A Guide to Relocating After Losing a Life Partner


The death of a spouse or life partner is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. In fact, according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, it’s the most stressful thing that can happen, beating out things like divorce and imprisonment. Losing the person you shared your life with is a huge change and nothing will ever be the same after it.

Sometimes when there is a drastic change in a person’s life, it can be difficult to stay in the same place. Your current home or even city is full of memories of your life together. While you don’t want to lose your memories, constantly being reminded of them can be more haunting than comforting. That’s why many people decide to move after losing their partner.

Deciding When to Move

While you may want to sell your house and get out of town as soon as possible, it is best to wait. Emotions have a way of clouding a person’s judgment. It makes you think you have more control over your situation than you really have. While you are pursuing this major life change, it is more difficult to perceive the risks associated with moving–risks like losing savings, social connections, and employment.

To ensure your move is a good idea, wait at least six months to a year after the death before making any major life decisions. It’s not just moving–there are other major decisions you should postpone making until an acceptable amount of time. Throwing out your loved one’s belongings, going in a different direction career-wise, making major financial decisions, and starting a new serious relationship can all wait until you’ve had enough time to process your grief.

If the time passes and you have the resources and desire to move, it can be a helpful step towards constructing your new life post-loss. Moving is a lot of work, though, so you want to make sure you are organized while you do it.

Downsizing Belongings

Moving is a lot easier when you aren’t hauling more stuff than you need. Getting rid of your loved one’s belongings is difficult, but it’s a necessary step towards moving on. Keep the things that really matter to you, but let go of anything you don’t need.

It can help if you make a concrete goal regarding the number of things you want to take with you on top of a timeframe that tells you when to begin and when to end your downsizing. Anything that does not have an immediate use should be tossed. While you are cleaning things out, clearly label the boxes and bags of things you want to get rid of so you don’t end up sorting through them again looking for a misplaced item. Giving things you want to get rid of a second look makes it harder to let go. Consider saving yourself time by hiring a service to do a one-time cleaning of your home. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of hiring a one-time cleaning service in Los Angeles is between $116 and $223.

Your New Place

Moving gives you the chance to start over in a place that really meets your needs in your new life. Living alone, you probably don’t need as much space as you once had. The good news is a smaller place costs less–not just in mortgage or rent, you also spend less on things like insurance, taxes, and utilities. Spending less on living experiences can help you recover from possible funeral expenses if that’s what you need. It can also give you more money to save for life experiences you want to pursue.

Moving Day

Once you have downsized your belongings and found your new place, you have to find a way to get all those belongings to your new place. You may have done the DIY-moving thing in your youth, but now that you are on your own, you can use the help of a professional moving company. Movers reduce the amount of stress you experience while relocating. They can also help prevent serious injury caused by heavy lifting. Remember: grief weakens the body. Protect yours by getting the assistance you need. Just take a few moments to compare prices.

The death of a spouse or life partner is a painful and stressful experience. Many people have a hard time staying in their current living situation after a loss, so they decide to move. While it’s not a decision to take lightly, moving can help with starting a new life after loss. It encourages you to get rid of belongings you don’t need while giving you the opportunity to find a new place that is more within your means.

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