Could You Still Live With Your Ex After a Break Up?
That’s what Bethenny Frankel, reality show superstar, is doing. Though she and her husband Jason Hoppy broke up, they are still living together. Apparently they don’t even have plans (yet) for Hoppy to move out of their NYC apartment. I’ve never gone through anything like this, so I asked some friends and readers to share their experience with living with an ex. How did it feel? And why did you do it? And what advice can you give others in the same situation?
Our panel consists of Marianna (31), Erik (27), Nina (32), Marie (31), Lisa (28), Thomas (33), and Victoria (24). Since each experience is unique, some questions may not apply to all.
How long after your breakup did you continue to live together?
“I had just moved into a house that we had fixed up for a couple of months and two weeks in, we broke up. I remained there for a month while I found a new apartment.” — Marianna
“We stayed there for probably a month and a half, two tops.” — Erik
“9 months. It was hell.” — Nina
(Note: Marie lived with two exes at once!) “I moved into a house with my boyfriend at the time and had my ex who is my best friend moved into my guest house. The boyfriend I moved in with broke up with me after about a year. We lived together for 4 months after the breakup.” — Marie
“6 weeks.” — Victoria
“We split up mid-September 2011, so about a year and 3 months. Still living together!” — Thomas
Did you set any boundaries or make rules while living together?
“No rules, but to be fair, we kind of cheated. We saw other people before we split up, so we had time to transition. We have normal boundaries that two considerate roommates would hopefully have.” — Thomas
“We didn’t have any specific rules because we didn’t intend to live together for much longer.” — Marianna
“I think we kind of agreed to limit our interaction as much as possible even though we did have sex a bunch more times because we were sharing a bed still and sex was the only good quality he possessed.” — Victoria
“No rules really, but out of respect he kept romantic affairs out of the house, which resumed only 3 weeks after we broke up.” — Nina
How did it feel to live with your ex?
“It felt really terrible because I still had feelings for him, but I mostly just missed him as my friend.” — Nina
“It felt liberating to try out a new situation, particularly as I was the one who was told it was over.” — Erik
“I felt sad because I was still pretty into my ex. But we still did naked meditations together in the bath after we broke up. I know, weird.” — Marie (Hey, whatever works.)
“Once we split out our rooms, as in ‘our’ bedroom became my room, and ‘our’ office became her room, everything was great. I found that we kept our spaces cleaner, too, for whatever reason.” — Thomas
“I was out [of the apartment] 90% of the time… I had developed a calloused disinterest in everything he said or did.” — Victoria
Why did you live together after the breakup?
“In most NYC-based relationships you’re in a throuple with the NYC real estate market. The economics can make things particularly tempting, especially when things are humming along nicely.” — Erik
“I stayed living with my ex because we were still on a lease and he’s a super nice guy. We’re still very close friends.” — Marie
“I was lucky that my ex was a good guy and genuinely wanted the best for me and our relationship.” — Lisa
“I was unemployed. We broke up in July and I didn’t get a job until January, so I saved my money and moved by April.” — Nina
” I knew I wanted an amazing apartment to start this new chapter of my life so it took a while to find a sweet place all for myself.” — Victoria
(Note: though they are not a couple they are still living together.) “At this point, she’s the best roommate I could hope to have in this crazy city. Amazing friendship, normal human respect, history and laughs.” — Thomas
What’s your advice for those in a similar situation?
“Definitely set up rules. Make sure things are discussed before you bring other people home.” — Marie
“Once the relationship’s over, there is no point to being cruel or making accusations. You broke up, it’s done, and if you’re going to be friends you have to think of the other person like an adult sibling, someone you know everything about, fundamentally care about, but are not beholden to or especially emotionally responsible for, and vice versa.” — Lisa, 28
“It’s gonna suck. So stay as busy as possible with work, hobbies, or friends, whatever you can do to keep your mind off of the situation.” — Nina
“Grab yourself by the ovaries and get through it like a champ.” — Marianna
“Set up firm ground rules about use of the apartment and sleeping arrangements. My ex voluntarily slept on the couch while we sorted things out. But be prepared to have a getaway plan.” — Erik
“Get out of the shared home as much as possible until you can move to new place. If you pushed the break up or the break up was pushed on you, it doesn’t matter. Homes harbor old memories, and feelings, and a break up means that you have to start something new anyway, so go out with friends and party, or go out with friends and weep into your bottle of wine as you watch ‘Brief Encounter.’ And if your place is amazing and you don’t want to move out, tough. Do it. Or redecorate.” — Victoria
“If there’s any drama whatsoever, and/or neither of you are capable of being mature adults about co-existing as two human beings, make it your life’s plan at that moment to get the eff out.” — Thomas
Do you think it’s possible to stay friends with your ex? Read this.
Featured image by Alfred Eisenstaedt from the Life Photo Archive.