There's a lot to get excited about as summer approaches, but for some, it can be breakup city. Spring marks the end of "cuffing season", aka when we couple up during the colder months and break up right when it starts getting warm, so some of those short-term winter relationships may be coming to an end. But cuffing season couples aren't the only ones splitting this month. It looks like May is also breakup season for long-term couples — especially those who live together. Dumbo Moving, an NYC-based moving company, has seen a 10 percent increase in couples splitting up and moving out in May.
Ideally, you had a long chat with your partner about expectations before you ever moved in with them, so you knew what would happen if you broke up, but that's not always the case, as Dumbo Moving has witnessed.
"People get weirdly attached to items, like clocks or bathroom scales," Lior Rachmany, Founder and CEO of Dumbo Moving, tells Bustle. "I think people feel if they can score more items after a break up than they are the victor."
"When we move in with someone, we know at least some things about them," she says. "Of course, we can't anticipate everything, which is why communication, post-move, is also key. Being able to calmly address things as they come up over time will significantly improve relationship satisfaction.” It sounds really mature, but what if things don't seem to going according to plan?
Here are some tips for dealing with a breakup if you live together, according to experts.
1. Don't Ignore The Practicalities
Typically when you break up, you can go into your separate worlds to process it. But it's harder when you live together, because there are practicalities to deal with. “Oftentimes, when people have ‘spontaneous breakups,’ they don't think through the potential financial consequences,” Kevin Darné, author of My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), tells Bustle. “They allow their emotions to dictate the timing of their breakups instead of having a practical plan.”
Make sure that you handle the financial and practical sides of things as soon as you're ready. Otherwise, it will just drag the breakup out.
2. Take Some Time
Taking time for self-care is always helpful after a breakup, but it's even more important when you were living together. "There is nothing like a change of atmosphere to help the heart," Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Even better is a trip to a spa where you can pamper your body. Get that love out of your system, literally." If a spa isn't option, consider a trip — even crashing on a friend's floor can help.
3. Put A Time Limit On Cohabitation
Figure out if one or both of you is going to move out — and when it needs to be done by. You don't want any gray area when emotions are that high. And definitely don't think you can make it work as roommates — one of you has to move out.
"Breakups are tricky when you live together because you share rent, and money always makes things worse," Rachmany says. "When you break up with your live-in significant other, you’re going to have to find a new place and a new roommate. This whole process can be stressful and time consuming — but it’s worth it, you shouldn't force yourself to make a relationship work just to live together, or decide to continue living with your ex. Living with an ex is just going to make it harder to find someone else in the future."
4. Be Respectful Of Each Other's Space
As you organize packing and moving out, try to be respectful and compassionate toward one another — and give each other the space you deserve. "This is going to sound odd but the bigger your apartment is, the success rate for your relationship is greater," Rachmany says. "If you see each other constantly, and there isn't a room you can spend an hour alone in, you are going to have trouble. So I would say that if you are both sharing a loft apartment, make time for yourself and give each person some breathing room." Give them the space you would want.
5. Avoid Sex
This is particularly tricky when you live together — and conceivably need to share a bed — but it's important. “Emotionally and energetically re-connecting is not a recipe for a successful breakup of any kind,” Cynthia Chauvin Miles, CHT tells Bustle. “Don't assuage yourself with guilty sex with that person. You don't have to feel guilty.” If you need to, have one of you crash on the couch or with a friend.
Living together makes going through a breakup extra tricky, but it can be done. If you're both respectful and compassionate, there's no reason you can't move forward.