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My Exit Strategy & Fears Of Moving In Together

Just To Be Safe, I Kept My Exit Strategy

It’s been 6 months since I moved in with him and I think I’m ready to get rid of my storage space. It’s an evolution within. When I moved into his house September 4th, it was on a hunch that this relationship could work. But it was just a hunch. So, to be safe I rented a 10×10 cubical in a cement building with metal doors where I put most of the stuff that had been in my one-room apartment. My storage space was my exit strategy. If things didn’t work out living with him, I had another life in a box waiting for me to start over someplace else.

Things Fall Apart

It’s not that I’m cynical about relationships. But things do end. In 2009, when my marriage of 32 years ended, I found myself unprepared to start over single. I struggled to become a whole person again. More than a decade later, in the summer of 2020, even though I could feel myself falling in love, I wasn’t ready to put all my eggs in his basket. I wasn’t ready to put my security at risk again. Because things fall apart.

The Back-Up Plan

My husband died. Everybody dies. It’s a Law of Nature. Having a storage space with my stuff in it made me feel like I was prepared for whatever might happen. My storage space was a back-up plan for the possibility of failure, like the cloud is a back-up plan for the files on my laptop. I was backing up my life. Failure comes in many forms. Accidents happen. Illness happens. Death happens. Infidelity happens.

My storage space was the placebo that gave me a sense of certainty about the future. Uncertainty wasn’t as frightening because I was renting a little room where 4 lamps, 5 chairs, a table, a desk, a bed, 2 end-tables, 7 boxes of books, 4 shelves and some kitchen dishes sat in the dark, waiting to make a home for me again.

The Freedom Of Fewer Things

Teresa Otto / Shutterstock.com

Another internal conflict I’m coping with is my new philosophy of minimalism. Downsizing has been a persistent theme in my life since 2016 when I sold my house. Getting rid of my possessions was painful, then it was exhausting, then it was exhilarating, then minimalism became my new lifestyle. Shedding stuff and disengaging from materialism set me free in a way I could not have imagined until I did it. Now I find the idea of owning stuff oppressive.

Goodbye Security Blanket

Having stuff in a storage space gnaws at me. Even if it’s some sort of security blanket. And that brings me to the question: Does a placebo work if you know it’s a placebo? Probably not. I see how having that storage space is a game I’m playing with myself. Do I really need to pad my life with stuff to feel safe? No.

So, here I am at the 6-month marker in this new relationship re-evaluating my exit strategy. I can feel myself evolving, making choices about how to live a simple life, embracing the uncertainty. This love is no longer a hunch. It’s a work in progress. And my exit strategy isn’t about holding on to stuff, it’s about letting go. I don’t need stuff to remind me who I am. I’ll be okay without it. My security is a state of mind.

Join us in the Manopause Community Forum!

By this point in our lives, nearly all of us have moved in with a significant other. Either they move in with us, we move in with them, or we get a new place together. We want to hear about your experiences! The good, the bad and the great! Join us in this conversation!

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About The Author

Billie Best

Billie Best

Billie Best writes the blog Beyond 60 — Loving Life, Staying Relevant at billiebest.com. Her memoir titled "How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life (or Couples Therapy with a Dead Man)" and her collection of essays “I Could Be Wrong” are both available on Amazon.com.
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