It happened. It’s done, it’s over.
Few things suck as much as a break-up, but when you’re cohabitating, there’s a whole slew of extra strife when it comes to the separating part. There’s no gathering all of his stuff into a box and deciding if you should give it back, sell it, or soak it in gasoline and just watch it burn.
The basic gist is this: after you’ve decided that you no longer work as a team, you’re going to have to work as a team to get all of your affairs sorted out.
It sucks, I know. But there are several ways to keep things as amicable as possible.
First, Decide Who’s Staying and Who’s Going
This is the easy part… usually. If the house is owned by one or the other party, or if they lived there before you moved in together, it’s usually assumed the place is theirs. If not, this may be something you’ll have to discuss (or scream at each other about until one is too exhausted to keep arguing and gives up. And by one, I mean his lazy arse.) However, if he up and done you wrong, feel no qualms about kicking his tush to the curb!
If He’s Going:
If you trust him to pack up his things and leave in peace, I would highly recommend letting him do so. Spend the day with a good friend or family member who won’t mind your Eyore-esque attitude or your exorbitant consumption of wine and chocolate. (Hey.. not only are both super good for you, they pair well together, too!)
If you have decent reason not to trust him, then you need to be there when he packs and moves. Nothing’s worse than getting doubly screwed after you’ve been initially screwed by someone you trusted enough to move in with in the first place. My advice is to absolutely, under no circumstances, participate in this process alone. Enlist the help of someone with a cool head and supportive demeanor to be a buffer throughout the “babysitting” process.
If He’s Staying:
If you are the one taking off, you’ve got a monumental task to take on in a very short amount of time. Let’s face it, you want to get out of there as soon as possible and start the process of moving on. While I’d normally suggest printing up a moving timeline and starting the process weeks in advance, you just don’t have that luxury.
While it may be tempting to just gather the things you need to get through a few weeks staying somewhere else, I would avoid that unless it’s the only financially feasible option. Gather what you have and spend a night or two away to clear your head, sure–but get your stuff out of there as soon as possible.
Your biggest ally in this instance will be your friends and family. Do not be afraid to ask them for help. After all, you’d be there for them in this situation, wouldn’t you? If you don’t have much to pack, you’re probably fine. But if you have a lot, bring over a few people and you’ll have it done in a matter of hours. If you have pretty clearly divided ownership of your things, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
If You Purchased a lot of Crap Together
You have two options:
1) spend some time going through things together and deciding what is whose. Maybe heat up some lavender essential oil and drink some chamomile tea to keep you both calm through the process. Try to compromise. Try not to let him take advantage of you. Try not to murder him. With a cheese grater and a spoon. And a rusty saw, accompanied by the joyous cackle you make at the sound of his bones being chiseled away slowly and painfully…
2) If you see it going more toward the end of that last paragraph, maybe just grab what you feel belongs to you and dash. Don’t take advantage, and you won’t feel any guilt about it. (If he did you wrong, maybe take a little advantage… but shhh! I didn’t tell you that. This advice is courtesy of the great Miss Blu Cantrell.)
If You Acquired a Pet Together
I can tell you from experience that you’re both going to feel like the pet is yours. There really isn’t a non-messy way to go about this. You can involve the opinions of family, friends, or whoever will be on your side, but that won’t do anyone any good. The best advice I can reiterate, as heartless as it sounds, is to treat the pet as a piece of property, and decide who gets it based on who cares for them most, or who pays most of the vet bills and buys most of the food.
When there are pets, or worse, children involved, there is always going to be some suffering. No matter how much sense the separation makes, you’re going to miss the fur babies and/or the little ones, and they will miss you. As heart wrenching as it is, you need to do what’s best for you, and you will slowly learn how to not feel guilty about it.
If He Leaves a Bunch of His Stuff Behind
You know, the stuff you never liked, anyway. The stuff you don’t want, or you just don’t want to look at. Well, refer to the three options mentioned in the second paragraph. Just be sure that whatever option you choose brings you great satisfaction.
In The End…
This is truly best for both of you. Splitting up a home is never easy, but once the process is done and over with, you can start moving on. You meet new people and try new things. You can finally decorate exactly how you want. You can lay on the couch all day, or you can plan your next great adventure, all while you wait for the right one to come along.
And he will.