The lyrics of a song go, “breaking up is hard to do” but moving out is probably harder. No one takes breakups lightly and leaving your spouse or favorite person is like losing a limb. Make that two limbs.
Moving out is the next logical step to breaking up and usually there’s a sad finality about it. Moving out means you’re not leaving a trace of you behind because you take everything that belongs to you. It spells the end of your life with this other person. It’s also the start of your new life as a person alone. We hope not for long.
Moving Out: a “moving” story
We live in a condo building with eight units. A beautiful family lives in one of the bigger units. The husband and wife are relatively young – probably in their mid 40s. They have two handsome sons. Everyone notices them because they change cars every year. Right after the New Year, you see the husband driving a new sports car while the wife would drive a more conservative car – like a fully-loaded Honda. They also have a luxury SUV – they use it when they go out as a family or when the grandparents are in town. Each of the sons has his own car. There are more cars in the driveway than there are family members.
You can say that this family has a love affair with cars – expensive cars, that is. Not one car lasted more than 12 months. Every January, a new fleet of cars would be in the garage. Since they have a two-car garage, the other three cars would be parked outside.
The reason they could afford new sleek cars every year is that the man runs a successful plumbing company. They have a very comfortable – and even enviable – lifestyle; they are friendly and are well liked by the neighbors.
Then one day…
Our next door neighbor sent an email saying that the beautiful husband and wife were getting a divorce. Of course we were shocked because apart from being a beautiful family, they looked like a happy family. The plan was for one son to live with the father while the other with the mother.
It’s been quiet in their condo since we heard the news; a drastic change because there was plenty of activity with the family going on everyday. We’d see the sons washing and polishing the cars, the husband doing some landscaping while the mother would be coming and going throughout the day. Since the breakup, it’s been very quiet – like the house has been abandoned.
Recently, we ran into the husband. We waved at him and he smiled back – but it looked like a forced smile. He was carrying a load and putting it into his SUV. It was obvious: he was moving out.
Doing it with grace
If you know that your significant other will be moving out eventually, don’t do what some really angry people do – throw the other person’s personal belongings in the front yard. It’s bad enough that you had the fight of the century but finding one’s belongings strewn about on the lawn adds insult to injury. We are civilized beings, or at least like to think we are.
How are you moving out? We’ve got some suggestions for you:
- When the fight simmers down, announce when you intend to move out. This will give the other person the chance to look for another tenant (especially if you were paying half the rent).
- Always pay your share of the rent. If it was your decision to move out and you can afford it, do the decent thing and offer to pay half of next month’s rent. This way, the other person need not feel the financial pressure of a breakup.
- If a spouse is moving out of the conjugal house, discuss mortgage issues and make arrangements on who is going to take responsibility for the mortgage and how payments can be split. Or you could come to a mutual agreement to buy out the other.
- If both of you bought furniture, appliances, and other stuff for the apartment or the house, book an afternoon in which you the two of you can sit down and divide the items equitably. This way, you can’t be accused of hauling away what’s not yours.
- When you’ve divided up what’s yours and the other’s, book a date and time for coming over to pick up your things. If you are hiring a moving company, he or she should know. If you’ll be taking some of the stuff now and some others a month later, the other person should know. No surprises. For example, don’t come and pick up your stuff when she’s having friends over for dinner.
- Finally: offer to pay for your share of the utilities!
After you Move Out…
After moving out, you now move on with your life. The times you shared with your once loved one will play in your mind like a movie that never ends. The pain and agony are real. Accept these emotions as part of the healing process. Some people tumble over into a depression (we know of one woman who almost committed suicide), but if you remind yourself that it could be worse and that people break up and move out of each other’s lives everyday, then this makes your pain more tolerable.
In the beginning when the wounds are still fresh, you’ll say that goodbyes are easier said than done. We agree.
We’ll insist, however, that time is a wonderful healer of even the deepest of wounds. Want some tips on how to cope after moving out?
- spend time with friends you weren’t able to meet with regularly because you were in an exclusive relationship. They’ll be glad to have you back. You might even be surprised that one of them is going through the same experience as you are;
- take up a new hobby or resume a hobby that you dropped when you started living with your significant other – it won’t be easy, but you’ll need to push yourself on this one. Don’t lose interest in life because when you do, life loses interest in you;
- do something for your community – when you’re single again, the tendency is to crave for company and affection. To quicken your healing, stop those cravings; instead, think of all the underprivileged members in your community who could use a helping hand;
- get some self-help books or join seminars/workshops that are for “single again” people – reading about how others cope or talking to people who are in the same situation can lighten your emotional burden.
Yes, moving out is hard to do, and it may be the end of a relationship. But…it isn’t the end of YOU!