Trailing spouse, but opportunity knocks

Trailing spouseThe definition of the trailing spouse is a partner who moves home to accommodate the work requirement of their spouse. In my case, I am a willing and active trailing spouse.

After our marriage, in 2011 here in Cyprus, we actively decided that we would move here to provide a better quality of life for our future family together. Given our respective careers (I was merely admin whereas J is an IT pro) It was determined that he would have a much better chance of employment, without having to learn the language first.

Greek is not an easy language to learn and I am virtually unemployable without a certain degree of fluency.

In the first three months of our life here, we lived in a different city with my hubby’s parents, and the hubby worked 24 hour shift pattern. This did not make it easy for me to even look for work, never mind actually hold a position. It was at this point I decided to make my own employment.

Looking for work was not an essential requirement, as cost of living here is significantly lower than the UK, and I was in the enviable position of being able to pursue a course I had been dying to follow since I was a child/teenager.

Unfortunately, I was starting from scratch, with no experience, just a lot of enthusiasm and penchant for the written word. I had to search for work and found a few online freelance websites. It is not well paid work. I was working for people in places such as India, the Philippines and other countries where the pay is diabolical.

In addition to the poorly paid work online I started looking for local organisations for which I could volunteer my services. I needed to create a substantial amount of ‘work’ experience to add to my résumé, to make myself more employable in my chosen field. It’s working, but there is a separate issue.

The other issue is thus; I’m not making much money. I’m fast gaining experience and skills and I have a nicely expanded résumé but I’m still earning peanuts. I am still very much dependent on the hubby for my upkeep and I have discovered that I liked the feeling of independence that working and earning a reasonable salary gave me. I was able to pay the rent, do the shopping, and buy household goods and my own clothes.

I don’t like feeling dependent. I love my husband and he NEVER makes me feel like a burden and he has actively supported my efforts. In addition, he has actively discouraged me from looking for work, he and I both know that I will hate. However, my current inability to contribute to the family finances is beginning to skew my own feelings of self-worth.

I don’t lack focus, I just keep writing, for others and myself, but the lack of purpose is driving me to insanity. What purpose is there, to work purely to cover your costs?

What prompted this initial foray into self-deprecating musing? How do you ask your spouse for cash to buy them birthday present?

There is a ray of light at the end of my self-imposed learning tunnel, and no, it’s not an oncoming train. I am a native English speaker, and I live in a city with a large international corporate population. I may not have an English degree, but I do now have the experience to apply for the content writing positions that are regularly posted on the job sites. The Lingua Franca of the business world is still English (no matter how arrogant that is).

I will admit, I like the benefits of working from home, I don’t have to worry about the weather, owning a ‘business’ wardrobe or whether I can get a decent cup of tea.

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