Malta: Moving On, Up & Away

5 Hard Truths of an Expat BreakUp

So you moved to a new country with the love of your life. You thought it would last forever. You built a life, from scratch, together. You’ve never experienced this country as a single person. Your lives are intertwined in a way that people who live at home could never understand. But now, it’s over. Whether you were the dumper or the dumpee, being single for the first time in a country that’s not your homeland is an understandably daunting situation to be in.

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I lived in England for all my life, then in 2010 my boyfriend and I packed our bags and moved abroad, to Malta. We started an entirely new life, getting new jobs, making new friends, making each apartment ‘ours’ and basically each became a version of ourselves that moulded with the other. Then after six years of living together in Malta, he moved out. No matter how painful or amicable a breakup might be, when you live abroad it will always be different and there are a lot of learning curves and emotions that you’re going to go through.

1. Say Goodbye to your Friends

If you move to a new country, just the two of you, chances are that all of your friends are his/hers too. Almost my entire friend circle are his work mates, his friends, and his friends girlfriends. This can be tough, especially if the breakup is a messy one. People will pick sides and you might find yourself left out in the cold, at a time when you need friends more than ever.

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The old adage really holds true, as this is the situation where you find out who your real friends are, and losing those you thought would stand by you can be even harder than the breakup itself! I know it’s cheesy and wont help right away but you really don’t need those people in your life. It’s always better to have fewer friends, who you can really rely on, than a huge social group that would drop you in a second. Make time for those friends who stick by you, and don’t be afraid to ask them to introduce you to their other friends that you might not know in order to build a new network of support, fun and friendships.

2. Sorry, But You Failed

OK so breakups are sad in themselves. But what actually got me the most was that I felt like I had failed. We’d taken this huge chance on each other and a new country and part of that hadn’t ‘worked out’. But you know what? Fuck that! No matter if you lasted 6 months, a year, or six years, you did something brave and the fact it didn’t last forever does not make you a failure. A success is something that makes you happy, for however long or short, something you can learn from and success is trying new things and new experiences.

3. You’ll Leave

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After a few days of sobbing until my eyes were raw, I actually began to accept the breakup and really got used to the whole thing quite quickly, however my first instinct was to book a trip back to the UK. The UK does not feel like home to me, but the people do. It’s important to surround yourself with those who love you, when you’re feeling at your most unlovable, so go and visit your parents and your best friends from your hometown. Take a week, chill out, moan, cry, drink, party and you’ll come back to your new country feeling refreshed and ready to face it as a single person.

4. You Wont Move On

If you moved to your new country together, chances are your entire life and routines and social circles were built together, which means you’re likely to see them around. A lot. Don’t become a hermit, but make sure to take some time for yourself until you feel ready to face them, especially if some drinks are going to be involved. Avoid places you know they are going to be if you feel like it might make you feel shit, cry, shout or generally stop you from dealing with the fact it’s over. It’s a great time to start new routines, traditions, try new places and broaden your horizons. Try that new cafe that he/she wasn’t interested in, or visit that bar they always hated and you’ll end up finding loads of awesome new places to enjoy.

5. The Real Truth Is…You’re Gonna Be Just Fine

As with all big life changes, especially ones you weren’t expecting, it’ll take time, but you’ll be OK. Look after yourself, do things for you, make time for people who treat you well and make you happy and you’ll be an improved version of yourself in no time, ready to take on the world. You do not need another person to make you who you are. IMG_6590

4 Comments

  1. Scott Lee Holloway

    Rhi, I’m so sorry to hear this.

    You are an amazing person; as beautiful inside as you are on the outside. As you know I am moving to Malta with my Boyfriend of 5 years and we have never lived together full time so this is scary for me; especially as we will be leaving our whole support network of family and friends back home in the UK (although they will of course only be a phone call away and will visit regularly).

    The reason I love your blog/site so much and that it has a special place in my heart is not just that you have amazing, informative posts about Malta (of which you have plenty) but also because you are brave. You share personal parts of your life that many others would be too scared to share and that makes you real and relatable and makes you human.

    When I read some of your posts I think to myself “I wish you realised just how wonderful and amazing you are” and then I think to myself that I should apply some of the same logic to myself as I often get stuck in a rut and am very hard on myself. I can often be my own biggest critic. I also often find it hard in social situations with people I don’t know, have been bullied throughout school, had a pretty rough childhood (due to be being Gay and overweight) but hey I’m still standing and I can look myself in the mirror and know I am a kind person and can sleep at night.

    Your blog teaches me to realise that it’s okay sometimes to be vulnerable (something which I really struggle with, I try to show how strong I am and usually hate to show my vulnerability).

    One thing I would love for you to hold on to is how far you have come in the 6 years since you moved to Malta. You have truly blossomed; from reading all your posts it’s like your a different person (for the better) you seem more confident, happier and have a real zest for life. You left the UK as a caterpillar and are now a Butterfly.

    The reason I give you this advice is your blog has really helped me in more ways than one. It has been the most helpful resource to prepare me for my move to the Island next year practically speaking and has also taught me the importance of self love. You may think these messages are very subtle but they really do resonate.

    I want you to hold on to how amazingly well you have done over the past 6 years, how much we all love you! I know we have never met but I feel like you’re a friend. You are trustworthy, honest, kind and you will find somebody who sees just how amazing you are! What you said is true, something not lasting forever is definitely not something failing. The times you shared will always be a part of your life; it is just the end of one chapter and the start of an exiting new chapter (although I’m sure it’s hard to see that right now).

    If ever you needed someone to talk to you can email me or message me on FB. I would be happy to talk if ever you need a friend.

    Keep your head up and remember how amazing you are and if ever you feel alone just remember that you have a whole readership of friends/supporters who are extremely proud of you and everything you have achieved and who will continue to support you through all your future endeavours. Whatever path you choose to venture down next we will be there to support you.

    Much love

    Scott. x

    Reply
  2. Fi

    It’s so tough that you are having to go through this and I can understand how being an expat has made it even more difficult.

    I just wanted to say how well your post communicates your news to the readers. You’ve shared your pain and been honest, but ultimately have had an optimistic approach. It would be so easy to post a negative/spiteful/shouty rant, but instead you gave us a heartfelt, considered, helpful message.

    Something in the way you write draws the reader into your experience- it really touched a nerve!

    Your blog is so helpful in both a practical and an emotional sense. It motivates me to share my own experience to give something back in recognition of all the help I’ve had while preparing to move.

    Wishing you all the best for the future ☺

    Reply
  3. Bec

    I’ve always loved you my doll, always will

    Reply
  4. Daniela

    I’m sorry you are going through a break up. From what I’ve read, you seem like a great woman. I’m thinking about moving to Malta with my fiance. We met in Grand Cayman while I was visiting, later I made the move and we started dating. We also went through a break up on island before reconnecting and I understand how hard it is. Grand Cayman is even smaller than Malta, I couldn’t avoid seeing him even if I tried. Your blogs been really useful in my research. Thank you for that.

    Reply

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