How to Break up With Someone You Live With (38 Tips)

Breaking up is hard, but it’s even harder when you live with your partner. There’s a lot to sort out, from ending the relationship to finding new places to live. It’s okay to feel a bit lost.

Remember, many people have been in your shoes and have made it through to the other side, ready to start fresh. With the right advice, you can too.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps of splitting up with your live-in partner, from having the conversation to managing the move-out process. By the end, you’ll have a clear plan and the confidence to move forward.

Plan the Conversation in Advance

Breaking up with someone you live with needs careful planning. Before you sit down to talk, it’s crucial to think about what you want to say. Write down your key points so you won’t forget anything important during the conversation.

Planning helps keep your thoughts organized and can make the discussion smoother. It’s all about being ready to handle a sensitive talk without letting emotions take over.

Example: Let’s say you decide to talk on Saturday morning at your dining table, where it’s quiet. You have your points written down and are prepared for possible responses.

Choose the Right Time to Talk

Pick a time when both of you are available and not stressed by other things, like work. Try to avoid special days like birthdays or holidays.

A relaxed weekend might be the best time for such serious talks. This careful timing ensures that both of you can focus on the conversation and handle the aftermath without extra stress.

For instance, you might choose next Sunday afternoon when you know you both have no plans and can talk without interruptions.

"Decide when to have the breakup conversation. This will hold you accountable for following through with it and help you choose a time and place when you and your partner will be able to talk things through."

Rebecca Ogle, LCSW | Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Keep the Conversation Private

When you’re breaking up with someone, it’s important to have that conversation in a private setting. This means making sure no one else is around to overhear or interrupt.

A private setting allows both of you to express feelings openly and honestly without worrying about other people. It also shows respect for each other and the relationship you had.

Practice What You’re Going to Say

Before you sit down for the talk, spend some time alone going over what you plan to say. It can help you feel less nervous and make sure you’re clear about your feelings.

Think about how to explain your reasons without making your partner feel attacked. Rehearse your main points but stay flexible; conversations can go in unexpected directions.

What it looks like:

  • Saying your main points out loud to yourself.
  • Making sure you’re explaining things clearly.
  • Doing a run-through so you feel more ready.
"The first thing is to be absolutely clear to your ex that you are both no longer an item. Uncertainty will lead to problems for both of you, so be firm, clear, but reasonable with them. Don't be tempted to get back with them intermittently. This will cause confusion, and will likely spark falls outs which you'll have to live with."

Jon Rhodes | Clinical Hypnotherapist, Free Subliminals

Be Honest but Kind

Telling the truth doesn’t mean you have to be harsh. Start by being straight about why the relationship can’t go on, but do it with care.

Think about how you’d want to be told if you were in their shoes. Aim to express your feelings without blaming or hurting them more than necessary.

Example: As you tell your partner that things aren’t working out, you focus on your own feelings instead of their faults, making it clear but without throwing any low blows.

"Even if your partner goes low, stay on the high road. You’ll feel better about your decision to be kind later and you’ll have fewer arguments if you’re both being mature about the situation.

People break up all the time for a lot of reasons, they will get over it, it’s just going to feel raw for a while."

Ann Feister | Relationship Expert, Truthfinder

Remain Calm During the Conversation

It’s important to keep a level head when you’re having the breakup talk. Take deep breaths if things start to get too heated. You want to make sure you can discuss everything without emotions taking over completely.

If you stay calm, it’ll help them stay calm, too, and you can work through the conversation without it turning into a huge fight.

For instance, you keep your cool even when your partner starts to get upset, talking through each point and not letting things escalate into shouting or interrupting each other.

"It is of utmost importance to remain calm, once the decision is made. That is to say, your partner/spouse can become emotionally defensive and might be prone to manipulative behaviors... If helpful, write a list of bullet-points with every reason for the breakup."

