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On being a trailing spouse

19 Jul

Trailing spouse (via wikipedia): The term trailing spouse is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. The term is often associated with people involved in an expatriate assignment.

I know my situation isn’t anything unique. After just a little over a month in Egypt, I have met many guys and gals who are in the same boat. And, I know a couple of my very close friends have also uprooted themselves (or are thinking about doing so) in order to be with their partner. As more and more companies go global, I am sure it will become even more common.

So, here is what I have learned so far.

It’s not an easy job. I give HUGE props to military wives who follow their husbands from base to base to base around the world for years. Wow.

So, what makes it so difficult? Well, I would say the biggest reason, for me, is that I am struggling to have a strong sense of self.

Shaun had been here for about 5 months before I arrived. This made the transition much easier for me because he had an apartment, a circle of friends, and he even lined up a job for me at the company where he works!  While I am so grateful for all that he has done to help me out, this also makes it difficult to blaze my own path – something I’ve grown very accustomed to doing.

Before this move, I would have used adjectives like “hard worker” and “independent” to describe myself. And, although I still think those words accurately describe me, I am just not really living up to them at the moment. Does that make sense? That is why I would say I am struggling with my sense of self.

Although I consider myself a hard worker, I am currently spending most of my days sleeping in ’til about 9:30 and hanging around in my pajamas most of the day. And, although I consider myself independent, it feels as though I am known by so many as “Shaun’s fiance” instead of just “April” right now. That’s not independent at all. In fact, it is very codependent. Bleh.

It is surprising to me that this is my biggest issue with the move so far. Out of all the things I was worried about or that other people asked me about, this never really came up. Yes, I was somewhat concerned that I would get bored without having a job for a while. But, I don’t think the issue is boredom, although maybe part of it stems from that. I was also worried about how safe I would feel, how I would pay my car and student loan payments, and whether Shaun and I would start fighting a lot. But, none of those worries have come to fruition.

I am sure once I start work and make some friends of my own, I will start to feel more and more like myself. And, even though I am struggling a bit right now, I am glad I made the decision to move here. It’s great to be with Shaun again, and I always love a good challenge. 🙂

Are you in a similar situation? Have you been? Any advice?


Real Housewives

6 Jun

There is a Real Housewives of Orange County Marathon on Bravo today. I, being the lover of trashy TV that I am, have been watching it pretty much all day.

Anyhoo, there is not a single housewife on this show that has NOT had a divorce at least once. I know they are not the most representative sampling, but still. Scary.

So, I bought this book from Amazon today. It got a lot of good reviews. It should get here before I leave for Egypt! Then, Shaun and I can work through it together before I (hopefully) start working. Yay!