When my wife and I decided to get a separation, one of the issues that I thought would be the hardest for us to work through was splitting up our possessions.
Instead, it was one of the easiest because my wife moved out and left virtually everything behind except for her clothes and her makeup.
I'd heard horror stories about how both spouses wanted certain possessions when they got a divorce, and I worried that we'd have to go through the same thing at a time when both of us are ready to pounce at the slightest hint of disagreement.
My wife, instead, decided she wanted a clean slate. She moved out without taking a lot of things. In fact, I encouraged her to take some things, like the master bedroom suite, that she brought into the relationship when we first got married. But she refused to take it, saying that it wouldn't fit into the apartment that she was moving into.
We had shared a house with eight televisions, but all eight still reside in the house, which is where I'm still living. I'm using two or three of them at the most. I asked her to take one or two, but again, she declined.
I went out of town the weekend that she moved out, taking one of our sons on a weekend excursion so that we wouldn't be around when it happened. But when I returned, I was surprised at how much of her stuff remained.
For example, there's a chest that belonged to her grandmother that I'm still seeing in the bedroom. And containers and containers of her clothes in the attic.
When I have found things that should be hers, such as earrings and boxes of old pictures of her family, I've collected them in a box and given them to her when she comes by to pick up our son for her time with him. Or I have dropped them off at her apartment when picking up the kid.
What I've found is that I don't want to see the stuff that I associate with my former partner. If we're going to separate, then I need to have a clean slate as well.
She has started fresh by purchasing all new furniture and appliances. And I've been stuck with a lot of the memories as I walk around the house.
So I asked my son what he wanted to change in the house. There's been some small changes first, but last weekend, we got new living room furniture, the first we'd had in 15 years. And he and I picked it out together.
Now, I have different memories and at least some new stuff too, without the old baggage.
Next Up: The Fear of Getting Taken
Just joining Chris' story? Check out what you've missed here:
Chapter 1: Out of the Blue
Chapter 2: The Fear of Being Lonely
Chapter 3: Telling the Kids
Chapter 4: Did we Make the Right Decision?