Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

Moving House Stress

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 18 September 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

We are trying to sell our house and the long drawn out process is infuriating me. The constant attempt to keep our home looking like a show house, whilst also having a very untidy husband and two young unruly children. The final presumption that the house is sold, only to find out a few weeks later that the buyers have changed their mind. The exhaustive forms and questions from the solicitor. The extortionate quotations from removal companies. The hours and hours spent trawling through the property sale sites on the internet hoping to find the perfect house, but within our price bracket.

Yet again a potential buyer has pulled out and I cannot bear the thought of starting the whole process again. We need to relocate as my husband's company is now based some 100 miles away. How can I get through this?

Patricia Marie says...

Research has shown that moving house is one of the most stressful events in life, second only to divorce and bereavement. Understanding this can help us be more accepting of the situation.

It seems you have exhausted yourself worrying about matters beyond your control, and any positive thoughts are being masked by negative ones. During a house move, with the multitude of tasks that need to be completed, it can seem like there is no time to relax. You must allow yourself some time out to think without pressure. Do something that makes you feel good – a pamper day, a yoga session, a walk in the country, or even just a long relaxing soak in the bath. Also, talk to your children, as they may well feel unsettled by the thought of moving, and seem to have picked up on your anxieties, hence their rebellious behaviour. Having time out and some distraction from the move will make you feel calmer and more in control, and hopefully rewarded with better behaved children.

I wonder if you could then seek some outside help with the move? Pass more responsibility on to your estate agents, who could provide accompanied viewings of your home whilst you are out, arriving early to present it at its best. They may also offer a service to help you source your next property. A professional removal company should be able to provide a packing service, which will save you both time and energy in the lead up to the big day, and decluttering services could assist in minimising the amount of items to be packed. You will find all this practical help will prove far more effective than your current unachievable deadlines. The inherent cost will be worth every penny if it eases the pressure.

Not only do you have the stress of selling your home, but you also have the anxiety of moving far away. Temporarily renting could be the answer, and may make the transition less overwhelming, as you can get to know the new area without feeling so pressurised. Would your husband's employers set you both up in a rented property for a while, which would also give you some breathing space? If not, can you stretch your budget to allow for this?

I do understand that you feel the whole legal process has to be started all over again, but much of the work carried out so far by your solicitor will not need to be repeated.

As difficult as it may seem at the moment, try to remain positive during this unsettling time, make those requests for assistance, and the chances are you will soon be on your way. The help and support you are clearly needing may be just a few phone calls away.
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