Why I’m moving house for the third time in three years

So here I am, about to move house again. This will be the fourth house I have lived in just in the lifetime of my blog and I’m heading for thirty in my lifetime as a whole. While I’m an old hand then when it comes to packing, this is quite probably the hardest move I have ever made and represents a significant crossroads in my life. I feel like the last two months have all happened outside of my control without me really meaning them to, and that things could so easily be so different.

(I do know that this isn’t actually how things happened, it just feels like it right now.)


I’m moving for three key reasons, all stemming from the recent breakup

Firstly, living in Bristol as a single parent is bloody expensive, especially in this area. This isn’t news to me, but when there were two of us it felt manageable and a price worth paying for being in such a lovely part of the city. On my own it’s suddenly not such great value. I could afford it, but I’d then not really be able to afford to actually go anywhere in this lovely part of the city. Babysitting is expensive here too.

Which leads me neatly into my second point. Moving away from everyone you know and love is all well and good when you are part of a couple, but when you suddenly find yourself without a grown-up in the house to talk to or to babysit then you very quickly feel very lonely indeed. Of course I have made friends here, but it’s not the same unconditional love and support you get from a partner or your family, where you can just sit and be quiet all day if you want to while they make you tea and entertain your child.

Finally, it turns out that living in a house by yourself, a house that you’ve only ever lived in with a partner who you loved very much, is really hard. Who’d have thought?? It’s a pretty small house too, so there’s not a single part of it that isn’t awash with memories. It feels pathetic, but everywhere I look I see him. It gets to tea time and I’m expecting him to come home and he doesn’t, and that sucks. I know that this will pass but it’s really tough. I’m hoping that a fresh house will be enough to help this and that I won’t need to go as far as replacing every single item of furniture.

OK, so this is all fairly logical isn’t it?


I feel about 91% happy that it’s the right decision. I also know though that my sense of reality and my consequent decision making powers are ever so slightly skewed right now, and so there is that 9% of me that’s really scared.

There are two main reasons.

Number one – I love Bristol. I went to university here years ago, I worked here as a graduate for two years, and yet I only got round to actually living here three years ago. That’s not to say it wasn’t a long time in the planning – Bee even started to use air quotes around the phrase ‘when we move to Bristol’ as I went on about it for so long to the point that no one ever believed it would really happen. It did though, and although it was tough to start with, I do love living here. It feels right. I’m scared that not living here is going to feel wrong and that six months from now I’m going to be kicking myself for giving up so easily.

Number two – it feels like the end. I have been in a significant amount of denial over the whole breakup situation and making the decision to move away has made it all a little bit too real. Living here, carrying on as though nothing has happened, I can kid myself that perhaps Boyfriend is just away for a little while, or that OK, maybe we have broken up, but it’s only for a bit and that any minute now he’ll realise what he has lost and come back. The longer I go on pretending though the more I have to accept the fact that he knows exactly what he has lost and that it turns out it isn’t enough to make him want it back again.

This sucks too as I had thought I was alright really.*

Even though I’m only actually moving about 40 miles away, it still feels like the end. Closing the front door when we leave on our last day, leaving behind the physical space we shared together, will feel like closing the metaphorical door on that part of my life too. I quite liked that part of my life though, hence the apprehension.

So there you go.

Leaving behind Bristol and Boyfriend is going to be difficult, but I am trying to remember that although there may be no going back relationship wise, Bristol is always going to be here for me. It won’t mind me visiting any time I like and will welcome me back in the future should I change my mind and want to come home.

One door may be closing but here’s hoping it just means another one opening.

*This is not meant as a cue for everyone to say ‘but you are, you are lovely!’ I know that it doesn’t really mean that I am not lovable  or that I won’t meet someone else who does love me enough to do whatever it takes, I’m just sad about it right now.




  1. 2 June, 2014 / 7:16 am

    Oh Jo. I feel for you so much. Living in Bristol myself (after moving here from Bournemouth because my family live here but also because I love it so much) I can completely understand why you don’t want to leave. It IS such a lovely, vibrant city and being a visitor won’t be the same. That said, you are listening to the sensible part of you, which hard as it may be, is most likely the right thing to do. I hope you can reconcile yourself fully with this decision soon enough. x

  2. 2 June, 2014 / 7:19 am

    I insist that you come and visit all the time! And all your Bristol friends will come and visit you too. Plus, like you said, you’re a pro at moving – if you don’t like it in Taunton, you can always come back :) But we will miss you so very, very much xxx

  3. 2 June, 2014 / 7:39 am

    So sorry Jo, break-ups suck. I think a move is a good thing though, a fresh start with no memories. Hope the mov goes well xx

