,5 hours…and with waiting time and a 9-hour time difference, it would take me quite a while to get home, if my family needs me… My brain says I should try to find someone else but my heart is devastated. I don’t like to give up our dream of a life together, and I also worry that I’ll never find something like this… I desperately want to be happy. I thought I found my match, but since he’s not willing to promise that he’ll move here and stay, I question everything.. We’ve seen each other a lot and everything else is great (I studied in CA for a year, he studied in London for 6 months where we saw each other most weekends, and then I stayed in CA for 3 months… plus vacations in the summer). How do I find out what I should do? I

    1. Hi Josefine,

      Wow, quite the dilemma you have here! My first instinct was “This doesn’t sound like this is going in anyone’s favour”. But then you said you could live in California for a few years. DO IT. In the past you’ve been there for a fixed amount of time, with an expiry date. Move there and don’t give it a time limit, just see how it goes. Experience building your life there. It’s a different type of experience when you’re not always expecting to leave a place. You might realize that the distance and seeing your family and all of those things isn’t so bad with your partner by your side. If in the end it turns out that it’s too much and you want to move back home then two things may happen: 1) Your boyfriend might say okay, let’s try it out in Denmark (or London, or Canada, or some location compromise where both of you can have a good job, friends, and family) OR 2) You can break it off knowing that you gave it your best shot and it’s not for you, rather than just “imagining” you can’t live away from Denmark forever.

      You won’t know for sure unless you try. So if you really think this man is worth it, try. That’s my $0.02!

      1. Hi Josefine,
        Very interesting read, I enjoyed the insight into your situation, as it is similar to mine, and makes me think if I have thought my decision through (My girlfriend is Canadian, I’m British, and I’m moving to Canada in a few weeks). I would also struggle with the family stuff, and when it comes to time for kids, having kids away from my own parents I imagine would be tough. But then if she came over to the UK, it would be tough for her.

        I decided moving to Canada was right for me, as I wanted to experience something new. There were other reasons like who was more in a better position with jobs (she was still in University, I have graduated etc), but the main thing is that I wanted to try something new, and see the world.

        I thought at first, for you, tough decision, how will you decide, but you know what, I agree with Alyssa. TRY IT! If you break up now, you will always be saying What if What if. But if you give it a go, then you can see how you feel and say you have given it a chance. The concerns for you were missing your family and kids. Well just see how it goes for a couple of years. You said you could go for 3-5 years, and thats a start anyways to see how it goes. If after a while kids come up, have another think about your situation and see what you think at that point. He might change his mind or you might. But it sounds like you have a good option to give it a go. However, its all down to your personal situation, and other things you may not have mentioned to us here, but my advice is to look at which option you can trial or see how it goes, without committing either way, as I already said in earlier sentences.

  36. Hi Alyssa,
    I have just found your page and am going through a similar thing currently with my boyfriend. I have grown up and currently live in Australia – i met my boyfriend when he was on holiday here from Germany. He has since extended his visa to stay with me temporarily until we can be sure of the relationship.
    We have been dating 6 months now – have just moved in together and have been talking about moving to Germany in Feb 2017. He always planned to take me back with him, and would not ever live permanently in Australia… but i am in love with it here.

    My issue is i would be leaving a very solid / reputable job in Marketing/Systems – My family are dead against it and say they would never visit me.. i feel like i have only recently found out who my true friends are..and i cannot speak German yet (am currently taking lessons)
    And i compete in Iron Man / Triathlons here in Aus.. where i’ve got SUCH a supportive crew of people.. it really does feel irreplaceable

    Pros for going? We already know there are English speaking jobs for me – MUCH higher paid, i am English born (which i understand to be much easier than his visa red tape living here in Aus!).. and his family sound much more supportive than mine. He has an extensive support network back in Germany – compared to mine here in Australia.

