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Q: My partner and I just relocated. How can we make the most of the move?

As much as I hate packing and unpacking, my husband and I moved 7 times in 17 years! We bought and sold a condo and then a home pre-construction so we had to rent-and move out and rent again when the construction went into over-time and our lease was up. Finally, on the third try, we finally chose the right location and built the home that we have lived in for the past 10 years. We aren't planning on moving again! Luckily, we both like building, designing and decorating. The main reason for all the moves, however, is that we needed more time to know our new town. 

I am telling you this story because one of the biggest problems of moving to a new city is, well, the newness of it. You don't really know whether you will like the neighborhood, location or home.  As I've mentioned previously, all major decisions in life are made with incomplete information. Think about how little you knew at the time about big things such as moving, choice of job, college, profession or mate. To ease the discomfort of you and your partner, here are tips for managing relocation.

1. Don't be so hard on yourself or your partner for feeling anxious. No matter how excited you might be about your move, it is normal to be anxious. So don't waste your energy and time or risk hurting your teamwork by reacting negatively. Tell yourself and your partner that it is okay to be apprehensive.

2. Learn about your new location ahead of time by playing "tourist." Get excited. Get into "vacation mode" and look forward to experiencing a new place. Buy a travel book or go online. You can do a search, for example, for "things to do in..." Make a list of the top attractions, restaurants, nature walks, museums, and special events. Then make sure you devote at least two times a month to "playing tourist."

3. Research the "nuts and bolts" of your individualized needs. Think about what each person in the family needs.  For example, do you need to find out about public transportation, gyms, nursing homes, school districts or good family doctors? The Internet is your friend. Take at least several days to research each of the important things you need to know. Examine your current daily or weekly routine. What kinds of activities do you need to reproduce? Do you take bead classes or do your children take play sports? Some couples divide up the tasks so that no one person feels overwhelmed. 

4. Initiate contact now with "gatekeeper" people to help you settle in. Lay the groundwork now by contacting realtors to send you information about homes, condos or rentals. Ask your religious leader to contact a similar church, synagogue or mosque in your new location. Call the Chamber of Commerce and request a "Welcome Package." Many cities and counties have an organization that helps newly arrived citizens.

5. Volunteer as soon as possible for an organization that interests you. It's much easier to make friends and settle in to a new environment when you get involved in volunteering for your favorite charity or arts organization. Think about getting involved in local politics.  Contact people now so that you won't feel lonely, disconnected or too anxious when you arrive.

6. Get a subscription now to the local newspaper. Look for the Community or Local section for events.   

7. Use the move as a fresh start for you and your partner. Get positive. See yourself as lucky-you get to redo past missteps or do things for the first time. Moves can be a great incentive for addressing old, unfinished business between you and your partner.  What would you like to change or improve? Not everyone gets a fresh start, so take advantage of it. Or perhaps you have long overdue interests and goals that you can now pursue.

Remember, everyone reacts to stressors differently. What bothers one person may not upset another. Be supportive and loving and get into an "adventure mindset" especially if you are not moving to one of your top choice cities or jobs. Life always throws a curve ball. It's what you do with it that matters. 

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, ED.D., MSS is a noted psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, specializing in relationships.  For her book about women and love, she welcomes women to take her 17-20 minute online research survey at www.lovevictory.com. Also on her website, if you donate $5 to Habitat for Humanity-Sarasota, Florida, you can receive a download of her relationship advice cartoon book for women, "The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie."