The day has finally arrived: you are officially closing the distance. Congratulations! The struggles and sadness of a long-distance relationship are over and everything will be perfect, right?
If only that was true! For many couples, closing the distance is even harder than beginning a long-distance relationship. It doesn’t have to be so difficult, though, if you anticipate the problems you might face and tackle them head on.
When you move to a new place, you probably won’t have a set of friends to fall in with right away. It might even feel impossible to make new friends when everyone is so different. While it’s important to keep in contact with your old friends, try not to spend all your time browsing Facebook and feeling bad about the fun stuff you’re missing. Instead, spend some time trying to meet new people with similar interests. I’d really recommend taking some kind of class (language, fitness, art, cooking, etc.) You can learn something new and meet people at the same time. If you moved to a country with a different native language than your own, taking a language class is a fantastic idea. You’ll meet a lot of people in situations similar to yours.
Bottom line: It’s normal to feel lonely, but don’t let that stop you from going out and meeting new friends.
Homesickness & hating your new country
It’s hard to believe that people work so hard to close the distance, then immediately hate the country to which they have moved. It is pretty common, though! Suddenly you feel like this new country is inferior to your home country in just about every way. You hate the weather, hate the food, hate the scenery. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has traveled abroad extensively has had some of these feelings on at least one occasion. When I felt that way, I reminded myself that many people would be jealous of my opportunity to move to a new country. It helped me see the experience as a fun adventure as opposed to a forced move.
Bottom line: Every country in the world has pros and cons. Find those pros! Remember that not everyone has the opportunity to experience a new country, so enjoy it.
Prior to closing the distance, I had only visited my partner in his country. He was never able to visit me in the United States. When I lived with him overseas, I was on his turf. He worked full time and taught me how to live in a new country. We spent time with his friends in his favorite places in his country. When we closed the distance, he moved to a country he’d never even visited before. Suddenly, our roles were reversed! I became the one “in charge” since he was new to my country. This role reversal made us both uncomfortable. Be aware that this may happen when you close the distance. Your roles will slowly start to balance once the mover gets used to his or her new home.
Bottom line: Don’t freak out if your relationship feels weird after the move. It’s a big transition and it takes time to settle in to the new situation.
Give it time
After putting in so much work to close the distance, facing these problems can make you feel like you made a big mistake. It’s important to give yourself some “transition time” to get used to your new life before you start to panic. When you make some friends, enjoy your new country and love your partner, that blissful closing-the-distance feeling will find you.