5 Tips for Expat Partners Who Are Reluctant to Move Abroad

by David Tompkins

Moving abroad is a big step, especially for families. There’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done before moving. On the other hand, some partner/spouse may be reluctant to move abroad. They may not move overseas because of their work or family commitments, or the expat location is dangerous. It could also be because the children have to complete their schooling, or your partner, as much as they are excited for the opportunity you got, doesn’t feel like moving abroad.

The one thing you need to keep in mind is that you are not alone. Sometimes, you don’t want to go and what you are feeling is normal and valid. Many expats around the world share the same sentiment as you. In simple terms, not everyone enjoys every country.

If you become a trailing spouse, there will be times when you might feel that you lack control over your own life. Decisions are generally made to suit the expat lifestyle and may seem unfair at times. Occasionally, you may feel negative emotions and get angry against your partner, employer, the country, and even yourself.

There are ways to overcome these feelings so you can be positive even during the most uncertain times. Here some tips for partners who are reluctant to move abroad.

reluctant to move abroad

1. It’s all in the mindset

If you think you can, you will; if you think can’t, you can’t. It applies to all areas of our lives. If you think you will have a bad time when you move abroad, chances are you will have a bad time, how you keep set your mind before the move makes all the difference from how you cope with relocation and settling in your new life.

It is also important to know that how you feel will also affect your partner’s mood. Constantly being negative can influence your partner’s mind and potentially ruin his or her international assignment. It can also possibly damage the relationship of the family. Always be aware of how you are feeling. If you feel yourself spiraling down, catch yourself and change the narrative! How you think affects how you behave.

reluctant to move abroad

2. Did not enjoy the previous visit

One of the many reasons why partners are reluctant to move abroad is because you have probably already visited the country before and didn’t like it. It doesn’t matter why you didn’t like it. The key is to learn how to cope with the issue at hand. Your new relocation experience to the same country will be different. It may be similar, but definitely a different experience altogether. It is good to remember that you are older than yesterday and a lot wiser, so you have all the tools within you to ensure a successful move.

3. Let go of the past

Sometimes, you are reluctant to move abroad because you feel what you have here is too good to let go of.  So much that you don’t want to look back at what you have to miss. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but always try to look forward. Living in the past is unhealthy, and you will miss all the good things you can appreciate in the present. Keep your present moment interesting and plan for things to look forward to. Plan for some fun activities for the weekend, cook delicious meals on a Wednesday, etc.

reluctant to move abroad

4. Embrace the Opportunity

Moving abroad is definitely not a walk in the park, and for some, thinking about it makes it even more stressful. But take a moment to look around you and give gratitude to where you are now and where life will take you. There are plenty of opportunities in front of you to grab and make something out of it. A new country can mean an opportunity to try a new hobby, strike something off your bucket list, or even try a new sport.

5. It’s okay to seek help

This may be hard for some, but there is no shame in hiding that you are reluctant to move abroad. Be open about your struggles to your partner and family members. You will get plenty of advice and methods of dealing with your problems. You may even find something meaningful through it all. Note that it is highly recommended that before you move abroad, obtain some high quality international health insurance coverage. There are many global medical plans in the market, so it make sense to talk to an expat insurance expert.

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