Living in is often a step toward an engagement or marriage. But not all dreams turn the way you want them to. The rose and honey-tinted dreams often get a rude reality check when you actually start living with the man or woman of your dreams. While splitting up with a husband/wife is far tougher than separating with a boyfriend/girlfriend, you really need to give a lot of thought to how to break up with someone you live with.
Living in is a precursor to marriage, and subconsciously, couples try to gauge each other. They consider whether they are truly compatible. If they live up to the promise they showed while dating. If there is a future to the relationship.
Sometimes, their assumptions are proved right, at others, the mask wears off and the fights begin.
Breaking up with someone you love – no matter who initiates it – is even worse if you are living with your partner. A live-in is as good a marriage minus the ring or the paperwork. So even if there are no legalities, there are still a lot of factors that need to be considered before making the decision to part ways.
12 Tips to Break Up with Someone You Live With
When you live with someone, you have shared a certain time together, have built memories and hopes of a future. Hence there needs to be a certain sensitivity towards each other’s feelings. After all, nobody wants an acrimonious split characterized with slanging matches. So if you are confused about how to break up with someone you live with owing to the mixed emotions and the baggage of history, here are some guidelines:
1. Be sure that you want to move out
Let your decision to end the relationship not be based on one fight or a bout of anger where you decide to move out or ask your partner to. Think it through. This is not a bad date you are walking out of. You are thinking of breaking up with someone you live with and you love. There will be huge repercussions of your decision and some practicalities of the split have to be sorted out.
Emotionally as well as financially, this is going to be a tough call to make so let it not be too sudden. Weigh the pros and cons and judge if the situation has become truly intolerable. Just because a live-in allows you to walk out easily as opposed to a marriage does not mean you do not make any effort to iron out the differences.
Related Reading: When Someone Leaves You Let Them Go…Here’s Why!
2. Communicate and hint at the breakup
Your feelings may have changed but do not block the communication channels with your partner. Before you take a final call, try and have the difficult conversations hinting at what’s likely to come. It is perfectly okay for you to consider taking a break in the relationship when you live together.
A number of married couples do go through trial separations and you can do the same with your live-in partner. When you are honest and have a candid chat, this is definitely an option the two of you can agree upon before pulling the plug. Taking a break will perhaps also give you perspective and might prevent the situation from getting ugly.
3. List out what you need to take care of
Ending a relationship with someone you live with is not just about announcing it, taking your packed suitcase and slamming the door as you walk out. Have an exit plan ready. If you are the one calling it off and have to move out, have a place to go to. Confide in some trusted friend who you can rely on to get through this difficult phase.
On the contrary, if you have to break up with someone who has nowhere to go, be a little empathetic and present your partner with choices. While it might sound cold, think about what needs to be settled – your rent, bills, expenses etc.
Likewise, when you break up with someone you own a house with, there are way too many nitty-gritties to be taken care of.
Related Reading: What are the things never to do after a breakup?
4. Be prepared for hostile reactions
When you are deciding on how to break up with someone you live with, factor in their reactions. If they have no clue what’s on your mind, they might be hostile or even act difficult. For instance, they may not give up things you have bought together.
They may have constant questions on why you want to get out – questions you may have no answers for. They may even try and woo you back. Then there is the money issue, if you have made investments together.
In other words, even if you have solid reasons to break up with someone you love, the feelings don’t just go away overnight. You might experience a lot of confusion yourself and it might be a more complicated process than you imagined it to be.
5. Don’t drag friends into it
In the ‘how to break up with someone you live with’ manual, friends play an important role. Whatever is the duration of your relationship, when you live together, you naturally share connections. It might get really awkward for your friends if one of you decides to back out.
The ideal thing to do is to not drag them into the mess as they probably would not want to take sides. So if you and your beau get a joint invitation for a party, do not make it embarrassing for your partner by turning up. Also, know that a lot of your friends might sympathize with the one who gets dumped.
6. Divide assets amicably
There are a lot of practicalities involved when you break up with someone you own a house with. These might sound mundane but each of them can be a pain point. For instance, how will you divide the rent until the lease is up if you have moved into a new house? Who will keep custody of the pets?
