Divorce and break-up coach Claire Macklin joins us to share tips to help you come to terms with moving house after divorce.
Last week, I was working with one of my clients. As part of their divorce, the family home is on the market, and she knows that she will need to move. Tanya has been struggling with the emotional impact of selling the family home and worrying about the effect the move might have on her children, who have lived there all their lives.
Moving to a new house is stressful at the best of times. Combine that with the additional considerations and anxiety that divorce or separation can cause, and it can seem overwhelming, not only for you but for your children. Often there is a grieving process to go through in relation to the home that once held so much promise.
These are my top tips to support your children through your house move:
Put on your own oxygen mask first – both financially and emotionally
Get financial clarity
If you are struggling with the thought of moving from your family home, you are not alone. I have worked with lots of people with strong emotional attachments to their home, who are worried about the prospect of selling their home.
I recall having similar feelings. I dreaded having that conversation with my ex-husband during our divorce. In fact, I put it off for months, preferring to pretend it would never happen. Fear is a powerful emotion that can hold you back and keep you in an uneasy state of confusion and dread.
Like me, you could avoid the conversation and prolong the overwhelm. However, I know now that burying my head in the sand didn’t help, and once I had that conversation with my ex-husband, I felt relieved.
Knowledge is power, and I always advise my clients to consult with a financial adviser for the most accurate picture of their financial situation. This will assist you in developing a clear budget so that you can accurately determine how much money you can afford to pay in rent or borrow.
Once you know the facts, you can then explore your options. Even if the answer doesn’t match your expectations, you will at least know, and you can then make informed decisions based on facts rather than fear.
Acknowledge your feelings
Allow yourself to feel. Acknowledge and name your feelings. When you do this it helps to reduce the hold those feelings have over you. It is OK to feel sad or afraid. It is OK to feel a sense of grief. It is OK to cry. Breathe through your emotions, noticing how they wash over you and then fade away, like a wave breaking on the shore.
You have all the resources you need
The prospect of selling and moving may seem daunting, so consider how you can use the resources you already have to your advantage. Take a piece of paper, and consider these questions:
- What have I done in the last 6 months that I am proud of?
- What have I done that I couldn’t do before?
- What decisions have I made?
- What have I achieved?
- What resources do I have that helped me to do all those things?
Those resources might be external – like asking for help from a friend or other professional – and they may be internal – your own strength, tenacity, resilience.
When you do this, you may be surprised by all the things you have already coped with and handled.
How could you use those experiences and resources to help you now?
Change your perspective
Reframing your thoughts and experiences is one of my favourite techniques to use with clients. Take some time to consider how you are approaching your house move.
Are all your feelings about it negative? Take notes on some of the words you use when discussing the move and the emotions those words evoke in you. Consider how you could look at things differently.
Here are some questions to ponder:
- What will you be able to do in your new home that you can’t do now?
- What won’t you miss about where you live now?
- If there was one, tiny upside to this, what would it be?
- How could you help your children to feel comfortable in their new home?
- What could you do to make your new house feel like your home?
- Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t?
I know that I wanted a bright pink wall in my bathroom – but it wasn’t until I lived in a house that I owned myself that I was able to have one! I also found looking after the garden in my old house a challenge, so I chose a new house with a smaller, more manageable garden.
Where you lead, your children will follow
You can use all of these strategies and questions with your children. They will follow your lead.
When you dwell on the negative, or talk about how difficult things are, they will follow. If you focus on how much you don’t want the move, they won’t want it either.
Instead, listen to their feelings, and help them to name them.
And then support them to see it differently, just as you have. Your child might resist and say there is nothing good about this at all, but persevere, and show them that you can see the upsides and possibilities. Once they see that you can handle the upcoming move, they will feel reassured, and more able to handle it too.
When you use some of these techniques and tips with your children, you are providing them with different options to try, empowering them to process what is going on. You are equipping them with tools to deal with their emotions and setbacks. These are fantastic life lessons!
Get in touch
Claire Macklin is a UK-based Divorce & Break-up Coach helping people to separate with dignity and strength and redefine life after divorce.
Visit https://www.clairemacklincoaching.com/ for more information and resources or to contact Claire.