Moving to Ireland

How to Tell Your Family You’re Moving Abroad in Three Simple Steps

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Deciding to move abroad is a big decision that not only affects you but also affects those closest to you. So, how do you break the news to your family and friends that you’re moving abroad? 

1. Drop the idea periodically to help soften the blow 

When my husband and I started to look into moving our family abroad to Ireland we kept it to ourselves for months. I didn’t want to worry my family over nothing if we decided not to move. However, once we both firmly felt this was the best choice for our family I knew it was time to start dropping little bombs. I mentioned in our conversations periodically that we were thinking of moving to Ireland, that we hoped Little Man could go to school in Ireland, etc. Mentioning your desire to move abroad helps those closest to you mentally prepare for the news that is coming. 

2.  Have “The Talk.”

It got to the point where my parents began asking normal questions about our future. They started suggesting houses to buy and asking about Little Man going to Kindergarten. We got to the point where we couldn’t truthfully answer those questions anymore. We felt it was time that our family knew the extent of our plans— it was time for “the talk.” After a big pep talk from my husband, we sat down for our weekly family dinner at my parents’ house. When there was a lull in the conversation I spoke up, “So, umm…I have an announcement.” Immediately everyone thought we were pregnant again…Haha! I stammered out, “We’ve decided we are going to move to Ireland.” Then I held my breath.

how to tell your family you're moving abroad

Your family and friends might handle the news differently than mine, because they are different people, but you should be prepared for many different emotions. I could tell my parents were devastated—my mom’s face went white and my dad didn’t say much. It was hard, but it was essential. We needed them to know that it was happening and it wasn’t fair to keep the inevitability of our move to ourselves any longer. Bite the bullet and break the news gently. 

3. Prepare for MORE difficult conversations

After we had the talk with our family the coming weeks were full of questions and apprehension. Once you’ve finally let them know when you are moving abroad and that it is definitely happening, your family and friends are going to need to process it. They are going to need to talk some more about your plans. They might have questions like, “where are you going?”, “How will you live?”, “Will you have enough money?”, “Will you be lonely?”. Try to talk about it as much or as little as they need to process. They might even try to change your mind and as my parents put it, “Pray it doesn’t happen.” Leave room for them to share their concerns, doubts, and heartache with you. Talking about it out really does help the brain accept the new changes ahead. 

Important Things To Remember 

My emotional journey is still ongoing but here are some important things to remember as you go that helped me quell my guilt and doubt: 

You’re going to make different decisions than your family and that’s healthy! It’s good to grow and become autonomous and make your own unique choices that are best for YOUR family. Tell those feelings of guilt they are not welcome! 

Even if your family doesn’t agree with your decision they need to support your decision. Another sign of a healthy family is being able to support each other while still disagreeing. Support shows respect for the other person and their family.

telling your family you're moving abroad

When I was struggling with the guilt of moving so far away my husband sent me this quote that helps sum up my journey:

“A woman becomes a responsible parent when she stops being an obedient daughter. When she finally understands that she is creating something different from what her parents created. When she begins to build her island not to their specifications, but to hers. When she finally understands that it is not her duty to convince everyone on her island to accept and respect her and her children. It is her duty to allow on to her island only those who already do, and will walk across the drawbridge as the beloved respectful guests they are.” Untamed, by Glennon Doyle.

I hope as you go on your journey that you remember “you are creating something different from what your parents created.” It’s good, it’s healthy, and it’s an exciting new beginning. 


Are you nervous about telling your family? If you’ve already told them how did they take it??

Drop your comment below! 

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1 year ago

OMG I needed to read this! I?ve spent my whole life within one small city in the Midwest, and my husband and I have recently discussed moving….like far….like cross country! (Or Canada!)

Our biggest thing is that both of our families are HERE and we know it?ll be a huge blow. Thanks for sharing your story! The more people I see having successfully done it with minor issue, the more hope I have that if we made the decision we?ll be okay!

1 year ago

Here’s the funny thing: I’m a mom, and I want to move without my kids! Of course, they ARE adults (early 20s), and they’re fine with us moving (to Ireland, when we retire), but my guilt is in not doing the traditional holidays with them. Mind you, we don’t have big family get togethers, which I think makes our kids sad when they compare themselves to others), but I feel like they need to live their lives and we need to live ours. But we can all visit together!

Last edited 1 year ago by Tara
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