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How to Cope When Someone You Love Is Moving Away

by Melody Causewell

Losing a loved one to relocation can make you upset. It is normal and healthy to feel sad about this event. But there are a number of ways to cope when someone you love moves away.

Expect -- and Accept

Losing someone to a move may lead to grief. Being angry when you find out is normal. Sadness is also expected, as is anxiety at having to make new friends. Your friend will likely have these as well, along with some excitement about his new surroundings. These are natural responses to not being as physically close with someone you love. To cope, talk about your pain with family or other friends. Write in a journal to express your pain. Knowing that these are normal emotions, and expressing them so they don't build up, will help you to cope over time.

Find New Supports

Those who move struggle with a period of fewer social supports and less closeness with those around them, notes researchers Eric Vernberg, Andrea Greenhoot and Bridget Boogs. in a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2006 titled “Intercommunity Relocation and Adolescent Friendships: Who Struggles and Why?” But this lack of closeness occurs in those left behind as well as they try to replace the friend lost. When you’ve lost a friend or a partner to a move, identify other supports. Ask someone to go to the movies, to talk on the phone, to take a walk. Finding new social outlets with help you to cope with your friend's move.

Stay in Contact

Though those you love may move away, the Internet and phone lines provide ways to remain close even when in other states. Make it a point to communicate after the move and set up times to talk. Share photos of new events, new boyfriends, new children. Let her know that you have a spare room or a couch for her if she comes to visit, and see if you can swing a plane trip to go see her. Keep your friend as an ongoing part of your life to ease the blow of the move.

Mindfulness

Negative emotions can be dealt with using mindfulness, says researcher William Marchand, author of, “Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, and Zen Meditation for Depression, Anxiety, Pain, and Psychological Distress”, a study that appeared in Psychiatric Practice in 2012. When you think of the loss, observe your emotions and your body responses without judgment. If you wish, write your thoughts in a journal to practice this observation in a new way. Over time, mindfulness can reduce stress around events such as losing loved ones to moves and is a great skill for future stressful events.

About the Author

Melody Causewell has been a writer in the mental health field since 2001. She written training manuals and clinical programs for mental health organizations. She has published feature articles "Leaven" magazine and has been published in "Natural Awakenings." She has a degree in psychology, a Masters degree in social work and is a La Leche League leader.

Photo Credits

  • Maria Teijeiro/Digital Vision/Getty Images