Expat relationships: 4 most common problems


Couples living abroad can experience lots of relationship problems. Here are the 4 most common issues couples struggle with when they move to a new country:



1. One partner needs more attention than the other

If you feel neglected or uncertain about how loved you are, you should learn to reach out without blame or criticism. Especially when living abroad as a couple, it's important to be able to talk about your needs and express yourself in an undemanding way, otherwise you will push your partner into a defensive space of having to deal with a sense of being uncaring. 


2. Different needs for closeness and alone time

This is one of the most common issues that lead expat couples to break up. If one partner has a greater need for alone time, it can make the other partner feel sad or neglected. It's important to negotiate such differences in a relationship, especially when you live abroad. Don't blame your partner or invalidate his or her needs.


3. Arguments about household chores

This can increase a couple's stress level tremendously: Couples often fight over who does what around the house, and even though many women work outside the home, they still tend to do most of the household chores. It can help to sit down together and make a list of the chores or consider hiring help.  Uneven chore-splitting can erode a relationship, so make sure the practical aspects of your expat life run smoothly and without unnecessary conflicts.


4. "Expat wife" struggle

Your husband is doing incredibly well at work and of course you are proud of him? But sometimes you wonder what happened to you and your own career? Many expat wives stagnate professionally as soon as they live abroad. This can cause a lot of stress in a relationship. It needs understanding and support from both sides to make the relationship survive this difficult period of time and to make the "expat wife" not feel invisible.


Continue reading: Expat loneliness: How to make friends with Germans.


I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I am half German and half British and I offer psychotherapy and couples counselling in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: (040) 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!


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