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How to Tell Loved Ones You're Moving Abroad

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The decision to move abroad is a difficult one that affects not just you, but everyone who cares about you. Your loved ones will likely be upset, even if they outwardly support you. It is best to be delicate when breaking the news to your loved ones. You should employ slightly different strategies for telling different people.


People in your immediate family, especially parents, are some of the most influential people in your life. If they are not on board with you moving overseas, it can be very upsetting to everyone. Before you break the news of your overseas move to them, consider what some of their parental concerns may be:
  • Can you afford this?
  • Why are you going so far away from me/us?
  • Is it dangerous over there?
  • Do you have a good reason for going?
  • When will you be back? 
  • Can we visit?
When you tell your parents about the move, you should remember these concerns. You will likely have to address all of them before they are satisfied that you are not making a mistake. They will want to know that it is a safe, responsible decision, and that you did your research on your destination. 

Remember that in addition to being concerned for you, parents may take a move abroad personally. Let them know that you are not moving to get away from them and offer times when you or they can visit. 


Your friends may also be sad to learn that you are moving to another country. They may be the most likely group of loved ones to endorse your move, but they still may be inwardly upset. Here are some thoughts that a friend may have when learning that you are moving abroad:
  • Is this going to lead to the end of our friendship?
  • Can I come and visit?
  • I wish I could do that.
  • Will you come back?
  • Will you be a different person when you come back?
  • How will we stay in touch?
  • Will this really make you happy?
Your friends can be concerned for you, much like your parents, but they also have a focus on their relationship with you. Friends can certainly be maintained overseas, so make a point of mentioning or scheduling times to talk via text or the internet. Planning a visit to your new country also can be very exciting for friends.

Real friendships will continue when you move abroad, but superficial friends may not make the extra effort to stay in contact with you after your international move. You will lose some friends after you tell them that you are moving abroad, but not the best ones.

Significant others

Romantic relationships suffer the most when one person moves overseas. If you have been considering moving abroad, you probably should have already talked it over with your significant other. Be prepared to answer these questions:
  • Does this mean we are breaking up? 
  • Are you moving because of me?
  • Do you want me to go with you?
  • Will we try a long distance relationship?
  • How long will you be gone?
  • Why are you running away from me?
  • Will we just be friends after you leave?
Only the strongest relationships can survive an internationally long distance between partners for an extended period of time. If you are really serious about your significant other, but you also want to move abroad, it is certainly something that should be discussed together. If your partner can’t or doesn’t want to move to your new country, you need to choose whether you rather be in the relationship, or move abroad at that moment. There is no easy way to tell a significant other that you choose to move over them. Be sensitive and try to fully explain your reasoning.

Your decision to move abroad shouldn’t be done alone, but also involve your loved ones. Even if they try to change your mind, they will appreciate you considering their feelings. You should first talk to your significant other about the move, then your parents/direct family, and then your friends. By telling your loved ones in this order, you are informing the people who will be most affected by your move, first. They will appreciate being told at an appropriate time.

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on January 16, 2015 - Moving Expert
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