    It is driving me insane – i have had a few relationships in my time and am pleasantly surprised at this one being different… he changed all his plans/flights/jobs lined up back in Germany to stay with me .. it’s like something out of a book..
    Is it only fair that i do the same back?
    I am 24 – super anxious and a self confessed over thinker

    Would love to know your thoughts having ‘been there done that’ – My whole world will be changing, and i am not sure how well i cope with change ….

    – Mel

    1. Hey Mel!

      Ah, the ‘been there done that’ expertise! I don’t know about it, my situation was very different from most of the people’s who comment here. When I moved to London I was 24 (like you), had no career (and wasn’t too anxious about finding one–I just figured it would find me, and it kind of did), and just saw it as a way to see more of the world. I was a bit nervous but mostly excited as I saw it as an adventure. So take my advice with a grain of salt!

      I think that being ‘fair’ is the wrong attitude about moving there. You both have to think about what’s ‘best for both of us’. Have you been to Germany yet to visit? Honestly, that clinched the decision to move to London for me. I met Tom’s friends and family, and got to know what the city was like. I thought, ‘I can definitely see myself living here’. I also interviewed for a couple of jobs, which helped me see that I would be permanently unemployed if I did move.

      My opinion is that if it doesn’t affect your career prospects and you think you’ll have a good network of people around, then go for it! Once you’ve made your decision, your family will come around eventually. That’s what they do, they’re family! At worst, you go there, it doesn’t work out, and move back home. It sucks but at least you tried. So rather than wondering for the rest of your life ‘What if I had moved to Germany…’, you’ll know!

      On the note of the ‘been there done that’, you can learn more from what I didn’t do than what I did. There’s one thing I didn’t do that I wish I had: discuss expectations with my boyfriend. As I said, moving to London was more of a travel adventure and it didn’t really cross my mind to get too hung up on the practical details. Ask the questions like, Will you save up beforehand or will you need him to support you? Will you live together until you find your own place or permanently, and will you contribute? What happens if you don’t find a job in 3 months? etc. etc. If you’re as much of an anxious overthinker as I am, the questions have probably crossed your mind. Just be sure to verbalize them to your boyfriend–it’ll save a lot of drama in the long run!

  37. Really enjoyed your perspective Alyssa!
    I’m in a tough spot right now. My bf is moving back to Puerto Rico soon to spend time with his family especially his daughter. He is also planning on going to law school there possibly in the Spring.
    We agreed some time ago that I should go with him, which sounds exciting since I’m at a point of my life where I’m ready for new adventures. I’m Filipino so his culture isn’t really that different from mine and my dialect contains a large amount of Spanish words.
    However, last month he changed his mind and said he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for different reasons, such as its a foreign country, I don’t speak the language, I’ll know no one there, etc. He is somewhat traditional to where he wants to be able to provide but he feels that he won’t be able to financially do so. We love one another and we have even fantasized about our future together including children. We don’t want to split up so I don’t really know what to do right now. We live together and we really don’t have issues with that at all, in fact it’s great. There are things we don’t like of course but they don’t affect our relationship.
    I’m currently working as a temp due to our previous agreement of moving with him. Also, I’m getting my BS in Environmental Science so I won’t be purposeless there. I’m not sure how difficult it is to land a job there though. San Juan may have more options especially for English speakers.
    I was thinking I could propose doing LDR and I’ll take Spanish courses then visit every 6 months or something similar to that. Then, when I feel my Spanish is good enough I can move there.
    What are your thoughts?

    Jen

  38. It’s nice to read about other people in the same situation. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 15 months. He is Israeli and I am American. He really wants me to go there for a long time now that my studies are over. I’m 25, just finished university and am about to start my career. Going there means postponing my career by a year or two (until I learn the language and am married to him). The other part is leaving my family which I am very close to. He promises I will be able to come back and visit, but it will be his country for permanancy. Of course this means so many things like how your kids will grow up and not being around their cousins – and just not being connected/involved in my family. To top it off, my family is going through a crisis right now which makes it extra hard to leave in the midst of it. I feel very strongly for him and see a future with him. I enjoy Israel and can see myself living there (with the exception of being distant from my family, which I know will always be hard). We have really grown weary with the ldr and need to be together. He’s a few years older and wants to move on with life. Change is hard for me and I take more time with making decisions. We really are at the fork in the road right now and I have to choose. It’s such an overwhelming decision.

