I have been an Expat myself since young adulthood and do know from experience, what it feels like to move around often and start all over. It is not always easy to feel at home, once the initial excitement of being in a new place has worn off and a person realizes that all of his old familiarities & support network is no longer there. If he does not speak the local language yet and offices are run less officient then he is used to, things can feel pretty frustrating or unsettling.
Some people adjust easier after having relocated than others do. It is normal for Expat families to face many challenges. A lot of emotional strength is required from a person to balance out the ups and downs one might experience when having to start all over. Initially he might not fully understand what is going on. He might experience life as dull or feel empty, sad, out of place, frustrated, angry, lonely or indifferent and does not know how to find his way back to feeling content and happy as he used to feel.
Here is an example about how things could unconsciously unfold for an expat family;
Family "X" ,with 2 children, moves from Germany to Singapore. The couple decides that the wife will become a stay home mom, since she wants to have a break from work and the children need the stability now for one parent to be at home.
After the relocation and new role as a full-time mom, she begins to feel a lack of purpose and becomes a bit hopeless. She misses her friends and the challange of being around equals. It is easier for the husband to adjust to the new location, since he feels fulfilled by his work and he has still work colleagues whom he shares a common interest with. The wife has became the main parental figure now, especially since her husband is gone a lot on long business trips. He doesn't think further about his wifes new position and focuses mainly on being the sole bread winner, which he takes seriously. She misses him & her support network from home and feels left alone with everything. She also doesn't have enough time anymore to attent to her own interests since the kids need her attention due to their relocation struggles. She lies to herself and pretends that things are fine, but resents her husband for bringing them to this new place and begins to nitpick on him. He does not understand why she is upset, since she has in his eyes a dream life now, being able to stay home with the kids and hanging out at the pool while he has to work so hard.
The roles have shifted in this family and there is a danger that the couple will grow apart, if they don't get soon a comman understanding about what has caused their difficulties and what needs to be done, so everyone can feels happy again.
Every individual, couple and family who has relocated faces different challenges with different needs and reactions to their given circumstances. Some Expats who have moved a lot might have figured out how to cope with those changes more easily, than others do. Being an Expat does not need to be difficult, if you are able to stay in touch with who you are and don’t neglect yourself and inner needs during the process of the transition.
If you find yourself having gotten off track and your feelings of happiness & contentment have diminished, it is time to seek help and look at yourself. The first step in the right direction is for you to figure out, recognize and understand what you are feeling and missing in your given situation. Once you realize what your inner needs are, it should help you to make the necessary changes, take charge of your life again and you should be able to move forward to a more fulfilled life.
There might be many different reasons that cause you, your partner & you, or your children difficulties since your relocation. Please know that you are not alone. There is help to assist you to get back on track to feeling content and happy again. Come and speak to us at California Counseling. We would like to walk beside you to help sort out which peaces of yourself you have left behind or denied since your relocation. We offer those services to you in English or German.