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Trailing spouse

Community Member
I'm in a bit of a spot. Australia is great, it's an awesome country but it's not home . I moved here towards the start of 2017. I followed my academic partner after some time doing long distance. This was not a move i did easily, I left a job I loved (admin), was well respected in the firm & had moved up. I had a year in my new position which was testing but when things got easier for me my partner put the pressure on for me to move. I think he was worried I would stay. Initially his contract was only for a year but it keeps being moved out. Me....ive found it difficult to settle here. I'm in my late thirties and was set up to purchase my own home. Work wise I've found it difficult. I've gone from being high functioning to suffering anxiety & unable to stick at a job. I left the first one due to having a unprofesdional bullying boss. Almost a year in I'm missing my home country more and more. At this stage in life we should be thinking about a family (which we need treatment for); instead I'm dealing with anxiety and wondering what on earth I'm going to do career wise now. I miss my lifestyle back home, and worry that I should be spending time with my parents who are in their senior years. A job came up back in our home country (6 hours drive) and initially my partner was going to apply. Now he's saying that he's on a better gig here. I feel I'm in a no win situation & there is no end date, I've never had depression before and I think it's triggered by this situation. If I make him move home I worry that he will resent me, if I don't I will be miserable. I'm starting to think the only solution is for me to end it with him which will be painful. Financially this move has been so bad for me.
7 Replies 7

Community Member

Hi Morpork79,

Firstly, welcome to the forums. Sorry to read about your situation, that sounds like a very tough one.

I think in reality you have to start looking after your own happiness and wellbeing, other than the job situation have you explained to him how you are feeling in general? How your anxiety has been triggered and your needing to be closer to your family is also a requirement? Ending the relationship is hard but you need to think carefully about what you want to do. Financially is another thing as well. I think all in all you need to look out for yourself as best you can.

Are you currently talking to your GP about how you are feeling with the anxiety and possible depression?

Please remember you can call the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636 24/7 to discuss how you are feeling.

Please, post back as much as you like, we are always happy to talk.

My best for you,


Community Member
Thank you. Yes I have spoken to him. It's a difficult one. My career has taken a massive hit for his along with my confidence. Have spoken to my GP who has given me anxiety meds although I haven't started these yet. I think it's all situation based with having a stressful year when he first left and then I guess the stress continued when i needed to make up my mind to leave and then again with having nothing and no one apart from him familiar to me. I guess it would be useful to speak to people in similar situations but not sure where to find them. He has now applied for the job back home but he's not convinced he will get it. I'm unsure what will happen to us if he doesn't, as I think I will need to leave before the end of the year 😞

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi. I am so sorry that you find yourself in such a painful and difficult situation. I know firsthand how difficult it can be, as I married an Aussie and relocated to Australia some thirty years ago. In my experience, the homesickness intensified when we started our family. Like your partner, my husband was keen to stay in Australia. For the sake of my health, our children and our marriage, we relocated to my home county when our children were young. We decided to return to Australia a few years later, with a commitment to visit my home country every year.

None of this was easy. What I learned is that you must talk openly and honestly with your partner. You cannot ignore your feelings or your health may really suffer. You must make looking after your mental health a priority. I also want to caution that moving home may not be the answer to all of your issues because you may find that home is not exactly the same place you left. Your memories are fixed in a certain place and time but time has moved on for everyone at home. Nothing stays the same.

I have also learned that it gets easier to live away from home as time goes on. You realise that your relationships with family and friends back home are still there and they can flourish and be loving, it's just a little different. Skype, Facebook and the phone are wonderful technology. So are aeroplanes! You may also find that in time you will choose your own Aussie family--treasured friends that help fill the void.

Give yourself time to make a considered decision. Be kind to yourself. I am happy to continue this conversation if you think it will help.

Sorry for my slow reply and thank you for your response. It is good to correspond with someone who is in a similar situation. My partner did apply for the position back home; but unfortunately, this wasn’t successful, so I feel like our fate is sealed her for the time being. Yes, a lot has changed in the few months I have been away; two of my good friends have had babies and another is due shortly. I feel like I am missing lots of significant moments. I get regular updates from them which is nice; but also bitter sweet since we can’t have them naturally. I have a job now which will potentially continue; so I have some more freedom financially. There sure is no easy answer for this; and I feel that what ever way I decide to go I am going to lose something. I have made a couple of good friends here so that helps make it a little bit nicer. Thank you for your help.

Hi Morpork

It is lovely to hear from you again. Firstly, congratulations on securing employment. This is great news and a major achievement--particularly as the job market is tight and you are not feeling your best. Good on you!

As you say, working will give you more financial freedom. it will also provide a distraction and keep your mind busy. Sometimes when we have a lot of time on our hands it's really challenging to stop worrying.

I am really pleased that your partner applied for the job back home. It's unfortunate he didn't get it but at least he is trying. From where I sit, this means he hears you, he cares about you and he wants the relationship to work too. I hope that his attempt to bring about change helped to lift your spirits.

The unfortunate reality is that neither of you are likely to be happy to move back home and have no money and no work. But there will be more jobs to apply for back home. Encourage your partner to keep trying and if he's reluctant, unsure or hesitant, I suggest you seek couples counselling.

You can also start applying for jobs back home. This will take some pressure off of your partner to be responsible alone for fixing the problem. He may be willing to go with you if you land a good position. You don't have to decide right now what you will do if isn't willing. Just take it one step at a time. See what your options are. Let it unfold a bit.

Do you think you could continue to try and make the best of it here for another three or six months while you both see how the job hunt unfolds and, if necessary, if counselling helps?

Community Member


I am in a similar position to you, my husband is from Australia and has informed me that he will never leave to return back to the UK. I arrived here 9 months ago with the promise that I would try it for a few years here but ultimately want to start a family in the UK surrounded by all my family and friends. This is no longer the case and I feel trapped, I have two choices..Stay here and start a family but desperately want to be at home or leave and go home alone. The latter would break my heart as other than this issue we have a wonderful marriage but I’m not sure I can be truly happy here. He has asked me to make a decision sooner rather than later.

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Bec02

Welcome to the bb forum and thank you for sharing your story.

You are certainly in a tough spot. I can understand fully why you feel trapped. It's seems really unfair that your husband changed the agreement after you married and arrived. I'm wondering if something happened, such as a family member being ill?

When I married my husband our agreement was that we would live here and travel to Canada annually. I was happy and didn't feel trapped.

After we had children I felt differently and wanted to move home but he didn't. I was angry, hurt, dedperately homesick and had that awful trapped feeling. My stomach churned day and night. He was upset because I was changing our agreement.

We then shifted to Canada with the agreement that we would move back to Australia if my husband couldn't adjust, find work, etc. He did succeed but in the end we found we were both happy to move back because we felt we'd have a better life here. It was hard, none-the-less. But I wasn't trapped anymore, I chose to make Australia my home. We've been married 30 years.

I think you are really going to struggle here and continue to feel trapped, especially when starting a family, unless you decide to make it home.

I would really suggest seeing a counsellor to work through the issue. Maybe start on your own and then invite hubby if you think it would help. How does that sound to you?