  4. Eleanor Weeks-Bell
    2 June, 2014 / 7:46 am

    Oh Jo, so sorry to hear of your break up & that you’re leaving town. But moving away doesn’t have to be forever. There are cheaper, lovely areas to live in Bristol (& m ore me n than in Taunton!) So there may be a time when you decide it’s worth another shot. When are you heading off? It’s be great to see you before you go (but of course Taunton isn’t far & you’re more than welcome to stay with us when you visit Bristol in the future!) X

  5. 2 June, 2014 / 8:17 am

    sorry Jo – breakups are horrid aren’t they? Hope the move goes well, and you’re happy in Taunton xx

  6. Rebecca Taylor
    2 June, 2014 / 8:20 am

    Good Luck with the move, one door closes another one opens etc etc, sounds like you are moving closer to my end of town, if it is Taunton then enjoy, I can highly recommend Exeter for shopping and wine :-)

  7. 2 June, 2014 / 8:27 am

    Sorry it’s been so difficult for you recently. You know there will come a point where you look up and it’s magically better and you don’t quite know how you got there, but you’re glad you did. Here’s hoping that’s sooner rather than later, and good luck with the move. Here’s to new and wonderful memories. xx

  8. Laura Marshall
    2 June, 2014 / 8:33 am

    I just want to come all the way to Bristol and give you a big hug. We moved to Dundee, 50 minute drive away from all my family, and if I didn’t have my Husband I would Have moved back by now. So can completely understand why you need to be closer. Good luck with the move, when one door closes another opens as they say. X

  9. 2 June, 2014 / 8:46 am

    I am a great believer in things happening for a reason. As one door closes another one opena. All cliches I know and ones I hate to hear myself, however so so true… see it as an adventure xx

  10. 2 June, 2014 / 10:10 am

    I think only positive things will come from this move…a new, fresh start with a clean slate, sometimes we all need a bit of that.
    I’m sure you will be absolutely fine

  11. 2 June, 2014 / 10:36 am

    Oh Jo, I am so sad for you, because you and Bristol were so right for each other. But the city’s loss is Taunton’s gain and you now have even MORE friends who find you endlessly lovable. x

  12. 2 June, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Sad is a perfectly understandable reaction. And it’s always scary making big changes, no matter how often you’ve done it before. I hate moving house, but I hope this move is just what you need right now.

  13. 2 June, 2014 / 11:17 am

    Jo you never know what’s around the next corner and after a period of “blah” I’m sure only good things are on the horizon. Every day you will get stronger (it might not seem like it right now though). You are young and healthy, enjoy your new found freedom for now and Mr Right will come along when you least expect it:-) High 5 to your new chapter and new beginnings:-)

  14. 2 June, 2014 / 11:32 am

    I’m really sorry you’re going through such a tough time. It’s the hardest thin ever and it took me a while to come back again from being so sad. I hope you’re move goes well and you settle into the new place really quickly. Wishing you all the best at a really difficult time xx

  15. 2 June, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    Your post made me feel sad but there are positives that you may not yet realise. My husband and I have lived in our home for 39 years now, brought my children up here but now the house is getting to big for us. In fact the garden is a shambles now as we are not up to working it. We realise we must move but it is proving so painful to even think about, I wish we had moved regularly and not let the bricks and mortar entwine itself around our hearts. Look forward to your move, it is a new adventure after all and you will take all that is important with you. Close that door and open up another- you might like what you find!

  16. Hilda Hazel Wright
    2 June, 2014 / 12:56 pm

    Sorry for your sad times and hope that the move works out really well for you and you end up being very happy there x

  17. 2 June, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    Oh hun, I shall be thinking of you xxx Sending virtual hugs…

  18. 2 June, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    I also left a house and an area I loved after a break up, and despite a marriage, a baby, and three different houses in between, I miss that place desperately (but only the place after my ex had gone!). When it was just me and my dog, and the sunshine, and the good times. But new starts mend broken hearts. You never know who, or what, will be round the corner of your new hood! You’re doing the right thing. ps – the irony of ‘my last blog post’ that your thingy picks up below is not lost on me…sorry

  19. 2 June, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a tough time. I can’t help but think that these things normally have a way of working out just fine but I also know that hearing that isn’t always helpful when you’re slap bang in the middle of it all. Big hugs xx

  20. Helen Humphries
    2 June, 2014 / 2:46 pm

    Sorry to hear you have so much on your plate right now. Big decisions are always really tough you are bound to feel some anxiety.

  21. 2 June, 2014 / 3:11 pm

    I’m sending virtual (((hugs))) from Yorkshire and hopefully real ones too if I can get to you over the next few weeks!! Sorry to hear you have all this to deal with but at leas you can now look toward the future and all the fantastic possibilities that exist there

  22. 2 June, 2014 / 6:35 pm

    Personally I think you should stay in Bristol and I should get better at visiting! But seriously it totally makes sense for you to need your family, and an easier financial situation right now, you need a warm cocoon of easiness to climb into while your heart mends (sorry for the corny). Hope we still see you when you visit.