What about the gifts you may have exchanged in the period you lived with them? These and several other questions will haunt you when you wonder how to break up with someone you live with. It’s best to let go of some of the material things. However, when it comes to bigger issues, do not hesitate to state your needs. You are not being selfish.
7. The time before moving out
Maybe the relationship is well and truly on its last legs and a breakup is inevitable. But if, for whatever reason, moving out immediately is not possible, the time together can be rather torturous.
Negotiate that space well before you end it for you will have to face your soon-to-be-ex every single day even if you have separate rooms. Try and be cordial, even if being friendly isn’t possible. On the other extreme, don’t try and fake emotions where none exist out of guilt.
And definitely do not indulge in sex. It will end up confusing the both of you and complicate matters more. Have your personal boundaries and stick to them once you have made a decision to split.
8. Don’t go on a guilt trip
When you hesitate on how to break up with someone you live with, you are merely delaying the inevitable. It is natural to feel guilty about it especially if your partner has not given you any ‘valid’ reason for walking out on him – abuse, ill-treatment, infidelity etc.
They might implore and try to do their best to save the relationship but if you have exhausted all options, stick to your decision. Splitting up after sharing so much together can be harsh for both partners, but don’t feel too bad about it.
Sometimes, it is better breaking up with someone you love than prolonging the agony by flogging a dead horse.
Related Reading: 7 Things That Are Ok To Go Through To Heal Post A Breakup
9. Seek support
It can take time to process your own emotions regarding the breakup, even if you have initiated it. Be kind to yourself too, do not take the blame unnecessarily. On the other hand, if you are the one at the receiving end, it can get even more painful.
Either way, seek credible support. Develop your own friend network before you move out completely so that you can approach people who aren’t torn between the two of you.
Your memories may be so fresh that everything would be tied to the space you shared with your partner. Take time to heal.
10. Do not begin dating
The reason for wanting to get out of the relationship can be any. But if you have doubts about how to break up with someone you live with amicably, then there are certain things you must NOT do – entering the dating game tops the list.
Even if you and your partner have had the conversation and both know that it’s more or less over, do not begin dating or be on the hunt while you are still living in the same house.
Wait until either of you move out, or you have completely severed all romantic ties and finished the logistics.
11. Help each other get through the period
There is an advantage of being able to keep things civil as you are breaking up with someone you live with and love. And that is the fact that can actually help the other person cope with the ramifications. Being gentle with your partner helps if you are the one breaking the ties off. If the situation is reversed, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
For instance, if you are sharing rent, then try and help him find a good roommate who can cover the rent when you move out. If you both are finding it difficult to divide the assets, seek the help of a mutual friend you trust, who can step in objectively.
Decide on a move-out date, this will ensure that the process is not delayed endlessly.
12. Empathise and try to stay out of touch
You may want to keep it friendly which is great but in the process do not spoil things further by constantly being in touch with them even after you move out. It would be best to break your ties completely after an amicable (as much as possible) split.
If there are things left behind in the house, so be it. Do not go back, try not to encourage further conversation. Following the No Contact Rule immediately after the breakup is very important as you both try to negotiate the single-just-broken-up space.
Breaking up with the person you are living with is always very tough since the relationship has your lives become deeply intertwined. No breakup is smooth but this situation is especially hard to traverse. There will be pain and nastiness, physically moving out will give you a deep sense of hurt since you have shared a special space. In the end, being honest to yourself and to your relationship is what matters.
You can’t. Even if you have different rooms and separate sofas, you will keep running into them and will need to have conversations as long you stay in the same space. Try and move out as fast as possible when you split up with your live-in partner. Decide beforehand where you want to shift.
Taking a break from someone you live with is akin to a trial separation in a marriage or long-term relationship. If the relationship is in trouble, moving out for a bit might help both partners gain perspective and think it through well.
There is no alternative to honest conversation. You need to be sure of yourself first. Then you need to plan what you will do after moving out – where will you shift to, how will you split assets and expenses, and take care of the logistics.
Breakup is never easy, moving out after a long-term relationship will cause pain and hurt. However, making it messier is the fact that there will be a lot of logistics to be taken care of which is not the case if the couple does not share a house.