How to survive a breakup when you still live with your ex

So, you did it! You moved in with your partner and now the relationship—for whatever reason—is at an end. You have gone from blissful cohabitation with your person in a home that you love, to ex lovers and automatic roommates suddenly stuck in a small space (Is this how Katniss felt when she volunteered herself as tribute?) So, how do you cope? As someone who lived with her ex for a full month before moving out into my new place, I picked up some tips for how to survive the wilds of ex town while you’re still an inhabitant.

Don’t start dating other people until you’ve moved out

Unless someone else is already in the picture, it just keeps things less complicated if you wait to see other people while you’re still under one roof. If you start seeing someone else while you’re still sharing digs with your ex it makes an already painful scenario so much more gruesome. Besides, other than casually hooking up, you’re definitely not doing anyone any favors by jumping into another relationship before you’ve healed from the last.

Don’t sleep together

Backsliding happens, but if you’re really trying to end this thing, it only complicated matters to keep sleeping together when you’re splitting up. Like don’t even share a bed. Take turns staying at friend’s house and have the sleepovers you’ve been missing (This will give you time to reconnect with your buddies and maybe have that pillow fight you guys always talk about, but never make time for.) Or spring for a hotel one weekend and have a “staycation” and some well needed “me time.” Don’t little spoon, big spoon—just crash on the couch or fire up the inflatable if you’ve both got to stay.

Forgive yourselves if you do sleep together

We’re all human, and things can get messy. If it happens, it happens. Move on and keep trying to take care of yourself.

Make some boundaries and keep them

I know that living with your partner means creating the potential for automatic nudity (jammies become so obsolete), but cover it up. Don’t taunt your ex. Be respectful and invest in that soft, plush robe you’ve always dreamt of. Besides once you live alone again you can go right back to naked cooking and not skip a beat.

Get out of the house

Go for a run. Go to yoga. Go on a weekend trip with your friends, but do not become housebound with your ex. Give each other space and take advantage of all the free museum days. It’s good to start practicing what life is like without your ex. Because living together is a sort of forced intimacy, you’ve got to at least mentally start the division.

Don’t fight over material objects

Do not allow the separation of the assets (the many household things the two of you co-purchased for your place) to further rupture each other’s feelings and sense of well-being. It’s just stuff. He/she is a person. Besides you never used that Magic Bullet anyway.

Try to avoid dissecting the break up over and over

Try to avoid additional break up conversations in which you talk round and round in circles, essentially playing your break up conversation on repeat. This helps no one. You guys made a decision, now stick to it.

You both loved each other immensely enough to have shacked up in the first place. You both got yourselves into it, so it’s your job to be partners in getting out of it with as much dignity and calm as possible. Be kind. Maybe make a small gesture of peace like making the bed, taking out the trash, and even help each other pack up your lives. Messy break ups suck. But if you can find ways to make each other smile or laugh in the final moments it’ll be worth it later, trust me.

(Image via Focus Features0

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