It’s evening. You are sitting at the dinner table and the phone rings. Your partner picks up. “Hello?” Within a few seconds you realise this is good news. Your partner’s face has lit up and immediately you know, the answer you were waiting for has arrived.
You are moving abroad for your first expat experience.
You are both excited and your mind starts racing. You imagine all the beautiful things you are going to experience: the new culture, the new food, the new house, the travel opportunities…but most of all, the fact that you won’t work.
Will you spend a lot of time with new friends? Will you finally start that project you’ve been putting off? Maybe you’ll sign up to that study programme you’ve been dreaming about.
Few months later and you are on your way.
The initial excitement has given way to a sense of tiredness driven by the mad schedule you worked to in the last few months. But you are ready for the new life.
What you probably did not account for is the impact that all this change has on you. Everything you knew and were familiar with is gone; everything that has replaced it is new and unpredictable.
Your partner is busy making a good impression at the new office, and you are left “alone” in a world you know nothing about and where everything seems so different.
Consciously or otherwise, this often pushes people into a state of survival. Adrenaline kicks in and they start operating at a higher frequency to cope with the adjustment.
This makes it difficult to notice that the relationship is also suffering. You realise something is amiss, but there is little left energy to deal with the added concerns.
Slowly the gap grows and before you realise it, you have disconnected. Libido lowers. Sex life almost disappears. Sometimes affairs emerge, on one side or the other. The relationship suffers.
This may sound like a dramatization of reality, and I hope it is for you, but many expats suffer the unforeseen consequences of the relocation. Their relationships change and sometimes break…permanently. Relocating to a new country can be taxing on even the strongest of relationships.
Expat experiences can be unique, enriching opportunities. The level of adjustment required is great, and couples can be particularly impacted by it.
I work with individuals and couple who are experiencing the impacts of relocating and are looking to find a new balance.
I act as a sort of facilitator to bridge the gap between expectations and the present reality. I use my training as psychologist and clinical sexologist. Additionally, having lived in 3 continents over the last 20 years, I also draw on my experiences as an expat.
There is still time. If your intent is bridge the gap, you may like to explore further and visit.
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