Breaking up with someone you love is never an easy thing. But breaking up with someone you live with? Well, that’s even more complicated. Not only are you parting ways with your partner, but you’re also parting ways with the place you’ve called home. Add on who keeps what, changing the name on the lease or mortgage, and choosing your favorite houseplant, and things can really messy and emotional really quickly. So how do you break up with someone who both loves you and lives with you in the nicest way possible? It’s possible. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Take the Time to Be Sure
Yes, breaking up with someone you live with is complicated. Which is why you want to make sure that you mean it. Is this a momentary conflict that can be resolved or helped via therapy? Or is this a deal-breaker? While it’s equally important to be certain that you want the breakup, it’s just as important to not stay in the relationship simply because you have a roof over your head. Ultimately it should be about the incompatibility between you and your partner that is why you make the decision and not because you hate the idea of apartment hunting.
Create a Relationship Exit Plan
There’s nothing more awkward than sleeping in the same house with the person who you just dumped. So before you sit down to have The Talk, make sure you have an exit plan in place. Do you have a place where you could crash at for a few days or weeks until you get your own space? If it’s your apartment and you would like your partner to move out, then you have to acknowledge that they might not have somewhere to go so it might be wise for you to stay somewhere else until those logistics are sorted out. No matter what: don’t be afraid to ask for some support.
Have The Talk
Keep it civil. All breakups should be done respectfully and kindly but when it involves someone with whom you share a whole bunch of practical matters to sort through, it’s necessary. Things are going to be messy afterwards and chances are you will have a lot of contact with your ex post-breakup as you divvy up assets, so being civil is key. Keep it simple. Tell them why you’re ending it and why you think it’s best not only for you but for both of you. Usually a breakup isn’t over one thing but an accumulation of lots of little things — albeit important things — that cause more discord than unity. But instead of listing your complaints, stick to the main reason behind your decision. And when in doubt, take the high road.
Set Some Ground Rules
As you deal with your new living situation, you will need to set some ground rules. Ideally someone would be moving out right away but that’s not always likely meaning you and your ex will be remaining “roommates” until a new place opens up. This means setting up some important boundaries, i.e. someone sleeps on the couch or in the guest room. It will also mean establishing set rules when it comes to personal space within the house, including chores, cooking dinner, and whether or agreeing not to date anyone new until you no longer live together. You’re no longer a couple, so don’t act like one.
Understand The Logistics
If there’s a lease or mortgage to take care of, the best scenario is to be a person of integrity and live up to your end of the agreement. If you committed to pay the lease, do so until your ex moves out or finds another roommate. When it comes to approaching landlords and banks, it’s in both of your best interests to approach them as a united front. When it comes to splitting up your stuff, be fair. What was yours before stays yours. For the other things you bought as a couple, decide on who uses it the most and who likes it the most. If you need help divvying up assets, you might want to call in a third party, like a trusted neutral friend or mediator, to help you out.
Don’t Hook Up
Still living together post-breakup is breeding ground for hooking up. Even when one of you moves out, the temptation of “ex sex” might still be high. Don’t do it. It’s unfair to both of you and will only drag out the healing process. It might feel good in the moment but it will end up causing you more hurt and confusion in the long-run. Again: don’t do it.
Don’t Hate Yourself
It’s easy to beat yourself up over a breakup, especially one in which you created a home together. But breakups are part of life, and often times, they are the best things that could happen to us. While the breakup will hurt both of you, know that these feelings won’t last forever, and that you aren’t a bad person for wanting something different, and ultimately a life that is healthier and happier.