Whether your long distance relationship involves being in another state or another country, one of you will eventually have to relocate if you want your relationship to progress to marriage and beyond.
Simply moving interstate can be difficult enough as you will likely have to quit your job, end a lease or sell a home, obtain new documents such as a driver’s license, and transport all your belongings to your new home.
When it comes to international long distance relationships, relocation becomes even more complicated. You have all the hassles that come with a big move combined with immigration issues and higher relocation costs. In addition, you may have to get used to a whole new set of customs and laws that are unfamiliar to you.
Moving to Live With Your Long Distance Relationship Partner
Long before the actual process of relocation can even begin, the challenge of deciding which partner will relocate can put a strain on your relationship. At first the idea of moving to a new state or country may sound adventurous or romantic but it can become quite scary when you are faced with the logistics.
It is hard to start over from scratch and that is often what relocation makes you do, especially when making an international move. Relocating often involves making huge sacrifices where many things you take for granted may change. It’s not that it won’t be worth it, but you do need to realize that things will most likely be difficult in the beginning.
Choosing a Location to Live Together
When it comes to closing the gap on your long distance relationship, the difficulty of relocating in order to be together is once again something that will vary depending on the circumstances of each couple.
Sometimes the decision of where you and your partner should settle will be quite clear, while other times it may be more of a dilemma. If one person owns a home and has an important high paying career while the other lacks both, relocating to the place where financial security and a roof over your heads may seem like the obvious move to make. In cases where you and your partner both own property or have careers, one of you will end up having to be the one that makes big sacrifices.
In my personal long distance relationship, deciding where to initially relocate proved to be rather easy. I had just graduated university, was living at home, and didn’t have a career per say. My LDR partner on the other hand owned a home in the United States. I wouldn’t be able to transfer my recently earned Australian legal qualifications but it was more logical for us as a couple to move to the States at this time. Although I wouldn’t get to practice law, I was able to easily pick up hospitality work to get me started.
It is hard to know if getting married before relocating is a better idea than relocating and then getting married. For some couples, like those in international relationships, you may need to get married before you will be allowed to immigrate to another country. For those living within the same country, you should have the freedom to decide what to do first.
Relocating before you get married can give you a chance to see if you will be able to adjust to your new surroundings and will allow you to see what day to day living with your partner will be like. You may realize that the life you thought you wanted is in fact not right for you. Being unwed allows you to return to your old life without having to deal with issues of divorce.
Even if you’re in an international relationship, there are often options that can give you a chance to trial a life together with your long distance partner. You can look into a travel visa that allows you to work or a program that will allow you to study abroad. This can allow you to live in your partners’ country temporarily and could be a great opportunity to see what it’s like to live together before starting the process of marriage and permanent immigration.
Before I relocated to the United States, my LDR partner came to Australia on a 12 month working travel visa. We found an apartment rental where we moved in together while I finished my final year of university. This gave us nearly a year to figure out if we could see ourselves living together permanently. Thankfully, things worked out for us.
On the other hand, getting married before relocating can show that both you and your partner are truly committed to the relationship and will work together to get through whatever life throws at you. You can make difficult decisions like quitting your job or selling belongings with more assurance that those decisions are for something that is more apt to last.
The idea of being married may also motivate you a little more to work through problems and find solutions, since ending the relationship in divorce can present more difficult challenges. Marriage makes it much more difficult and inconvenient to simply walk away when things get rough.
When choosing a place to settle, you are left with three decisions. You can either move to your partner’s home, have your partner relocate to be with you, or choose a new home for you both. Most often the decision is made to choose a location where one of you currently lives, at least to begin with. This often proves to be the more economical and logistical option.
Things to consider when deciding which partner will relocate are cost, living standards, ease of immigration, education opportunities for you or your children, availability of employment, and housing. You of course want to choose a place where you both will be happy in terms of preferred climate or availability of hobbies and activities you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to test out both locations of where you and your partner currently live if that is a possibility. This will allow you to see what home will be a better fit for the two of you. My LDR partner got a taste of Australia during his working travel visa and I moved to the U.S. after we got married. We spent two years living in the United States before finally deciding to move back permanently to Australia. This process gave both of us a chance to see what living in each country would be like.
Although my LDR partner loved living in Florida and had thought he would never relocate from the U.S., we both decided it wasn’t the best place for us as a couple or for raising a family. Australia with its low population density, low cost healthcare, low crime rate, and strong focus on communities and family seemed the better option. I also have a very large family in Australia where my partner could count his family on one hand. You have to decide for yourself which state or country will offer you and your partner the greatest opportunities and conveniences or maybe which one of you is in an easier position to relocate.
The important thing to remember is to stick with your decision and fully commit to the place you decide to make home. Moving back and forth, especially internationally, can get to be incredibly expensive and can create an unsettled feeling. There will always be both benefits and drawbacks to living anywhere and you mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking the grass is always greener on the other side.
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