Expat Relationship Stress and How to Fix It
Relationships can be hard under the best of circumstances, and when you live abroad there is often an added layer of difficulty.
You are more reliant on each other in an unfamiliar environment. One of you has a hard time adjusting. You handle the changes differently and it drives you apart. New jobs in a new culture add pressure.
The best news I have is that you can definitely improve your relationship without your partner having to change a thing! Here are my top 3 tips to do just that:
1. Release control
A lot of times we want our partner to behave a certain way - be more romantic, speak with kindness, call when they say they will. We think if they do these things we will feel happier, more loved, connected, etc.
But under that seemingly innocent desire is a lot of fear. Expat life, which is stressful, can exacerbate this want to control the few things we think we have control over.
The problem is, we only have control over one adult - ourselves. So the first step to a better relationship is to stop trying to get the other person to be different.
You do this by letting your partner be who they are. You let go of trying to control the small stuff. And you do it from a place of love (see #3)!
2. Be willing to be wrong
Trying to be right all the time causes lots of problems in relationships. It's also totally unnecessary. Does being right add joy and love to your life and partnership? Ultimately, no.
One of my clients shared with me a story that she was in the middle of an argument with her husband about something trivial. She was trying to make a point when she remembered what we had talked about during our coaching session.
As soon as she became aware of what she was doing, she let go of her commitment to being right. All the tension in the situation was diffused. She and her husband were even able to laugh about it! You truly do not need to be right all the time - we are all human and imperfect, and that's ok.
3. Choose love
When I ask clients how they feel about their partners, they usually say they love them. But under that love are a lot of other emotions like frustration, worry, or anger.
Sometimes it seems like our emotions are just natural reactions to how our partner behaves. But actually all our emotions are caused by our thoughts.
Here are some thoughts I like to choose about my husband: I am grateful for his commitment to me and our marriage. He is always doing the best he can, just like me. I appreciate his sense of humor and his ability to find the fun in everything he does.
By choosing loving thoughts about your partner, you can feel more love! How cool is that.
Working with me can help
To learn how you can create more confidence and have stronger relationships in your expat life, book a free discovery session with me. We will work together to get clear about what you really want, determine what is holding you back, and identify powerful actions you can take to create your best life abroad.
Book here: https://calendly.com/jenknight/free-session
Hi, I'm Jen! I am a US expat currently living in Thailand with my wonderful husband.
I always strive to learn, grow, and be the best version of myself, and I'm so grateful I get to spend my days working with amazing expat women like you:
Women who are smart and want to reach their goals, but need help overcoming obstacles so they can create their best lives abroad.