Is moving abroad for love really worth it? I recently moved from California to the Netherlands to be with my boyfriend and it’s the best decision that we’ve made for our relationship. However, coming to this decision came with its own set of challenges. We spent 3 years apart across 3 different countries with 5,447 miles between us. It took a few years of planning in the midst of: two international moves, starting grad school and job changes. And this is ultimately what encouraged our decision to move in together.
We would never know what the possibility of our future would look like if one of us took the leap and relocated. There’s no easy way to put it but moving abroad for love always adds an element of risk. In any relationship, you have to make compromises and sacrifices for one another. With that being said let’s find out whether moving abroad for love is worth it.
There are Other Factors That Sustain a Relationship Besides Love
Love is one of the main reasons that has you thinking about the future together. However, there are more factors to consider: Do you have similar goals? A common outlook on life? Do you want children and the other person doesn’t? Are there any trust issues? Is your partner willing to work with you and compromise (and vice versa)? Are you compatible with one another? Is either of you ready for a long term commitment? As you can see there are many things to consider. Reevaluate these important factors before you make the move over. Although, a lot of this you cannot figure without spending more time with one another.
Go On Many Visits & Trial Run an Extended Stay
Test out living in your partner’s country before uprooting your life. This step is vital because how can you know if you’d like to live here? Exchange visits and go on trips together or better yet stay for an extended period of time. I got an internship in Amsterdam and staying in the Netherlands for 6 months allowed for my boyfriend and me to learn more about each other. All the questions and doubts I had about moving abroad and making things work out were assured.
We saw each other during the weekend, I met his friends and more of his family. This gave me more sense of security about us. Doing a trial run is more than just getting accustomed to the country but also spending time with your partner to see if you’re ready to take this next step.
Listen to Your Heart but also to your Mind
If you’re both sure about this relationship and see a future together then why not take the jump? It’s important to go with your gut and move in the direction of your heart’s desire but also look at the reality of the situation. You’ll both need to make some sort of plan. What is the job market like? Have you researched employment opportunities? Will your partner be able to financially support you both until you find work? What is your partner’s living situation like? Does he/she have roommates? Will this decision impact your studies? Would you rather be engaged or married first? What about social security, tax and insurance? Realistically, you both won’t know if it’s a good choice unless you try. However, you can ease frivolities and plan ahead.
The Truth Is That It Can Feel Lonely at times
No matter if you’re staying in another state or country, being away from home can still feelings of loneliness and homesickness. You’re out of your comfort zone and distanced from your closest family, friends and support network. If the country you’re moving to has a differing language and culture from what you know these feelings can increase. However, there are many ways to feel less lonely in your new residence. Start a new hobby, join a club and use apps like skype to communicate with your family and stay in touch with your friends abroad.
Learn the Language
The fastest way to assimilate and get closer to a country’s culture and people is by learning the language. You will feel more confident on a daily basis interacting and meeting locals, finding a job and interacting with your partner’s family. Here are other benefits to why you should learn a new language. Otherwise, it can feel isolating not speaking the language of those in your immediate environment. Ask yourself if learning the local language is of interest to you.
Your Lifestyle May Change
It’s not just the language and culture you’ll need to get a hang of but also the climate, customs, weather, office/client etiquette, friendships…and honestly, this list can go on forever. Acclimating and adjusting will take time and assimilating possibly even longer. Moving from California to the Netherlands the biggest aspects I’ve had to adjust is the Dutch directness, cold weather and flat landscapes. This is all a part of what happens when you move abroad in general. You may have to leave some comforts behind but you’ll learn to adapt and take on new ones!
Keep Communication Open
You are out of your comfort zone and this experience is new for both of you. Something I’ve learned throughout my own journey is learning about me and my individual partner’s communication styles. Every healthy relationship needs good communication. It’s also important so you can know how each of you deals with conflict. For instance, If one of you is feeling frustrated that is not something you should keep to yourself and wait until it festers into an argument.
This is a Team Effort
You’re not alone and you shouldn’t feel that way if you and your partner work together. Approach any paperwork, housing, visas, decisions and etc together. Especially when it comes to big decisions, do this with your partner.
Have a Backup Plan
No one knows what’s going to happen next and in the event that your relationship does not work out, what is the backup plan? Having some sort of plan may potentially save you from more headaches later down the line.
Life is Short
Not to sound cliche but life really is short. Moving abroad has opened my mind, changed my worldview and established connections I would have never made back home. It’s opened doors and opportunities that I’m grateful for every day. I didn’t move for my boyfriend but I moved for myself. Having moved abroad three other times for work and school and on my own; this time was different. Love was and will always be a big part of the equation. But I also wanted to come to the Netherlands and explore, meet the locals, learn the Dutch language and experience new things. Overall, moving abroad for love is a decision I’m glad my boyfriend and I made together. I might worry about the ifs and buts because I would always regret not trying things out in the first place.