  39. Hi Alyssa, I’m so happy to find this post! I live in America and am hoping to move to England to be with my boyfriend a year from now. Do you have any advice on how to prepare yourself financially or how to know what visa you need? I would really love to talk to you about it because I’m so lost trying to figure it all out haha.

    Kaitlyn

    1. Hi Kaitlyn,

      I’m not really sure how visas work for Americans, but financially I would suggest saving up three months of living expenses in GBP! Feel free to shoot me an email ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Hi! Loved the article, and I’ve spent quite some time reading through the comments as well. This post has been EXTREMELY helpful in helping me solidify my decisions, but I’m hoping to get some advice nonetheless!!

    We’re both 27 and met about 9 months ago via a video game. We’ve already been back and forth a few times. He lives in BC (Near Kelowna, not close to Vancouver) and I live in MA (an hour outside of Boston) so believe it or not the cost of living is about the same. It’s kind of always been the unspoken that I would go there. I finished my college and have a job in my field that I don’t, and never, loved. I always knew it was just a stepping stone for me. He makes about the same as me at a non-career oriented job with no college education. So, it’d be easier for me to find work there, right? I mean, I’m a bit lost on my personal passion and maybe moving to Canada to be with him is my excuse to get new scenery and find my passion again. My mom, while she thinks living in our densely populated area is better for both of us as far as work, supports my decision to move. Many friends have moved from here as well and are anywhere from an hour away to another country, so I don’t really have anything holding me back home anymore.

    Now, here’s my thing. I need to be working, I won’t be the girlfriend who sits around the house on a visitor visa. I’d go insane. There’s a VERY slim chance that, given his area and my profession, I could get a job before I move. So……. We’re thinking of getting married before the move and doing it the “easy” way. I know I’m in it for the long term with him and I’m positive we’ll be married.. eventually.. but is it worth rushing it just for the Visa? What are your thoughts?

    1. Heya! Thanks, glad you’ve found this helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ Hmm… not something I would normally give advice about! The only thing I can say is be sure you do this the “right” way. Get whichever visa you need, don’t violate terms of visitor visas, etc. No sense it making it all harder for yourself. Also, my understanding is that getting the spousal visa in-country is a nightmare, best to try for a work visa first! Good luck xx

    2. Hi Cupcake, where near Kelowna? I just moved from the UK TO Kelowna to be with my girlfriend. Small world!

  41. Hi Alyssa,

    I loved your article. I recently moved abroad for love. My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. He previously lived in my home country to study and now that we’re both done with our studies, we moved to his home country. Working conditions in our professional field are way better here, but that never played any role for me.
    I wanted to stay and start working in my country and now I find myself resenting this.
    We had to move in with his parents which is a nightmare. The first week here my bf and them were already fighting. They constantly get involved in every topic “out of love for us”. I feel alone, breathless and just long for my home. It’s only been 3 months, but it feels like 3 years. It’s depressing and I found myself crying a lot.
    I do speak the language on an okay level. I just dislike how rude the people are and how his family is driving me crazy. Do you have any advice? Did you ever feel like just packing and leaving? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Mary, sorry to hear things are challenging. I can’t say that I ever felt like leaving (at least to go home, more a desire to see other places) but there was a period of adjustment. I remember having a really rough moment in the first six or so months though. Tom told me to make a list of the things I wanted to achieve during my time in London and we would do them together. We didn’t get to everything, but it allowed me to focus on something other than how hard it was to adjust to living in a new place! At some point, everything just clicked. I can’t remember exactly when it happened but it was about a year in. London had really grown on me!

