I’m breaking up with my partner of four years (cohabiting for two) and we’re moving into separate spaces.
The problem is, the line between “their” stuff and “my stuff” has blurred over the last few years.
How do I make the breaking up and moving out process as (relatively) painless and respectful as possible? Is there even a way? -Hazel
I witnessed my roommates do this a year or so ago. So I’ll give you my perspective from that angle…
If there are other people involved (roommates, kids, parents, polyamorous lovers, etc) keep any spats private. Don’t have a blow out in the living room while everyone’s watching a movie. Take it in the bedroom or wait until everyone’s gone.
Speaking of bedrooms… you should probably establish, first and foremost, who’s sleeping where. Do you both already have your own spaces or are you staying together a little longer while you divy stuff up? If you stay together, are you sharing the bed (and possibly your bodies) or are you sleeping in separate spaces?
Be prepared to let stuff go. If it means more to one partner than the other, being flexible about giving it up will go a long way. This is especially true if something was originally part of the other person’s family. For example, if you always loved his mom’s milk glass collection and she gave you a few pieces, be prepared for him to want them back as his family heirlooms.
Be prepared for both people to walk away with less than a full house. So you two moved in together, got rid of your crappy TV and his ancient blender, and bought spiffy new ones together. Do you get the plasma TV because it replaced yours and he gets the blender (sorry, I don’t know which blender is drool-worthy)? I don’t know. But neither of you will get to your new place with both a TV and a blender.
Money should probably be split down the middle unless you have receipts/pay stubs and time to be really meticulous about it. This also applies to that change cup every couple seems to have.
When your temper flares, keep in mind why you aren’t burning this bridge. Maybe you just want to act like an adult. Maybe he’s your boss. Maybe you’re both hoping to continue a sexual relationship. Maybe you’re a world famous photographer and you made him a solemn vow you’d photograph his first daughter’s quinceanera. I don’t know. But having the goal in mind will help when it gets hard.
I hope that helps!