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Breaking Up When You Live Together — How to Move Out Right

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breaking up living together

photo by Ben White

Breakups are never fun, but there’s another level of complexity when you live together. You’ve created a space you call your own, and leaving it can feel like the end of the world. Moving out recharges your heart and mind, though, and it’s more rewarding than staying in a deadlock with someone you’re no longer with. It’s essential to make this transitional period as smooth as possible for all parties. If you’re stuck on how to move forward, read on for some advice.

Resist the Urge to Stay

It may be more cost-efficient or physically convenient to stay instead of leaving after the breakup, but don’t do it. Mulling over these conveniences persuades you into clinging to old feelings you both have, especially if you’re still in love at the time of the breakup. This only makes it harder to separate. Conversely, a relationship you end on hostile terms will make staying in the same space tense and uncomfortable. Whatever the situation is, don’t remain in it.

If you’re thinking about staying because it reduces financial strain, your next best option is to stay with a friend, your parents or other family members. In the long run, it’s easier to leave someone that gives you discomfort than stay with them. Plus, your friends and family are your support system. They can be a significant help for figuring out the more challenging aspects of the move when you’re too overwhelmed with emotions.

breaking up living together

Picture fro Eharmony

Figure Out Ownership

Deciding who keeps what — especially with joint purchases — won’t be simple, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable, either. Maintain civility with each other. If you had the item before the relationship, odds are you should keep it. However, if the mere presence of it reminds you of unpleasant memories, you’re better off without it. Since you’ll be decorating a fresh space, you’ll want to include things in it that make you feel good. Don’t bring the energy of a dead relationship into your new living situation.

If you find yourself in a time-sensitive situation and don’t have much room to dwell on logistics before moving out, make it as painless as possible for both of you. Keep a checklist of your belongings so you don’t lose any of them in the rush. Create a gameplan — what will be hardest to pack? Start with those things first to get them out of the way. Throw away or leave behind anything you don’t need.

Remember that you aren’t alone. Ask friends or family for help during a quick move to expedite the process and reduce the strain on you.

Third-party advice can be surprisingly useful when breaking up. If you live in an apartment, talk with your landlord. They may give you the option of breaking the lease for a fee or letting you sublet while you’re moving out. Consider talking to a family mediator who’ll provide you with advice about things like insurance or custody of any children you may have together.

breaking up living together

Illustration: Stephan Schmitz

Create Boundaries

If you aren’t able to move right away, you’ll be living together for a few weeks or months after breaking up. If this is the case, you and your ex need to set boundaries to make this arrangement as tolerable as possible.

You and your ex are more like roommates than partners now, and this change in the relationship should come with new house rules. If regularly being in the same place isn’t pleasant, set your schedules so you’re not always in each other’s presence. Decide if you’re OK with each other bringing new dates into your space, or if you’d rather start dating when you’re completely separated. Consider sleeping arrangements, too. You aren’t together anymore, and it can be awkward to share the same bed.

Alternatively, sharing the same bed may make it tempting for you to get back together and stay where you’re at, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Decide who’s going to sleep where. Falling back into old routines is yet another obstacle that makes it hard to leave, so avoid this when you can.

Moving Is for Your Happiness

Remember, you’re doing this because it’ll make both of you happier and free to do what you want. Don’t postpone the situation because of nostalgia or other factors. After you rip off the bandage and regain your own space, you’ll recover your sense of self and begin a new chapter of your life.

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Kacey Bradley

Kacey Bradley

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.

Kacey has been able to further her knowledge and interest for nature, understand the power of exploring other locations, and embrace the styles and cultures that surround her through her passion for writing and expression.