How To Provide Aftercare When Your Loved One Comes Back From Living Abroad

Keara Lou Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Not all expats stay away forever.

Some of them come back to their home countries for good. It’s not easy to adjust to being in your home country after being away for a long time.

Everyone has a different reason for coming home. One person starts missing family and friends and feels it’s time. For others, life starts happening, and it forces them to come back. I’ve seen many people in China leave because of a sick parent or a pregnancy.

I left China because I was burned out at my job. It was negatively affecting my mental health. I could see it in my performance at work and from my refusal to leave my apartment on my days off.

It’s hard to adjust to being back home. If you don’t have a sound support system, it can be lonely. It can be hard changing into a different routine if you’ve spent a long time in the same way of life.

This is why aftercare is important

The biggest reason I’ve adjusted so well to being back home is my fiancé. He’s been supportive for the past two months I’ve been back. He hasn’t been pushy about me jumping back into a routine. Every two weeks, he asks how I’m feeling to make sure I’m not lonely. He’s been an excellent support.

Aftercare is different for everyone. What’s been working for me is not going to work for another person while adjusting to being back home. Support comes in many forms.

Be Compassionate.

Not everyone’s going to know the real reason an expat is back home for good. One expat might need to take some time off work to take care of their mental health. They might not feel ready to find that job you want them to get or buy a car. And that’s okay.

Rushing your loved one into doing something they’re not ready for could hurt their mental health. It could damage your relationship with that person. They won’t see you as a support system anymore. They’ll see you as someone who doesn’t understand and will answer any question you have with, “It’s fine.”

You don’t have to buy your loved one a plane ticket to another country. Your loved one could be so burned out that the person loses interest in travel for a while. When your loved one feels ready, they’ll get a job, buy a car, and save up for their next trip.

Until then, please be patient and compassionate. Some will take longer than others to be ready for those things.

Check with your loved one every once in a while.

About once every two weeks, my partner will ask me how I’m feeling. He likes to make sure I’m not sad about being back in America. On those days, I hug him a little tighter because I can see how much he cares by that simple question.

A simple check-in goes a long way. Your loved one might not tell you right away how they’re feeling, but they will appreciate the effort. Sometimes they might tell you in a subtle way how they’re feeling.

If you have the time to do so, learning how to make a meal from their former home country goes a long way. Asking them to tell stories from that country helps, too. Showing interest in their old life helps when they’re adapting.

Aftercare takes time.

You don’t need to bend over backward to make sure they’re adjusting well. There are going to be days where no matter what you do, your loved one is still going to feel sad or nostalgic. It’s normal. When those days come, being a sounding board will help.

It’s weird being back home after years of travel, but with the right support system, adjusting to a new life and routine isn’t so bad. It’s not as lonely with the right people around.

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I'm a Forever Middle-Child who doesn't have the ability to sit still. I often write about travel, relationships, life, books, food, humor, and life as a fat woman. Women's issues are a passion of mine too. I often write a lot of opinion pieces about what's going on in the world with a little touch of politics. I'll write about anything that comes to mind.

Beaverton, MI

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