Nigel and I are getting used to waiting for things to happen:
- someone to like our house
- estate agents to give us quality feedback on viewings, or the market, or interest in our property. Anything!
- an offer, exchange of contracts, a final date ...
And all the time we're waiting, we feel held back from getting on with the rest of our lives - in limbo. We've finally had to admit it's wearing.
The thing is we know what's causing the stress - it's our lack of control over the situation. Feeling helpless, unable to control what happens, is a major stress factor - apparent in many situations from the workplace to personal relationships. The solution is to find ways to exert your own influence, to regain some control and restore the balance of power. Unfortunately, the process of house selling works against this and we have inevitably given away most of the power to others: the potential purchasers, the estate agents, the lawyers...
How to cope when you're living in limbo
We've identified 3 things which have helped us to cope - over and above asking for understanding if we've been a bit snappy or lacking in our usual energy.
Living in the moment
Over the last few months we have been out for more coffee and tea breaks than is probably good for us. We admit this is blatant escapism! It has also given us moments to enjoy and time to reassure each other that the way we're feeling is entirely natural.
Reducing uncertainty in other areas
One of the ways to reduce the impact of living with uncertainty is to keep as much of the rest of life as certain as possible. We have maintained the structure of our lives by focussing on our work as 'The Relationship People'.
If you are facing change, this is a really good strategy and one we often talk about with our clients who are coping with separation. This is especially true for children who like to know they will still be able to go to the same school, keep their belongings, see their freinds ...
Holding onto our belief it will be worth it
We've also used this time to explore what we really love about our life together and what's up for change. We have a clear idea about the sort of place we want to live in - somewhere bright, easy to care for and capable of being stylish. We cannot yet prune down our options on where this might be - other than a growing acceptance we want to stay in easy contact with our family. We avoid exploring our options too closely because that only increases our impatience to move. What has been most helpful, is knowing the next phase of our lives together will be exciting and rewarding because we are determined to build in time for all those things we'll get round to some day.
Light at the end of our tunnel
We have now accepted an offer on our house. We're definitely not counting our chickens this time and we've decided to avoid falling in love with another house until contracts are exchanged.
This keeps us living in limbo for a bit longer. Thankfully we're here together and keep reminding ourselves the uncertainty also means we're keeping our options open. We're also busy - de-cluttering again after only 12 months since the last time! And the Olympics are a welcome distraction.
Tell us about your home moving experiences.
- How have you coped with the stress?
- What were the highlights?
- What do you know you'll never do again?
- What resources did you discover that you never knew you had?