Monday, January 17, 2005

Migrate With Me?

I just want to ask: Are you married to your SO? If so, you do whatever you have written in your blog. Although I personally will not start a family (ie have kids) in Singapore.
If she is not married to you (even though you two may be planning to), giving up emigration for her is not worth it. No way. Singaporean women are too spoilt and can only see the tree instead of the forest. You will hate yourself so much if it turns out that you two will not be together next time.

- sngck comment to Solutioning Under Constraints

The SO saw this comment before I did. (Yes the SO reads this blog.) Which led to a long and involved conversation spanning over several days. An extension of a continuing conversation we first had about two years back. And a conversation which, I suspect, will continue into the near future.

One of my secondary purposes of this blog is to chronicle the events around the migration decision. (The primary is as a form of catharsis to focus my thinking.)

I would have preferred not to blog about this highly personal matter for my emotional comfort, but I figure someone out there exploring the possibility of emigration may find the following useful. Have tried to put it in point form. Have tried my best (but not always succeeding) with the guidelines I have set for myself.


How To Discuss Emigration With Your Significant Other


DO discuss the possible emigration decision with your SO as early in the process as possible. As early as seeking feedback even before starting on the paperwork. Migration is a life-changing decision. Since the SO is a part of your life, it will also dramatically affect him/her. If the first time you mention migration to the SO is only when you are preparing to leave.. let us just say that you may have bigger problems in your relationship than just this issue.

DO discuss the reasons you wish to migrate. Chances are the SO has not even considered the possibility, let alone thought about the pros and cons surrounding this complex life-decision. In most cases, your shared life values would be aligned - leading to similar conclusions about a possible migration decision. However weightage on the importance of specific factors are going to be what makes for disagreements.

DO consider existing obligations and commitments - financial, emotional and social - of your SO. You need to be able to be able to meet those existing obligations from your new home. Or at least have time to be able to address them somehow before leaving. Or else it might be necessary to delay the migration process.

DO set a mutually agreed timeline for action. Most residency visas have strict requirements on when you need to cross the borders and how long you need to be in-country for renewal. Without specifying and setting a clear mutually agreed time line, you risk getting bogged down with inaction.

DO consider a trial period. All the arguments and data and talk in the world is no substitute for real life experience in the location of the new home. Agreeing on a trial period with a definite time frame to sit down and review the migration decision (and a 'safety' route back for the SO) will offer security and encourage experimentation with the decision.

DO have regular updates on the process. Unless the SO is highly enthusiastic about the possible move, it becomes your responsibility to keep the SO regularly informed of developments in the process. Examples of which are visa application status, changes in the new living environments, changes in the way you feel about the decision, etc.

DO consider the worst-case scenario. In the worst-case where if you had to choose between emigrating to a new country and the SO had decided to stay, you have to be aware of your options. Is a long-distance relationship viable? Will you abandon emigration and return with the SO? Will you try moving to another country / city instead? Will you break up amiably?

DO consider what is in the long-term best interests of each individual, as well as what is the the long-term best interest of you and the SO as a couple. What is the decision and choice that will offer the best possibility of happiness?


DON'T resort to emotional blackmail.

DON'T give ultimatums.

DON'T presume you know what is in the SO's best interests.

DON'T be pushy. Migration is not an easy process. Give your SO as much time and space (as possible) to decide.

DON'T expect simple yes/no answers or firm decisions.

DON'T withhold information. The SO requires complete knowledge on both the good and bad points in order to make an rational decision.

DON'T ignore or dimiss the existing obligations and commitments of your SO.

DON'T dismiss concerns and fears of your SO.

DON'T lecture. The best way to persuade and convince is to show the situation(s) and let the SO make up his/her own mind.


Blogger Fat Fingers said...

someday.. that might come in handy :)
Thanks. :)

January 17, 2005 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put.
Kindred pilgrims will do well to heed KOP's words.


January 17, 2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger C said...

This article may also help put a positive spin on it for the SO ;)

January 17, 2005 3:07 PM  
Blogger David said...


Thanks for posting a comment on Singaporeink. I read with interest your proposed migration to Australia. I have lived in Australia for two years in the course of my study and will be there for at least another three years. I would be glad to share my views on Australia with you if you are interested.


P.S. email me at remove the NOSPAM

January 17, 2005 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True love is rare and precious.

If she is the love of your life, don't give her up for the sake of economic comfort (or whatever that made you consider migration in the first place).

I was in a similar situation (but with the countries switched around) and I have regreted since on giving up on love.

February 13, 2005 12:51 AM  

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