Catherine Feng | Leading Dating Expert, On Luxy

Listen to Their Side of the Story

It’s only fair to let your partner have their say, too. After you’ve shared your piece, give them the floor. They might be sad, angry, or have questions.

Keep an open mind and listen without interrupting. This can help both of you understand each other better and might even make the whole breakup go smoother.

For instance, your partner starts to express how they feel about the breakup. You stay quiet, let them finish talking, and show that you’re listening by nodding and giving them your full attention.

Discuss Living Arrangements

Next, you’ve got to figure out who stays, who goes, and how you’ll manage until everything’s settled. It involves talking about who can afford to move out or if you both need to.

Maybe you can stay in separate rooms for a while. Be practical, but also think about what’s best for both of you emotionally.

Agree on a Timeline for Moving Out

Creating a timeline for moving out keeps everyone on the same page. Agree on a fair amount of time that allows for finding a new place and moving without too much stress. This is important so that neither of you feels rushed or dragged out too long

Example: You agree that one month is a fair amount of time for finding a new apartment. You both pencil in moving dates and agree to keep each other updated on any changes.

Make a Plan for Moving Out

Having a clear plan for moving out helps avoid last-minute scrambles and arguments. You’ll need to figure out who’s moving what and when.

Make a checklist of things to do, like:

  • Hiring movers
  • Changing your address
  • Packing your stuff

This plan should also consider how you’ll handle shared items — maybe one of you is crazy about the blender, so let them have it. Agree on these things now to save headaches later.

Divide Your Belongings Fairly

When you’ve been living together, your stuff tends to get mixed up. Now’s the time to sort it out. Talk about who bought what and who uses what the most. It doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war.

Sometimes, it’s about who needs something more, not just who owns it. Maybe they get the TV, and you take the speaker system. The goal is no hard feelings when you’re hauling boxes.

Plan for Temporary Accommodations If Needed

Sometimes, you can’t just jump from one living situation to another. If one of you needs somewhere to crash temporarily, figure that out before the moving truck shows up.

Check if any friends have a spare couch or room. Or look at budget-friendly places where you can hang your hat for a while. Just make sure it’s sorted so no one’s left hanging.

Example: You call up a buddy who has a guest room, and they agree you can stay there for a month. This gives you time to find a new apartment without rushing.

"If possible, find an alternative place to crash. Be it at your relatives, or friends. Breaking up is always hard especially for the opposite party. Hence, if necessary, give them some space to heal and to recover."

Catherine Feng | Leading Dating Expert, On Luxy

Set Boundaries Post-Breakup

After a breakup, it’s important to set up rules about what’s okay and what’s not when you’re still sharing a space. You might want to decide on things like not bringing dates home or knocking before entering each other’s rooms.

It’s about giving each other personal space and avoiding unnecessary drama. Remember, breakups are not a free pass to forget manners. Simple rules can stop a lot of awkward run-ins, trust me.

For instance, you agree that your ex-partner won’t have friends over past 9 PM because you wake up early for work. And you both decide to keep the bathroom door closed when it’s in use — basics, right?

Communicate Mainly in Writing

Once you’ve split, it’s a good idea to stick to texts or emails for talking about house stuff. It keeps things clear and avoids any “he said, she said” mix-ups.

Writing down what you need to say can help you think before you ‘speak’, and you’ve got it all there in black and white in case you need to remember what was agreed on.

What it looks like:

  • Sending a message when you need to discuss bills or the landlord.
  • Keeping a written record of important agreements or decisions.
  • Avoiding long face-to-face chats about things you could just text.

Stay Respectful and Courteous

Even when things feel weird after breaking up, keep the peace by being nice — or at least civil. No need for cold shoulders or eye-rolls.

Think of it like being colleagues: You might not be best buddies, but you can still work together without making it tough. Being polite can make moving out and splitting up the stuff way easier. Plus, it’s just the decent thing to do.

