Expat Marital Bliss & How To Achieve It

Marriage

As I have previously mentioned, marriage among the Expaterati is a notoriously tricky business.

My explanation for this phenomenonamo is that most expat men are a bit crap, but Cousin Clara the psychologist thinks it’s because, “for the nomadic couple, a tremendous strain is exerted upon the marital bond”. We were Skyping in the course of my research for this post, and she said that, “throughout the upheavals and transitions, the joys and the losses, the only other adult who remains a constant is the spouse. So it is that one person who is consistently present to mirror back aspects of the other’s self, while both individuals’ identities go through intense periods of flux… not dissimilar to the challenging transitional phases experienced during adolescence. As such, the relationship – or the third presence in the couple, as I like to look at it – has to hold the difficult process of two separate personalities simultaneously undergoing extreme environmental and emotional changes”.

Now I have no idea what she was on about, but I also read a bizarre story by a ditched expat wifey, and that basically supports my theory. That said, Clara is supposedly the one with all the professional qualifications and experience, so I am willing to humour her (although we all know that my more direct beingness in the Expaterati trenches, backed up by my six-month counselling training, is way more valuable). So it remains a matter of conjecture, why exactly it’s harder to stay married as an expat than as a not-expat, but the fact is that is just effing is. Trust me.

I am therefore going to impart my expert knowledge on how to achieve expat marital bliss, by addressing seven key issues.

1. The spouse travelling a lot
For many corporate roles, frequent travel and spousal absence is a given. The best way to deal with this, in pursuance of marital bliss, is to see it as a great gift from heaven. When your hub is away, ladies, this is an ideal opportunity to be that young woman you once were at university, but now you have tons of cash to really get out there (which I did at uni anyway, but not everyone did, I am told). Your life is your own once more, especially if you don’t work and you have full-time help. You can knit, if you so choose, or you can go out dancing all day and night with your crew. Whatever you want!

2. If you have a job too
Should you find the time to have a job, you fall into a special category, in that I’m afraid you will be required to work triple-hard at expat marital bliss. You will, of course, have two helpers (lucky you!! I want a second helper so badly!!), but you will also need an executive assistant to book date nights, buy gifts for your husband, order your new season lingerie from Agent Provocateur, and so on. Unfortunately not all EAs in the workplace are amenable to taking on personal chores. I would therefore suggest that you get yourself on oDesk – other online freelance platforms are available – and hire a remote assistant located in the Philippines or India. They’re an absolute steal!

Once you’ve got that covered, you will have more time to address the other, more important issues, such as items 5 and 7 below.

3. The spouse being at home
Far worse than the hus being away is when he comes home. During these trying times, the wife needs to adapt to having another child in the house. Some husbands expect to eat dinner with their wives and families when they’re in town, so it is best to find endurance strategies, rather than wallow in resentment. Wallowing will only cost you more in Botox, and will irreparably damage your chi. So my advice is that when he is home, exploit your daytime freedom as much as you can, and, should you be called upon for wifely duties, use the following mantra:

This is only for today. He will be gone again soon. 

Additional chanting, meditation, yoga, and wine are also very helpful to counter the stresses of spousal presence.

4. Going on holiday
Holidays can be a highly anxiety-provoking time for the expat wife, and therefore constitute a major obstacle in achieving marital bliss. My counsel to you is, if at all possible, take the helper with you. Borrow someone else’s too. Take as many helpers as you can.

Unfortunately, Don believes that “family holidays are for the family”, so I’m a little screwed on that front. If you share my horrific predicament, I have three words for you: kids’ club, and babysitting. Go there, babeses. Find hotels with lots of kiddie services. Child-friendly cruises are also an excellent option. If you don’t, you will be overwhelmed with 24/7 irritant-duty, and thusly, the “third presence in the couple”, ie the relationship, will inevitably go down the scheister. Not only will you have an awful holiday, but you may well be metaphorically signing your Decree Absolute.

No helper and no kids’ club? Wave b’bye to your marriage right now, or don’t go on hol. Unless you have no kids, in which case, go you! Have a fantastic trip!!

5. Looking hot
To subsist – nay, thrive – as a member of the Expaterati, it is important to maintain a high standard of self-care (you can check out my complete guide to expat wife beauty and wellbeing here), and this has a dramatic impact on marital bliss. As a wifey, other expat husbands need to be looking at you and thinking, “DAMN, she’s hot!”. If nothing else, you owe that to your husband. You took the vows, baby! So you have to put your a** where your mouth was. Do everything in your power to look as hot as humanely permissible. If you can dream it, you can be it, Ladies!! (I know, I should be a life coach. I just don’t have time! There is way too much pressure these days on women to do it all!)

