When it comes to long distance relationships there is one goal we all share, and that is closing the distance. It is something we all strive for, we all want to do it.
We all want to be part of that success and show that long distance relationships can work.
Those thoughts and beliefs are what make closing the distance the most exciting and nerve wracking part of a long distance relationship.
We all want to make it work. 💪
That’s why it’s important to have a plan.
Even if you aren’t a planner by nature you need to come up with a plan to make the transition as smooth as possible.
14 Things You Need to Do Before Closing the Distance
What makes closing the distance more complicated than when normal relationships move for their partners?
Well, the main difference is in long distance relationships one person is completely uprooting their life for the other.
Closing the distance is a huge commitment to make.
One person is trying to prepare for when their partner comes and the other is preparing to say goodbye to everything they ever knew.
During this process it is important for both parties to understand and realize the sacrifices made to get to this point.
Y’all are a team, and your team is about to get a new stadium so treat it well 😉
Before closing the distance, ask yourself what reasons you have to close the distance and if this is something you are ready for.
If you are ready, follow these 14 steps to make closing the distance easier.
Where Y’all Will Live
The first thing you and your partner should talk about is where y’all will be living.
That also includes who will be relocating to who.
For some people that might mean living in the same city but different apartments.
People that do this want to make sure they have their own space so they can feel safe during the transition.
When my Snowman and I first talked about closing the gap this is the path I wanted to take.
Then realized how expensive it was and it wouldn’t work well with our specific visa process.
Another option would be to move into where your partner is already living. This is the route My Snowman and I are doing.
He has a cheap and tiny studio apartment, so I will be moving there.
After we get settled we plan on moving to another apartment.
We want things to be cheaper in the beginning so we can truly figure out where we want to live.
Since y’all be moving in together you might as well talk about what chores you like to do and the ones you hate.
It’s better to have that discussion before you move in, that way you know each other’s expectations when it comes to household duties.
Talk About Money
Talking about finances can leave us feeling vulnerable. Especially if you are a US citizen that has graduated from a University.
Even if you have a lot of student loan debt and are embarrassed by it you need to talk to your partner about it.
If y’all are about to start a life together then your partner has a right to know about your debt.
It’s scary but so is moving in together with someone.
Talking about finances early on will also help you and your partner to tackle that debt as a team, which feels more reassuring than tackling it alone.
As you are talking about finances you should also add in normal household expenses.
Factor in how much the water, electricity, internet and phone bills will be.
You and your partner should also discuss how y’all will handle those payments.
Which brings me to my next point. Those of us who are in an international long distance relationship will probably have to think about opening up a checking account in a new country.
Most of the time, to open up a checking account you have to have someone who is a member of the bank to vouch for you.
This will then bring up the discussion if you are going to have a joint account or keep y’all accounts seperate or do a combination of those.
There is no right answer when it comes to this, it honestly depends on each couple.
Something to keep in mind though, if you’re in an international long distance relationship you might want to keep your homelands checking account open.
But, depending on the laws in your country that means you might have to pay taxes on it.
For US citizens you can check out Expatriate Tax Returns for more information on filing taxes while living abroad.
Then Start Saving Money
After you have talked about finances it will help shape how much it will cost for you to move in with your partner.
The next step you should take is to research the cost of living in the city you will be moving to.
After you have estimated the costs, you should plan to save up to six months for cost of living.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule but it is highly encouraged and recommended.
I currently have saved up to $10,000 for my move to Finland and will keep saving until I quit my job and leave the country.
Also different countries have different requirements on how much a person should have in order to immigrate to that country.
Some countries have regulations on how much the host should make in order to sponsor you so make sure you are familiar with the laws prior to moving.
However it is possible to move to another country without saving a lot of money, it will just make things more difficult for yourself.
If you are moving spontaneously try to look online for remote jobs.
One of the positives that came from Covid-19 is that society has had to learn how to work from home.
So check out to see if your company will work with you as you move.
Educate Yourself About the Visa Process
We have touched on this in previous sections but prior to moving make sure you and your fiance are both educated on the visa process.
It should be both of y’all’s responsibility, not just one person’s.
I reached out to the Finnish Embassy via email over a year ago to figure out when exactly I can apply for the residence visa for Finland.
I was happy I did because they told me I can apply 90 days before moving out to Finland.
So contact the Embassy to the country you plan on moving to and save all your emails as documentation for your visa process.
Renew and Make Copies of Your Identification
Before closing the distance with your partner you need to make sure all your documents are up to date.
That includes passports and identification cards.
You also need to make sure you have a copy of your social security card, birth certificate, bank statement, and education records.
If you have been in the workforce for the past few years then might as well update your resume. Then ask your employer if they will write a letter of recommendation for you.
