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Thread: Breaking up with someone you live with

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    Member Array Diffusion's Avatar
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    Default Breaking up with someone you live with

    So while we're on the topic of breakups...

    I need to breakup with my current girlfriend sometime in the not too distant future, it's getting to that critical mass point for me and it's no longer being fair to her. Breaking up is difficult and emotional, especially when the other person is very attached to you, but I've never had to do it with some one I've lived with. I've gone searching the web for breakup advice (yes, I'm that lame), there's plenty of good advice about breaking up but nothing specific for people that live together.

    So has anyone done this before? I realize it's gonna be messy, it's gonna be hard, but how do you do it? I guess I'm mainly concerned with the logistics of it all. How do you go about moving out all your stuff? We each own about half the furniture. How do you decide who keeps what? Is stuff you bought together, "for the house" yours or hers/his? I supposed this is in many ways what divorcing couples go through, but luckily we only rent and don't have any co-car loans or such.

    It would be easier if I knew she wasn't going to be an emotional wreck, and I wouldn't run into the "I can change... we can make this work..." every time I see her. I also feel bad because we're somewhat financially dependent on each other, me more so than her, but I'll feel bad dumping the entirety of the bills on to her. She has a good paying job and would be okay on her own, I'm still a student working part time. I'm not really sure where I'll go for the moment, but I'll figure something out.

    I don't deal well with emotional trauma and I'm afraid I'll cave to her co-dependency when she starts the tears. So how do you guys deal with it all?

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    Ornery Hathor of Krikkit Array booyalab's Avatar
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    since you're the one initiating the break-up, you should be the more accomodating one with logistics.
    "So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person, but that's going to change, I'm going to change." Renton, Trainspotting

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    Known Troublemaker Array Hustler's Avatar
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    How long do you have to achieve a breakup?

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    Member Array Diffusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    since you're the one initiating the break-up, you should be the more accomodating one with logistics.
    Okay that sounds reasonable. How do you negotiate moving times? Should I call her, "Hey I know you hate me and want me to die, but can I swing by today and grab my bed and my TV. Hope you don't mind sleeping on the floor."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hustler
    How long do you have to achieve a breakup?
    No set timeline yet, but I know I'm ready to get out.

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    Known Troublemaker Array Hustler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diffusion View Post
    No set timeline yet, but I know I'm ready to get out.
    If you have time, you could try making her break up with you. Whatever you did to make her fall in love with you (or whatever it was about you which attracted her/caused her to fall in love), reverse it. Make her fall out of love with you. If she doesn't love you anymore and actually finds you unlikeable, she will either initiate the breakup herself or, failing that, she will at least be a lot easier to break up with.

    That, or just man up and tell her it's over.

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    Communist Array Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    since you're the one initiating the break-up, you should be the more accomodating one with logistics.
    Yep. Not only because he's the one initiating the break-up, but also because he's the financially dependant one.

    The only way to make this easy on her and yourself would be to let her have everything - the apartment and all of the furniture that was bought between the two of you. And find a cheap place to stay - hostel, friend's house, parents' house, etc. - while you look for a new roomate to split the rent with. Just pack up your personal stuff and get out of there.
    So many bricks, so few cars. - MoneyJungle

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    Communist Array Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diffusion View Post
    Hope you don't mind sleeping on the floor."
    For example, that would be tacky.
    So many bricks, so few cars. - MoneyJungle

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    Member Array Diffusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustler View Post
    If you have time, you could try making her break up with you. Whatever you did to make her fall in love with you (or whatever it was about you which attracted her/caused her to fall in love), reverse it. Make her fall out of love with you. If she doesn't love you anymore and actually finds you unlikeable, she will either initiate the breakup herself or, failing that, she will at least be a lot easier to break up with.
    I've been trying that for the last few months, she's far too co-dependent to break up with me (which is half the reason I'm getting out). Aside from being a complete ass to her 24/7 which I'm not capable of, she doesn't seem to get the hint that I'm not happy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Just pack up your personal stuff and get out of there.
    Well that's just it, half the furniture was mine before we moved in together.

    For example, that would be tacky.
    Well yeah, that was a joke, I'm not that heartless.

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    Made in Thailand Array Jennywocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by booyalab View Post
    since you're the one initiating the break-up, you should be the more accomodating one with logistics.
    That sounds fair.

    Some guys would be lame and do everything in their power to get the other person to hate them, so that the breakup would be more mutual, but that's dishonest.

    Accept that you are going to be pretty uncomfortable throughout this process... and know that, however bad you feel, she's going to feel worse because she doesn't have any control over the outcome.

    There's no easy way to get around it, and nothing that really cushions the blow.

    It's unrealistic to think you can continue to see each other (i.e., be in physical proximity) after such a break-up. It's only rubbing salt in her wounds and preventing her from making a clean break from you.

    If you're serious about pursuing this, then:

    1. Have a plan of action for yourself to move out, and put it in effect. I.e., a place to stay, and a way to move the things you know are yours. Get it all arranged ahead of time so when you finally drop the bomb, you can also immediately take action.

    2. Don't be mean, but don't try to cushion the blow. Any flex you hint at in your decision will be grasped as a sign of hope ("maybe if I do THIS, he'll stay...!"). Be calm and firm.

    3. Tell her at a time where she's going to have the chance to recover -- i.e., not right before work or something else. Preferably, I would tell her after work on a Friday, so she has the whole weekend to get through the roughest spot -- and if you know her friends are around for her, that helps too.

    4. As far as divvying stuff up, don't get petty. You're initiating the break-up, so I figure she deserves more "consolation prizes." I would be fair and impartial when making the list. It's hard to specify the rules here, but use your head and take into account the financial value of the item(s), the sentimental value each of you might have attached, and the practicality for each of you; and then draw up your first draft of how you would like to divvy things. When she's ready, you can go through it and see what she thinks; and negotiate from there.

    5. There's a fine line between offering "reasons" for the break-up and arguing about them to justify your leaving. The latter leads to her venting and trying to prove you wrong, so that you'll stay. If you've decided to leave, pick a few basic reasons that are more about you than her (i.e., things she cannot try to control), and state that you've made the decision to leave. If she tries to argue, you can simply refuse to argue about it ("The reasons do not matter anymore. I do care about you and wish you the best, but I have decided that I need to move on, and we need to end things.")

    Be prepared for emotional outbursts, begging, pleading, and some "irrationality" (at least, to you). I don't say any of that in a demeaning way of her, it is a very normal human reaction to loss. You need to be the strong one for her, while you break up with her (what irony), and be a rock she can rage around until she gets it out of her system enough to compose herself.

    I dunno. You sure you want to do it? If you are, that's some of the basic thoughts I'd have.
    "The word on her lips is always YES, and all her being says YES YES YES to all that is happening and all that is offered her." - Anais Nin
    I love my life.

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    Communist Array Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diffusion View Post
    Well that's just it, half the furniture was mine before we moved in together.
    If it was yours before you moved in, that's different. But hasn't she been supporting you financially? Do you think you owe it to her to let her have certain things, for her sacrifice?
    So many bricks, so few cars. - MoneyJungle

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