A live-in relationship could ‘live on’ beautifully for many couples in the form of a happy marriage. Even in today’s world, the concept of live-in relationships is getting more popular by the day due to its practical and complication-free tag. Add in the glamour quotient by our very own desi filmstars, and it seems like a win-win arrangement.
Couples choose to live in because it gives them an opportunity to test their compatibility with each other before they decide to tie the knot. After spending a considerable time together, such couples can learn to thrive with each other, sail through many challenges and ‘level up’ to marriage in due course.
But what happens when the live-in relationship doesn’t work? What if the partner is not compatible with you? Or what to do if you feel trapped living with him? How difficult is it to break up with a person who you not only have been in a relationship with but also been living with? Well, it certainly isn’t a walk in the park. Here, we talk about a few things to keep in mind if you are breaking up with your live-in partner.
1. Reflect on your relationship before breakup
Thinking about breakup for live-in lovers is not an easy deal. It is similar to the torment of a ‘divorce’ sans any paperwork. Cohabiting with your partner exposes many weaknesses in your relationship and you are left with no other option than to break up with him. But, before pulling the plug on your relationship, identify the severity of the situation. Ask yourself some of these questions before you decide to end the live-in relationship.
- Is there constant negativity in the house due to ego clashes, jealousy and power struggles?
- Is your partner critical and jealous of your achievements?
- Does he drag on a fight more often than necessary?
- Does your partner share the household chores or it is your responsibility alone?
- Does he contribute his share of the monthly expenses or is it entirely your responsibility?
- Do you always take the initiative to reconcile with your partner post any tiff?
If your answers are mostly ‘yes’, then the decision to break up is correct. The next step is to introduce your partner to your problem areas through an honest conversation and break the news of breakup as soon as possible.
2. Prepare for an honest communication
‘We need to talk’ is a serious conversation starter among long-term couples. Since communication is everything in a couple’s life, it is best to prepare your partner for the breakup if you are living with him. Let him know that you have been thinking about the relationship and you want to talk about it. It’s best to choose a time which is comfortable for both of you, since the conversation may be long. Have a heart-to-heart communication with him/her and introduce them to the ‘pain points’ of your relationship.
Don’t put the entire blame on them. Start with ‘we’ instead of ‘you’ – like we didn’t match each other’s expectations. This live-in exposed many flaws in both of ‘us’. We both are not ‘compatible’ with each other in the long run. This step will alert the partner about the impending trouble in your life.
3. Be ready to face ‘extreme’ consequences
After such a conversation, he may begin a toxic pattern of relationship abuse. He may start calling you names, blame you for finding a better partner than him or fight with you more often. This may reach extreme levels where he could be physically abusive to you or even slap you.
If your live-in relationship takes such an extremely negative turn, then you must have a backup ‘exit plan’ in place.
4. Seek support from your friends
Yes, you cannot talk to your family about the severity of the situation, but your BFF will always be there to help you out. She will not judge you for your choices and help you in such an emotional crisis. Don’t feel trapped; whenever you get ‘private time’, try to share your ordeal of an abusive live-in relationship. Don’t share intricate details on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. If he checks your mobile chats, then it might create an uncomfortable situation if you cannot move out right away after breaking up with your live-in partner.
Having to stay with someone whom you have just broken up with may be the most awkward thing that you have ever done. Therefore, it’s essential that you already have a place to move out to before you go ahead with the breakup.
5. Plan the exit route wisely
Keep your emergency bag packed with a few essential belongings. Be observant about his movements. If he is stepping out for a considerable time, then call your friend and move out of the live-in apartment on an urgent basis. Put a full stop to the situation by notifying him that you are moving out of this relationship via a message.
6. Ease out the complications
Many live-ins don’t end in disasters like the one mentioned above. Many such cohabiting partners may grow apart, but still remain cordial while resolving the complications that follow a breakup. This may include setting a time limit to find a new base. Ideally, 4-6 months are reasonable to find new accommodation for both partners.
7. Discuss living arrangements post-breakup
A lot of things do change after a breakup, including financial equations. Discuss with your ex-live-in partner about the finances if you both have invested a considerable chunk of your savings in leasing the house. Learn to live together as a roommate, not as a couple. Set private space for both the partners in the house. Also, discuss the ‘individual’ contribution towards monthly expenses, including food, regular bills and house maintenance. Try and divide the household chores to avoid any unwanted arguments.
8. Set and respect personal boundaries
With emotional detachments and lots of hurt in their hearts, live-in couples going through a breakup need to respect each other’s privacy. So, don’t act like a possessive partner curious about his whereabouts post-breakup. Also, don’t fall into a temptation of convincing in the hope of a rebound relationship. Breakup rules also contain a no-no for sex. Don’t just complicate the situation, and make it easy for both of you to find your individual
9. Stop acting like a couple
Tell your mutual friends that you have decided to move on in life; don’t fake it in front of them. Update them on your goals and next course of action in life. Meanwhile, you can decide to concentrate on your life and work on your personal advancement goals. You can opt for a new course; relocate to a new city, or move in with your family.
10. Give each other space to grieve
Breakups are hard and painful for both of you. There will be lots of crying and repenting. Don’t deprive yourself or your ex-live-in partner of that right. Respect the emotions and give time to heal. Take judgments out of life and don’t indulge in arguments when you or your ex are in pain emotionally.
11. Don’t date again till you move out of the live-in space
Breaking up after a live-in is really a painful phase where you actually need proper time to heal. Ideally, you need 6 months to heal after a breakup, but if you are spending this time in sorting your finances, then ‘dating’ is not a great idea. Even when you have grown out of each other, dating will create a new set of complications in life, including jealousy and a hope to woo you back through a rebound. To avoid such a complex situation, avoid ‘dating’ till you move out of your live-in arrangement.
12. Don’t argue over who owns what
Since you were living together, there will be a lot of things in the house which you bought together. When you break up with your live-in partner, it’s best not to argue about who owns what when you are moving out. Giving up certain things if the need arises. This may make things smoother and provide you with the chance to walk away with dignity.
A breakup followed by a live-in is certainly an ‘eat that frog’ phase in your life. But sorted thoughts and a planned course of action can help you overcome this difficult relationship with dignity. Our Bonobology relationship counsellors also suggest such live-in couples follow such a sorted route to avoid any further complications and experience a peaceful closure.
P.S. Remember, every relationship is a lesson, and a breakup for a live-in couple could be the ‘one’. Don’t repent over it; instead, learn from takeaways and help them shape your relationships in the future. Agree? Do share your perspective with us in comments.