Jun 01

4 Tips for the Trailing Spouse


Me a “trailing spouse”? Yes I am. I followed my new husband to a brand new state (NJ to Western PA) for his job shortly after we got married. Of course it was exciting, it was a brand new life. We didn’t really have a plan. We were truly starting over from scratch. It was an opportunity to build the kind of life that we wanted together. And, in the beginning it was great! But, as the trailing spouse, it started to become a lot harder than anticipated.

Initially, my husband was engrossed with his new workplace leaving me to take care of settling into our new home. But, this was actually okay as I enjoy nesting and was incredibly busy with unpacking, cleaning, shopping and decorating. Each day it felt more and more like home.

However, once settled, things started to change for me. While my husband was at work or had business travel, I faced the day alone. I was lonely. I was homesick. I started to miss my family and friends more and more. I started to focus more on the sacrifices I made such as leaving my career, my support network, and the life I created and enjoyed for so many years. I know that if I let my mindset continue down that path, it would lead to resentment and strain on our new marriage. I needed a plan!

Looking back on the early stages of our move, I could have benefitted from thinking through or developing a plan of action to help ease the transition.

Here are a few things to consider.

Would you be satisfied to stay at home or do you want to look for a new job? It’s important to really try to figure out what you want to do and determine how to keep doing it. Whether it’s your career, hobbies, or other passions, make sure you are mindful of what you need, what you enjoy, and plan to continue doing them.

Volunteer. If you are not working, this is a great way to meet new people while participating in a worthy cause. It can also bring you a sense of purpose and the satisfaction in knowing that you are making a difference.

Explore. You are living in a new place. In some instances, it may be a place you where you never envisioned yourself living. That’s how I felt about living in Western PA. So once we arrived, we wanted to become more familiar with our surroundings and all that it has to offer. Today, we continue to have fun trying out new restaurants, strolling through small towns, visiting theaters and museums, and attending sporting events. Discovery can be endless and we’ve only scratched the surface.

Continue to work on your relationship. Moving is a life change that impacts the both of you. Therefore, it’s essential that you both are supportive of each other. Find activities that you both enjoy and do them together.

Remember, whenever you relocate with your spouse or family, it will not be easy. However, if you develop strategies to navigate through the changes you will be better prepared to create the happy and fulfilling life wherever you are in the world.

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Copyright 2016 Nichole Michele