This post originally appeared on xoJane.
When I was growing up, my mother always told my sister and me to wait until we could stand on our own two feet before we got married.
“Get your education, start your career, and then worry about finding a husband,” she’d say. “It’s important to always be able to support yourself. Marriages don’t come with lifetime warranties.”
Some may think my mom’s advice was a bit pessimistic, but I think she was just being a good mom. Either way, both her daughters followed her guidance. At first.
For a little while, I was the woman my mom always wished I would become: I was successful, I could pay my own bills every month, and I waited until I had finished graduate school before finding the guy I wanted to marry. I graduated in 2003 with a B.A. in English literature, and I landed my first job teaching high school English shortly after. While teaching full-time, I enrolled in a graduate program and managed to pay for my degree without having to take out any student loans. In the six years that I taught at my first teaching position, I emerged as a leader in my local union, and — at the time I resigned — I was chairperson of the English department.
I met my husband in September of 2008, and in July 2010, in front of our families and closest friends, we became husband and wife.
His job was in Colorado, so getting married meant leaving my teaching position in New York. It was hard to say goodbye to a school where I had felt I had made a true difference in my students’ lives, but having accepted another teaching position at a high school in Colorado Springs made it easier. I was happy and in love, and my mother was relieved that I had managed to heed her advice.
Things were going exactly as planned until a year later, when we received word that my husband would have to move to Europe for his job. The good news was that I would be able to move with him and the assignment would only be for several years. The bad news was that I’d have to leave my family and career behind.
Job options are limited for spouses overseas, and landing a teaching gig is nearly impossible. I was able to find a contracting job in a public affairs department, but I discovered after I accepted the position that the job would only be for a few months. I began applying for other positions almost immediately.
The majority of my days now are spent in my flannel pjs, looking for jobs online. At this point, I could probably wallpaper an entire wall of my apartment with the rejection e-mails I’ve received.
This is the first time since I was 13 that I haven’t had some sort of income, and it bruises my ego to think that I have not contributed any money to our joint checking account.