      Back to you. The first thing that strikes me is how you feel about living with his family. Can you find your own place, either with flat mates or with your boyfriend? I think that having your independence will allow you the space to settle in. From there you can re-evaluate how you’re feeling about work/the country/the people. I hope that helps!

  42. My girlfriend lives in Canada and I live in the UK. We’ve been talking about me moving out. As i have nothing here for me. And, well i really want to get out of the UK. I just have no idea how to actually move out of the country. Will i need anything? I don’t know anyone that’s ever moved to explain it for me. Any help would be great… I wish there was an easier way to know how to actually move out of the country.

    1. Hi Stacey,

      I literally JUST did this. Girlfriend is Canadian, and I’m British, was living in the UK, and I just immigrated to Canada about a month ago. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

      I don’t really want to post my email address here publicly for spam bots etc, but maybe Alyssa can give it to you as I’ve emailed her directly before (Sorry Alyssa! Cant think of another way to do it).

      As a quick note, if you want to visit her (not working), you can do this for 6 months on a visitor visa really simply if on a UK passport. Just apply online for an ETA (Electronic visa). To work in Canada however, this takes a bit longer. My options were either an (up to 2 year) IEC working holiday permit, or permanent residency (Via express entry federal skilled worker). Your options may vary on your situation, everyone’s is different. P.s. you can apply for both at the same time.

  43. Hi Alyssa, I love your blog.
    I’m a 27 year old female living in London. I met my boyfriend a few months ago while we were both enjoying Berlin carnival (he is also 27 living in London with a good career) I don’t want to say it was love at first sight but we clicked from the moment we met. We both shared from early in the relationship what we both want in our futures. One of his is to move to the Caribbean permanently. I shared with him this is something I would love to do but in the far future (a couple of years, so about10). At first he did say that was a bit of a stretch but would wait.
    He’s recently took a 4 week holiday exploring the Islands and enjoying carnival, he’s now come back with the urge to move and to move ASAP. Of course when he told me the first thing i said was NO. I don’t want to move now.
    I want to explore and travel more, I’ve not lived with him before, I may not know him well enough as we’ve not been dating for more than 6 months. I’ll be leaving behind my family and friends and comfortable lifestyle.
    I’ve lived and traveled to other countries for 6 months but always knew I am coming back home (London). So moving overseas permanently is a first for me.
    It would be exciting but I know the road will get tough and I’m scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope.
    We have a deep connection, shared values, interest life goals and at some point in our relationship we both seen us settling down doing the grown up thing, getting married having children etc….
    I’m at a cross road and I’m finding it difficult in making a descision especially since he knows it’s something I didn’t want to do now.

    I would really appreciate you opinion.

    Thanks x

    1. Hey Delisa!

      I’ve been pondering this response for awhile. I’m not sure what you or your boyfriend do or whether he has family there or which Caribbean island… but I would be very hesitant to move to the Caribbean. And I lived in Martinique for two years. The Caribbean is a very tough place to live in. Jobs are scarce — even in the ‘richer’ islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe (which are part of the EU) — and integration is challenging. Visiting on holiday is not like living there permanently, unless you’re going to live like an expat retiree. Check out this blog and maybe shoot her an email: http://www.sweetjamaica.co.uk/ She moved to Jamaica from London with her boyfriend a few years ago. I’ve emailed her before, she’s very friendly. Let me know how it goes!

      1. Thank you so much for replying. He’s an engineer so more than likely he will find some type of engineering work. I would have to really look at what I can do. He wants to move to Barbados.
        I know how tough the Islands can be as I have family that lives in St Martin. If we go to Barbados we don’t have family members on that island.
        Thanks for the post. I will reach out to her.
        This is a desicion that will affect my life greatly so it’s not something I’m taking lightly and will do my research. Thanks again and I’ll keep you posted!

