If you live with your partner, there’s a good chance you probably see a future together. No matter how long you’ve been dating, making the decision to live together is a big deal. Sadly, living together doesn’t always mean you’ll stay together forever, and there may very well come a time when you feel you need to end things. It sounds awkward, but it’s totally possible to pull the plug in a kind, simple manner. Learning how to break up with someone you live with doesn’t have to be messy.
I spoke with two experts on the matter, and they both gave me some quality advice for how to end things when you live together. Whether you’ve been together for a while and things just aren’t working anymore, or it’s a fairly new relationship that just moved too quickly, there are certainly ways to part amicably with little to no drama.
“It is far easier to break up with someone who is a jerk that treats you poorly than it is to break up with a person who is good and sincerely cares about you but just isn’t your person,” Nicole Richardson, licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist tells Elite Daily. Even if you’ve moved in and are loving life together, that doesn’t mean it’s meant to be.
“It is important to remember that you can love and value someone and see that they are incredible while also knowing they aren’t right for you,” Richardson says. “If you feel clear that you do not want to be with them, the kindest and most caring thing to do is to let them go and give them the opportunity to find someone who can love them the way they deserve to be loved.” Again, it’s sad, but it’s also important to understand that as awkward as it may be, ending things is probably the best option. Yes, even if you live together.
If you’re ready to end things, Richardson suggests having a plan of action. “If you feel clear that the relationship is over, it can be good to have a plan for how to start untangling your lives,” she explains. “For example, an idea of where you will move after the breakup.” However, this doesn’t mean that you should just go out and sign a lease before telling your partner, as that can just end up hurting them even more. “Unless there is abuse involved, letting your partner in on what you are planning is a good choice before you start to execute the plan, as they may want or need some input from you,” Richardson says. Plus, letting your partner know they’ll need to find a new roommate with no notice isn’t the nicest thing to do.
As far as how that breakup discussion should look, logistically speaking, it might be best to do it outside the home. “I would encourage whomever is ready to move out to have a discussion outside of the home, somewhere neutral,” Sarah Watson, licensed professional counselor and sex therapist tells Elite Daily. “Be honest, share what is happening and how you are feeling. Your partner might want details, or might not want to know anything. Be firm about what you need and your boundaries.”
Then comes the tricky part. If you’re living with someone and likely sharing a bed with them, what happens after the relationship ends but before one of you moves out? Both Richardson and Watson recommend setting boundaries. “Your level of physical affection should be discussed,” says Watson. Be honest, and have a plan. Who is sleeping where? Are you locking the bathroom door? Who’s going to tackle what errands? These are all things that should be discussed. After you go your separate ways, try to “agree on a period of no contact, 60-90 days is a good place to start,” Richardson says. “While you are not likely to be ‘over’ the relationship in that time, it is a good amount of time to start getting your feet back underneath you so you can both start healing.”
Sadly, a relationship can only go one of two ways: You stay together forever, or it ends at some point. And while that can definitely suck, living together when one (or both) of you is unhappy can suck even more. You both deserve a happy ending, and it’s OK to admit that maybe, it’s not with each other.