Breaking up is hard to do – and it’s even tougher when the love has gone but you still have to live together.
A few words, and everything changes. Only in the most extremely acrimonious of cases will you not feel a wrench, a sense of something missing. Even if you're calling time on a serial adulterer or a nasty drunk, your life was tied into them for as long as you were together. And now that tie must be cut. Severed. You are leading your heart to the guillotine. But you can survive.
When you read breakup tips, they assume all you need to know is how to say it's over. But « ending it » isn't the end when you live together; it's just the beginning. And there are some things everyone about to find themselves in that boat should consider before they do:
You need to make sure you’re ready to end it.
The old saying goes « marry in haste; repent at leisure » but it's pretty much the same for ending a relationship, especially when you share a home together. Jumping the gun and calling things off on the spur of the moment because of a blazing row or indiscretion is never a good idea.
You're not just going to be able to say your piece and walk away from this one, like leaving a boring or bolshy date behind in a restaurant. Even if you have a spare bedroom to retreat to, or a sofa to sleep on, you're still going to be bumping into each other in the bathroom or at the fridge. And things will be chilly enough as it is.
This is life-changing stuff – make sure you're prepared emotionally and, as cold as it may sound, financially.
I certainly didn't have a long-term plan. We were only a few months into the lease on our apartment, which had one bedroom, and I chose to break the news at around 11:30pm after a day of brooding. The practicalities, the emotions, I'd briefly gone through in my head, but when it came to the actual moment, I managed to hold it together enough to have credibility. If there's one time you need to be taken seriously, it's now.
Also: Make sure you are never more than 13cm away from a bottle of wine. Learn from me.
CBS / Via sararaasch.tumblr.com
You should have an exit plan to make things as painless as possible.
Blurting out « it's over », pouring petrol over the bed you share, lighting a match, and then stalking out of there in killer heels might sound like a plan, but real life is nowhere as fantastical.
Have an adult discussion, with a clear idea of what the results are going to be. If you live together and you're planning on leaving straightaway, have somewhere to go. If you're asking your partner to leave, accept there will be reluctance and hostility, and they may have nowhere to go. Emotions will be running high and everyone will have their own view – you must have the strength to face up to the decisions you make.
When it comes to talking to landlords or banks or any other company who's got a vested interest in your household, you need to present a united front. If you're the one who ended the relationship, consider being the one who steps up and sorts all this stuff out. First, it means any ex who's reluctant to split won't drag their heels and hold things up, and second, it's the least you can do when your action has put you both in this situation.
Not that you should feel guilty about that – but taking care of business can help you move on from that. Taking the strain can also take your mind off things, weirdly.