  44. Oh well what can I say, it’s good not to feel alone in this adventure. So I’m from Mexico and he’s from the UK, almost three years ago we started an online relationship and soo we realised we had to be together. I had a job I liked but he had at the time a really good paying job, Mexico is not a place to live in peace and prosper so it was a no brainer and we agreed I’d go. So I did and it was great we lived at his flat in east London I adapted easily, may his friends hot I the right foot with everyone, met his mum and sisters all great, but visas being the b*tches they are I had to move back again for six months. I the meantime he decided he mended a new job as he was tired of the old one and in his words he wants to make sure he can provide a good life for us and as we plan to start a family well kids tend to eat and need clothes right? Anyway long story short he quit his job and went on to do an MBA to give himself a better fighting chance and moved to the West Midlands so when I went back it was just in the moddlenofnthw first term of a gruelling academic program, it was really hard for both as we wanted to spend more time together but knowing it was what it was fornthebtome being. But happy to be together at least. Visa time again and back to the other side of the pond. So now we both need to find jobs, me to save money to go back him to kickstart a new career and I just can’t seem to land on any position, time goes by and it’s so frustrating, job searching is soul destroying and we miss each other terribly.
    Now he says he wants to take a break and wants us to travel and charming as it sounds id be spending my savings on that even when he wants to pay all of my expenses.
    Sorry, sorry for the long post but after reading yours I just read so many chapters of my own experience.
    Out love is stronger than ever I mean we’re not youngsters anymore I’m on my late 30s and he’s on his early 40s but it’s so hard to be away from each other.
    *sigh*, *sigh*, *sniff*

      1. Thanks Alyssa, it’s hard to keep the spirits up when the realities of life and finding a job seems to endlessly be getting in the way.
        But of course, one can only hope for the best.
        Cheers.

  45. Hi Alyssa,

    I’ve read through your blog and comments and hoped that someone would be in the same situation as me. My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years – I met it when I was on holiday in UK and we just worked out. A year later I moved there for my career. I really wanted to move to the UK before I met him anyway so I was extremely pleased that he isn’t the only reason behind my move.
    It’s been gruelling 8 months there. I wasn’t happy with my job – I’m a teacher and it’s so stressful – and the fact that my social circle wasn’t that large. Finances were on me. I had to pay for him and myself because he had no job. I couldn’t save to travel at all which was what I wanted to do. I was so homesick throughout it all. I missed my lifestyle back home in Australia including family and friends.
    A few month ago I made the decision to keep staying in the UK but only for my boyfriend. I just loved him too much to leave him. I bought a ticket home for a few weeks and that’s when our problems started. He was insecure about it all saying that I wouldn’t want to come back and that he’s probably not the man for me. It went to the point that I couldn’t go out with my girlfriends because he was scared to leave me alone and wouldn’t want to go out with me. The questions of “do you think we should break up?” And “how are we going to fix our problem” kept coming. On my last day we agreed to try to make things work.
    That brings me here. I’m still in Australia and I’ve been having such a great time and never felt so much happier but due to fly back in a fortnight and I’m really indecisive with going back. I’ve grown so anxious with work and our relationship that I don’t want to go back. However in the back of my mind there’s the questions of what ifs and maybe there’s hope. This trip has also made me realise that we do have problems with compromising (he’s so controlling), that I have to cover for finances, cook & clean and also with him not keen on getting married in the future which is important to me and my culture that hasn’t been fixed yet. I’m also thinking about my roommate and half my clothes left there. My parents told me to get my friends to pack my things and ship it here and give my roommate a month notice. I don’t know if that’s a stupid move and I also don’t know if I should end it with him because I do still love him. Id be hurting my roommate, boyfriend and myself if I stay here or I’d been half hurting myself if I go back.
    I have two weeks to make the decision and I honestly want to crawl into bed and not deal with it. Any advice?

