Monday’s Food for Thought: Trailing Spouse Syndrome

new food for thought

Recently, a good friend of mine forwarded me an article about something called “Trailing Spouse Syndrome.” Upon reading the article, I googled it and was surprised at the amount of articles and blog essays on this phenomenon. I’ve been following my husband around for the last 9 years (both in the USA and the UK), and I can honestly say I’ve seen this, even though, at the time, I didn’t know it had a name or was a syndrome!

Indeed, most of us have moved to support our grads in school; and a lot of time that has most definitely raised issues on identity, marriage, relationships, dreams etc. for those of us in the supporting role. As interesting as it is, I have to say I really dislike the term ‘trailing spouse’. Most of the articles I’ve read are a bit negative, so when I stumbled across this article, I loved the author’s concept of using the time to sort of reinvent yourself, whether you move because of your husband’s job or place in school; or if you move to different state or country!

What do you think? Would you consider yourself a trailing spouse? Do you like or dislike that term? How do you deal with it?

Happy Monday,

~Mandy

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3 thoughts on “Monday’s Food for Thought: Trailing Spouse Syndrome

  1. I don’t particularly like the term either, as it brings to mind the image of a prisoner being dragged along behind, bound at the wrists. That said, although I had never heard this term, I have indeed seen it in action. I do appreciate what the article has to say, particularly about the choice that a spouse has in the outcome of their experience. It acknowledges the joint decision of a move, and the fact that whatever role we as supporters step into, we have a choice in how we respond to and experience that role. I ended up having an exceptionally rich experience after our first move, and am working to make this new change the same. By choosing to see it as an adventure, I am choosing not to just be dragged along behind, but to embrace what is to be found in it for me as well.

  2. Funny enough I moved to the UK with my husband as he did his Masters (now finishing up his pHD). I wanted an ‘international experience’ in life and his role as a student made it easier for us both to live (I could work to support him, I could live in a foreign country and experience a new life). But the term ‘trailing spouse’ is probably suitable at different times over the last 7 years with either of us taking the lead and a lot of the times being in parallel. I think it shows the growth of our relationship, the perspective on breaking the ‘normal’ roles of a spouse, and has tested our love and respect for each other. If one half doesn’t speak up and do something the role of ‘trailing spouse’ will more than likely be unbalanced, making for an overall unbalanced relationship of resentment.

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