When in Doubt, Talk It Out
Regardless of whose career is driving a relocation, experts say the following steps will help smooth the transition:
* Anticipate a move before it happens. If you and your spouse are high-powered professionals (or one of you is), talk about what you'd do if either one of your employers asked you to relocate.
* Discuss the benefits for both partners. "You can't just do it for one person's job," says Janice Wiles, who is relocating her family from Washington, D.C., to Brazil. "The [trailing spouse] has to have clear ideas of what they're going to get out of it."
* Talk. Talk. Talk. If you have any concerns or hesitations or clarifications, talk them out. That includes you, guys. "A lot of men tend to hold back their feelings," says Ray Rankin, who's moved twice to follow his wife's career.
* Get your company to pay for career counseling for your spouse if he or she will have to look for a job. You don't want to become your spouse's career coach.
* Discuss which spouse is better positioned to coordinate the details of the relocation, including finding a home, the right school, or child care.