Once upon a time you were happy, in love, and co-occupant of a luxurious 2-bedroom home. But with divorce rates at 50% (60% if it’s your second marriage and 110% if you’re silly enough to try again after that), there’s a good chance that you may find yourself with an ex-spouse, an ex-house, and an ex-bank account.
If your marriage has just blown up like Wile E. Coyote on the wrong end of a stick of dynamite and you must find a new place to live, don’t be surprised if you are tempted do some very stupid, pathetic or illegal things. But unless you’re looking to be YouTube’s next big star on its “Stupid, Pathetic or Illegal Things” channel, don’t.
Instead, take a look at these common sense Dos and Don’ts about how to move out after a divorce and retain your dignity:
- Look for a new place ASAP because unless you’re not averse to cockroaches, living next to a crack den, or regular break-ins, it’s going to take a little while to find an acceptable new pad. Check Craigslist, local rental agencies, the paper, and walk around the neighborhoods you’d like to live in (looking for those “For Rent” signs, that is, not just for the sake of it).
- Put out an ad for roommates. Oh yeah, you’re going to need them after the hefty alimony payments suck most of the extra cash right out of your already anemic bank account. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing a 3-bedroom house with six college students. Maybe you can tutor them for some extra Benjamins.
- Collect cardboard boxes from your local supermarket or liquor store (where you’ll soon have an aisle named after you). You may want to purchase some thick-tipped black markers, bubble wrap, and packing tape, too, in the event that you need to kidnap your ex-spouse for ransom to pay for all this.
- Book a moving truck once you know your move-out date—unless the ex owns everything, in which case your Mini Cooper will do just fine. Rally your friends to help you out on moving day, and remember: in cases like this, you’re not above bribery. Donuts and beer ought to do the trick.
- Divide your stuff from the ex’s stuff (see, putting your name in all your books was not a dumb idea!) and start packing. Do a little each day while you tend to the above points and be sure to invest in a crate of those ultra-soft, lotion-infused tissues.
- Rent a storage unit to stash your things; if finding a new place is slow-going but the fights with your ex are rapid fire, you might be couch surfing for a while.
- Stock up on anti-depressants so you don’t do anything idiotic—like get drunk and cut your own hair.
- Set fire to, cut up, sell, or throw out your ex’s stuff. Not only is it reckless and immature, but knowing your luck some of that bonfire kindling actually belongs to you.
- Move into the first palatial apartment you find to make yourself feel better and appease your ego. Once you put together a budget you’ll better know if you can actually afford it. Why add to your misery by being thrown out of a second home within a two-month period?
- Date someone new right away. It’s not love, it’s loneliness. And when you realize that but don’t have the nerve to end things so you just act like a douche until the other person breaks up with you, you’ll just feel worse than ever.
- Stay inside playing video games and eating Doritos for an entire month. Just in case the ex wants you back, you don’t want to be twenty pounds heavier with a permanent ring of orange dust around your mouth and arthritic thumbs.
- Send her a threatening Valentine’s Day card with a knife through it. If it’s September you’ll just look like you can’t read a calendar. Also, you might come across as creepy and loose-hinged.
- Post nasty pictures of the ex on Facebook. Instead, post a lot of photos of yourself having a ridiculous amount of fun. Sunglasses help to hide the puffy, tear-filled eyes, and so does photoshopping George Clooney into the pic.
If after all this you find that you haven’t been able to retain your dignity but you have been able to retain several boxes full of broken belongings, consider that a win. Hey, you can’t have everything.
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