Moving Is More Than a Change Of Address

It’s a relationship marathon

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


A picture of a moving truck with a colorful mural on it.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Beginning again
Moving looks so good at first.

My ex-husband and I are moving to the beach.

In the beginning of the actual move process, my imagination ignites. I focus on putting the bad times, the noisy high-rise times, behind me. It’s another do-over.

The ocean will be fresh and wild, and the sand so smooth that with one hand, I can even out any bumps, ruts or imperfections. My grandmother called it hydrotherapy and heliotherapy. I need both.

In our fifty-year relationship, we have moved eight times.

For forty-three years, we were married. For six years, we were separated and divorced. Most recently, after almost a year of stumbling toward reconciliation, we’ve pronounced ourselves ready to re-commit.

I should have recognized the deluded ease of it all when the guy from the furniture donation organization came to make arrangements for our giveaways. He frowned at my furniture.

Then he looked at me with something a little too close to pity and concluded, “I guess you’ve had this furniture for a…



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.