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Relocating as Part of Divorce

Rachel Alexander March 4, 2020

{3 minutes to read}  A lot of people who divorce find that it requires relocation.

Relocating with children is a complex and separate issue altogether. This article concerns itself with relocating as a newly single person in mid-life with grown children or without them — that is, when children, for whatever reasons, are not part of the equation.

If relocating, it could be helpful to keep several things in mind. As one not unfamiliar with this discombobulation of upending oneself, I share the following:


Few things increase suffering quite the way expectations do.

Our expectations for ourselves and our lives are one of the measurements we employ to identify and to orient at any particular life stage. If expectations are a measuring stick, it is one more often used as a punishing stick than anything useful in gauging the distance between two points.

Relocating, which is inherently disruptive and displacing, often shakes the foundational sameness that we rely upon for our security. Additionally, a mid-life relocation, particularly when in response to unpredicted challenges or unwanted circumstances, can make one feel like a victim in his own narrative. When expectations look one way and we are turning in another altogether unknown direction, we can be up against a world of trouble.

One example of this would be going from homeowner to renter. Many believed owning our own home was a gauge of status and achievement. To relinquish a marital home and become a renter in one’s middle decades may feel like a hideous throwback to early independent life — a time when roommates and Ramen noodles were the norm. While the association may pull up a sense of struggle or impermanence, it can be helpful to counter that with the current reality. Many of us formed the home-ownership ideal in a time when homes comprised families’ largest assets (i.e. the pre-real estate crash era). In fact, many people now opt to rent instead of purchasing, appreciating homeownership as a poor investment on return and a good way to be tethered to unending maintenance, repairs, and unwanted obligations.

So we might relax a bit, and notice that our expectations, along with our judgments, are often based upon outdated data and concepts that have outlived their relevance. Judgments and expectations, while always available (albeit as largely unwanted) companions, are distinct from the situation itself. The judgments about the situation make things more discomforting than necessary.

Notice expectation biases. Make room for them on the sofa, and make room for a lot of other stuff too. Our world, our democracy, and for half the year, our planet, is upside down, so what you once adhered to as the “correct” or “only” way, may be as obsolete as the cutting edge medical breakthroughs of the Civil War Era.

More relocation pointers to come…