As your relationship gets more and more serious, it’s only natural that moving in together is a step you may take—and a pretty serious step at that. While many relationships may crumble, some may be at their best after you take the plunge to move in together.
For relationships that don’t work out, breaking up can be a lot more complicated if you’ve been living together. Even though you may want to run back to your apartment and never see your boyfriend ever again, you can’t… because your apartment is your ex’s, too.
When couples that live together break up, there are loose ends to tie up: finishing the last payments on bills, making sure that all their belongings are gone, and squaring up with security deposits. The list goes on.
I’ll be honest: it’s not easy. A few months back, my partner and I split up and he moved out of my place. Things were easier for me because I didn’t have to move my stuff out. He was left with the burden of having to gather all his belongings and move out.
It was hard watching him pack up his stuff. I felt bad that I was making him rearrange his entire life. I felt bad that he’d have to find somewhere else to call home. So many times during his move out, I wanted to forget all the messed up things he did to me and just forget this whole breakup idea.
Because, yes, there were times when I was sympathetic towards him, but we also had a ton of fights. His schedule was hard to work with and I didn’t want him there when I wasn’t home. We fought about who would keep certain things. I had to watch him throw out things that were once incredibly important to us.
Throughout the entire process of us heading our separate ways, I learned a lot about how things could have been a lot easier and more painless.
1. Set a move-out schedule.
One of the hardest things about the move-out situation was that we had separate schedules, so we had a hard time coordinating when he would move his things out. Instead of him texting me multiple times a day asking when he could come by for his things, I wish we had sat down in the beginning and laid out the times and days when the move-out would take place. If we’d done this, we would have fought a lot less.
2. Remember the reasons you’re breaking up in the first place.
Watching him pack up his things was hard because I knew that it would be the last time we’d see each other. Part of me wanted to sit down with him and fix things so we wouldn’t have to go through this life change, but I had to continuously remind myself why we were breaking up.
Obviously, breaking up is never easy to do, but it’s even harder when you’re watching someone remove their belongings and leave your house emptier—physically and metaphorically. This is a time when a lot of couples rethink their breakups. While it might be the right thing to do if you’re still in love with the person, in many cases it’s not. Don’t let your heart get in the way of the facts in this type of situation.
3. Be willing to compromise.
Obviously if you lived together, there were probably things that the two of you purchased together: furniture, artwork and so on. There may be things that you can let go of but also things that you’d rather keep. It’s important to compromise in situations like this. Remember it’s a hard decision for both of you and the more compromises you both make, the easier the situation will be.
While this goes for belongings, this also can apply to outstanding finances and such. Try your hardest not to be salty. You might have to bite the bullet on some things, but just remember: This is for the best.
4. Be mature and respect each other’s things.
Depending on the type of breakup, there might be some hard feelings. If your partner hurt you, the worst and most immature thing you can do is be disrespectful towards them or their belongings.
You can choose to help them move out their things and ask what you can do to help. If you’re not comfortable with that, at the very least, don’t destroy any of their property.
Aside from being respectful to their belongings, you also need to be respectful towards them. Make things as simple and easy for them as possible. This will help you end things on good terms and make sure that there are no outstanding tiffs to workout.
5. Make sure you have some support.
This is a really difficult time for many couples, and it’s important to note that this may be the last time you see them (at least for a while). If you feel like there is any negative physical tension or you’re nervous that you might be in a dangerous situation with this person, make sure to have someone else there when your ex is moving out.
While it might make the situation a bit awkward to have another person there, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
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