Do you wonder what it’s really like to be the supporting partner in a relocation?
We receive many concerns from supporting partners as they relocate for their spouse’s new job in a new country. While your partner embarks on an exciting new job opportunity, meeting and connecting with new colleagues at work, you may be left wondering, “What about me?” Navigating your own journey in a new culture, without the same job security as your partner, can be worrying. While there will be many unique challenges, the journey as a relocating partner can also be exciting and fulfilling.
Dominique Wooten Embretson is a true example of this! He relocated in 2019 from the US as the supporting spouse to his partner who took a job at Swedish company. In 2020, he opened his own company here in Sweden, BRAVE Fitness, a high intensity interval training and functional fitness outdoor gym and studio. Dom and business partner, Jose Urueta, developed a cool concept based on CrossFit movements with “an all levels always” approach to working out. However, finding his success was not without challenges. We sat down with Dominique to hear about his experience and give insight on what it’s really like to be the supporting spouse during a relocation!
What did you expect life would be like when you moved to Sweden?
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I was prepared for a bit of culture shock but there was no fear. We were ready for an adventure.
What were your main challenges related to the relocation process?
Everyday things are just a little different. Going to the bank, grocery shopping, public transportation. It was challenging at first to accept small differences. Things that felt easy before were just routine. The awareness of needing new routines became a goal.
Describe your experience of searching for a job when you moved to Sweden.
The job search was interesting. First, I wanted to work in the industry I was working back in the US. Then, I decided to take a risk. Moving to another country was already something new and exciting, so why not jump in the deep end with everything? Once we were a little settled, of course.
The job search only lasted a couple of months. I did find it difficult in Sweden to get responses on job applications. Patience was really important. Eventually, I did land a job through staying on top of the application process. Checking in and communicating with the hiring parties kept me at the top of their lists.
What led you to start your own business in Sweden?
Deciding to work in fitness was very frustrating as there are different certifications and schooling required, regionally. It was tough getting all the information I needed. Ultimately, with support from Human Entrance, I made the decision to start my own business. I have my US certifications which is all you need to do it on your own. I remember this conversation with my Human Entrance Move Counselor very well. We both said, why not! And if it doesn’t work- try something else.
What were the main challenges of starting your own business in Sweden?
I would not call it a challenge BUT make sure you are set and organized with registering your information. Do it right the first time. Have a Swedish friend help you with the language barrier. Go to the English-speaking seminars provided by the Government regarding starting your own business. All things helped us start Brave the right way, the first time, and with our any issues.
What surprised you the most about starting your own business in Sweden?
Our client base was a huge surprise. We managed to grow and double in numbers with in the first months solely due to our clients sharing information word of mouth. The Swedish people will fully support a product they believe in!
What has brought you the most joy through your relocation process?
Everyday I wake up proud of my life. My partner is doing well at his job. My business is a huge part of our community. I am living a dream. It wasn’t the dream I had, but it is the one I want.
I often say I can’t believe I’m doing all of this here in Sweden. It is extremely joyful.
Any words of wisdom for other relocating partners who may be worried about making the move for their partner’s job?
So much… not enough time in this interview! If anyone is relocating to Sweden and wants to chat about it, I am available!
I will say that supporting your partner must come first. They are on the same journey as you but they have an extra piece of the puzzle that you may not with regards to the job element. Even if you are still working or relocate without work, your partner needs you. Be there for them through the transition.
One more thing… trust your gut! If you feel like the answer is yes to an opportunity, take it, do it, and figure out the details! It will be worth it later!
Thank you so much to Dom for sharing his inspiring story. We hope that sharing his story can ease some of the worries you may experience as a relocating partner. Sweden is a fruitful country with plenty of opportunity for all!
Human Entrance also offers partner & family support in our relocation packages. If you have any questions, you can contact us email@example.com