I may be a little over the top here but, I would hate to move halfway across the world, just to force my Grandma to use technology to send me my information.
That would be miserable and painstakingly frustrating. I love you Grandma 👩🦳💕
Also, If you are moving outside the US and plan on driving in a different country make sure to get an International driver’s permit.
A lot of countries accept a regular driver’s license but once again I rather play it safe than be sorely unprepared.
This goes back to checking out the Visa process for the country you are moving to.
For Finland, I have to provide a notary signed form stating that I am currently unmarried.
This can be done at a bank prior to you leaving the country.
If y’all are planning on getting married in a religious ceremony, make sure you check out the rules of that religion.
Some religions might make you perform a pre-marital counseling and others might need documentation that you are a member of that religion prior to marrying.
As always make sure you have copies of all your important documentation just in case any of it gets lost for whatever reason.
Sell All Your Stuff
Think of your stuff as a last day sale.
Everything must go 🏷️
I mean you could ship it if you really wanted to pay for shipping but it’s going to be a lot cheaper to sell all your stuff.
And if you think back to the saving money step; selling everything will put more money in your pocket for when you move.
Sure there might be a few things you take with you but do you really need that couch that you’ve had since forever?
You can sell your stuff on Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, Amazon, Ebay, or have a yard sale.
When I move to Finland I plan on taking to large suitcases and a carry-on.
I have tossed around the idea of mailing some stuff before I get there, but the stuff I would mail would be things my Snowman and I have agreed upon.
Are you Moving a Pet?
Do you have a pet that you are trying to move with you?
I’m sad because I won’t be able to bring any of my plant babies 🥀😭
Make sure you check the country you are moving to, to see if they allow pets.
Also you will need to get your pet’s records of immunization and an international health certificate from your veterinarian.
If you do plan on having your furry friend travel with you then remember to get a pet carrier and get them used to being crated.
Also pets have their own visa process, when in doubt call your airline or whatever mode of transportation you plan on using.
It might be a little hard to move your furry friends now because we live in the aftermath of Covid.
So this is definitely something you should think about and discuss with your partner, for more information check out the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.
Contact Your Phone Company
If you are relocating to a different part of the same country you should let your phone provider know that you are moving and update your billing address.
Once you get to a new area, see if your service provider still gets as good of reception as it did where you lived before.
If it does, then great, if not, you should look into a new phone provider.
If you are considering choosing a new phone plan then make sure you contact your phone company to see when your contract ends.
You want to do this in order to avoid early termination fees.
Sometimes they can be expensive as $350 to cancel. 😱
If you are moving internationally, then you will have to cancel your phone plan.
If possible try to plan out your move around it or save up extra money to avoid those pesky fees.
Contact Your Bank
When it comes to banking it depends on so many things. It depends on your bank, your income, and a million other things.
With that being said, the advice I give is what I plan on doing.
Before you travel make sure that your bank knows what your plans are.
If you are moving within the same country make sure your bank has a branch in the area you are moving to.
Most of the time, it is better to keep your old bank account until you’re settled in the new area.
This is because it will be easier to show previous bank statements.
This information is needed when you are trying to move into a new place or start an internet or electric bill.
There is also the beauty of online banking which makes things a lot easier.
If your country and bank have online banking then there isn’t really a need to close your old bank account.
Closing the Distance Internationally
When it comes to closing the distance I will be keeping my bank account within the US.
I bank with Navy Federal and they have locations worldwide and overall are very expat friendly.
Prior to closing the distance you should discuss your move with your bank.
The last situation you would want, is to be in a new country and not able to use your money.
So check to see how expat friendly your bank is some things you should consider are:
What are some fees associated with your bank account?
Does your bank offer online banking, how user friendly is it?
Is there an international support number so you can contact your bank?
How often does your bank check to see if you are in a different country?
Will your bank issue a new card internationally?
You can always ask about closure fees if you don’t see a need to keep your account open.
It might be harder to reopen a bank account; if you decide to move back to your country for whatever reason.
I used TransferWise to send money I have saved up for the move to Finland.
I really like using TransferWise because they have the lowest exchange rates and you have different options on how fast you want to send your money.
The entire sign up process was easy and I was able to complete the form for transfer in under three minutes.
TransferWise also has an app in the app store. The app is very straightforward and simple to use.
Overall Transerwise is very simple, fast, and convenient to use on mobile and the computer.
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As someone who works in healthcare. I will be the first to say that the US healthcare system is overly complicated.
So if you are moving to a different state you will need to talk to your health care provider.
As different states have their own unique laws when it comes to health care.
Closing the Distance Internationally
If you are closing the distance internationally, then check out the Embassy in the country you are moving to.
The US Embassy provides a list of doctors that a US citizen can visit while in a different country.
On that website, you can ducate yourself about the available medical resources offered in the country you are moving to.
