Moving For Love – By Katie Rössler
Some of us move to Munich for work, others to explore a new city, and there are those who move due to love. Whether you were already married or were in love and moving in together, it can be quite the challenge to leave everything you knew behind for the sake of your love. Our relationship can get us through a lot but unfortunately not through everything. It takes some determination and stepping outside your comfort zone to make your new living situation begin to feel like home.
When we first move to a new country, it can be romantic. You get to explore all the sites and sounds that will become your new normal. It almost feels like you are on a vacation until it really hits you that this is where you live now. When day to day life and routines start to take place and your partner is away at work for a majority of the day you begin to have to face the truth of your situation. It is you and you alone who has to make this new situation work.
The Stages of Adjustment
Bitterness & Homesickness
First, you will more than likely feel homesick, bitter towards your partner, angry about your situation, and lonely. Expect to feel these things at some point so that when they come up you are not surprised. It is normal that when we feel a negative emotion we look at who to blame. This is where the bitterness and anger can come from.
Reminding yourself that you made the choice to move here, that you can choose how to think about your experience, and that you can challenge your frustrations and bitterness can help a lot.
When we tell ourselves the truth and allow ourselves to grieve what we left behind we begin to make progress towards the battle to adjust. By blaming your partner and putting a wall up to them, you push away your biggest companion in this new chapter of your life together. No wonder we feel even more lonely when we do this!
Expect to Argue
Second, you will argue more. Yep, sorry everyone. It’s normal and natural because there is so much new for you and your partner. Even if you move in with your partner to a new country, they have to adjust to sharing their world full time with you. You have to adjust to everything being new. If you both move to the new country together, then you both are adjusting to all of it. I have firsthand experience that moving to your partner’s home country after they have lived away from it for a few years does not mean that they will feel like home again when they move back. On the contrary, they will struggle and at times struggle more than you. So, expect to argue because you both are feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable, and frustrated almost on a daily basis.
Take Charge of the Situation as a Team
Lastly, take care of yourself and your relationship. Explore the new city together with the vision that this is OUR home. Go out on a mission to find your favorite restaurants. Make it a goal to find the best bakery and grocery store that has what you need and like. Register for language classes so that you have a regular appointment that keeps you on a schedule. There is nothing worse than just sitting around with nothing to do as you wait for life to happen.
Find groups of fellow expats that want to learn too. Only vent to the friends and family members who will support you and your relationship. It isn’t helpful to vent to someone who reinforces the negative view you have of your partner, rather than support you through your loneliness phase and encourages you to meet new people. Take time to talk with your partner about what these changes are like for both of you. Is it different than you expected? What is interesting about the new place you live in that you haven’t figured out yet? Explore the experience together hand in hand and more than likely you’ll come out of this challenging time the same way.
We can be our own worst enemy. Change is hard no matter what kind it is, but it is how we look at the change and how we handle it that shapes us in the long term. When we tell ourselves over and over how awful our new experience is we will stay stuck. When we welcome the uncomfortable feelings because we know they will be short-lived, find healthy outlets, and begin to create a new village of friends, we and our relationships are more likely to thrive. So get out there and see what your new home has to offer while holding your partner’s hand. Better yet, give them a big hug because this is an amazing adventure and you picked each other to go on it.
Written for : City Starlings