3 Unglamorous Facts About Being an Expat Wife

When you think of the “Expat Life”, you would imagine a luxurious adventure in a foreign city – almost like a prolonged holiday with a serving of work on the side. 

When you think of an “Expat Wife”, you would imagine a lady of leisure, enjoying the finer things in life. Maybe you would imagine her lounging by the pool, sipping tea at a café, and attending yoga classes, and maybe even with a cute kid in tow. 

Sure, being an expat wife has its perks. You are living in a new city with plenty of opportunities to explore and learn new things. But it is not all shiny and sexy. Here are 3 unglamorous facts about being an expat wife nobody told you about:

  1. You will feel lonely
    • Being an expat wife often means being in a foreign city without your usual social circle. While your husband can easily assimilate into a new network of colleagues and clients, you will have a tougher time making friends if you’re not working. There are plenty of interest groups that you can join within the expat community to build a support group in your new area.
  2. You will lose your sense of self (or maybe just a part of it)
    • Think about all the things you have achieved in your home country – the career you have established, the friends you have made, the hobbies you have developed. When you decide to uproot everything to move across the country or across the globe to support your partner’s career, you will inevitably lose some of that, and hence a bit of yourself. You will certainly feel a sense of loss when you have to give these things up. But hey, that is such an admirable thing to do! You are fully embodying the wedding vows to be by your spouse’s side regardless of circumstances. So, good on you!

  3. You will lose financial independence
    • Unless you’re making the move on your own independent visa, chances are that you will be tagged as your partner’s “dependent”. This means that most official things like phone subscriptions, bank accounts and other memberships might require your spouse’s input. In other words, you pretty much have to ask your partner for permission for even the simplest of things. In this age of the “modern, independent woman”, it can get frustrating when you cannot be your own person, and that is definitely one of the least glamorous things for me as an expat wife.

Like most things in life, being an expat wife has its sexy and unsexy bits. The most important thing to do to ensure that it is as pain-free and as enjoyable as possible is to be prepared. Being blindsided by the glitz and glamour of the stereotypical expat life will only set you up for disappointment. Having considered the less talked about side of being an expat wife will help you approach your new life prepared and ready for your adventure with the person you’re moving across seas and lands for!

If you have extra tips, do share them in the comments! 

The Expat Wife

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