Help for Trailing Spouses – Louise Fly Caione

By - July 7, 2009 (Updated: February 24, 2015)

Louise Fly Caione

Louise Fly Caione

As trailing spouses, most of us have experienced periods of sadness, frustration, and even anger while coming to terms with life in our new countries. Danish expat, Louise Fly Caione shared many of these challenges when she arrived in Belgium but now she’s helping other expat wives overcome them.

Louise says she struggled with all of the typical expat emotions when she first arrived in Waterloo. She was sad, lonely, angry self-pitying and even jealous. “I was jealous of my husband who had a job and a social environment that I didn’t,” she says.

“I found I was jealous of my fellow Danes because in my eyes, they had a great and fun expat life,” says Louise. However, she didn’t want to network with other Danes at first, because she felt it would be the “easy” solution. “In the beginning, I was an idealist. I didn’t want to go into the expat ‘ghettos’. I didn’t want to be a part of the Danish society; that wasn’t why I had come to Belgium. I thought I wouldn’t integrate if I did that, but the fact was I wasn’t integrating anyway.”

Louise found herself feeling ashamed of “not being happy with this so-called privileged life,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. At a certain point, I was so tired of listening to my own long stories about not being happy that I looked for help in Denmark.” Louise heard about a coach and decided to seek help. She was so inspired by the result that she decided to become a coach for other trailing spouses.

Through coaching, Louise learned methods and tools that she could use to cope with her new expat life. “I got my smile back,” she says. “I became aware of all my self-destructive convictions and habits and realised that I had a choice. So I took responsibility for my own life and my own happiness. I started networking with other expats, and felt so relieved that I had energy and courage to connect with the locals as well.”

Now firmly established in her expat life in Belgium, Louise offers help to other expat wives. Through personal one-on-one and group coaching sessions, Louise teaches others the coping mechanisms that she has learned over the years. “I thought that if I can help other expat wives not run into the same hurdles I did, that really makes sense to me,” she says. “Expat life can be such a gift – it only took me a while to realise it.”

You can visit Louise’s website and sign up for her free newsletter full of tips and resources for expats in Belgium.

Looking for more resources for trailing spouses? Check out our Expat Resources page.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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  1. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler June 18, 2009 at 00:00

    Sounds very interesting! She looks so much like my friend who was an immigrant to Canada.

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison June 18, 2009 at 00:00

    Expat – you should sign up for the newsletter! She has lots of handy info that’s not just related to Belgium.

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  4. Comment by PATRICIA

    PATRICIA March 4, 2010 at 10:13

    I have been an expat trailing wife since 2001 in Moscow. We have been here a year now and I have met no one. My husband, a hermit, has promised help but I know he will not facilitate.
    I too do not want to live in a foreign place and hang with my own. I also resent that he has the job, the contacts, the reason to get going in the morning.
    If this had all happened when I was so much younger I know I would have pounced on this wonderful opportunity.
    We live in a terrific spot,I have a garden, a whole house,nicer than our own home in the Maine. My list of hobbies is long but getting tired of coping and struggling,home is looking like a much better option. It looks like it is time to throw in the towel.
    When I arrived Brussels seemed like heaven after the difficulties of Moscow but now the glow is gone.
    Reality is setting in and it is more and more difficult to look at each small win as notable.
    Need to go take my vitamins..: )

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison March 4, 2010 at 10:35

      Hi Patricia,

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a hard time of it. I felt the same for at least the first 6 months to a year that we were here. I resented my husband’s ‘instant social-network’ from work, while I was at home all day. Winter is a hard time to be here too because it’s difficult to get out and do things and it’s so dark and grey all the time.

      All I can suggest is to join a group, reach out to people and hang in there. The going is rough at first but it does get better and Brussels can be a great place to live.

      If you haven’t already, check out Louise’s blog and newsletter. She was/is a great help to me.

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