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Stress of Moving Can Strain Relationships

Are you thinking about moving? Be prepared for the emotional toll it will take: research shows moving is more stressful than divorce. In related news from earlier this year, a common side-effect of moving is strain on a relationship, resulting in multiple challenges.

  • Moving More Stressful than Divorce and New Work
  • How Moving Threatens Relationships
  • Lightening the Load of Stress
  • Making the Home Search Simpler

Moving More Stressful than Divorce and New Work

When researchers asked 2000 people in the UK who have moved within the last three years about stressful life events, 61% ranked moving as more stressful than anything else they’d experienced, higher even than divorce.

The stresses of beginning new employment, divorce, and the dissolution of a relationship all essentially tied for second place, with each of them averaging 42% as the most stressful experience of respondents.

The researchers dug deeper to determine the most problematic aspects of the moving process, notes Will Stone of the Daily Express. “Misplaced possessions and realizing furniture does not fit in the new house topped the list of most stressful moving day moments,” he says. “And a quarter of us admit leaving it weeks before we unpack all the boxes.”

Half of people surveyed said that it was a good idea to plan food delivery ahead of time for the night of your move. (It’s sometimes also advised to plan your food order at the new house for the same reason.)

Moving consultant Dave Hax suggests several tactics that can make moving day easier to handle:

  1. Cut holes into your boxes so that they have handles; that way dropping them is prevented.
  2. If doing a self-move, lighten your load by removing the drawers from your dressers and desks so that they can be makeshift boxes.
  3. Snap photos of your power meters at both locations. Also get pictures of all the connections for your computers and TVs.

“Applying … these tips will help to take the stress out of moving day and enable you to have a smooth and efficient move,” says Hax.

How Moving Threatens Relationships

Just during 2015 alone, 40 million people moved. When the economy is going strong in some areas, people in other parts of the country will move to those cities for opportunity. Also, some of those who went through foreclosure during the recession have now reestablished their credit and can buy a home.

Moving is good for the economy in the sense that money is being spent and the best employees are moving to the available jobs. However, take care with relationships when moving. Stresses listed in a recent US survey found that common arguments between couples include the reason for moving, destination of move, finances, and sex life.

People also often get rid of each other’s stuff, with more than 30% saying that they either misplaced or knowingly got rid of something belonging to their partner.

The pollsters spoke with 200 New Yorkers who had moved at least once since 2010.

Among the couples surveyed, more than one-third (35%) said that their relationship was damaged by moving. Top factors making life hard on movers were:

  1. Increase in arguments (51%)
  2. Slowdown in sex life (49%)
  3. Money challenges (49%)

People who have kids encounter additional struggles, especially selecting the best school and getting their children socially acclimated in new friendship circles.

The other stressor, as mentioned briefly above, is things getting either accidentally or inentionally left behind. Top items that wrongly end up in the trash are books, photo albums, themed towels, and memorabilia such as trophies and tchotchkes.

This survey was conducted by moving marketer Our Town America, as explained by its CEO Michael Plummer, Jr.. “These survey results show that moving is highly stressful on relationships,” he says. “In a move, people are overwhelmed with learning new roads, meeting people and perhaps starting a new job.”

Lightening the Load of Stress

How can you keep calm so that stress doesn’t overwhelm you, causing your relationship to suffer? Along with the ideas above for moving day, here are a few more tips from Michelle Manetti of Huffington Post:

  • Make a to-do list well ahead of time.
  • Get plenty of supplies: boxes and tape.
  • Be careful to mark all your boxes so you can easily deliver to the right room.
  • Get rid of some of your belongings so you aren’t moving old junk.
  • Bring an overnight bag so you don’t have to immediately unpack.
  • Contact movers well ahead of time, if you are hiring professionals.
  • Get a friend or two to help you.

“It’s such a shame that the momentousness of buying or renting a new place is overshadowed by such a burdensome process,” notes Manetti. “No one should lose sleep … over what should otherwise be an exciting new life stage.”

Making the Home Search Simpler

Are you getting ready to move to a new location? At, we offer the quickest way to search real estate listings online. Select a city.

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