With this nomadic lifestyle, we go through a lot of transitions with:
- New jobs
- Side gigs
- New ideas
- Losing jobs, opportunities, or clients
- New feelings of what we want to do
- Learning what we don’t want to do
- Personal health changes, and
- Supporting a family member or friend who needs help
As couples, we all have seasons of ebbs and flows. Some seasons, one of us is totally solid with full clarity of what we want and a good stable job, while the other one is feeling lost, confused, disappointed, and uncertain with the lifestyle, the job situation, the vision, or the path forward.
For Adam and I and our journey as a nomadic couple, Adam’s always had a clear vision of what he wants and how to build it with Nuventure CPA. However for me, I’ve been the one with uncertainty of what I want. For years, I’ve been experimenting and learning with freelance writing, authoring books, photography, social media consulting, and online marketing. I’ve been in a constant ebb and flow of trying things, learning what I love and what I definitely don’t want to do, family health problems, and having new feelings. This list of tips are things I’ve learned from my own journey and have appreciated how Adam’s supported me in the ups and downs of experimenting and curiosity.
Also, these tips include insights from other Nomad Collabers. I shared this question in a group and Emily Mills shared her journey with her husband Joseph. She shared we’re, “Going through this right now. Joseph’s job is getting unbearable and he wants to quit and do something else or start his own thing. Here’s what I’ve/we’ve done so far.”
So, how do we support our significant other when they’re in a season of transition? Here are nine tips to keep in mind when you’re supporting your SO.
1. Listen & Acknowledge Their Feelings
When a change is happening in someone’s life, they’re feeling a lot of different emotions including sadness, disappointment, confusion, discouragement, and lack of confidence. It’s important to acknowledge your SO’s feelings by simply saying, “I’m sorry this is happening. This sucks,” instead of giving advice, jumping straight to the positive side of things, or trying to coach them through it. Most often your better half doesn’t want to be coached by you, they want to feel understood and supported by you.
2. Focus on the Positive
Once you’ve acknowledged their feelings and the negative situation they’re in, encourage them in the positive side of things with a perspective of new opportunity and potential new adventure. However, be prepared to continuously acknowledge their feelings through multiple conversations as they reflect and share how they’re feeling before you jump on the positivity train.
3. Ask How They Want to Be Supported
Make sure to ask your partner how they want or need to be supported during this transition time. Don’t assume you know. Listen to their answer and respect it. If you need to write it down somewhere in your wallet or journal to be reminded in how they want to be supported, do that.
4. Encourage Reflection, Curiosity, & Reconnecting with the Things and People That Give Energy
Many people find their identity in their job and what they do and how they live. When they lose that piece of their lives, they feel lost.
One thing I’ve found helpful in times of transition is to do the Strengths Finders assessment to relearn and acknowledge what I’m naturally good at. The strengths always remind me of my skills and my talents. Those characteristics make up who I am, not my job. I can use my skills and talents in any job.
Also, Strengths Finders can help you put words to your strengths when you’re applying for other jobs and opportunities. This can help your partner find a path forward and move towards opportunities and positions they’re good at.
Next, be patient. Understand your SO won’t have everything figured out right away. It takes someone time to think through what they want next and navigate what they like and don’t like. Encourage your significant other to seek what they’re curious about. When you seek the things you’re curious about, you’ll either dig deeper because you’re excited about it, or you’ll move on because you reached your maximum interest level.
Also, encourage your partner to do things or be around people who lift them up and give them energy.
5. Be Patient & Don’t Micromanage
Again, be patient. Remember, a transition is a process and takes time. Your partner may do things differently than you would and that’s okay. Refrain from micromanaging, continuously asking for their progress, and making them feel like you’re parenting them. Instead, wait for them to share small successes. When they share, support them and celebrate their steps forward.
6. Encourage Them to Find External Support
Encourage your SO to find others to talk with and set goals with. Many times, you’re not the best person to set goals with and be an accountability partner. However, maybe it’s a friend from back home, maybe it’s another person or group in Nomad Collab, or maybe it’s a coach.
A life coach is a valuable investment if you find the right one. They can help you navigate your road blocks to reach specific goals whether it’s tangible like getting a job or determining what you want to in life and how to get it. I’ve worked with Mollie Kinsman in the past and working with her was a game changer.
7. Take a Break for Yourself & Take a Break Together
For you, you may need time to get space and take a break and that’s okay. Your SO may be down in the dumps a lot. Make sure to make time for yourself doing what you enjoy to keep yourself in high spirits.
Also, Emily Mills shared, “Take a break. Decision fatigue is real. Take a step back to think about other things, get distracted, have fun, etc. Sometimes you can’t make a good decision until you’ve had time to think clearly.”
8. Over Communicate
Take time to communicate clearly. Emily shared, “Transition is hard enough as it is… there’s no reason to make assumptions. Now is the time to over-communicate everything to make sure everyone is clear about decisions, consequences, state of being, etc.”
9. Work as a Team Toward Your Future Goals with Clear Expectations
You may be able to give your SO time to experiment and explore new possibilities. To make sure you’re both on the same page with timing and expectations, work together through your budget to decide how much time they realistically have to figure things out.
“1. Identify personal/couple needs and goals. Ask questions like:
- How much income do we need to survive?
- How much emergency fund do we have?
- How will a transition affect our goals?
- What are our needs, and how can we help each other meet those needs?
- What can you do to support the transitioning person?
(For me, I try to pick up slack or take on some things Joseph might normally do, or just make concentrated efforts to serve him so the overwhelm of transition feels lesser. Like, cleaning the place up, surprising him, a small present, etc. Love languages is nice to know for stuff like this.)
- Set priorities together. For us, this looked like seeing what we care about most. Is it money? Stability? Sanity? Opportunity? How would a transition affect priorities? (For us, we care about personal health and happiness more than income. We’re always fine to live on less if it means happier and healthier. Ex: We don’t want to stay in a job SOLELY because it pays well.)”
Supporting your significant other through a transition is hard for both of you.
We hope these tips help you when times are tough to be patient and work through it together.
Please share: If you have any other ideas, techniques, or stories of transition that’s helped you and your SO through this type of season, please share below! Your advice and story may help guide another couple to the other side of a difficult season.