6. Intimacy and stuff like that
There is an abundance of threat to the sexual relationship of expat couples. Most men have not been vaccinated against yellow fever, and when they encounter – day in, day out – these predatory petite Asian girlies telling them how handsome they are, they really start to believe their own press. As a wifey, there is very little that we can do to change the behaviour of these women, but what we can do is keep our husbands grounded, and withhold sex when necessary. They’ll thank us in the long-run. So remind your hus that he is not all that and a bag of chips. Let him know that you’re there for him despite his rapid physical decline, except when you’re out having fun, or busy reading all the posts on the Real Singapore Expat Wives FB group.

7. Follow your own bliss
As men frequently tell each other, “Happy wife, happy life”. I have heard various interpretations of this phrase, but the one I choose to adopt is that, as wifeys, our main priority is to be happy. We have made the ultimate sacrifice in travelling a bajillion miles away from our friends, families, and often our careers (albeit to awesome places with awesome weather and cheap staff!!), so we thereby earn a free pass to focus on Number One.

So, Ladies, see this time as a beautiful lull between youth and the menopause (and beyond, if there is a beyond), when you can fully self-actualise. Have nail art mani-pedis whenever the urge takes you. Stay on top of the fashion news, and shop accordingly. Do some delightful charity work with the needy. Or get a job. Some of my Expaterati girlies have got themselves jobs recently, and I’m starting to wonder if I should get one myself. I could buy an awesome Hermés briefcase.


There you have it, dear readers: my ground-breaking study on how to achieve expat marital bliss. Follow this advice, and I guarantee that you too will remain a happy, fulfilled expat Mrs for many years to come.

No need to thank me, babeses, but be a love and click one of the share buttons below. All my share counts reset to zero when I upgraded my site, so I’m in need of some bliss myself on that front. I know, right?! Poor moi! First world problems are totes still problems.

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Hot Sexy Pics, Anyone?!

I am interrupting my Shocking Expat Unfoldments three-part series to tell you about something v smart I’m doing for my marriage this week, which you should definitely do too. Given the state of perpetual marital bliss in which I find myself, I have been preparing a ground-breaking piece, entitled Expat Marital Bliss and How to Achieve It, and today I would like to give you one sneak-preview piece of advice.

Marriage among the Expaterati, as even a half-baked expat will know, is a tricky business. Certainly here in Singers, you don’t have to be here long to hear first-hand tales of marital woe. There are a number of fascinating explanations for this, and I am thinking of doing some investigatory journalism on the subject, and then making it into weekly serialised podcasts. Contact me to take part in an interview on the subject of “Expat Marriages Gone Bad”.

In the meantime, I will offer you one key explanation, as follows: the majority of men who are expats are really not up to scratch. Yes, ladies, that probably doesn’t include your delightful hus, but you will note that I have documented a scientificated study of the eight types of expat husband, and therein lies ample evidence of the point I am hereby unequivocally demonstrating.

Putting this issue aside, I want to return to what I am doing this week in pursuance of wifely amazingness. I have booked an exclusive Valentine’s photo shoot with a renowned photographer here in Xīnjiāpō who makes women super look hot. I will be presenting Don with these awesome photos as a gift on the 14th of Feb over a few glasses of Veuve Click, and hey presto, marital bliss achieved. Nailed it for another year! That, girlies, is how it’s done. You’re welcome.

 

If you're lucky you might be able to book her on a different date too (not helper's day off LOL)

If you’re lucky you might be able to book her on a different date too (not helper’s day off LOL)

 

Ladies’ Night, Expat Stylee

Bar Canary

Bar Canary

Now that I have mega sold out by writing a piece that might have popular appeal, I’ll get back to something way more fascinating: my sexy life.

Since coming home from our hard work “holiday” in Boracay, I have been partying proper, in true expat wifey fashion. It has been a rockin’ week of brunches, lunches, and mahusiv nights out (I can’t tell you how totes elates I was to see our helper when we got back). I went out so much that I don’t even mind it’s Sunday today, and I’m on family duty again.

Anybody who’s somebody on this lovely island of Singapore knows that Wednesday night is Ladies’ Night. I like to offer my patronage to my fave venues (if I decide to forgo evening yoga), and last Wednesday me and my girlies full-on twerked the place apart at Bar Canary, Expaterati stylee.

We started at Jaan which is an amazebobs fine dining restaurant, awesomely described by a beautiful fellow blogger babe here, where the unagi eel is to die for. It’s a sensible plan to get some unagi circulating in the gut before imbibing large quantities of bubbly. Because of the medicinal nutrition course I did a while back, I know that eel releases enzymes in the body which work synchronicitously with the champagne grape so to metabolise fats and toxins in such a way that one emerges from the evening experience slimmer, more toned, and better integrated holistically the following day.

Bar Canary has – shock horror – almost doubled its charge for free-flowing Möet, but the good news is that it’s not just the usual hour and a half, it’s all night! The coolio thing about that is you don’t get the icky pub chucking out time feeling like in the UK, where everyone is trying to down as much as they possibly can within a limited time frame. Non-Expaterati peeps may be surprised to hear this, but I have witnessed even the classiest of ladies abso chugging the bubbles between 7.30 and 9PM on a ladies’ night, as if there weren’t 15,000 containers of the stuff just off Sentosa. Quite grotesque. I, of course, would nevva evva do that. Nevva evva evva?? No. Nevva evva evva.

