Keep the Peace: How to Break Up with Someone You Live With
Breaking up is never easy. It’s even tougher when you live with them. Find out how to break up with someone you live with without all the mess.
I’ve been through a few breakups in my life and let me tell you, none of them were all that easy. They became worse when I already lived with my significant other! Twice I broke up with guys I already lived with. To be really honest, it was nightmarish. I left wishing I knew how to break up with someone you live with but without the drama.
I don’t think I would even wish having to breakup with someone who you’re living with on my worst enemies! You’re both angry and hurt, belongings to divvy up—and don’t even get me started on the pets!
Keeping the peace during a breakup is possible
Not every breakup ends with all of your belongings broken and scattered after being tossed out the second story balcony. Although, it makes for an interesting story. Breaking up with someone you live with can be easy and even peaceful with some work.
How to break up with someone you live with
Take it from someone who knows exactly how a breakup with someone you live with goes and follow these tips on making it an easier event for everyone. I can’t guarantee they’ll lead you out the door with smiles and good wishes, but I can guarantee if you follow these tips, you’ll have a much easier time.
#1 DON’T pack up your belongings first. Packing up all of your stuff before talking to your significant other about breaking up is just wrong. What if they come home early one day and find all the boxes? What if they notice most of your bathroom essentials have been taken?
This only sets them off on a temper tantrum embarrassing for a three-year-old. Blindsiding someone with that kind of information and expecting them to be understanding about it just doesn’t work. They’ll be hurt about the breakup, sure, but they’ll be even more hurt you planned on moving everything out before telling them about it. [Read: How to end a long-term relationship like grown-up]
#2 Don’t start an argument before the ‘big talk.’ For some reason, people think it makes a breakup easier to get into a big argument with their significant other right before breaking up with them. They think it’s a good way to transition into leaving them, but it’s really horrible.
First, your argument probably has nothing to do with why you’re leaving them, and second, making someone really mad right before leaving them with ALL of your belongings is just stupid. They could start throwing things and that will certainly not keep the peace.
#3 Have a real breakup talk—in person. You can’t break up with someone you live with over a text. You might just come home to find your life belongings sprawled out in the lawn… on fire. You have to do something like that in person. It’s polite and keeps them from going crazy with your stuff. [Read: 33 interesting words for lovers, breakups, and fights]
#4 Make a plan—if you don’t already have one. Some people plan out where they’ll live or go after the breakup beforehand, but in case you haven’t yet, make a plan. Find out where you can stay until you find a place and make sure the plan is solid and you follow through with it.
#5 Be respectful of their stuff. The breakup may not always go as planned. Meaning, they might get mad anyway and have a fit and decide to trash a piece of your furniture. It can be tempting to retaliate and destroy something they really like, but don’t. Be respectful of their stuff and let them keep things you know they like more than you do.
#6 Be mindful of their space. Don’t follow them around the house right after the breakup and try talking about who’s getting what. They need space to think and figure out their next move. They’re probably taken off guard and don’t know what to think. So be respectful of their space.
#7 Let everyone cool off for a night or two. I know it might be tempting to talk about who keeps the couch, coffee maker, and hell, even the dog! But you need to give them time to cool down—and you need some time too. [Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a break up]
Take a night and stay at a friend’s house until the situation settles enough to have a civil and peaceful conversation about who gets what items of furniture, etc.
#8 Get help and support from friends and family. You can’t handle a breakup on your own, let alone moving all of your stuff out and finding a new place to live. So you’ll need some support. Lean on your friends and family during this time.
Not only will they help you with your things, but they’re a great buffer between you and your ex-significant other in order to keep the peace.[Read: 8 healing steps to help a friend get over a breakup]
#9 Stand your ground. I once had a boyfriend say because I broke up with him, he should get to keep all of the furniture we bought together. What?! That made absolutely no sense at all.
If you feel like your ex-significant other tries to rip you off or acts really unfair, you need to stand your ground. This might seem like it could make matters worse, but it actually makes them respect you more and see you are serious about this situation.
#10 Be fair. Sometimes, your ex-lover is going to be mad and might blindly tell you to take whatever you want—they don’t care. While this may be true at the moment, a month down the road when their head is back in a good place, they’re going to be pissed you actually took that antique bookshelf you know they loved.
So when you divvy up the furniture and belongings, make sure you’re being fair with what you actually take. If you bought something and it was particularly expensive, by all means, take it. But if there’s a chair you know they love and you could leave it, then just let them have it.
#11 Be sensitive. A lot of people try to detach their feelings when they break up with someone because they’re afraid they might not be able to go through with it. This might be okay unless you’re someone who loses their sensitivity if you do this. [Read: 12 of the worst ways to break up with someone who loves you]
The other person hurts and you can’t be cruel or mean to them. Be kind and respectful, and you’ll have a much more peaceful breakup and move out.
#12 Get everything out in one move. When you finally get your things packed and ready to go, do it all in one move. This limits the amount of contact you have with your ex, and it’s more likely to keep the peace. If they keep seeing you come around, it drudges up all those horrible feelings again and sets them off.
#13 Don’t forget Netflix and other online accounts! You don’t just have to move physical things in a breakup when you live with someone. Change Netflix passwords and all your online account info. Decide who gets what and change all that info right away. [Read: What to do after you break up: 50 ways to detach yourself]
#14 Pick a move-out date and stick with it. We understand securing your own apartment to move out within a few days might be difficult, but you get out of there as soon as possible. To do this, pick a move-out date.
This way, you’ll have more pressure to figure everything out and get your stuff out of there. If not, you may just let it drag on and on and allow yourself to possibly be persuaded to stay by your ex-significant other. Something you DO NOT want. [Read: 6 breakup rules for exes who are still living together]
#15 Stick with your decision. Don’t be all wishy-washy with your decision to break up and get out of there. Don’t have the breakup discussion and after giving them two days of space, come back and tell them maybe you don’t actually want to move out after all.
Don’t be the boy who cried wolf. Once you’ve made a decision, stick with it. Because not only does it confuse your partner, but it puts them through the pain over and over again and makes them really mad—ensuring a NOT-so-peaceful breakup. And who knows? Maybe they’ll break your favorite chair or something. Honestly, just don’t risk it.
Understanding how to break up with someone you live with can’t be made easy, but it can be more tolerable and peaceful—but only if you follow these rules.