How to Thrive as an Expat Spouse without Children?
While all expat spouses face diverse challenges when moving abroad, those without children encounter particular difficulties that demand an additional effort, and a positive attitude to integrate successfully.
Expat spouses with children tend to receive the support of the, generally international, school their children attend. They normally receive some sort of settling in support, guidance in day-to-day issues and various lists on who-to-call/where-to-go in different mundane or emergency situations. They usually join different school associations or parent groups that allow them to integrate quickly and have a support system from the very beginning of their move. They tend to find themselves pretty busy with school related activities or with social events with other families in their circle. This is an immense help when starting as an expat in a new destination.
Expat spouses without children do not get that initial support in an automatic way; they need to be resourceful to find that starting guidance and that much needed network to thrive outside their country. How can they do that? By:
– Creating a routine that keeps them busy and motivated: focusing on things and activities that they enjoy,
– Trying to join “groups” with like-minded people (professional associations, sports groups, gym classes, cultural clubs and expat groups),
– Looking for a support system or form a network that can help/accompany them when needed,
– Being ready to “fly solo”/be on their own in some circumstances,
– Searching for a job, a volunteer position, a professional activity, a course or something that keeps their mind occupied and allows them to meet different people,
– Cultivating old friendships: keeping in contact with friends back home or abroad via online tools,
– Making the most out of their time: by traveling, learning, experiencing
Expat spouses without children tend to have “in theory” more spare time than those with children, but if they find the right formula and are proactive, they could find themselves productively busy and fulfilled.