Well, a lot has happened in the month of September. It’s hard to believe that one’s life can change so rapidly within 30 days, but it has. No, I’m not pregnant. No, we’re not adopting (I know that’s the conclusion most readers will jump to since this is a childless blog), but we are facing a major life change.
My husband has taken a new job 250 miles away, and for right now I’ll be remaining in our current city.
This is not a separation that has anything to do with the health of our marriage but everything to do with my husband needing a new direction in his career and the ability to make a larger income than can be made by continuing to work for a non-profit organization with no foreseeable room for advancement. The hard facts are: He has a job there, and I don’t yet. We need my income to remain steady for now. We have a house to possibly sell, five pets to think of, and there is a possibility he can transfer back to this area in a year if he decides the new area he’s in is not for us.
Honestly, I’m not 100% happy about the change Right now, I’m about 25% happy and a 100% of that 25% is for my husband. He will be working for a major international company…a company he researched for quite sometime before even applying…and it’s in a field he’s passionate about. That’s the upside for now. The downside is there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives now. We’re going to be in a state of financial and location-al limbo for quite a while. He will also be going into a situation where a good chunk of his salary will come from commissions. That is a little unnerving, although the opportunities this company gives their employees to succeed are very good. The major inconvenience is the location of job. Although it’s in a beautiful seaside city which would be a wonderful place to live (another dream my husband has had is to live near the ocean) it’s six hours away from our families. We had been trying to get closer to our families since our parents are beginning to succumb to the process of aging, but an open door in that area with the same company was slammed shut because someone in the company wished to transfer there (transfers are honored before new hires). He would’ve had the job there otherwise.
I don’t have the extreme gene, and I’m not about to quit my job and go to a new city and try to scramble for a new one in a stinky job market. That’s not my idea of a fun adventure. Until just a few weeks ago I didn’t know there was an actual descriptor for the place I find myself . I’m called a “trailing spouse“. The term was coined as a descriptor for spouses of expatriates, but in the new world economy it’s happening more and more in mainstream Western culture. One spouse moves for a new position, and the the remaining spouse stays behind to be sure everything works out and is nailed down before initiating a move. Many times the trailing spouse has to compromise their own careers in order to be with their spouse. The problem for me is not leaving my job it’s leaving behind the security and salary of my current job. I never thought after 20 years of marriage we’d find ourselves in a situation where we’d have to live apart for an extended period of time. You just never know what live is going to throw you.
Of course, in a few months hard choices will have to be made. Will I move there? Will we attempt to sell our house in a less than friendly real estate market? Will we maintain this less-than-optimal living arrangement for the full year before he can ask for a transfer back here?
Lots of questions with no immediate answers.