Breaking up after moving in together is never easy. Not only are you mourning the loss of a relationship, but you may also have to find new living arrangements or take on the responsibility of covering housing costs on your own.
Your partner also may not be expecting the breakup since the two of you have decided to live together.
Regardless of the specifics of the situation, it is helpful to know how to break up with someone you live with to make the process more tolerable for everyone involved.
How to know it’s time to break up with your live-in partner?
There are some clear signs ofhow to know it’s time to break up with someone when you live together. If you dread coming home to your partner and are generally unhappy, it is likely time to break up because you should find happiness in your relationship.
You may also find that you try to avoid spending time with your live-in significant other, which is another pretty clear indicator that you should prepare for a breakup.
If the relationship is unfulfilling, or you find that you and your partner are constantly belittling each other, these are other ways to know it’s time for a breakup from your partner. Other ways to know include being unable to compromise or overcome your differences.
Beyond a general feeling of unhappiness or dissatisfaction with the relationship, there are some specific signs that suggest breaking up and moving out is on the horizon.
So before we talk about how to break up with someone you live with, let us learn about the signs you need to get over someone you see every day.
One of you wants to go out every night, while the other always wants to stay home, and you cannot compromise these differences.
You find yourself intentionally spending time away from home because you don’t want to be around your significant other.
You aren’t spending any time together, and you find that one or both of you makes excuses to avoid one-on-one time. This is more than simply having separate interests but is rather a complete lack of time spent together.
It becomes apparent that you and your significant other are no longer making an effort for each other. For instance, you don’t go out of your way to do nice things for each other, or you’re no longer taking care of your appearance to look attractive to each other.
There is no talk of the future. When people in a committed relationship move in together, they typically intend to spend the future together. If there is no more talk of marriage, kids, or what your future together looks like, this can be a sign the relationship is fizzling out.
You’re not able to agree on anything with your partner, and you are tired of trying to compromise.
You notice that everything your partner does annoys you, and you can’t help but be critical toward them.
When you’re honest with yourself, you realize that you are happier when you aren’t with your significant other.
Questionable behavior has become part of the relationship; one or both of you is constantly on your cell phones chatting with others, or you have begun to hide things from each other.
You get a sinking feeling that the relationship just isn’t right, and things are ending.
These signs indicate that abreak up living together may be the best choice. Once you start to experience these feelings and behaviors within the relationship, it is a pretty clear indicator that things aren’t working, and you and your partner aren’t happy.
While these signs tend to be suggestive that a breakup is on the horizon, be careful not to make any decisions in haste. You may take time to see if you can put forth more effort to overcome these challenges before deciding that the relationship is over.
Things you need to know before breaking up with someone you live with
If you are preparing to break up when you live together, you may have some feelings of remorse. After all, you probably moved in with your partner, hoping for a lasting relationship that eventually led to marriage or a family.
You have also created a home with your partner, meaning your lives and finances are highly intertwined. Breaking up can seem scary or like it is a waste of the effort you have put into the relationship.
While these feelings are understandable, it can be helpful to know that breaking up while living togetheris not entirely uncommon.
Breaking up while living together is more common than you think
In fact, a 2016 study found that 28% of heterosexual couples and 27% of same-sex couples who live together choose to end their relationship over a period of about 4.5 years.
This means that about a quarter of the time, moving in together does not lead to a lasting relationship.
Breaking up while living together is better than separating after marriage
Sometimes, when you live with someone, you find out about habits, values, or personality traits of theirs that just do not align with yours.
In this case, breaking up while living together is not a waste but instead has saved you from entering into a marriage that may have dissolved.
Breaking up while living together can be messier than the traditional breakup
Another thing that is important to know beforebreaking up with someone you live with is that this breakup may be messier than a traditional breakup with someone you have not been sharing a home with throughout your relationship.
There may be a transition period during which the two of you have broken up but are still living together until one or both of you find alternative living arrangements or get finances in order.