    1. Hi Emily,

      Gosh, this sounds like a really difficult situation and I’m sorry to hear that things haven’t been going well. Overlooking his unemployment (without knowing more about the situation, I will leave this in the neutral column), a huge red flag is what even you call controlling behaviour. On top of that, you haven’t written anything that you like/love about him which makes me think that you already know what you need to do. I believe that in relationships self-care is the top priority — your roommate will figure things out, you can get your stuff back, and your boyfriend will move on. I know it seems like you’re screwing other people over, but things have a way of working themselves out and at this time it seems to me that you need to look after yourself and do what’s best for you. If you’re stressed out, anxious, and unhappy, it’s time to change your life, not try to change other people. Good luck and I hope all works out for you!

      1. I do love him but feel like love isn’t enough for our relationship especially if I’m struggling and sacrificing too much while he isn’t. I’m just anxious about it all because I will be hurt by breaking up and he will be distraught because he does love me way too much and has gotten a full time job to make it right. I’m just so anxious about going back and love the life I lived there. There’s still things in my room that will need to be packed and shipped here and it’s such a cowardly move to get friends to pack and ship it to me don’t you think? Should I go back till the end of the year like I initially said to everyone or just refuse to go back?
        I’m so indecisive and it hurts.

  46. Hi Alyssa, great article!

    My guy is on the same coast but lives about 10 hours away in our hometown. He’s planning to move here after completing his degree. We’re both looking forward to it but I can’t help but think that he’ll blame me for being homesick or if finding a job doesn’t happening as quickly as we hope. I’ve been telling him to take his time with the decision and not to base moving solely on me. I don’t want him to think I’m against the move. Amy advice for how I’m feeling?

    1. Thanks Ellocin! I think it’s important to express your enthusiasm for his willingness to make the move. While he may find other reasons for it, in the end the move is for your relationship (not just you!). It’s quite discouraging to hear “Well, what will you do?” or similar after saying that you will move to be closer to your partner. You want to hear that you will be supported and that the decision will be made together — and that’s very important! The decision has to be made on both sides, especially if one might be dependent on the other for certain things. I hope that helps, good luck!

  47. Hi Alyssa,

    You can imagine how relived I felt to know that I’m not alone in this dilemma, I met an Italian guy 3 years ago and after dating 16 months we got engaged, now 20 months after our engagement, we have started talking about planning our wedding; we both think that after 3 years of being in a cross Atlantic relationship, it’s time we considered living together as man and wife…only problem is that my fiance is very resolute against moving to London, he said he cannot leave a small city in Italy and join me in London due to his mum and his job(mum lives with him in his flat). We travel frequently between the two cities and we speak and text daily, I must say that my fiance has been very committed in a lot of ways but isn’t very compromising when it comes to where to live, he’s definite about not meeting me in the middle(which was if we could relocate to Rome or Milan to give me better chance of getting a job), he only wants to live in the small seaside town where he was born, because, apart from mum and his job, he also doesn’t want to leave his childhood friends, the great food and weather blah blah blah:) Every time I bring up the subject of my uncertainty to move to a country where my chance of getting employment is 0% and where I do not speak the language is terrifying, he becomes all nervous, anxious and defensive. Today I asked him to tell me what compromise he has made in this relationship, he started recounting the travelling that he has been making to see me and the money he has spent by doing so, he also said by marrying me and having me move to live with him and his mother that he would be giving his ‘LIFE’ to me (this terminology was weird and I wanted him to clarify what it meant) I understand language barrier is a bit of an issue with our communication and I do struggle a bit but not all the time as his English is good. As we get closer and closer to planning the wedding, it appears that I may not be too sure if this is the right decision for me, I have a good career in London as a manager and my life is comfortable with a good support network too. However, I do care about him cause he’s a good guy and he adores me, a part of me wants to take the plunge and marry him but another part says I’m giving too much away. I know you already said one must also want to move abroad for themselves as well as their relationship. for me only reason why I would move to Italy at the moment would be for marriage, although there may be some interests that I may pursue there such as making sure that I become fluent in Italian and maybe take some lessons in fashion and designing etc. Also, the biggest fear for me is moving into my marital home not being alone with my husband but with a manipulative mother-in-law (sorry to use that term but it’s from experience of having spent a large amount of time with her and him in Italy). I don’t know if he’s worth this much sacrifice, as much as it may seem that I already know the answer, I would appreciate your opinion and advice too. Should I or shouldn’t I? Other people can feel free to leave their opinion as well. Thanks and sorry for the lengthy post indeed.

