Marisa Cohen

The Big Move

Janna and Edwin, a hypothetical couple, have been together for two years. They recently decided to move from their apartment in the city to a larger house in the suburbs. Their last move was when they combined apartments and moved in together several years ago, which was both exciting and stressful. While they assumed that they could use that experience as a benchmark, they are starting to realize that the stress they are facing now is different and feels much more insurmountable. This time they are planning on furnishing new rooms and need to hire contractors for a few projects. They are also dealing with the idea of transitioning from the city to life in the suburbs and acclimating to a new area. While the added stress can create emotional distance, they want to be sure that they prepare themselves for the move and use the opportunity to work together as a team, rather than working against one another.
Moving can negatively impact relationships and has been shown to lead to an increase in fighting, decrease in intimacy, and financial concerns. As such, it is a major relationship stressor. While stress may be inevitable, preparation can help buffer the impact. Consider preparing for the emotional and physical toll of moving, as well as for the readjustment period.
Preparing for the emotional
Moving takes an emotional toll. Janna and Edwin are transitioning from the first place they lived in together as a couple, and likely where they created many memories such as the first meal they cooked together, first party they hosted, etc. They are also leaving the city which may have represented a certain phase in their lives. Just as there were firsts in your soon to be old place, there will be lasts: last meal in the apartment, last picture you take off the wall, etc. This can be hard. Allow yourself to feel and allow yourself to grieve. You need not mask your emotions by assuring yourself that you’re on to bigger and better. Be in the moment and accept all of the feelings that come along with saying goodbye to your place.
Preparing for the physical
Moving takes a physical toll. Sorting, packing, and moving your items is difficult. Talk with your partner about the most efficient way to handle this (both physically and financially). If you can, hire a professional mover (many locations may even require you to). If you can’t or don’t want to, consider reaching out to your support network. Do you have family or friends that can assist with the process? Try to create pleasant couple experiences as you sort and pack. Janna and Edwin may want to spend a day building boxes and bubble wrapping breakables while listening to their favorite music. Use this time to create a happy joint experience.
Preparing for the readjustment period
Moving comes with a period of adjustment, or uncertainty related to the transition. Where will you now walk the dog? What is the best local coffee shop? You are out of your old routine, so there will be a period of time needed to get into the groove in your new place. Lean on one another and use this transition period to explore. Janna and Edwin can make a concerted effort to try new local spots for each of their upcoming date nights and make it an adventure rather than a burden.
There’s no doubt that moving can be a challenge, but if you work together and prepare yourself for what will come your way, you will be able to experience a much smoother transition.

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