Example: When you see each other in the morning, you both exchange a quick “Morning!” and move on. If your ex-partner is struggling with a box, you lend a hand without making a big deal about it.

Negotiate the Lease With Your Landlord

When you’re breaking up with someone you live with, you’ll need to figure out your lease. It’s time to have a chat with your landlord about what’s happening.

Be straight up about your situation, and ask about your options. You may be able to break the lease early, or there might be a fee to pay. Going to your landlord informed and ready to talk details shows you’re taking this seriously.

Decide if Someone Can Take Over the Lease

Thinking about who will stay in the apartment? Sometimes, one of you might want to take over the lease by yourself. You’ll need to check if your landlord is cool with this.

Your landlord may let you off the hook, or they might need some convincing. Remember, landlords are people too, and they don’t want empty apartments any more than you want double rent.

For instance, your partner decides they can handle the rent without you. Together, you approach the landlord to get their approval for a lease takeover.

Split the Final Bills

The last piece of the co-living puzzle is sorting out those final bills. Gather up everything you both owe money on and divide it fair and square.

Get it in writing who’s paying what, so there’s no “I thought you were gonna pay that!” moments. Once you’re squared away, you can both move on without any surprise bills popping up.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Gather all the recent bills and calculate each person’s share.
  • Consider the usage of any shared services in your last month together.
  • Keep records of all payments made for closure and reference.

Open a Separate Bank Account

If you two have been sharing a bank account, it’s time for your own accounts. It’s much cleaner this way — your money is your money, and their money is theirs. Walk into a bank or sign up online. It’s pretty easy.

Make sure you reroute your paycheck and any direct debits to your new account. This means:

  • Setting up a new bank account in your name only.
  • Changing direct deposits from your job to go to the new account.
  • Updating autopay for your bills from the new account.

Reallocate Responsibilities for Shared Tasks

You’ve been splitting chores, but now it’s all on you, buddy. Time to rethink who does what or if you need help.

Take a look at what needs doing around the house and make a new plan. If you did the cooking, maybe you need to take on some dish duty too or get a dishwasher if it’s too much.

Example: You create a new chore chart and stick it on the fridge. Now it’s clear that Wednesday nights are for vacuuming and Saturday mornings are for laundry.

Stay Organized During the Move

When it’s time to move your stuff out, don’t just toss it all in boxes. Make a checklist to keep track of what’s packed, donated, or thrown away.

Label the boxes with what’s inside and which room they’ll go in. This is like stage-managing your own move — everything’s planned to a T, no drama.

For instance, you number all your boxes and make a list of what each number contains. When moving day comes, it’s a no-brainer to see where everything should go.

Label Your Boxes Clearly

Labeling your boxes clearly makes unpacking a lot easier and ensures you don’t lose anything important during the move. It’s a simple step, but it really helps reduce confusion and stress on moving day.

What it looks like:

  • Writing a list of contents on each box.
  • Putting a label on the side of the box, so it’s easy to read.
  • Using different colored markers for different rooms, if you want to get fancy.

Store Important Documents Separately

When it’s time to split, your important papers need their own special spot. You know, things like your passport, birth certificate, or any shared paperwork that needs sorting out.

Put them all in a folder or file and keep them with you — not lost among your other items. It’s a bit like keeping your wallet in your pocket instead of a shopping bag; you know where it’s at, and it’s safe.

Protect Your Privacy Online

Now that you and your live-in partner are going separate ways, think about your online privacy. Change your passwords and log out of shared devices.

You’ve got to lock down your digital life the same way you’d change the locks if you lost a set of keys. It’s about keeping your online stuff just for you, like how your diary was off-limits even during the happy times.

Use Discretion on Social Media

Think before you post anything about your breakup on social media. It’s not just about your privacy but also respect for your ex.

Keep things classy, and avoid airing your dirty laundry for all to see. You don’t need to explain or defend the breakup online. Remember, a little mystery never hurt anyone; keep the personal stuff personal.

