Trailing spouses risk depression and divorce

Published:  9 Jul at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Are you risking divorce if you move overseas with your husband or partner?

Although divorce rates vary from country to country, it’s estimated that some 50 per cent of modern marriages fail. Tracking divorce rates amongst the international expat community worldwide is a statistical nightmare, but experienced marital therapists believe the rate could well be at an all-time high. One of the main reasons for separation and divorce is trailing spouse depression caused by the wife giving up her life and career to follow her husband.

Many women who’ve had successful careers, close friends and a full social life decide to give it all up to follow their husbands overseas, not realising the lifestyle isn’t anything like the settled norm in the home country. At first, there’s the thrill of a new experience, a new culture and new adventures, but behind the gloss and glory of a vastly increased household income lurks the endgame of becoming an expat homemaker and nothing more. It’s at this point spouses or partners begin to realise they’ve lost themselves as well as their rewarding jobs in the home country and their long-term friends and family.

Women are the homemakers in most relationships, and the thrill of starting over with far more money to play with is enticing at the least. A new social life, often without the partner as he’s working or on a business trip, can stall the realisation that all is not well at home. There’s a limit to coffee mornings, ladies’ lunches and playdates, and when depression sets in it can be devastating. Feelings of isolation, failure and a lack of self-worth can lead to fears the husband may be having an affair with a far more glamorous person than the picture the wife has of herself. In turn, the husband may no longer recognise the woman he married and look for a substitute within his work or social environment.

Depression can easily lead to auto-immune diseases as well as to alcoholism or other addictions, by which time divorce may well be on the horizon due to the wife’s fatigue and lack of interest in intimacy. The woman may well not be able to understand that she’s surrounded by other wives in exactly the same situation with exactly the same fears and depression. At this point it’s essential to realise emigrating changed the dynamics of both lives to such an extent it’s the same as starting an entirely new relationship. Restoring self-worth by finding a job or volunteering is one way to remind your spouse you’re the same person he married, and can save the situation before the word ‘divorce’ is even mentioned.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive