Friday, August 10, 2007

What to Do When the Ex Plans His New Next Life

It may be inevitable. The person you married has moved on and is making new commitments while you are still coping with the aftermath of a break-up. Your ex may be planning on moving in with someone else or even relocating to a new city for the new significant other? What do you do?

First, if you are in the middle of separation or divorce paperwork, see if there are any issues with the legal process. In many states, both parties may be required to complete certain paperwork before a move is possible. If there are kids involved, this could mean amending any existing child custody agreement. Talking to a legal professional is a great way to prepare for this scenario.

Second, make sure you have copies of necessary personal information like date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers, and recent pay stubs. This type of information makes it easier to track someone as they set up a new residence or look for new employment. Even go so far as to have an up-to-date photograph of the person in case his or her appearance has changed over time.

Third, mentally prepare for this event in some way. If you are fortunate enough to have been the one ending the relationship, then this may not be a difficult step. For the rest of us however who were caught off-guard, this event will take time. Sometimes, you can deal with this event simply by talking to friends or family. Other times, it may take talking to a counselor. I have even known some people who took a year off to travel because of the need to use distance as space to heal. Whatever pain you feel will soften over time. To me, the biggest lever to preparing is time. Six months of time to gradually cope will leave you more prepared to move on than a two-week intensive boot-camp experience.

Fourth, find ways that you can move forward even if this means forcing your hand. Go out with friends more often to dinner or to other social venues. Think about what type of partner you see yourself with in the future. Take an online personality quiz and see how you fare, There are many ways you can move forward even if it's one step at a time.

As for me, I know that my ex has been dropping hints for a few months that he wants to move on with a life that includes a new significant other. He has been saying things like "I can't afford to live here anymore." or "I may need to live with a roommate you won't like." His inability to be subtle in his comments or actions makes it easier for me to see where he stands. Oddly enough, this behavior has helped me to gain perspective and prepare for whatever may come next.

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