How to move on when I'm still living with my ex

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Oh, you're still here? (Photo by: hellie55 – CC BY 2.0
Oh, you're still here? (Photo by: hellie55CC BY 2.0
My partner and I split up a few months ago. Unfortunately, since then I have had a difficult time finding work, we are still living in the same house.

I am incredibly thankful for his support in letting me continue to live here, I know that it could have gone differently. In complete truth, even though I wanted it to end, I have had a very hard time letting go. I have felt incredibly alone and it has been difficult for me to separate from this relationship because he was my best friend. On top of that, we had moved out of state, away from home 2.5 years earlier, and my pool of friends/support here is a single digit.

How do I move on when I'm still living with my ex? -pseudoheather

Homies who have been there… what are your tips for living together when you've broken up?

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  1. If you are able to, this may be time to move home. Live with family, friends, parents. You need to distance yourself from this situation and as you are currently unemployed, it's a fresh start. As of now, you are not moving on from the ending of your relationship and from what you have written, it sounds like you still have feelings for your former partner. You need distance.

    12 agree
  2. Oh god this was me. I move out in a week.

    Theres only so much moving on you can do right now.

    I carved out my own space in the flat and made sure I set those boundaries. In term of moving on, I went out a lot. Day trips, trips back home when I could tolerate my mums questions, nights out to former workplaces. Hell I spent my evenings in the office at first, staying there until 9pm when I couldn't be home.

    I dont think you move on while you're in this limbo situation but now is the time to set up some good routines and habits so that when you do go it alone you hit the ground running.

    (There's probably a load more things I can add, I'll update when they come to me)

    14 agree
  3. A similar question… how to deal with an ex when they are still living in your house? My friend is currently in this situation, and he doesn't want to just kick her out (especially since she has a couple young kids), and is trying to help her find a place and may even buy a second house and rent to her, but it's making the living there very stressful for him. She doesn't have any family around and, like OP, has very few if any friends in this area. Any ideas to help her get out, or him deal with her still being there?

    3 agree
  4. This happened to me. I broke up with my SO of four years who I lived with last August, and ended up stuck in a lease with him until the following May. It was really difficult at first, but things got easier. I think in the end it actually benefited us to navigate our new relationship, because we had to get used to being civil and having a non-romantic relationship at close quarters. Now, we are much closer friends than I think would have been possible if we hadn't been stuck living together. I don't know – it would have been ideal to not have to live with my ex for months on end, but at the same time, I'm not regretful of it now. The best thing you can do right now is set ground rules and stick to them, and perhaps think about dating if/when you feel you are ready.

    2 agree
  5. My husband and I lived together for the better part of a year after we decided to split up. It wasn't fun, but it also wasn't the worst thing in the world.

    Fortunately, our apartment had two bedrooms so we could each have our own space. We both agreed to keep things as civil and friendly as possible. We also looked at ways to make it easier for me to move out sooner. He paid a bit more of our shared bills since I need to get money together for an apartment deposit.

    I went out a lot. If that's hard for you because you're new in town, see if you can negotiate some time when he'll be out of the house so you can have time without him.

    1 agrees
  6. For me, it came down to a reality check. Even though the situation didn't look very cut and dried, I had to make myself understand that it absolutely was: our relationship–in all forms of the word–was over. We were not partners, we were not friends, we were not a support system for one another any longer. Repeating the "nots" to myself helped me see our situation for what it was: we were very, very, very awkward roommates.
    So what would I do with any other extremely uncomfortable roommate situation? I'd keep a sharp lookout for a way to get out of the situation, but in the meantime, I'd make the best of it. For me, that meant picking up extra chores so I didn't feel indebted in any way (the guilt runs strong with me.)
    Is there a Reddit for your new city? It can be a great lead for new jobs, new roommates and potential new friends.

    2 agree
  7. I'd move back home, it doesn't sound like there's anything keeping you where you are if you're out of work and have no family or friends nearby. If there's a bed going with family or old friends I'd pack up and go there. I lived with my ex for over a year after we split (neither of us could afford to buy the other out of the house until then). While it was my decision to split, and absolutely the right decision (I'm so much happier now), it was hard to still live in the same house. It's a very uncomfortable situation and it will get worse if either of you start dating again while living together – even if you have a rule not to bring them back home, what if you overheard him on the phone whispering sweet nothings or being flirty /dirty with a new woman? Instead of trying to make it work I'd focus on getting out in any way possible. Good luck!

    4 agree
  8. I can't really give advice about how to deal with living with your ex, except if you're able to get a job with hours opposite of what he works you'll have more time away from each other which could make things feel less stressed. As for lack of friends and support, if you're interested in sports/fitness you could hit up your local YMCA and check out classes and meet people there. Even just going to the gym you may meet people. Or if you have an interest in history and reading you could join a book club or go to your local library and see if they have presentations for different topics if interest to meet similar-minded people. Some even have gaming groups. Mine tends to focus on nautical history since I'm in midcoast Maine. Good luck.

    1 agrees
  9. Find a sacred space outside of home. Yoga studio, library, park, and make some space for yourself in the home too – even if it means spending 2 hours in the bathroom giving yourself a bath, pedi, facial…These are things that not only carve out time for self-care, they carve out solitude, independence, and time for healthy introspection. There are also dog-walking apps (for shelter dogs you can borrow to take out places), and possibly somewhere you could volunteer your time. I think doing well in interviews involves feeling good about yourself, and having a buzzing energy because you're doing things, so these options could only help your job search too.

    That said, I'd do whatever I could to separate myself from the current environment. The people and places we surround ourselves with are hugely relevant to how we feel. I'd try to re-locate, honestly.

    4 agree
  10. I have never been in this situation, but I had friends in college who were. My advice would be to get out of there as quickly as possible. You mentioned that you're currently 2.5 hours away from home, don't have a job, and don't have many friends where you are. So why stay? Move home and stay with family/friends until you get on your feet. Use this split as a chance to make a new beginning.

    4 agree
  11. I agree with some of the others – move back home or move in with an old friend. I may be reading between the lines here, so forgive me, but are you staying there still because you have feelings for your ex? Have you created your own barriers to moving on maybe? If you have no job and no social network you really have no reason to stay where you are. Move to a place you know with people who care about you and nourish yourself. Heal. Move on.

    1 agrees

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