Real Life Experiences

5 Tips To Change Your Ex Into Housemates

When the romance ends, it's time to move on and move out

Moving on and out after a break up

Easier said than done?

When it comes to ending a relationship, everyone shivers at the mere thought it. Undeniably, this is what we all fret whenever we are involved with someone romantically; given a choice we would want a romance to be blissful and last long. Sadly, this isn’t true in most cases.

At the end of any romantic relationship, the emotional torment is the worse to endure. Not to forget if you are living with your partner for a certain amount of time, what happens when a break up occurs? You are so used to living together and the mere thought of finding a place and living alone makes the recovery process even longer. You know for a fact that if you start to live on your own, what you earn may not be able to sustain your current cost of living, not to mention your lifestyle.

Does it mean that you have to immediately move out after ending a relationship, even if you know you can’t afford it?

Why we still choose to live with our ex?

Whenever a break up occurs, the ideal outcome would be for one of you to move out and cut off all contact with each other in order for the healing process to properly begin.

Only, with the increase cost of living and wages being so, well, not high; the whole moving out idea seems to be impossible, leaving you to cope with with the lesser ideal outcome of continuing to live with your ex and always being stuck.

It’s not exactly a dream come true situation, but if you are stuck with cohabitating with your ex, don’t panic. You are not alone.

“One day your kids will ask you “What is love?”, and you will look at your spouse and remember your ex”

Nitya Prakash

In fact, living with an ex is becoming increasingly common. Studies has shown that more than more than 35% of renters have called it quits with someone while sharing a place with their partner, yet continued to live together anyway.

The primary culprit? Financial constraints.

33% of those surveyed couldn’t find an apartment that they can afford and it’s more common in cities with higher costs of living, where rent concerns forces people to choose what’s practical. Clearly, wage stagnation and other factors isn’t only affecting relationships and marriages, but breakups as well.

5 tips on moving on when you can’t move out

Define your boundaries

Having an open, transparent communication on the mechanics of living together works, being open on both your emotional needs and personal spaces are essential to help minimise the tension and resentment as you both start to pave the groundworks to heal and move on.

Start with completely agreeing to remain a platonic relationship and a clear definition on how you will give each other space to heal, whether it’s okay for the both of you to have friends and family over and when the time comes, deciding on how to handle new relationships that will appear at a later stage of your life (if you are still living together by then).

Set personal boundaries and space, and never cross into your ex’s space without permission. Make it clear as well on your own personal space and what you expect from your ex. One very important thing to remember as well ~ never ever bring new dates back to your apartment unless you and your ex are ready for it.

Whether you mean it or not, bringing a date home will make your ex feel that you are deliberately and maliciously trying to make them jealous. Make it a strict rule that neither one of you will bring dates home until the time comes when you are really ready for it.

The key word to make this work – transparency and respect.

Never share the same bed!

One of the biggest mistake you can make is sleeping together after a breakup. You very well know for a fact that one thing leads to another, and having sex with your ex may temporarily ease the sexual tension but it brings more harm than good in the path towards recovery and moving on.

If you are living in a one bedroom apartment or a studio, get a room divider and make two separate sleeping areas. Don’t even think of sharing the same room although sleeping separately, it will lead to the same problem. You will need privacy to recover and move on.

One big mistake to make is sleeping on the same bed with your ex while staying together

“You never get over an ex, but you learn how to live with it”

Luke Evans
While cooking is cost effective, cooking together with an ex brings back sweet memories

“We all have to live together, so we might as well live together happily”

Dalai Lama

Rebuild your identities

You may not be able to separate physically, but you can mentally and financially. Decouple your bank accounts, groceries, bills and any other form of joint accounts that you may have.

Start to treat each other like strangers, especially when you have gotten use to walking out of the shower with only a towel. Your ex might get mixed signals seeing you clad only in a piece of cloth fresh from the showers.

What used to be “together activities” such as cooking a meal, or cuddling on the couch watching the latest series on Netflix has to stop. Learn how to respect each other’s space. When your ex is cooking, wait for your turn. When you are catching up on your favourite series, sit apart on the couch. It may feel awkward and tormenting at first, but gradually you will get used to it.

Don’t feel that you are obliged to have small talks when your ex is around the house. Yes, it will become nearly impossible to ignore each other while having your own space in the same house, but don’t let the nervousness get the better of you. If you are on your phone and your ex is on the couch, just focus on your phone. Don’t let your mind wander away thinking that you should have a conversation with your ex out of courtesy. Speak only when you have to.

Spend more time outdoors

Try to fill your time with outdoor activities, such as making road trips alone to places that you always wanted to visit or spending time a your favourite cafe while catching up on reading. Come home only to catch some rest and sleep.

Apart from avoiding more arguments and volatile situations with your ex, being outdoors will also help you to get away from places that reminds you the most about your ex and your painful breakup.

Make fixed plan of moving out. It will never happen if you procrastinate.

Not being able to move out and afford to live alone is some of the most common reasons why couples live together after breaking up. Whatever your reasons may be, make a plan to move out and set a fixed date. If you start to procrastinate the move, you know it will never happen and recovery from the break up will be even farther.

Start by saving money for the first month’s rent and bond for a new place. House hunting has to happen immediately as well, so get a real estate agent’s help if you need to. By taking small steps to plan, you will eventually reach your goal of moving out.

If the place is in your name, give your ex sufficient time to evict. Be reasonable, but be firm at the same time when you see your ex procrastinate. The longer it takes for you or your ex to move out, the harsher it is on you. Think of it as a permanent bad date that you need to get out of. Days will turn into weeks, and weeks will agonisingly turn into months and years.

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