Some submissions are taken from this Reddit thread.
1."I moved from the US to a small town in France for a few years to live with my wife. I had all these dreams of having an amazing life in another country, but it was a lot more difficult than I expected. Having grown up in a racially diverse area, I had never experienced that level of racism, where people would just yell at me in the street and ask me what I was doing in their country. Although I had a decent grasp of the language from studying for many years, I felt it was challenging to connect with people because I wasn't the type of foreigner they found interesting or desirable. We have since moved back to the US, and while I would never pretend this country is perfect, and I honestly miss many things about France, I generally feel a lot more comfortable in my day-to-day life. I don't entirely regret it, but I think I was very naive in believing I would just naturally fit in."
2."What started as an intense, whirlwind romance changed into an abusive relationship as soon as we arrived in the new country. It became a method to isolate me from my friends and family, leaving me with no one to share my feelings with, no one who could raise an alarm about my situation. We were in a country where I couldn't speak the language, couldn't decipher the buses, had no means of transportation, and knew no one. I put myself in that situation, believing I was proving my love and demonstrating my trust in him. Upon arrival, I had no phone, no internet, no one knew my whereabouts, and I had no money as I couldn't access my bank. I was completely dependent on him, and he exploited this to control me."
"Every moment became about him, and he held me responsible for all his needs. If I didn't please him with a good meal, respond to a question in the "correct" way, walk in a manner he liked, or spent too long in the shower, he would lecture me for HOURS about how I was such a disappointment, but now he was stuck with me, and then he would ignore me—sometimes for days. If I truly displeased him, he would leave me in the flat and disappear, leaving me with no food or money. It took me years to realize that this wasn't just an unhappy marriage; this was abuse. In fact, I didn't recognize it until years after I finally left. He eventually "fell in love" with someone else and moved her into our home. I tried to warn her, but she was blinded by him. He gave me money to go home to visit my family so he could be alone with her but expected me to return. I didn't return and haven't seen him since. I regret it 100%. I put myself in a vulnerable position where I was wholly dependent on him. And I wasted over a decade of my life in that marriage and healing afterward."
3."I regret it because I feel like I’m a character in his story and not the main character of my own. I feel like I’m doing everything just to exist, but I don’t feel like I’m truly living. I don’t have as many job opportunities because it’s harder for me to do the kind of work I want to do in a country where I barely speak the language. I’m learning the language to help remedy that, but, honestly, another significant issue is that it's quite boring over here compared to the places where I used to live. I feel I’ve become a more boring person since moving to Germany from the US because the activities I enjoyed don’t really exist here."
4."Moved to Canada from the USA. Not a huge move. Met my husband abroad. I had stars in my eyes. But I didn’t know anyone. His family was cold. The country is cold. I got pregnant quickly and was just sick, sick, sick. The sun never shines, the city is ugly, and I’m awfully lonely. Going on 24 years."
5."I gave up my career. I had just been promoted to the Head of Department position at a company I loved when I went on maternity leave. While on maternity leave, my husband was offered an awesome new opportunity in Finland. We had always wanted to live abroad but thought the opportunity had passed when we had children. When researching Finland, we realized it was a great place to raise kids, as well as a significant career move for my husband, so we packed up and left. I took time to ensure my family was settled before looking for work and ended up freelancing for several years. I found that working in my industry at a senior level was challenging without knowing the local language. I have now landed a manager position and am doing well, but they are certainly getting bang for their buck. I guess ultimately, I chose my family over my career, and while I don't regret the choice, I regret having to leave behind something I had worked hard for."
6."I moved to the UK with my ex when we were 18, right after finishing school. I lost all my friends, struggled financially while she played video games all day, and was at the mercy of the whims of her narcissistic mother. It took a move back to our home country and several more years of living in loveless limbo before I realized that it doesn't matter in which country you live—basic incompatibility and differences in what you want out of life will always catch up."
