Welcome to today’s blog post about lifestyle and love. Lifestyle and love can often be incompatible and lead to a couple separating or conducting a long distance relationship.
There have been enough instances of couples in my counselling room now to talk about how lifestyle preference can get in the way of a couple continuing their relationship together. It is a big enough issue that couples and families have been separated as a result of irreconcilable differences in their way of life.
This is particularly relevant to couples and families moving to Sydney from another country. Often one member of the family is given a promotion or opportunity to work in Australia and they truly believe it, at the time, to be the opportunity of a lifetime.The decision is usually made in consultation with the partner and children and there seems to be agreement that this is will be a fantastic opportunity to live in a different part of the world.
In other cases, individuals who have traveled from other parts of the world to holiday in Australia meet one another and fall in love. They are here on holiday and then decide to make a life here together. This is fine and means permanent residency visas become an issue. Often one party is already sponsored by their employer and it is just a matter of time for residency issues to be sorted. This can take some time with all the formalities involved.
During this long period, if one party finds that living in Australia is not all they had hoped for, things can become tricky. Where is home going to be for the couple? One such couple made the decision to separate when the newly married woman was unable to settle here. She missed her home country, family, friends and lifestyle so much that she decided to return, leaving her new husband behind.
In another situation, an already troubled marriage was under greater pressure with a move to Sydney from the other side of the world. The stress of moving to a completely different climate, lifestyle, hemisphere and so on can be too much. When there is already stress overload on a marriage moving to the other side of the world or deciding to have a baby could be the tipping point of the relationship.
So, is there a way to avoid this happening in your relationship?
Here are ten ideas to consider. Maybe you can think of others to share?
- Be really honest with your partner if a situation arises that involves significant change such as moving to the other side of the world. To agree to anything to please your partner while ignoring your own feelings can lead to big trouble later on.
- Investigate what the change will involve. Do plenty of research.
- What support systems can you imagine putting in place to avoid feelings of isolation, entrapment and overwhelm?
- What are the consequences if the change doesn’t work?
- What contingency plans can be put in place?
- Is there an agreement on a time limit to give the change a real chance to work before bailing out?
- Is every family member in agreement? Have you entered into negotiation for a win/win outcome?
- How do you manage family relations from the other side of the world with those left behind?
- Is the change affordable in terms of time, financial considerations, career advancement and social/family connections?
- What sacrifices will you be making and are you making them willingly without resentment?
Do you have any stories to share about lifestyle choices and the impact on relationship? Please share your thoughts and be part of the Caring4Couples community!
By Christine Bennett, Caring4Couples