This information is located in the “U.S. Citizen Services” section.
Then, check out the requirements of the country you’re heading to.
Some countries will require foreign residents to be responsible for paying for their own health care.
Even if the country has a socialized medical system for its own citizens.
Another option you can look into for extra coverage is travel insurance.
This is a good choice for when you first move to a new country.
Especially when you are in that first 90 days before your visa can be accepted.
Just keep in mind that most travel insurance won’t cover any pre-existing conditions.
Travel insurance is mostly used for coverage if you have an unexpected accident.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Closing the distance can be very overwhelming.
There are so many different emotions that come into play.
You’re excited to be with your partner. But, you’re also scared of the unknown and all the negative “what ifs” can creep into your mind.
It’s kinda like getting cold feet before you get married 💒
But in order for you to be successful at closing the distance you need to have a good mindset.
In order to have a good mindset you have to get rid of negative self talk.
Then learn to replace it with positive self talk.
For example, if you ask yourself “Will I be able to find a job when I move out there?”.
Chances are that little voice in your head is going to tell you no or I don’t know.
That little voice isn’t going to tell you something reassuring.
Neither of these answers will provide you with hope. But the problem isn’t the answers, it is the question you asked.
Instead you need to change that question into a statement.
nstead of asking “Will I be able to find a job” tell yourself “I will be able to find work when I move”.
This statement goes along with the idea of positive affirmations. It may feel silly to say it at first but let’s face the reality.
You will be able to find a job when you move to a new area or country. Just like you were able to find your current job, you know how to do it.
The only thing that has changed is the location 😉
Prepare Yourself Culturally
There are also some tough cultural conversations you should have, like perceived norms for genders and racial inequalities.
We live in an ever changing and evolving world.
More and more people are starting to celebrate gender and racial differences.
At times we hope for the best in humanity but it is still wise to prepare for the worst.
Even if you are living in the same country, you need to prepare yourself for a change in culture.
In the US there are different ways people live and carry themselves based on the area you live in.
So before you close the distance you need to educate yourself more about the area you are moving to.
Start by reading articles from their local news and podcasts.
Be informed and stay up to date on policies from the local governments and representatives.
You can also check out different parks and things to do in the area.
Look on pinterest for travel guides and check out instagram for hashtags or check-ins in the area.
Learning the Language
If you are moving to a new country that speaks a different language then start learning the language early.
Even if it is a country where English is widely used. Your partner’s family and the people you meet will appreciate you more for learning the language.
I have been studying Finnish off and on which has been difficult 😫
Some days I feel like I need to be there to actually apply what I am learning.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to start some studying beforehand.
Even if it is just a little bit I feel more prepared than if I didn’t study at all.
Duolingo is a great app to learning a new language and what’s even better is that it’s free!
And they just launched a Finnish course 🙌
Also check out what resources are available when you arrive in that country. I know in Finland they offer courses for learning the language that I will enroll in.
Enrolling in these types of programs will also be beneficial to you later on in life.
Especially when you apply for jobs or citizenship.
Find Groups to Join
You don’t want to forget about having a social life when you move to a new area.
You moved there to be with your partner but that doesn’t mean your whole world has to revolve around them.
This could lead you to feel very isolated and lonely. Despite being with the one you love
That loneliness could lead you to being codependent with your partner.
Which makes you lose your own identity and sense of self.
You definitely want to avoid that 🙅♀️
Luckily, we live in an age of technology and that there are so many ways to meet new people.
My favorite app for this is Meet-Up. With Meet-Up can you meet people and find things to do based on your hobbies. Couchsurfing is another great app that I used to meet people when I traveled for the first time.
Both of these options will come in handy once you’ve moved to a new area.
Another great option would be to check out Facebook groups and see what’s going in the area.
This will help you feel more comfortable to explore the area you’re living in and potentially make new friends.
Have a Goodbye Party
Going away parties are a great way to show the people in your life that you love and will miss them.
This doesn’t haven’t to be anything extravagant or over the top.
Unless you want it to be 💃🥳
I will be having a going away party mixed with a bridal shower. It’ll just be easier that way.
Another benefit to having a goodbye party is that some people will bring gifts. In this situation you can ask your guest to give you cash instead of gifts.
Let’s face it, traveling and moving to a new area can be very costly.
That and, you don’t need extra things to literally weigh you down during the move.
Are You Ready to Close the Distance?
Looking back, closing the distance has been a very long process for us.
We started researching everything about 3 years ago and looked at our different options then.
During this time we’ve talked about who is going to move where and for what reasons we wanted to move.
When it comes to closing the distance, it is important for y’all to be on the same page.
It takes teamwork for this goal to be successful.
So start saving money and organizing documents now.
That way y’all can be more prepared for your future together.