Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The tricky nature of expat relationships

One of the more complicated aspects of expat life is relationships. For many, this can be about creating new relationships in a new country, however for many others it centres around how to successfully manage a relationship that you are already in - something that can be more difficult particularly when you are an expat.

Often, expats make their decisions about a relocation based on work and this can be tricky, especially when there are conflicting views amongst partners. Whilst for one side it may be a fantastic opportunity and something that will drive career growth, for the other it may mean something very different and they may stand to lose both a well established career and friends network. Much of this is about compromise but perhaps something that is found more prominently amongst expat couples is sacrifice.

Looking at the gloomier side of it, the Guardian covered a story this week that shows what can happen if things turn sour for an expat couple. It says that breaking up may be hard to do, but for married expats it can be fraught with danger and that where couples choose to divorce can have a major impact on both parties' financial health.

The important thing to remember, though, is that this is by no means relevant to all expats and in fact for most part, the expat life is a fantastic and enriching experience for both parties. Becoming an expat can also open avenues for singletons when it comes to love, with many who have left their original home to pursue an expat life finding love along the way. Our Expat Experience report, published last year, found that one in five expats have found love overseas, with Thailand being the most likely place to fall in love followed by Germany and Brazil. It also found that expats over the age of 55 will have a greater chance of finding their life partner whilst living abroad.

The difficulty then can be quite different - for those that have found a life partner in their adopted country, the question is how do you deal with being with someone for the rest of your life who may want to live outside your homeland? It's a tricky question. Perhaps it is something you have experienced or maybe it's not relevant to you as you don't intend on ever moving home and are happy where you are. We'd be very interested to hear your thoughts!


  1. The second question was/is my situation. I met a Peruvian man, and.. well, we all know the difficulties in getting people into the US, so I've ended up in Peru. We've been together for 8 years now, married for going on 4. It's not always been easy for me, living outside of my own country. I've often felt that his family doesn't trust me and my 'outider' ways - I wrote an article about how I've worked to keep it together.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Would you be able to send the link through again as it doesn't seem to be working and we'd be really interested to read more. It is definitely a difficult situation and we've come across a number of expats that have been in similar situations. These are the sort of things that make expat life so unique - it's not an easy thing to have to deal with

  3. Dear Sharon,

    I'm a publisher at Wolters Kluwer, Kluwer bv in the Netherlands and last week I published the English version of The Expat\Impat Handbook, ISBN 9789013074840. Look at en go to the shop.

    I think the book will be very interesting for your.

    Kind regards

    Sandra Britsemmer

  4. Thanks for this Sandra, will take a look at it.


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