  23. 3 June, 2014 / 12:01 am

    I don’t profess to have the answer, but to me, it sounds as though the hardest part is over. you have accepted what has happened, and despite in your darker moments thinking its somehow down to you, it is not. You are an inspiration to others, a success story. the man must be a bloody fool!

    I know its a hard decision – stay, go – both have advantages, but both have their issues. personally, having stayed in the home following the break-up I now realise that I should have moved. Even when you have moved on with your life, you will suddenly be thrown back in time purely by a kind of evil deja-vu that just loves to remind you of when you painted that wall, chose that carpet and so on. The mind is a wonderful tool, but it can be the devil on your shoulder at times!!

    Staying can only work if you overhaul the place and remove the reminders, but in doing so, you don’t wipe your internal walls clean – that cannot be done. However, one word of caution – even in a new house you are taking you with you, so you can’t run away, not really. Your memories though will fade, and in time will be replaced by happy ones. Its hard now, but you will get through it.

    Just on an aside – your blog is amazing. True talent. x

  24. 3 June, 2014 / 5:28 am

    There’s nothing to say you won’t find yourself back in Bristol at some point in the future. It’s not like this will be your last ever move. I really hope it goes smoothly and you and Bee settle into your new home and routine happily.

    Dealing with a move and a break up sucks big time. I’m sorry you’re going through it.

  25. 3 June, 2014 / 6:04 am

    So sorry that you are facing this awful sad time. As much as it is painful, I hope writing your blog helps easing the heartache for you. It sounds like you have made your firm decision to move. You have so many happy memories but you can take these with you. I hope you and Belle find much happiness in your new home x

  26. 3 June, 2014 / 8:32 am

    A few years ago, just before I turned 30, my boyfriend of the time ‘traded me in’ for one of my mates. I was devastated and moved away from the small bit of London we both lived in (it certainly felt small) and the fact we had lots of mutual friends didn’t help. I moved 200 miles away back to Manchester and after living in my friend’s spare room for a couple of months I rented a flat on my own, the best thing I ever did.

    I made lots of new friends who had nothing to do with him and was surrounded by old friends and family who weren’t too far away.

    Then, by chance, back in London for a gig I met the now Mr ATWWAH and ended up back in London a few months after.

    It will all get better eventually and sometimes physically moving away from somewhere can do you the world of good. It doesn’t mean it has to be forever.

  27. 3 June, 2014 / 4:38 pm

    oh Jo I’m sad you are leaving :( I do think a change is good for a fresh start and fresh mind and all that and can totally relate to that ‘everything reminding me of him’ thing. I hope it’s only a little stay away and you return here soon.
    P.S my neighbour was telling me that Taunton is grey for charity shops! I’ll come visit! x

  28. Just wanted to say you have a great blog and I’m just sorry you’re having to go through this upheaval and sadness. I wish you really good luck with the move and I hope Taunton embraces your arrival and makes you feel very safe, welcome and happy (and here’s hoping they have a great supply of cheap babysitters!). Big virtual hugs from Bee at Lifeafterlondon

  29. 4 June, 2014 / 1:12 pm

    oh lovely, I really hope you look at this time as just that, a small period of time where you will change your surroundings to help you get through a difficult situation. When this time is over and you are in a different head space, Bristol will welcome you back with open arms. Hoping the move goes smooth and you are ready for your next adventure. x

  30. 5 June, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    Things like this are always so hard, especially when you are leaving a city you love and with the breakup, I can only imagine it’s a very stressful and testing time of your life. The one positive though is now your on a new road and new adventures and I hope everything goes smoothly in the future :)

    Laura x

  31. Rachel
    19 June, 2014 / 1:59 pm

    Jo, I feel for you. Yes big steps, takes a lot to get used to a new place especially a new town/city. I moved 3 yrs ago away from southville. Gorgeous as it is it’s just no good being somewhere when it’s a struggle to live there. It took me ages to settle in my home town and recently looked at moving back.when I worked out what we have now just even in garden terms I was gutted. I have two little girls and despite parks I just want them to be able to run around in some space,my daughter starts school soon. She will be on of fourteen in her class not forty as seems to be how bristol looks atm! So despite really really loving Bristol and missing it, I know that I am lucky in what we have even tho it’s not where I would choose to live in small towndom. With the internet nowadays life is so easy to stay on touch and be connected with those like minded. Try to focus on the positives and give it time and life I’m sure will be fruitful and just another step in your life’s wonderful journey xx

  32. 3 June, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    “One door may be closing but (…) it just means another one opening.” – very well said! Thank you for the touching reading! Wish you all the best.

  33. 12 August, 2015 / 10:58 am

    It seems like a very hard moment for you… Moving away from the place you love so much is definitely difficult and you need to have the time to remember all the wonderful moments that you had there and to find inner strength to say ‘goodbye”. I had to do this last year and I was really feeling horrible. If you made the decision to move then there is now way back! Good luck! Bristol is lovely!

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