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Disadvantages of Long-Distance Relationships as an Expat 

18 November 2021

When your career plan is to work overseas as an expat in a new destination country it might not match the plans of your partner. For many reasons such as work permits, avoiding trailing spouse syndrome or wanting to be near family and friends, you may need to head on this adventure alone and enter a long distance relationship.

Long distance relationships aren’t easy but they can be a good test for your relationship. Here are some disadvantages of course but with a little work from you and your partner you can come through this experience even stronger than before. 
Feelings of loneliness are one of the most difficult parts of being in a long-distance relationship. Coming home to an empty home after a long day’s work or socialising without your other half can trigger these feelings.

For some expat couples the loneliness becomes too difficult and an alternative solution such as the spouse also relocating or repatriation to your home country. Those in expat relationships should put great consideration into how they might feel when separated for periods of time.
Though technology is great for making keeping in touch easier when in different locations there may still be days when you do not see or speak to each other. On busy days when you’re working and then have plans in the evenings you may not have time to sit down and chat on a video call - and the same goes for your partner.

It’s important to set times for these calls that you both prioritise as an opportunity to see each other and stay connected. Setting times for regular visits is an even better solution when possible. 
Video chatting and phone calls can be difficult to plan between long distance couples at times due to the time difference between locations. If you are eight hours ahead of your partner there is a very short window for when a call might suit you both. One person’s day is just beginning as the other’s is finishing and there are other variables such as sleep, work, social events etc to consider too.

Again, these windows of opportunity to chat should be prioritised to help make your long-distance relationship work. 
Living abroad as an expat means that you will miss some events such as family birthday parties and friend’s weddings. It also might mean that you will miss important milestones in your relationship like anniversaries, living together, taking a weekend trip, going to a restaurant for a date night or seeing a new film together at the cinema.

Whether these occasions are big or small they can be massive contributors to feelings of loneliness and homesickness. When spending time together try to make it as special as possible and make plans to visit sites and attractions, book nice restaurants and include your friends and family when you can. 

Visiting your long-distance partner is essential to make your relationship work in the long run. Unfortunately, depending on your location, long distance flights are usually quite expensive which might mean you get to visit less often.

A visit from a partner could end up costing as much as a holiday would so you should treat it as one. Make your time together as special as possible by taking time off work if you can and try to make some fun plans of things to do. Budgeting for these trips is a must. 


There is no denying that long distance relationships take some extra work so that you and your partner feel comfortable, loved and supported by one another no matter what the distance. But it’s not all bad. Being in a long-distance relationship has its upsides too.

Long distance relationships can:

  • solidify your feelings for each other
  • provide you with more time to focus on your career
  • offer the chance to take up a new pastime or hobby
  • build your communication skills

If you or your partner are thinking about moving abroad to work, don’t forget your health and wellbeing with international health insurance