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Moving abroad is an exciting adventure, but moving homes, let alone countries is regarded as one of the most stressful life events you can experience. So, as you embark on your new expat life, it’s important to realise that travelling abroad is likely to put a strain on even the most successful relationships that have weathered many storms in the past. However, with some foresight, you can be aware of the pitfalls and end up – literally on the other side – with a relationship that is even stronger for the experience.

Be prepared for moving pains 

Your first year abroad will be filled with lots of stress and turmoil and will likely be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome. Moving abroad requires lots of planning, lots of paperwork and plenty of organisation. It’s not for the fainthearted and faced with moving pains like these, even the strongest relationships can show a few cracks.

Discuss this beforehand – and maybe have a code word that you can quietly insert into the conversation, when you think your partner is going ‘over the edge’ – something like #movingpains. If you are able to laugh at the turmoil and stand a little apart from it together, you’ll be able to retain a sense of perspective and emerge from the experience with new insight and a lot more patience.

Be prepared for more demands

Arriving in a new country, often with no friends, no family and no network can mean that you and your partner will end up spending far more time together than you ever did before. This will put new demands on your relationship and you will each be your partner’s primary source of entertainment, comfort and insight.

You might discover your partner will never be a good ‘coffee buddy’, but you’ll also learn a lot about each other and discover new interests together. The good news is that as you make more friends, this sense of dependence on each other will ease.

Be prepared you might disagree

Moving abroad is challenging and you will face obstacles, frustration and a sense of loneliness at times. When these challenges arise, it’s often tempting to blame the partner who pushed for the move. Even if both of you were keen to experience life abroad, if one of you is more certain than the other that it is the ‘right thing to do’ – this can become a bone of contention or an ‘I told you so’ moment later down the line.

Try to avoid this by discussing your concerns before the move. If you have fears – write them down with your partner and agree to review them a year down the line to see if they are still valid. Time will more than likely ease many of them – but it will be good for your relationship to acknowledge them before the move takes place.

Be prepared to see the cracks

Some people are just better travellers than others or can cope with change and stress better. Challenging situations always reveal each other’s weaknesses – but they also highlight their strengths. So rather focus on these…and remember, “You need the cracks to let the light in”

FinGlobal will give you the support you need

When faced with plenty of change, it helps to have a partner by your side who has done this all before. FinGlobal already has more than 60 000 clients in over 105 countries and our services cover all aspects of financial emigration including retirement annuity transfers, the opening and closing of bank accounts, foreign exchange services and a full suite of other financial services for South African emigrants. For advice and support on how to successfully make your move abroad, contact us today.