The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2018 43 Don’t expect much embassy support. Embassy support is not guaranteed, say the women—mostly women—who have been through it. “We’re so used to relying on the embassy,” says Jennifer, “and all of a sudden it’s not my embassy, it’s his embassy. My support system fell out from under my feet.” Look instead to friends at post, who can help you figure out what needs to be done. Do contact your CLO. Like FLO, says Frost, they “adhere to a policy of confidentiality” and “can serve as a listening ear regard- ing the stress of family concerns.” One former CLO reports that her embassy worked with several couples to find separate housing at post so they could delay the spouse’s departure: This doesn’t always happen, but you can request housing assistance, and the embassy is supposed to work to accommodate the family where possible. Pick a new home base. Figure out where your support is going to come from in the United States. You’ll show up there with no job, no car, no house and lots of baggage, both emotional and literal. If you can, plan to go to a place where you have supportive friends or family to help you through this first part. Break down tasks. It was overwhelming, says Jennifer, but “I broke it down into individual tasks that needed to be done: Buy plane tickets. Find a school. Find an apartment.” Open your own bank account right away, advises Jean. Make a list of specific tasks that need to be completed so you can start to gain some control over your situation. Get therapy. Jean’s mother found her a hometown therapist, whom she met with the day her plane landed. Jennifer worked with an online counselor through the Truman Group, which spe- cializes in expat issues. Both women continue to see their thera- pists to this day, as they work through the lingering pain caused by their divorces. FLO has a crisis management officer who can “provide confidential guidance and referral,” according to FLO’s website. FLO also recommends that you contact Employee Con- sultation Services—email for a list of licensed clinical social workers. Good legal counsel is important, because there are many significant financial and custodial decisions to be made together.