5 Mistakes That Trailing Spouses Commonly Make

Unfortunately not all relocations are successful and a Global Relocation Trends Survey in 2010 indicated that 65% of those that returned home prematurely cited spouse/partner dissatisfaction as the primary cause of the assignment failure. If you are about to become a trailing spouse or have recently relocated and are experiencing difficulties embracing your new life, take a look at these common mistakes that trailing spouses make and avoid them at all costs.

Failing to consider how the changes will affect them

Many trailing spouses get so caught up in the actual relocation that they fail to consider how the move will actually impact their own life, both on a personal and a professional level. It is crucial that the trailing spouse takes time to reflect on how they will cope with their loss of career or distance from their family and friends and what steps they will need to take to ensure that they can thrive in their new location. Through completing a self assessment, trailing spouses can attempt to proactively manage their situation and head off any disasters before they occur.

Being passive in the process

Many people become trailing spouses because their partner’s work takes them overseas. As a result of this, it can be very easy to become passive in the process, expecting relocation companies to take control of the move and manage the majority of the decisions. Tempting as it may be to sit back and let other people do all the hard work for you, you need to have responsibility for your own life. People cannot read your mind and as experienced as relocation companies may be, they cannot transplant you into the perfect life overseas without your input and assistance. View your relationship with the relocation agents as a partnership. Get as involved as you can and always remember that once the relocation is complete, you will be on your own. It is therefore crucial that you are actively involved in the decisions that will impact your life.


Once the relocation is complete and your partner heads off to work you are suddenly faced with the daunting task of getting out there and making a new life for yourself. The new world beyond the front door can seem extremely scary and it’s only natural that you may find yourself hiding inside trying to pluck up the courage to venture out on your own. Right from Day One you need to do just that. Face the new world head on and get out and about as much as possible. If you stay inside you will become bored, listless and even run the risk of growing depressed. While it will be scary at first, you will soon grow in confidence as you become more familiar with your surroundings.

Thinking that you are along for the ride

Yes, you may be relocating primarily as a result of your partner’s job, but this is your move too and your life. As soon as you become aware of the fact that you are going to moving overseas you need to start considering what your new life will mean for you and what you want to get out of it. You may decide to go back to school, get a job or complete charity work, whatever it is, make sure you focus on carving a life and identity out for yourself.

Mourning your old life

Many trailing spouses may move overseas reluctantly and then find that this miss their old life and their friends and family. While this is completely understandable, it is important that you focus positively on the new opportunities that await you as opposed to mourning those that you have left behind. There is always something out there as long as your attitude is positive and you recognize the need to take control of your situation.

Have you experienced life as a trailing spouse? What mistakes did you make? What lessons did you learn that you could share with our readers?

Author: ExpatInfoDesk