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How to tell your family you’re moving out of the country

By August 25, 2023December 21st, 2023FinGlobal, Newsletter

How to tell your family you’re moving out of the country

August 25, 2023


Emigration can be a life-altering and difficult experience, both for those leaving and those staying behind. With that in mind, it is important to consider how to tell someone you’re moving away. It can be tough to break the news to those closest to you. This article looks at the psychological impact emigration can have, as well as giving advice on ways to make those left behind feel secure and cared for.

The psychological effects of moving and living overseas

It is widely recognised that emigration has a significant psychological impact on both those leaving and those who remain in the country of origin. Those leaving may experience feelings of guilt or anxiety about leaving loved ones behind, while those who stay may struggle to understand why their loved ones have decided to leave. Parents, family, and friends can experience a range of reactions from being hurt, sad, anxious, disappointed, angry, excited and everything in between. It can be difficult for those staying behind to adjust to the new reality of life without the person who has emigrated.

How to tell someone you’re moving away:

Choose the right time and place

Picking the right time to announce your emigration plans is nearly impossible to pinpoint. It is generally best to inform your loved ones as soon as you have made a definite decision. Don’t wait too long. You don’t want your loved ones to find out about your emigration plans from someone else.

Tell them in person. Select a quiet place and a relaxed moment where you have enough time to talk and answer questions. You don’t want to drop the news on a busy day or at a family event, where others might be distracted or upset by the news.

Communication and honesty

Communication is key. Try not to make assumptions about how they may react. Be considerate, empathetic, and willing to listen carefully to their thoughts and feelings. It is also important to be honest with those you are leaving behind – even if the reality of your departure is difficult for them to accept. This will help build trust between both parties and ensure that everyone feels supported throughout the process.

Share your reasons for leaving and why embarking on this new adventure is important to you. Emphasize the positives in the situation, such as new opportunities, experiences, and personal growth. Your friends and family are more likely to support you if they feel you are happy and excited about this new chapter in your life.

There are several practical steps which can be taken to ensure that family members are kept in the loop and feel secure throughout the process. Try to keep them updated on the progress of your preparations for emigrating, as well as any milestones you hit along the way. This will give them a sense of security and make it easier for them to adjust to life without you being around.

Stay connected: Psychological effects of migration

Fortunately, we now have the benefit of technology which can make communicating over long distances easier. Make sure to set up a regular video call schedule and take advantage of social media platforms to stay connected. It is also important to send messages or gifts during special occasions such as birthdays and weddings – these will help everyone feel less disconnected from you and the situation.

Final thoughts:

Letting those close to you know that you’re emigrating can be tough, but approaching the conversation with empathy, honesty and clarity can help make the conversation as smooth as possible. It’s important to show your loved ones that you value their support and reiterate that post-emigration, you will remain connected with them. By being supportive, you can give those close to you the comfort that they need to feel secure in your decision.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your own happiness and well-being. And for your loved ones, knowing that you care and support them, and that you will remain connected will bring everyone closer amidst a difficult change.

Sulette Ferreira is a migration therapist in private practice. You can contact her at

If you’re looking for financial and tax emigration advice, or looking to transfer money from South Africa, don’t hesitate to contact FinGlobal.

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