Dangers of partners joining family abroad …a make or break situation


MOST people have over the years left their families to go abroad for so-called ‘greener pastures’.
The idea is that if things go according to plan, they will come back and take their families to join them.
The decision to go abroad is a very serious one and it takes a lot of sacrifices.
Families stand or fall with these decisions.
We must debunk the stereotype of Diaspora partners as living pampered and comfortable lives.
Joining your other half abroad comes with a lot of problems and challenges.
Depending with the time you have spent apart, there is a challenge of getting used to each other again.
Partners pick new characters when they are alone and try to fit them in the new-found life.
There is a rumour that people abroad are of loose morals and as such, your partner is likely to join you with that thought in mind.
Digressing from that monstrous thought is a mountain to climb.
These prejudices explain why so many partners struggle to be with each other in the diaspora.
Expatriate partners have long been the envy of partners trapped on the treadmill of everyday life back home.
The majority are following their partners on their work assignment abroad, so these people get to quit their jobs, escape cultural rites and enjoy carefree lives – pampered by partners with fine food and world travel.
Right. Really.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of those going overseas to join their families are neither pampered by housekeepers, nor shielded from the stresses of adapting to life in a foreign culture.
Daily tasks abroad can feel one hundred times more difficult to accomplish than back home, and life feels anything but easy and carefree.
These people are grappling with the loss of their careers, identity and support network back home.
They are losing their ability to maintain their wonder human façade – a persona they have likely worked hard to cultivate for years – and that can hurt.
They are thrown into useless jobs and are treated badly by both their new bosses and partners.
For women it is even difficult.
There are men who cannot share their money with their spouses.
Some expect their spouses to contribute in everything from food to rent.
Equality shakes from pockets to household chores.
Some men are shocked with this treatment and the foundations of the marriage are shaken to the core.
Of course, not all partners struggle and not all who struggle do so all of the time.
However, I would be willing to bet that more foreigners experience periods of struggle than they, or we, tend to admit.
Some are emotionally abused by their partners and the ‘air’ of the new environment is killing.
Many feel that they are somehow letting the other side down by not knowing everything there is to know about living and loving globally.
Consequently, many simply do not want to question or speak up about the challenges of international relocation, so they slap a smile on their face that may remain frozen there for years.
This causes untold stress and suffering which breaks many hearts.
Pressure from relocation can destroy families.
In mid-2016 Matilda’s world was turned upside down following her husband’s job transfer to London city.
With two young children in tow, and none of the expat support infrastructure enjoyed by families of larger companies, Matilda’s first six months in London were a nightmare.
She could not understand what was happening to her and started taking medication for anxiety and unexplained stomach problems.
Little did she realise that her feelings represented a completely normal piece of the relocation jigsaw, and that taking medication to cope with the transition process was again, not uncommon.
What made it worse was finding out that her husband was cheating, and her world crumbled.
With no one to turn to she committed suicide.
If anyone is still not convinced that expats do not always have it easy, you should remember that many suicides in the UK are committed by the new comers.
Partner resistance has also been named as the number one family challenge.
Expatriate life, for women and for men, is a balance of both the good times and bad times.
The absence of supporting families makes the situation very bad.
Far from being enticed by the high life, those of us that sign up as expats more than once do so not because life abroad is easy, but because we typically love the stimulation of a challenge.
There is something about overcoming seemingly insurmountable hurdles that energises us and makes us feel alive.
We learn to overcome the worst of the tough times so that we can better appreciate the best of the good times.
Expat life is an adventure.
But the victims are the weaker ones.
They are reminded that they have been rescued from an economic dark hole.
They are chided, scorned and ridiculed.
They are shocked with the change their partners have undergone.
Above all this there are those left home who think money grows from the tree and continue pouring endless demands.
Relocating is indeed a serious decision to make.
It is make or break.
For views and comments, email: vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk


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