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Relationship is an important part of your expat life!

Moving abroad puts stress on one of the most important parts of our lives, our relationship. It is a fact that many relationships don’t survive the moving process. Go to any Vienna Expats event, and you will find a group of people, who when asked why they moved to Austria reply with ‘I moved with my partner, but when the relationship broke down, I decided to stay’.

This doesn’t mean that every relationship is doomed to fail when the couple move abroad! However, as with most relationship issues, patience, caring and most of all communication are the keys to moving abroad together successfully.

Any relationship has defined roles and patterns of behaviour. Maybe one person handles all the domestic chores another handles the workmen and appointment making. When abroad these roles can change, and this change is not always comfortable. People, who at home would have no problems calling a plumber, a carpenter, or booking a table at a restaraunt, are now faced with the task of doing this in a foreign language. This can be hard, and can lead to the person taking a passive role in the relationship, expecting or allowing (even begrudingly) the other partner to take over.

Extroverted, career minded people may find themselves staying at home all day, unable to work and without a friendship circle around them, while their partner goes to the office. This can be isolating and depressing. Someone who is facing the stress and pressures of starting a new job in a foreign country, may not feel they have the time to take on domestic chores and feel that really they should not be responsible. When the partner in work comes home, he/she may come home tired and worn out from work, not appreciating the importance of interaction with a partner who is feeling lonely and isolated.

Another complicating factor is when one of the partners is a native Austrian, returning home after living abroad as an expat themselves. When abroad we also play a role, and adhere to cultural standards. An Austrian in England will act differently to an Austrian in Chile. An Austrian in Austria will automatically take on the cultural norms of their childhood. It is also important to know that the family plays an important role in Austrian life, and the involvement (or even interference) of a person´s parents in their relationship is the norm. When these parents are far away this may not effect the relationship, but when they are in the same city, or even house, this can change the dynamics of a relationship considerably, and make one or both partners uncomfortable.

The above are just a sample of the common problems moving abroad can have on a relationship. You and your partner may be experiencing all or none of them. You may have different problems altogether. All problems can be resolved.

The key to resolution (as with most relationship issues) is understanding and communication. Take time to think about the problems you are having in your relationship, and communicate them to your partner calmly. Also listen to your partners needs, and ensure you are both taking the time for each other to meet those needs.

Simple measures can be highly effective, maybe ensuring that you meet your partner once a week for lunch, ensuring you are home early one evening, going to a Vienna Expat event together, making a plan for the next week together where both can be sure of the time you will be together, and apart.

Work on any individual issues you may be having. My previous article dealt with feelings of loneliness of someone in a new city, which could easily effect you if your came here in a relationship, as well as if you came here alone. A healthy relationship includes the people in it spending time apart!

If these problems or any others are causing strain on your relationship you should consider professional coaching to help you resolve them. CoachingYou offers professional, competent and of course confidential partnership coaching. Coaching will help any relationship, and finds the solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. If embarassment or pride is stopping you from asking for help ask yourself “is my relationship worth a few moments of discomfort?”. Please see our website or contact me via Private Message for more information. We can offer our service in English, German, Polish or Swedish and will offer a free 45 minute consultation to see how we can best support you both.

Yours always