What to do when you want to move and your spouse doesn’t?

Whether you’ve been offered a lucrative position in another city, or believe a certain place to be the haven of your dreams, or just can’t stand the extreme weather conditions in your current area anymore, you may have a good reason to relocate and look for happiness someplace else. Your partner (or spouse), however, may not feel the same way about such a big step in your common life. Fear of the unknown, unwillingness to part with family and friends, and anxiety over change are all powerful factors that effectively work against the idea of moving house.

Such a reluctance to step out of one’s comfort zone and brave the risks, however, may result in many missed opportunities and bitter regrets. So, what is to be done when one spouse wants to move but the other doesn’t?

Weigh the pros and the cons of an eventual relocation

In order to convince your reluctant spouse of the benefits an eventual relocation will bring to your life, first you need to make sure that it will be really worth the effort and the stress involved. Consider the following crucial factors:

1) Financial advantages – find out if your life will actually improve after the relocation:

  • Will you receive a considerable financial boost as a result of a higher income?
  • Will you have a chance to advance in your career and improve your skills, knowledge, and competence in your area of expertise?
  • Are there appropriate career opportunities available in the region?
  • Is the cost of living in your new city affordable?
  • What are your housing options?

2) Available opportunities – find out what opportunities your new new city has to offer:

  • Will the new environment be beneficial for your children (if any) in terms of safety, education, hobby and recreational activities, new friendships, etc.?
  • Are there plenty of entertainment options, sports and music events, movie theaters, restaurants, green areas, etc. available in your new area that will allow you to relax and recharge with positive energy?

3) Moving issues – find out how hard the actual relocation process will be:

  • Can you find an affordable new home in a safe and prosperous neighborhood?
  • Will you be able to cover all the moving-related expenses without going broke?
  • Do you have the organizational skills and the required know-how to perform a smooth and trouble-free relocation?

4) Sentimental factors – find out if you and your family will be able to accept the change in a positive way and to enjoy your new life:

  • Is the weather in the area to your liking?
  • Is the lifestyle (prevailing points of view and established social norms) in your new surroundings compatible with yours?
  • Will you be able to easily adjust to the new environment and find new friends?
  • How much will you regret the things you are leaving behind?

All in all, if it seems that you will gain more than you will lose by moving house, you can bravely proceed with your plans. However, you need to find a way to do so without damaging your marriage.

Discuss the issue at length

Once you come to the conclusion that a house move is your best course of action under the present circumstances, you need to talk with your spouse about your feelings, needs, and expectations of the change. When discussing the proposed relocation, you will both get a fair idea about the issues involved and the possible solutions.

  • Explain the situation and ask for your partner’s opinion;
  • Show empathy and let your spouse know that you understand how much he/she will have to sacrifice (articulating the downsides will work very well to your advantage as it will keep your partner from going to an extremely negative point of view just to balance you out);
  • Lay out all the advantages that an eventual relocation will bring to both of you – use clear facts and numbers to prove your point;
  • Find something specific that your spouse will most probably like about the new place – a safer and friendlier community, better healthcare, great educational opportunities, abundant chances to pursuit the hobbies or activities he/she enjoys, etc.

Have in mind that it is usually not the change that people hate so much, but the inevitable losses it involves. If you can figure out how to minimize potential losses, you’ll have a better chance to convince your reluctant spouse to go along with the move.

Agree on a compromise

If your spouse doesn’t want to move despite the probable advantages, consider a compromise – suggest a temporary move. Rent out your current home and move to your chosen city for a certain period of time. Give it about a two-year tryout, for example, and reassess the situation. If your partner still doesn’t feel comfortable in the new surroundings, hates the area, and regrets the relocation, consider moving back – even if it is not financially justifiable, returning to your “sweet home” may still be the right thing to do.

Visit your potential new city before making a final decision

It is advisable to thoroughly research the place you intend to move to well in advance – use the Internet to find out any relevant information about the city, check with friends and acquaintances that live in the area, or follow local blogs, forums, and township sites to get an accurate idea of the positive and negative aspects of the place.

However, the best thing you can do under the circumstances is physically explore the city together with your spouse – look at houses for sale, check out local schools, visit a farmer’s market, have dinner in a nice family restaurant, etc. This will help you make better decisions about your new life and will put your partner’s fears at ease.

Organize a trouble-free move

Without a doubt, the great hassle involved in the relocation process is one of the main reasons why your spouse is reluctant to move. If you plan every stage of the moving endeavor well enough to ensure a smooth and stress-free relocation, your significant other will certainly accept the change in a much more positive way. So, start the moving preparations as early as possible and make sure you:

Moving house is a life-changing event which inevitably entails a great emotional upheaval in a relationship. Allow yourself and your partner enough time to deal with the change and cope with the challenges you are faced with. What matters is to respect the other person’s opinions and feelings, to share your expectations and fears, and to make every important decision together – this way you will be able to enjoy each and every moment of your life, wherever you may live at that moment.


2 thoughts on “What to do when you want to move and your spouse doesn’t?

  1. I think health issues due to weather should be number one, even before financial. If the weather is debilitating one cannot continue to live in an area that makes them worse. If you don’t have your health one has nothing.

  2. We moved cross country several years ago to be near children and grand children. We found good jobs, and are making our way. Now my spouse wants to move back. Reasons are to see his sister….he never saw her before the move. To see his best friend. He had months he could have spent with him when he was laid off and didn’t. My mom, since she won’t move, she is elderly and will have to move at some point in the next few years and there is NO way I can live with both of them. Stress would kill me. My brother, whom I talk to frequently but when I lived there only saw maybe once a year. He misses the area. Went there for a whole week last summer and he did nothing, saw no one, made no plans. Has done very little since we moved here to make this a home….no different than when we lived on the other end of the country.
    This has me sick.

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