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Don't Get Lost in Transition

How to Handle Big Life Changes as a Couple

Page: 7 of 10
  • One of you seeks a big life change.

    When one of you decides to shift careers or go back to school, it can disrupt the balance of your life together. You think that you've figured out your lifelong plans, but suddenly they're upended, and worries begin to trickle in about what these changes mean for your finances, future plans and children.

    If you're the one who wants to make a change, then it's important to talk about your proposed plans in advance; it's never a good idea to spring a big decision on your partner. And if you're on the other side of the conversation, then it can be all too easy to feel resentment. Avoid conflict by using the speaker-listener technique, suggests Litzinger. "It's important that you each express what you're feeling, thinking and planning; actually listen to what your partner is saying," she says. You'll need to negotiate a lot of changes, which you can't do without understanding each other's point of view first. Instead of leaping to conclusions—"This will never work"; "We can't afford it"; "It's selfish and unfair"—listen to what your partner's plans actually are, and work together on the logistics. For example, you can make lists of pros and cons and creatively reorganize your budget jointly, so both partners feel like they're embarking on the journey together.

Don't Get Lost in Transition
How to Handle Big Life Changes as a Couple
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