7."I sold my house, quit my career (which I couldn’t continue in his country), and moved to his country ready to start a new life. I was so excited to build a new life together. What I didn’t realize was that I was expected to slot neatly into his pre-existing life there. No new adventure for him, just a new girlfriend living in his flat. Navigating your partner's family is always tricky, but throw in cultural differences and language barriers, and it’s a nightmare. Nearly five years later, I’m still reeling from my now mother-in-law climbing into bed with me WHILE I WAS STILL ASLEEP, or her coming into our flat and walking straight into the bathroom WHILE I WAS IN THE SHOWER and trying to open the curtain to say hi."
"Also, as a professionally well-educated woman, it’s just humiliating to have your partner laugh at you because you filled in a basic bank form incorrectly. I went from an independent, confident woman to a very confused, lonely 'idiot.' Maybe with the right partner, it would be easy. We are still married and still living in his country, but only because I can’t see a way out."
8."I left a great job and moved to Romania to be with my ex-wife, and massively regretted it. The people in her city were unbelievably rude, and I met the most openly racist people imaginable there. I couldn't enjoy myself going out because every time I tried to make a friend, it would be a matter of time before they said something awful about Jewish people or the Roma. Plus, I couldn't get over all the trash and stray dogs."
9."We lived together blissfully happy for ten years, even got married. Then we had a child, and suddenly not being able to see my own family and old school friends (who had babies at a very similar time) so easily became a real issue that neither of us had anticipated. I started to feel very isolated and without much-needed support."
10."We broke up three times within 21 months of me moving. I won’t lie, it was really hard at first, but luckily, I had some close friends who ended up moving to the same area shortly after I did, and I ended up getting a great job. I stuck it out, and a year or so after the final breakup, it really did start feeling like my home. It’s been 11 years since I moved here and have grown and thrived in so many ways I wouldn’t have in my small town/home state. Plus, I don’t think my mental health could have handled continuing in my hometown. I know this was the way it was all supposed to work out."
11."I moved to South Africa for my partner. This is the third country I have moved to, so I am generally open to new experiences and tend to adapt well to new environments. However, I am currently not enjoying living here. To begin with, there are frequent power outages throughout the day, every day. Since I work online, the Wi-Fi also goes out during these times, causing me to lose money. It's incredibly inconvenient. Our town offers very little in terms of activities, with only one place to eat, which is quite dull compared to my previous city. While I don't regret being with my partner, I do regret agreeing to move here, and I am eagerly counting down the days until we can leave without looking back."
12."Short answer: It didn't go that great. I met my husband online 13 years ago. I was in the US, and he was in London. He flew over to visit a few times before we were married; however, our marriage itself was a bit rushed due to the timelines available in the fiance visa. A few days after our marriage, I came across a ton of gay porn on his computer. That was surprising, to say the least. We're still together, but I have a lot of insecurities and we have virtually no sex life. Another surprise was his hygiene. When he visited me previously, we spent a lot of time together, and we'd take showers together and brush our teeth together, things like that. It didn't occur to me that without my own promptings, he wouldn't shower often."
13."I flew across the ocean and moved in. After almost four years (2.5 living together), he cheated with someone while on a business trip (whom he met online) and began dating them (she lives in the same timezone I moved from to be with him). I then moved out."
14."I'm seven years in. I moved from the USA to the UK. It's been hard. It took me years to find a job in my field, and I'm still nowhere close to where I was in the US. But the worst part is learning that my S.O. wasn't the person I thought they were. They have terrible hygiene and never help with chores. All attraction is gone. And now I'm stuck in another country and don't want to start all over again. Don't quit your lives for love, kids. You need to live together first, and if that's not possible, just don't."
15.And lastly "Not to be a complete downer, but a partner moved from their country to join me in another, and it didn’t go very well. My advice for couples making this big life change is to ensure, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are compatible (values, living standards, social habits, work ethic, long-term goals). Once the rose-colored glasses of longing and excitement came off, we quickly discovered the relationship was not what we had envisioned. This was years ago, and a big lesson learned! I wish you all the best and that you relocate with confidence."
Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.