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Sometimes it’s the Guy Who Trails

A hundred years ago, expatriate roles were clearly defined: the husband moved to a foreign country to advance his career, and the wife “trailed” behind the husband. Despite a substantial shift in the status of women over the years, this scenario is not uncommon today. However, the rise of dual-career couples and a slow but steady blurring of traditional gender roles have led to the establishment of a new player in the expat game: the male trailing spouse.

The results of a 2009 survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services indicated that 20% of expatriate managers were women. Although that number fell slightly in the 2010 report, the trend of sending senior female employees on international assignments is expected to increase. The male trailing spouse, it would seem, is here to stay.

Man trouble

What are the challenges facing the male trailing spouse? In many ways, they’re the same ones his female counterparts have always grappled with: culture shock, isolation, language barriers, loneliness. (Plus, of course, the mammoth task of getting a household up and running while facilitating the kids’ adjustment in addition to her own.)

Continue Reading on I was an expat wife

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