Since you posted this in herSailnet I would presume you would prefer the distaff point of view. Major fail, I am a guy. On the other hand I have done a lot of sailing with lots of different people and know quite a few cruising couples.
I have two suggestions for getting ready:
- Go sailing as much as you can under as many different conditions as possible. I would suggest crewing (together) on race boats. Race boats tend not to bail in marginal conditions so you will have the advantage of seeing your partner under duress. Crew for as many different Captains as possible. It will help you figure out what styles you like and dislike. Even a bad experience can be an education.
- Talk to each other HONESTLY about your feelings. Many people start with the dream of a circumnavigation. Very few actually carry it out. Spend some time around cruising sailors. The amount of lying among partners is amazing.
- "We are cruisers." "How long since you took the boat out?" "Three years."
- "I have to go visit the grandchildren so the significant other is going to move the boat to the next destination."
- "We are still getting the boat ready." "How long have you been working on it?" "Five years."
- etc. etc. etc.
Many are called but few are chosen. The difference between the dream of world cruising and the reality is significant. World cruising is hard work, occasionally scary and financially trying (just wait until something breaks when you don't have the money) and amazingly fun if you can tolerate the downsides of the lifestyle. Of all those couples who start out with the dream very few actually end up living the life. There are successful couples. They most likely represent less than 0.1% of those who have the dream (as in less then 1 in 1,000.)
The most important thing you can do is have a direct and open conversation
before you spend money, buy a boat, and set off about what you will do if it doesn't work out. You may have to choose between your boyfriend and cruising. Or he may have to choose between you and cruising. The most frequent circumstance with couples of my acquaintance is passive aggressive behavior on the part of the person who wants to get out of the life. "The weather is too bad." "I don't want to go there." "I need to see the grandkids." The actual message is "I want out of this life."
I sincerely hope it works out for you.
Fair winds and following seas.