Example: Rather than posting a long rant about your ex, you keep scrolling. If you need to share, you choose to call a friend instead of broadcasting it to the world.

Discuss How to Handle Future Communication

It’s smart to agree on how and when you’ll talk after one of you moves out. Will you text, or is email better? Set clear expectations so no one feels ghosted or harassed.

You’re not planning to become pen pals, but it’s important to know how you’ll handle any leftover bills or mail — keep it practical and simple. This looks like:

  • Choosing a way to communicate that works for both of you.
  • Agreeing on how often or for what reasons you’ll get in touch.
  • Setting a tone for your chats that’s all business, no drama.

Be Clear About New Living Situations

Let your ex know about your new living situation. It helps to avoid surprises if you bump into each other. Keep it factual; no need to go into gory details about your upgraded view or the new neighbors.

Example: You shoot a quick text to your ex with your new address for any stray mail. You also let them know when you’ll fully move in, so there’s no confusion about apartment keys.

Seek Legal Advice If Necessary

If your breakup is getting complicated with joint property or other shared big-ticket stuff, get a lawyer. Legal advice can help you sort things out fairly and keep you from losing out.

Lawyers know the ropes and can help you understand your rights and what you need to do. Think of it like asking for directions when you’re lost — it can save you a lot of trouble down the road. And hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

Plan How to Divide Shared Investments

So, you’ve got some investments together? Time to figure out who gets what. Maybe you’ve both put in different amounts or perhaps one of you wants to keep investing while the other doesn’t.

Lay it all out, numbers and all, and see if you can agree on a fair split. If both of you can’t see eye to eye, then it’s back to tip number one — consider some legal advice.

For instance, you both sit down with the investment statements and a calculator to split things up. You come to an agreement — you’ll take the stocks, and they’ll keep the bonds.

Respect Each Other’s Space During the Transition

Breakups are messy, and living together after calling it quits is tricky. Give each other plenty of room, physically and emotionally.

If your ex is hanging out in the living room, maybe chill in your bedroom, and vice versa. This means not barging in or snooping around. It’s all about respecting their need for personal space as if you had a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging around your necks.

Example: Your ex is cooking dinner in the kitchen, so you hang back until they’re done. And when they’re having a phone call, you put your headphones on instead of eavesdropping.

Consciously Uncouple If You Have Children

When kids are involved, break up with care. You both need to talk and decide how to handle things with them.

Be united in your approach, and ensure they know they’re still the number one priority. Don’t use them as messengers or make them take sides. The aim is to keep things as stable as possible for them.

A few things to consider:

  • Keep all discussions about the breakup and changes away from the kids.
  • Plan a consistent parenting schedule that works for both of you and your children.
  • Focus on keeping the children’s routine as normal as possible.

Agree on How to Announce the Breakup to Others

How you tell friends and family about your breakup can make a big difference. Agree with your ex on what you’ll say and who should know first. Keep it simple and stay on message. You don’t want mixed stories spreading or making the breakup tougher than it needs to be.

Example: You both decide to explain that you’re going separate ways but remain respectful towards one another. When you start telling your friends, you stick to the plan, keeping things as straightforward as possible.

Seek Emotional Support from Friends

Let’s be real; breaking up is emotionally rough. Lean on your pals for support. Tell them what’s going on, and don’t be shy about asking for help or a listening ear. Talking with friends can make you feel less alone in the situation.

For instance, you text your best friend about the breakup and meet up for a heart-to-heart over pizza. They give you some solid advice and crack a few jokes to lighten the mood.

"The longer-term solution is to seek support to heal emotional triggers and to reference your worth and safety from the inside out."

Allana Pratt | Intimacy Expert

Utilize Professional Counseling If Needed

Breaking up is hard to do, and sometimes friends or family can’t provide all the support you need.