There may be some hurt feelings and awkward times until you are no longer living together.
Finally, be prepared for significant changes in your life
You may be losing a part of your identity or who you are with the breakup because you are moving on from the version of you that lived with your significant other.
You may also run into some changes in your friendships because the chances are that if you lived together, you also had a similar social circle. Friends may feel unsure of how to react for a period because they do not want to take sides.
How to break up with someone you live with- step by step guide
Here’s how to break up with someone you live with. This step-by-step guide will help you to deal with the situation in the most positive way possible.
Step 1: How to prepare yourself for the breakup
This section will help you to prepare yourself for the separation, which is the most critical part of the breakup process.
If you are not mentally prepared for it, the breakup might happen in a nasty way. Also, this time allows you to rethink your decision to break up.
Determine if this is really what you want
Knowing how to break up with someone you live with begins with some preparation. Before making the decision to go through with the breakup, you need to carefully decide whether a breakup is truly what you want.
Are the two of you simply going through a rough patch? Is this something that can be worked out if you have a conversation with your partner?
If you have a desire for the relationship to work, it may be a better option to sit down with your partner and talk about what is not working in the relationship, as well as to create a plan to resolve it.
If you can achieve this, the relationship may be salvageable. The main idea here is that you do not want to prematurely call off the relationship during a moment of intense emotions or because you had a particularly heated fight.
So, before thinking about how to break up with someone you live with, think about if you really want to break up with the person!
Plan for the breakup talk
If you have decided that you really want this breakup, it is time to prepare for the breakup talk. Keep in mind that making a commitment tobreak up with someone nicely is the best option.
Being hostile or chastising your significant other is not going to make for a pleasant breakup, especially since you are living together and may have to remain under the same roof until one or both of you finds alternative living arrangements.
What this means is that when planning what you will say during the breakup conversation, you should avoid including complaints or blame toward your partner in the planned conversation.
You can give a general reason for the breakup, such as the fact that you feel you are headed in different directions in life, or you have found through living together that the two of you are just too different.
You will also want to make a general plan for how you will discuss finances and your housing situation. Before having the talk, you may consider asking a friend or family member if you can stay with them until you find new living arrangements.
You may also want to evaluate your finances to determine how you will make ends meet after the breakup. Be prepared to discuss finances and living arrangements further at some point.
Other preparation details
In addition to planning for the talk and determining if this is what you really want, the following tips can help you to prepare for an effective conversation:
Give your significant other some warning that you need to have a discussion, rather than surprising them with a breakup talk at an unexpected time. You may say, “I need to have an important discussion with you about our relationship. Will tonight after dinner work for you?”
Plan to lead the conversation with a statement that you intend to break up so there is no room for miscommunication throughout the conversation.
Choose to have the conversation at a relatively quiet, stress-free time instead of dumping it right on your partner after work or first thing in the morning.
It’s also a good idea to have the conversation when children aren’t around, and it isn’t fair to discuss a breakup right before a major event, such as an important presentation at work.
Step 2: How to have the breakup conversation
When it is time to have the breakup conversation, there are some pointers to keep in mind:
Remain calm and kind. The conversation will be more difficult if you are confrontational or adversarial.
Be open to your partner’s questions, and give them a chance to speak.
Be honest, but do not give your partner a list of criticisms or complaints. For instance, you may offer a straightforward statement, such as, “I am unhappy in this relationship because we seem to have different ideas about what we want, and I would like to break up.”
Keep the conversation simple. Do not blame your partner for the downfall of the relationship or list every little thing that went wrong. This is not a time to bring up a list of every grievance you have against your significant other. Instead, it is a time to express your intent to break up and give a summary of why the relationship just isn’t working.
If your partner challenges you, repeatedly asks you to reconsider the breakup or begins shouting at you, you may have to end the conversation.
