I kind of hate the term trailing spouse. It conjures up images of a loyal old dog, ambling along as the husband (it's almost always the husband. Except when it's not. I do have friends for whom the equation is reversed.) forges forth, confidently climbing mountains, fording streams, and generally being the master of your small universe.
But I also kind of like the term. Because it does covey the truth of this existence as an expat partner: you do have to give up quite a lot and travel (trail?) with your partner.
People who haven't lived this way, well they tend to think of expat-dom as some sort of colonial throwback with palm trees, servants, free-flowing gin and tonics, and not too much to worry about.
Life as an expat wife can sort of be that way (like, you guys, I have palm trees! I also have a nanny, and don't have to scrub my toilet that often), but then there's the unseen stress that goes along with the package. When you sign up for this life, you give up the proximity of your family and friends, your support network is kind of obliterated, you often suffer a major identity crisis as you leave your job, your home, your interests, and your life behind.
It's a tradeoff, you know. I'll give you palm trees for your self identity.
But you can also make lemonade out of some of the lemons that come along with expat life.
We're working together on a blog project that I'm super stoked about. I'd love it if you checked it out, and maybe left a comment. If you're interested in hearing more about issues in expat partner-dom, you can check out the Expat Partner Successs Facebook page. There are more things in the works, here. I'll update you!