How to Prepare for Life as a Trailing Spouse


The notion of a trailing spouse is on the rise.


The world has become more ambitious, and due to advances in digital technology, there is a more diverse range of job roles than ever. The result? An increased number of professional relocations. And if your husband or wife is the one with the job offer, you’ll be the one that follows.


Before we delve any deeper, let’s look at the definition of a trailing spouse…

The term trailing spouse is used to describe someone who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. The term is usually associated with individuals involved in an expatriate assignment but is also used by academia on domestic assignments.


The prospect of new beginnings and the chance to explore a brand new place can be exciting, but for the trailing spouse in particular, it can prove isolating and daunting.

Becoming a trailing spouse comes with its own set of issues challenges and from our own research, here are the five biggest:

  • Giving up your current job or career as well as the income and identity it provides.
  • Finding new friends and forging new bonds in your new location.
  • Getting a new job or vocation after a period of upheaval.
  • Regaining a satisfactory level of everyday independence.
  • Staying positive and enthusiastic for your partner.


How to prepare personally as a trailing spouse

To overcome the above challenges or at least make them more manageable, preparation is vital.

Prior your big move, make sure you find out as much as you possibly can about your new location. Where are the best shops, restaurants and bars? What’s the best way to get around? Are there any green open spaces? What’s nearby? Where are the public amenities? Are there local customs or a local dialect? Look online, and take a trip in advance to find out.

By finding the answers to these questions you’ll not only start to feel integrated before you even move into your new home, but you’ll also help boost your excitement and will want to get out and explore as soon as you’ve unpacked.

In addition to this, find out if there are any local groups, classes or clubs that suit your interests; this will offer you places to meet new people and give you a better chance of becoming part of the community.


How to prepare professionally as a trailing spouse

In addition to learning all there is to know about your location and seeking out social clubs, you should also give yourself the best possible options on a professional level.

What we mean by this is finding a job or vocation that will excite and inspire you. Whether it’s voluntary work, a role similar to your previous one or a complete career change, you should take the time to figure out where your priorities lie and what will work best for you.

To help you decide, find out which jobs are available in your area, as well as which charitable organisations and big employers there are in your locale.

Look at your skills, update your CV, decide if you’re open to acquiring new skills and competencies and then get out there and grab the bull by the horns.


If you’re looking for a way of showcasing your skills, exploring your options and connecting with potential employers, our platform will help you do just that. Sign up to become a New Shifts Change Seeker and make your transition to trailing spouse the most worthwhile one you’ll ever make.