Plan to have a follow-up conversation in which you discuss logistics. The initial breakup talk is likely to be emotional, and you and your partner may not be up for hammering out the details of who will be leaving the home you share, who will be taking what possessions and how you will be handling finances.
When you sit down to have a talk about finances, it’s important to set timelines if one of you will move out. If you own the home, you may be asking your significant other to leave by a certain date, but be reasonable, understanding that it may take time for him or her to find a new place and financially prepare.
You will also need to discuss who will take what possessions, and how you might split finances if you have shared bills. Given the fact that you have asked for the breakup and may have surprised your partner, you may offer to be understanding and ask what works best for them.
If you are leasing an apartment, you may offer to give them part of the security deposit back or agree to handle any changes to the lease.
Step 3: What to do after the breakup conversation
When you are contemplating how to break up with someone you live with, you also need to know what needs to be done after the breakup conversation. So, here’s what you need to do after you have the breakup conversation.
When you are learning how to break up with someone you live with, you will need to know how to establish boundaries. You will need clear expectations on how you will handle common areas in the house, as well as how you will handle sleeping arrangements.
You may offer to sleep on the couch if the two of you have to live together for a period of time before one of you is able to leave the home you have shared.
Another thing to know about how to deal with a breakup when you live together is that you will need to give each other space to process. This is why setting boundaries is so important.
Things not to do
Breaking up with someone you live with is not easy, but there are things you can avoid after the breakup conversation in order to make the process a little more smooth.
For example, once you have decided to break up, you should avoid having sex or living as if you are still dating.
This means that you should generally not carry on eating meals together, doing each other’s laundry, or spending time together watching your favorite shows in the evening.
It can feel awkward to put a sudden end to shared activities while still living together, but a breakup means that you stop living as a couple.
Step 4: Moving on
It can be quite a challenge toget over someone you see every day, which makes breaking up with someone you live with all the more difficult.
Even if you wanted the relationship to end, you are still grieving the loss of a relationship that you likely hoped would last over the long-term. After all, when you move in with someone, you typically see a future with that person.
Breaking up and moving out represents the loss of the future you had planned with your partner. During this time of grieving, you can use the following strategies to help you move on from ending a relationship:
This means getting plenty of sleep, eating properly, and staying active. It can be tempting to let your health fall by the wayside while you are dealing with your sadness over the loss of the relationship, but you will feel better if you take care of yourself.
Do things you enjoy
Find time each day to do something you enjoy to lift your spirits. If there are hobbies you gave up during the course of the relationship, now may be a good time to return to them.
Turn to a supportive circle of family and friends to help you through this time. The people closest to you can help you to cope with the emotions you are experiencing when breaking up after moving in together.
Avoid dating someone new right away
You may be tempted to seek solace in the form of another relationship, but dating while the two of you are still living together is not a good idea, and it is definitely not fair to your former partner.
You should probably make an agreement not to see anyone new while you are still living together.
Turn to a professional
If you find that your grief has become unmanageable and you are having trouble functioning in daily life, it may be time to talk to a counselor or therapist.
In therapy, you can learn healthy coping strategies and have a safe space to process your emotions over the loss of the relationship.
When you move in with a significant other, you typically desire to have a future that includes that person, so ending the relationship is no easy task.
You have created a life and a home with this person, so learning how to break up with someone you live with can be a challenge. While the process may be painful, there are ways to break up with someone you live with so you can move forward with life.
If the relationship is no longer fulfilling, and you are sure it cannot be salvaged, you can plan to have a conversation with your significant other in which you express your desire to break up.
Be honest but kind, and prepare yourself for some awkward conversations about how to divide finances and handle new boundaries and living situations.
Ultimately, if you remain kind, you can part on good terms and move on to a life that is more aligned with your goals and values.
Friends and family can serve as a source of support during this challenging time, but if you have lingering grief or pain that you just can’t resolve, a professional can help you learn ways to cope.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.