    PS: Second option is for us to go ahead with the wedding and continue to live in both cities, in that case no one is sacrificing more than the other, can that even work?

    Debbie

    1. Hey Debbie,

      I think that your second option isn’t a bad one if you’re both open to it! Italy isn’t a great economy to go job hunting in, and it’s unfortunate that he seems unwilling to try out London, but I think that staying family in the family home is quite a strong part of Italian culture. From his comment about giving you his life, what I took from that is more that he’s sharing it with you, making you a part of his family and such.

      In any case, one of my mom’s good friends lives here in Canada. Her husband lives in Jamaica. He has a great job there and has never lived in another country. She’s Jamaican as well, but has lived in Canada for decades. She has her children and grandchildren here, and has diabetes, so feels more comfortable with the healthcare services available here. As a result, they visit each other regularly for extended periods and speak nightly on the phone. It works for them, they both seem very happy with it!

  48. Great Blog and have to agree that moving abroad for a partner can extremely isolating, proven by the fact I am trying to seek comfort in online message boards at 6am on a Sunday morning! Anyway, here’s my experience so far which may help others. I am a 30 year old British professional guy who met a German girl 3.5 years ago and we just clicked straight away. She is a medical student. I have had longish term girlfriends in the past and regarded her as ‘the one’. We had a long distance relationship which I really had no problem with, practically 3-4 hours door to door but to cut a long story a little shorter I made the decision to quit my career, move over lock stock and barrel and take a German intensive course with a view to finding a decent job here. Although she can speak English completely fluently she wanted me to learn German so I could fully communicate with her friends and family etc so that was one of the drivers in me making the move here (First red flag I know- her requirement not necessarily mine, although yes I would ‘ideally’ like speak German as well). I had a comfortable job in the uk, I wouldn’t say it set the world alight but it paid for a nice lifestyle I was happy with and allowed me to do everything I wanted. I tried to convince myself over a long period that the move wasn’t just for her but to really kick on and do something extra exciting with my life. However deep down the real reason is that I did it for her and couldn’t imagine losing her. 7 months into the move and I am struggling to adapt with the change. The novelty of cheap beer and nice sausages has worn off and to get a decent professional job here it’s becoming clear that the German skills really need to be at complete fluency which means I am having to really lower my job expectations, something which I never considered I would have to do at this age. It’s now dawning on me that it’s probably going to take me a couple of years to really get to grips with the language and some resentment for my partner is creeping in as I have an increasing amount of ‘WTF have I done’ moments in my lonely head. I have never really had any affinity or interest in learning new languages and yeah, the fact that deep down I am only doing it for her, coupled with this growing resentment makes me feel this is heading for a car crash. Our relationship has definitely changed as I think she is turning into more of a mother figure whom I feel I need to turn to for my every need here. She qualifies as a doctor in a few weeks and is forging on with her life plan. Nothing has really changed for her and I feel its me who has taken on all the risk. I really feel I have given up everything and been stripped of my personality and self esteem. She doesn’t want to move to the UK even though I feel we could have a lovely life together there with less barriers. I have tried to convey my feelings to her but she accuses me of being very negative and not ‘seizing the opportunity’ fully. I wouldn’t call myself a pessimist, just more of a more introverted realist. So yeah, you need to ask yourself – “would I be interested in making the move if I took my partner out of the equation?” If the answer is no and you are not an extraordinarily extrovert, risk taking type then there’s definitely a high risk of heartbreak.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing this with us! I think that’s great advice and I wish you the best.

      P.S. I’m currently Duolingo-ing German for my month-long trip to Mainz to see the manfriend. Strength for both of us!

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