I’ve noticed that in the world of trailing spouses, “trailing” has become a bad word. People, books, websites, and companies often use the euphemism “accompanying,” or just flat out don’t mention the spouse who comes along for the ride.
I think it’s nonsense.
According to the wikipedia dictionary:
“the term ‘trailing spouse’ is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to a new city because of a work assignment.”
That’s exactly what I did, and I want some credit for it.
I hate euphemisms in general, and to me, the term “accompanying” waters down my experience. Whether or not me, my husband, his workplace, or our acquaintances wish to admit it, I am trailing in multiple ways. I am often defined in relation to him (so my identity therefore trails behind his). My retirement account and career goals trail behind too. I most certainly trailed him on the way to Kenya; without his job and income, we would never be able to come here.
To me, the word “trailing” names part of my experience. I can acknowledge it and move on. A euphemism like “accompanying” erases the reality of my situation.
My husband disagrees.
“Trailing makes it feel like you’re being dragged,” he says.
But to me it doesn’t feel that way. It feels more like a challenge. I’m trailing. Doesn’t that make me sort of like the underdog? Everyone roots for the underdog.
What’s your opinion about the label “trailing spouse”?