How To Pick Up And Move With Your Partner—Without Going Crazy
A few months ago, my husband Chris and I moved from New York City to a small beach town in Delaware. Yup, Delaware.
We made the move for a slew of reasons—mostly, we wanted a less hectic life and the chance to live closer to family. And, oh yeah, raising a kid in NYC is freaking expensive. I don't even want to talk about what we paid for daycare every month.
So Chris and I decided to leave behind our amazing jobs (he worked as a chef at a swanky restaurant frequented by celebrities; I had a senior role at a really cool startup) and moved to the beach. We bought a house and two cars and now spend our days off together geeking out over area rugs and attending local events like the chocolate festival held in the town's community center. It's crazy down here, y'all!
It's not just our environment that's changed—the people here are completely different, too. Everyone is open and friendly, and they say "good morning" when you pass on the street. They're quick with a smile and will strike up a conversation, even if they don't know you. (I know, right?) It's really weird—at least by New York standards, where the most noteworthy morning greeting I got was being flashed by a man's penis on the subway en route to work.
At least once a day, Chris and I will look at each other and say, "Can you believe this?!" Don’t get me wrong: We love it here. It's just a complete and utter culture shock that we're still working through. Sometimes it's about the little stuff, like laughing about how every other home has an American flag and town flag in front. And other times...it's complete freak-outs, like the one I had not too long ago.
Chris and I were just chatting about our days when I suddenly started sobbing. We loved our life in New York City—what the hell did we just do? Chris did his best to console me but, seriously. What did we do?
It turns out my spazzy moment isn't uncommon in our kind of situation. My friend Molly moved from New York City to Vermont with her now-husband about a year before Chris and I left the city. She also had a meltdown out of the blue. "I suddenly felt overwhelmed and unsure if we'd made the right decision," she says. "I just laid down on the bed and started crying." Ditto for my friend Laura who left Philadelphia with her husband to move to Delaware. "I felt and still often feel suffocated, bored, and longing for there to be 'more' here," she told me when we were comparing notes about our major life changes.
These moves have been tough for Molly, Laura, and me, but our husbands have been completely solid while we've had ups and downs. What's up with that?
"Everyone reacts differently to a move," says psychologist Shannon Kolakowski, Psy.D., "But you can expect some homesickness in the beginning, especially if the move was your partner's first choice." Come to think of it, moving to Delaware was originally Chris's idea (My initial reaction was, "Hahaha—NO.") and Molly and Laura both moved for their husband's jobs.
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While the transition has been a little rocky, having Chris with me the whole time has definitely made it easier. He's listened when I needed to vent and even said we could move back if I really wanted to. I'm not sure if he means it, but it feels good to know that we have an out if either one of us needs it. Laura and Molly's husbands both said the same thing, too. (Did these guys take an online course on how to help your wife through a major move, or what?)
So how can you and your partner stay sane and on the same page when you're going through a major transition like this? Kolakowski says we should focus on being supportive and listening and that we should also allow each other to mourn what we’ve lost.
Come to think of it, Chris and I will mention things we did in New York in passing, but we don't talk about what we miss about the city. It's almost like we're afraid we're going to cause the other to break down over it.
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And so the other night while we took a walk around our neighborhood under a sky filled with stars (point: Delaware), I brought up our former life. "I miss being able to walk just a few blocks to see friends and always having something to do," I said. "I miss having bodegas and ethnic food on every corner…but we have a really great life here," he replied.
You know what? We do, and sometimes I need to be reminded of that.
I still get a little ache in my heart when I visit New York—I hate that it's no longer "mine." But if given the chance, I wouldn't want to leave our town. It's home now, and I have Chris to thank for making it feel that way. That, and all of the locals who say "good morning" to me every day. I freaking love that.
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Korin Miller is a writer, SEO nerd, wife, and mom to a little one-year-old dude named Miles. Korin has worked for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Cosmopolitan, where she learned more than anyone ever should about sex. She has an unhealthy addiction to gifs.