We all know that moving is hard work. You need to start preparing several weeks in advance and don’t even get me started on moving day craziness. And it doesn’t end there! Once you’re physically in your new location, it can take weeks to get everything unpacked and in their rightful place. But moving is hard in more ways than one. It’s not just about the physical work you need to do to ensure a successful move, the mental and emotional work is just as tough, sometimes harder.
I knew my move to Florida was going to be a tough one. Exciting, but tough. I am further from my family than I ever have been, and my boyfriend is currently setting up a brand new office. That translates to working very long and very hard hours. Our situation is a common one. Families move for a single person’s career all the time. So much so, that there is an entire industry devoted to assisting them! This post is for my fellow trailing spouses. We already went over how to handle your career as a trailing spouse, but we have yet to talk about how to handle the emotional aspect of the situation.
My first week in Florida was amazing. I was so busy with work, unpacking, and exploring my new city that I hardly noticed that Matt (my boyfriend) was working 16 hour days in his new office. It didn’t hit me until I tried to make fun plans to check out different happy hours and fun beach restaurants that I was probably going to be on my own for a while. Matt’s new job keeps him extremely busy as he is in charge of setting up, staffing, and training new employees while still staying on top of his regular workload. So what can you (and I) do as the trailing spouse as our significant other adjusts to a new and hectic work environment to stay happy and truly enjoy our new city?
1. Communicate: If you are feeling neglected or lonely, the worst thing you can do is keep it to yourself. Do I want you to lash out on your busy partner and point fingers of blame? Absolutely not. THAT is probably the worst thing you could do now that I think about it. Instead, find a time to sit and talk calmly about what’s going on. Chances are, your significant other is bummed about their crazy schedule too. Can you meet for a quick lunch during the day? Can you set your alarms just a little bit early to enjoy breakfast together? It’s important to understand that a new job is stressful and will take time to settle in to, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep your mouth completely shut. Work together to find ways to ease the tension and keep you both happy.
2. Find a new hobby: If you find yourself with tons of free time after your work day is over, why not join a club to keep you busy? Most cities have group fitness classes, book clubs, cooking and/or wine clubs, or garden clubs that are great for meeting new friends, keeping you busy, and maybe even sharpening some skills. I recently joined a beach running club that meets four evenings a week on a local boardwalk. Each day is a different type of run, some long, some short, and some with obstacles. I’ve met a ton of people with common interests and it’s great exercise.
3. Use your time to your advantage: I can’t be the only person who revels in peace and quiet. I love to relax with a good book or my guilty pleasure, a celebrity gossip magazine, and read with no interruption. Can I do this when Matt is home? Of course. But when he’s busy at work I can do it without the judgmental stare that says “Why do you care what Kim Kardashian is doing these days?”
I totally understand that when a move is made out of obligation to a career, that the mood is different than when it’s done as a collaborative decision. But remember, you agreed to this move for a reason. Focus on the positive, and use what extra time alone you may have to your advantage.