Monday, October 27, 2008

ASK SYBD: Should I Move Away?

Instead of seeing the rug being pulled out from under us, we can learn to dance on a shifting carpet. - Tom Crum

This was meant to be posted yesterday - but I spent my day as an "extra" on a BBC Sitcom - THE OLD GUYS. So this article is rather long-over-due, as the question was asked weeks ago. I simply have been that busy I didn't have much time to sit and address it. Even know I am not sure it's the greatest article on the planet, written whilst onset, but hopefully some food for thought.

Dear SYBD,

I've always wanted to move away from the area I am in, but been too afraid to try it. It's only been a few months from the split, but I am wondering if leaving down is the best option for me?




Dear Beauty,

Pros and cons can be found for just about any situation or decision eh?

On the one hand, you say you’ve “always wanted” to do this, so maybe now is the time? But on the other, it’s only been a short period of time since your break up and perhaps more healing and planning might be better.

First of all, tell me, do you feel like you're running to something or away from it? What's your motive for leaving where you’re currently living?


Let's look at both sides of the equation! I am sure there are many more pros and cons you can come up with if you sit down and do a list for yourself...but here are a few to get you started.


CON # 1 – doing a geographical can mean leaving behind a support network of family and friends and the life you know. Depending on the city or area you're thinking of going to, you may not have support there which could end up being a very lonely situation indeed.

It’s one thing if you have a bunch of friends or family members in the new area to call upon, but if you’re just lulled in by an idea to go somewhere "brand new" – it’s more than likely you’ll find yourself feeling more than a tad lonely after the buzz dies down. So think carefully,…

On the other hand…


PRO # 1, there's little or no danger of bumping into your ex if you’re miles away – in a new town, state, city or country. That's always a bonus when trying to heal. Especially if they've moved on to someone new and you’ve had to bump into them! Outa-sight-outa-mind! Well that’s the theory. You can stop looking for them everywhere you go – the supermarket, concerts, driving down the street. That can be a load off – not having to look over your shoulder.


CON # 2 – Is there a better living situation, job, support network where you’re heading? Or is it a case of you're fleeing from the scene of an emotional crime? Because I can pretty much guarantee that if you're trying to run in order to ex-scape the heartbreak - pain will likely resurface in you,…eventually.

The pain, (if you have any) that you have at “home” is likely to be with you somewhere else. It’s a part of you. Oh sure, at the beginning things will exciting, shiny and new in your new environment and you’ll be so distracted you’ll almost forget the pain’s there, but eventually as the novelty wears off, it’s likely you’ll end up right back where you started, emotionally anyway.

Does that mean it’s always a bad idea to do a geographical? Not at all. It can be life-changing and challenging and those are generally good things.


PRO # 2 – By the same token though, heading outa Dodge, you’ll experience fresh, new scenery and not be haunted by memories of the places you lived, loved and visited with your ex.

Fresh start means just that – no one who knows your history – in a sense you can re-invent yourself. No baggage of people knowing about your situation or who you were with your ex. That’s incredibly liberating but at a cost…


CON # 3 – Going through a break up is one of what they (who every “they” is) call “Life Changes”. A “Death” is another one. “Starting a new Job” still another. When I was going through my big split of ’99 – my doctor said that normally people go through one or two “life changes in a year and then said, “Look Thea, you’re going through a break up, you moved house, you started a new job…” I am sure he said something else but I can’t remember – but he said I was going through even more stress than he’d hoped for – so it was no wonder I was so all-over-the-place and feeling decidedly unsettled.

So if you’re still reeling from a break up, you’re already having to cope with one big life change – think long and hard if you want to add more on top.

Many of us have had to move after a split (which as I say is a mixed blessing) but choosing to move to a completely new area – possibly away from your friends and family – might be even more stressful in the long run. Then, it might not. It depends on how you’re wired.


PRO # 3 – I think it was Susan Jeffers, in her book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, who talks about “saying ‘Yes’ to life”. This can be an incredibly enriching and rewarding way to live your life. Being open to all possibilities and surrendering to what is.

So in summation – think about it long and hard. If you really don’t like your area, you don’t have a support network and you like a good challenge then – sure, why not consider it? It truly can be transformational. But if you’re really just running away in hopes of escaping the pain, you may want to reconsider.

If you own a place, perhaps you might think about renting it out and moving. Then you can see how you get on – whilst having a ‘safety net’ to fall back upon.

There is no hard/fast rule for getting the hell out of the area after a split. For some it will work and for others it might be far-too-challenging for them to cope. We don’t have long on this planet at the end of the day so I tend to lean toward action rather than inaction.

After my big split – I debated on going back home to America, moving down to London but I knew for me such upheaval would be too much for me to take. Instead I opted to move out of Glasgow – about 20 minutes so I could regroup. As I grew stronger I eventually moved back into town and bought my first house. I can never see the paths I didn’t take (London or California) but a decade on, almost, and I love my life and where I am at. I am glad I didn’t run away from Glasgow. It’s made me a stronger person by staying.

Again it come down to your reason for living. If you’ve always wanted to get away – then that’s different. That’s called seizing the day…but if you’re running way, I’d encourage you to stay at least long enough to ride it out on the path to recovery.

Good luck whichever course of action you take.

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