Dual Careers: When you make the “Dual Decision” to temporarily leave behind your partner

It has been some time since I posted! No excuse, but my excuse has an explanation! I would like to share my past months experience on “Dual Careers” with you.

Dual Careers are a real “Hot Subject” of discussion as well as, that of “Women’s Careers”. It just happens that I am a woman in this situation, so it is normal that I talk from a woman’s perspective as I am familiar with that, however, I have met many males who put their career on hold for their partner. The situation is the same for everyone!

If you are thinking of temporarily leaving behind your partner while you take up a job/career elsewhere, then the following will give some real-life feedback and thoughts!

My story is part of those who made the same decision: I recently passed the period of one year as an “Expat Solo Returning Partner”. One year ago, my husband and I made the difficult family choice to leave him behind on his expat assignment, while I returned to my career/work and brought the family with me.

Looking back, it was the right choice for us. A choice that came with the inevitable problems of separation: on my end; daily, assuming a career and being the only parental physical presence for the children. On my husband’s ends, the solitude of being away from his family, missing out on all those moments he enjoyed spending with his children and family, missing out on them growing up,  and on top of that having to deal with our recurrent phone calls to manage our differences at a long distance!

Despite the challenges of the past year, the decision was the right one for us. Our children are well integrated in their new schools and very happy. After several long months of being apart, the family will be reunited again soon!

To understand the ins and outs of a Dual Career decision, the best way to be objective and give valuable advice to others, is to have personally lived an experience which puts both parties into discussions around each parties’ career, aspirations and wellbeing.

If you are thinking of going down the same pathway that we embarked on one year ago, my advice is:

To succeed:

Both partners need to agree and be supportive. Both parties should understand the importance of each partners career and how that can operate and be essential for personal and family fulfilment. A woman can lead a career while continuing to be a good mother and wife. The same applies to a man who is in the same situation!

It is easier to return to an environment that you are familiar with, otherwise a complete change of country/environment where you are alone without the support of family/friends in place, will be challenging. 

To conclude: Each situation is different, however, if you don’t try, you will never know if it was the best LONG TERM CHOICE

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Author. Brid Doherty-Appriou

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