Since mentioning Commuting: An Option for Empty Next or Midlife Accompanying Spouses and Partners as a topic to be discussed at the upcoming Families in Global Transition Conference I’ve heard news of 3 expat girlfriends currently living apart from their husbands. All are repatriated, have husbands working away and have been married for many years. Their reasons for living apart are varied – children in need of support, elderly parents, spending time with grandchildren – but all are struggling with marital conflict to a greater or lesser degree.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had friends in this situation and the commuting assignments may not be entirely to blame, but there’s no doubt that living apart puts a huge strain on any relationship, even a long term one. After the conference I’ll report back on what I learned and add to my original post on this topic.
There are huge implications for accompanying partners when marriages fail, particularly if they’ve been out of the workforce for many years. It’s a fictional account, but Robin Pascoe’s blogella about a divorced expat woman will ring painfully true for many.