Breaking up with someone is never easy, no matter the reason. But when you live with someone, it takes on a whole new level of complication — and it’s often hard to know how to do it without hurting your soon to be ex-partner more than necessary. According to couples’ therapist Shira Etzion, the first thing you should do, which may come as a surprise, is move out (via Vice). “The best emotional experience that people have had [when going through a breakup with a live-in partner] comes from getting the f*** out of there, and creating a setup where they can do that as soon as possible,” Etzion said. You don’t need to sign a new lease, but at least stay with your family or friends before you break the news. This will also give you time to process things and make sure it’s the right decision.
Then you need to have the dreaded talk. But first, you should schedule it. “Mentally preparing them for what you are about to say will help them digest your message once you give it to them,” Jess McCann, relationship coach and author of You Lost Him at Hello, explained to Well + Good.
Post breakup, take the high road
Once you’ve had the talk, it’s important that you give each other space. “This is important, as you need some meaningful distance to process the end of the relationship,” breakup coach Nancy Ruth Deen told Well + Good. Worry less about logistics and more about the end of a relationship with the aim of remaining amicable, because the next step is deciding how to part ways. “It’s better to ask your partner how they want to deal with the lease and bills and allow them to take the lead on it,” McCann said. “After all, you have just laid a big blow on them, so the least you can do as a peace offering is let them have priority on who does what, or who gets what.” It likely will be a lot easier if you take the high road.
If you haven’t already moved out and have to live together for a while, there are a couple rules: the first one is don’t date other people; and rule number two is don’t sleep together. “Do your best to stick with your breakup and move-out intention and plan,” couples therapist Tara Fields, Ph.D., told StyleCaster.
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