If things feel overwhelming, think about seeing a therapist or counselor. They’re trained to help you sort through feelings and deal with the stress of a breakup.

Focus on Self-Care

Self-care isn’t just bubble baths and face masks; it’s also about giving yourself a break when life gets tough.

Post-breakup, it’s key to take care of your body and mind. Do things that recharge your batteries and make you happy. Whether it’s a jog in the park or just extra sleep, this is about doing “you”.

Maintain a Routine

After a breakup, especially one where you live together, your day-to-day can feel like a mess. Try to keep a routine to give your days structure and stability.

Wake up, eat, work, relax, and sleep around the same times as before. This can keep you anchored and make it easier to get through your days, like knowing what’s on TV without needing to check the schedule.

Refocus on Personal Goals

After saying goodbye to a shared life, it’s a great time to think about what you want for yourself. What are your dreams? Maybe there are things you set aside that you can pick up again.

It’s about realigning with your values and aspirations, like dusting off that old guitar or finishing that online course you started. Use this time to think about where you want to go and start taking steps to get there.

Celebrate Your Freedom and New Beginnings

Remember, every ending has a new beginning. You’ve got a fresh start, so go ahead and celebrate it. It’s like turning a page to a brand new chapter of your book — who knows what adventures lie ahead?

Throw yourself a little party, or just take a moment to enjoy the feeling of starting anew. It’s a time to embrace the possibilities!

What it looks like:

  • Planning a get-together with friends to celebrate your new journey.
  • Taking a trip or a day out to do something special for yourself.
  • Reflecting on the positive aspects of this change in your life.

Excerpts From the Experts

“If you are going to be living together for a while, both of you will need to set some ground rules. I highly recommend not sleeping together post-breakup, as this can blur boundaries and confuse your emotions.

Discuss whether you and your ex are okay with bringing new dates back to your home or whether this will be off-limits. Will you be expected to give your ex a heads-up if you do plan on bringing someone over? How much notice is reasonable?

The more you can plan these things in advance, the more likely you’ll minimize blowout arguments.”

Rebecca Ogle, LCSW | Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“In general, when one partner wants to end a relationship with their live-in partner, it’s ideal to sit down to calmly discuss the various issues with honesty.

By having an open, honest conversation that outlines the issues — from how to dismantle the love relationship to how to adjust the living and financial arrangements — the chances for having a successful dissolution increase.

It may take several conversations to unravel the issues and get clarity on how to best move forward, but a gentle transition is far more likely to preserve a friendship — and decrease stress — than an abrupt or combative change.”

Dr. Carla Marie Manly | Clinical Psychologist | Author, Joy from Fear

“While this is a hard conversation for me, I wanted to honor you by showing up in person and looking you in the eyes to say I am definitely a better person from knowing you and living together. I’m happy to move out, or if you’d prefer, you could move out. Take the weekend to think about it. No rush. I truly wish you every happiness in finding your ideal partner, and thank you for everything we’ve shared.”

Allana Pratt | Intimacy Expert

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should move out and when?

Decide who will move out based on practical considerations like each person’s ability to find alternative housing or financial stability. Agree on a timeline for moving out that works for both of you, giving enough time to make necessary arrangements.

How should we tell others about our breakup?

Agree together on what to tell people and who should be informed first. Keep the message simple and respectful, avoiding unnecessary details. This helps manage different social situations you both might face.

What if we have to live together for a while after we break up?

Set some ground rules for living together, like personal space and times to use shared areas. Try to keep things civil and give each other plenty of space.

Final Thoughts

Breaking up with a live-in partner is tough, but sometimes it’s necessary for our happiness and growth. If you’ve followed the tips in this article, you’re on the right track to a smoother breakup.

Remember, healing takes time. Some days will be great, while others might be harder. That’s okay! Take it one day at a time and do what feels right for you. As one chapter ends, another begins – who knows what exciting things await you in this new stage of life?

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant.

When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.