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Breaking Up After Living Together

February 14, 2013

Happy Thursday! Okay, okay, today also happens to be Valentine’s Day. People put so much pressure on this day, whether they are single or coupled. If you have someone, do something nice for them. If you are not dating anyone, do something nice for yourself. (Shouldn’t we be doing this anyway, every day?) But please don’t get all wrapped up in the hype or let it get you down. It’s just another Thursday. And remember from last year’s Valentine’s Day post, today doesn’t have to be about a romantic partner!

Today we have a guest post from relationship expert Dr. Michelle Callahan, who will share tips for dealing with a break up when the stakes are high – when you live together.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!

How to Decide Who Stays and Who Goes after a Break Up

February can be hard on folks – coupled and uncoupled alike. The couples have to deal with the pressure and expense that Cupid inevitably brings and the uncoupled often feel they are actually celebrating “Singles Awareness Day.” What about those in between love and loathing though? It’s hard enough going from fairy tale to “it’s complicated” or “it’s over” without being (circumstantially) forced to live together too!

According to a survey of 1,000 renters issued by, 38% of renters have ended a personal relationship with someone while still living together and 62% of those stayed for a month or much longer (up to a year!).

Other findings from the survey:

  • The majority of renters, 56%, said that actually moving all of their stuff was the hardest to deal with in terms of the logistics.
  • More than any other reason offered, 33% of renters said they stayed because they couldn’t find another apartment they could afford.
  • 32% of renters said that if they were to move in with someone again, they would save more money in case it didn’t work out – more than any other precaution.

Dr. Michelle Callahan, relationship expert, has created tips for the recently-singled to decide how to split the goods so they can split for good:

  • Who lived there first?  Probably the easiest way to determine who should get the space is to decide based on who lived there first. The person whose name is on the lease usually gets first priority. If the person whose name is on the lease decides to give the space to their partner, that person should be sure to get the lease transferred to their name so they have a legal right to live there.
  • Who can afford to move?  A recent study conducted by found that 33 percent of renters said they continued to live with their former partner after a break up because they couldn’t find an apartment they could afford.  After sharing rent and household expenses, it becomes a challenge for people to save enough money to find an apartment they can afford on their own, in addition to moving expenses and a new security deposit.
  • Who needs the space? If one person works from home or cares for children or pets living in the home, that person likely has a greater need to maintain consistency and remain at that location. If the apartment is particularly close to one person’s job, that’s another benefit that might tip the scales in their direction.
  • Who loves the space the most?  Sometimes one person has grown very personally attached to the space. They may have invested a lot of time in decorating or selecting that apartment and as a result they feel more attached to the space.
  • Who wants to separate sooner than later? The breakup may be more painful for one partner than the other. In that case, the person who finds it hardest to share the physical space with their ex may be more likely to voluntarily leave the apartment in the interest of their own well-being.

Below is an infographic with some more details on breaking up while you live together.

2013-02 Breaking Up Infographic

Have you ever lived with someone after you broke it off? Why did you keep living with him/her?

Copyright 2013. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2013 12:19 am

    This is practical advice and provides useful thoughts.

    I’ve been with my partner for last 22 yrs. The first 14 yrs….I did not live with him. I chose not to…he is divorced and at that time had shared custody of his 2 kids. To save the pain of everyone (and me not wanting to constantly please the children who will always be loyal to their birth mother), I chose not to be the 2nd “mother” figure. (It’s okay, I have 7 nieces and nephews. I’m a happy aunt.) I’m so glad I made this decision.

    But he and I spent a lot of time at each other’s home before we lived together later.

  2. TanyaR permalink
    February 15, 2013 9:04 am

    Thanks for sharing Jean – relationships definitely work best when personalized to the couple’s situation and needs!

  3. March 27, 2013 9:04 pm

    Oy. My two most seriously relationships, we were living together and after breaking up we continue to do so. The first one continued for about 4 months because of money; she couldn’t afford anywhere else. The second one was only for a month longer.

    In either case, it was not the best situation and has resulted in my (current) mind-frame for no longer moving in with an SO until we are at least engaged.

  4. March 31, 2013 4:41 pm

    It would be hard to break up and also have to move house at the same time. I’ve read that changing houses is in the top 3 for the most stressful things one can do. And a breakup of a loving relationship i’m guessing would be in the top 2.

  5. April 26, 2013 6:22 am

    My brother and his ex are still living in the same house after more than 5 years! They own the house and did a lot of work on it. I guess neither of them wanted to move out, and they’ve made the relationship work as a friendship. Of course, if either one wanted to marry or live with a new partner, something would have to change, but so far that hasn’t happened.

  6. May 20, 2013 6:07 am

    My sister’s long term partner moved out when they came to the conclusion that the relationship had run it’s course. She immediately jumped into rebuilding her life, renewed a couple of old friendships, and has not looked back since.

    Not having to find a new place to live reduced much of the stress of the break up. She also looks great, I think she is one of those lucky ones that can bounce back from adversity with renewed vigour for life.

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