At the bar there were an unusual number of young people, which threw me a little. We don’t generally see youngsters at these things. Turned out it was a wedding party. How sweet! It was their champagne reception, mega-LOLs. Even LOLier, because the chaps in their crew were probs paying the à la carte price hahaha!!

When Blurred Lines came on (I just <3 that song, and anyone who says it’s demeaning to women is ridic, or jealous of Emily’s boobsters, which I am not because mine are v similar to hers), we more experienced ladies showed the little girls what hot moves are truesomely about. Their wedding party guys were practically all over us. 

“Don’t touch what you can’t afford, boyzies!”, Flo shouted above the music, and totes cracked us up. The guys didn’t exactly “touch”, other than some obvioso on purpose bumping into us on the dance floor, but they were defo checking us out big time. The young groom was pretty much undressing me with his eyes.

I was glad I’d worn my zips-up-both-sides Versace little black leather dress with black patent 120 mm Louboutin heels because it’s an outfit that really fires the imagination. People think it’s just an effortless combination I throw together, but I am well aware of the awesome impact I make. For extra on-trendness, I wore long white satin gloves. No sweetses, I wasn’t doing an Amal! Whatevs, and all that human rights crap! I was doing Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, por supuesto. Amal couldn’t carry off a cigarette holder – no way, no how.

After our amazebobs dancing, the young ladies in the wedding party flocked to us, wanting to chat. They were embarrassingly trolleyed (these fillies just can’t hold their drink), and bombarded us with questions about our fabulous designer gear, our priceless jewelry, and our impressive marriages. They were all like, “Oh you’re so beautiful, you’re so gorgeous, you must be 34 tops!”, and we were all like, “Oh honeys, your so sweet!”

We went to the loo together at one point, and the girls started asking me, Flo, and Jen for advice about long-term relationships. They must have had a sense that we’re at the top of our game, and we generously gave them the secrets to expat marital bliss. (Should I write a post about that?)

Then Jen said the weirdest thing! She went all confidential, looking around like she was making sure no one was listening (except me, Flo, and the three wedding party girlies, including the bride, and the CCTV cameras), and said in a stage whisper, “Actually, ladies, I’m having some quite stressful relationship issues right now!”

The girls looked wide-eyed at Flo and I, and Flo said, “Really? But I thought your marriage was perfect! You and Rich always look so happy!”

“Oh! God, yeah, no, we have a great marriage!”, Jen replied, laughing, “No, that’s totally fine! The problem is …”

So we’re all looking at Jen, like wtf is she going to say next, when bride girlie (Bethany, I think her name was) opens her mouth and voms all over the floor, splashing my Loubouties!! Oh god, peeps, what fresh hell is this again now now?!!

We left Bethany in the care of her sistas (we’re mothers ferchrissake! We get enough bodily effluvia at home, than-Q v much!!), and went back to the bar.

Glamorously sitting ourselves back down (carefully arranging our legs to eliminate signs of cellulite), the waiter refilled our glasses, and then there was this totes awkz tumbleweed moment. Flo looked at me, I looked at Flo, and we both looked at Jen. Jen lit a cigarette, stood up, and took a belfie to put on Twitter.

Breaking the silence, Flo said, “Ok now EJ, there’s something I have to tell you. You know I’m not one to chitchat, but I ran into Michelle last week at Prada – OMG have you seen their Spring collection?! – and she said she wants to talk to you.”

I gulped and shuddered (because, as regular readers know, I have a teensy bit of history with Michelle’s hus, Will), but hid it with James Bond-like affect regulation and my pretty Kate Middleton smile. Flo is a bit of a major goss, so there was no way I was going to let anything slip.

“That’s so nice!”, I replied, “Because I haven’t seen her for the longest time!! She probably wants to ask me about the best green smoothies for detoxing – she stopped drinking, right? – or about Third Culture Kid stuff because she knows I did that counselling course, and one of my pages is about expat kids“.

Flo was just going to answer when Bethany and her gang plonked themselves down at our table, asking how we were “so well-preserved at your age”.

As you can imagine, dear readers, enough was effing well enough at that point, so I was like, “Woah babeses!! We’re just here, having a chat, bustin’ a chill, and frankly I think it’s totes time for you to jog on.”

Bethany looked like she had just heard her crappy IB score all over again, and one of her stupid harem said to Flo (she defo wasn’t talking to me), “You don’t look 34, you look 54, and you’re all pathetic wannabes who should be at home with your cheating husbands and your messed up kids!”

As I lifted my champagne flute and launched the contents at the girl’s face, I knew that I was doing the right thing. What kind of parenting have these young people had for them to behave like such utter B’s? Disgraceful.

God forbid my sweet little (ok so she is a bit porky) Milly turns out like that.