THE NARRATIVE ARC

Being Bad with My Ex-Husband

Moving into a new condo reminds us of the adventures of rule breaking

Martha Manning, Ph.D.
The Narrative Arc
Published in
5 min readJun 13, 2024

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A couple is pictured from the waist down standing on a dock
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

On the move

My ex-husband and I recently reconciled. We’ve satisfied a life-long dream and settled into a beach community. We have a nice little condo and three days ago, we moved every splinter and thread of our belongings into it.

To prepare for the move, I was uncharacteristically systematic in packing. I found Marie Kondo’s classic, “The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up.” You take each piece of clothing you plan to give away and turn your trashing the old stuff into something of a spiritual experience. At least that’s supposed to be what it is.

She recommends that you acknowledge the meaning and service of the item, thank it, say good-bye and send it on its way. However, woven into every piece of fabric is memory — “Oh, look at this candy cane nightgown from her first Christmas! Remember there was a little cap that went with it. Where did that go? Hold on, I think I know where there’s a picture of it.”

I can see Robert, my ex-husband thinking, “this chick hasn’t changed a bit.” In the service of adopting tidy new rules for packing, I actually regressed to the free form hoarding guidelines I’d used in other moves. I said…

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Martha Manning, Ph.D.
The Narrative Arc

Dr. Martha Manning is a writer and clinical psychologist, author of Undercurrents and Chasing Grace. Depression sufferer. Mother. Growing older under protest.