Relocation Spousal Support Guide

Every person and every relationship is different, and they all have different needs. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution that will allow everyone’s spouse to adjust to moving with their partner for work.

One of the most significant factors in an unsuccessful relocation is familial stress. Even though there is more change involved for the relocating employee than there is for their spouse (referred to as the supporting spouse), they have the luxury of being able to focus on work for most of the transition.

The supporting spouse, however, often finds themselves removed from most of what’s familiar, and having too much time to focus on things like homesickness and lack of fulfillment. What is perhaps most frustrating, is that there aren’t a lot of resources available to address this problem, particularly because this problem can be difficult to address.

In a Nutshell

  • Relocating spouses need support in order for a relocation to be successful
  • Work as a coupe to increase your social network in your new city.
  • Empathy, support, and communication are invaluable

We realize that every relationship has two sides, and with that in mind, we decided the best way to approach this blog is to provide information that benefits them both. We’ve split the information into two sections, one for the relocating employee and the trailing spouse. Both sections are useful to both parties, they’re simply divided based on the person at whom the advice is targeted. The first step is simply to relax and take stock of what’s really important. After that, the rest should come with relative ease.

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For the Supporting Spouse

So you and your partner have decided to relocate for their job. Congratulations, this is a big step in your lives, and following your spouse to a new city is an incredible sacrifice. No transition like this is easy, and it’s completely natural to experience so bumps along the road. The key is to try your best to stay positive, support your spouse as they start their new position, and to find ways to help yourself adjust to your new location. Here is some advice to get you started on the right track.

Stay In Touch With Family

It might seem obvious, but staying in touch with family and old friends is one of the best ways to fight homesickness, especially if you have children and memories attached to a previous home. Your spouse is with you, and while that’s a great source of support, it never hurts to have backup. Talking things over with a parent or your best friend is sometimes all it takes to put things into perspective. 

It’s important to understand that even though they’re in a different city, your relationships back home are still there for you. So go ahead and reach out. It will remind you of home and it will make you feel better. After all, what are friends and family members for?

Build A New Social Network

Everyone knows it’s tough being the new kid at school, especially when it comes to making new friends. Being an adult trying to make new friends can actually be even tougher. Think about it, most of the adults in your new area already have their own friends, and it can be pretty awkward trying to make new ones. Don’t let that stop you though, the world is full of great people.

You can start by getting to know your neighbors, you should probably do that anyway. You never know, your next best friend could be living next door. Not only does becoming part of a community help you adjust, but you could meet genuine lifelong connections.

Pick one of your hobbies and search locally, you’d be surprised how easy it is to find a group of people that share your interests. Practically every city has book clubs, sports leagues, and everything in between. It’s a lot easier to start a friendship with somebody if you already know you have at least one thing in common.

For the Relocating Employee

You may have noticed by now how stressful relocating can be. On top of everything, you’ve got a new job to consider, and that’s provides a level of stress all its own. No matter how hard this is for you, however, you have to keep in mind what your spouse is going through. They’ve left their home behind too, and may not have as much external distraction as you do. Keeping busy actually helps with things like homesickness and adjusting to a new area, and your spouse likely doesn’t have quite as much to concentrate on. Remember that you’re their primary support system, follow these tips, and everything will work out just fine.

Understanding and Empathy

Consider your spouse’s past while you relocate. If he or she has moved several times throughout life, this transition might be a little easier to cope with. If you’re asking your spouse to move from their hometown or someplace they’ve lived for a long time, however, this transition is likely to have a lot more impact. The more friends and family that they’re leaving behind, the more difficult moving to a new location will be.

Always make an effort to understand what your spouse is going through. Talk to them, ask them how they’re adjusting, ask if there’s anything you can do to help. If your lives in your new city are going to work out, you’re probably going to have to work at it. Sure, there’s a chance that everything will work out right from the get go, but it’s really not likely.

Support, Support, Support

Your spouse was awesome enough to follow you to this new city, and you have to show them how much you appreciate it. That means when you’re out of the office, consider letting them decide what the two of you do together. If your spouse wants to go try a new restaurant, see a movie, or check out a local museum, just go with it. Not only will you be making them happy, but you’ll be learning about your new city and making new memories there.

If your spouse decides they want to go back home for a weekend, make the arrangements. If they want to find a job, join a club, or anything along those lines, you should keep your mind as open as possible.

Final Thoughts

The stress of relocating can be pretty significant, but the simple fact that you have each other to rely on is great. Take comfort in one another’s presence, be understanding, and be patient. You’ll probably find that your new city feels like a home in no time at all.  

Human Resources Today