It’s not easy living with your ex after a breakup. When a couple breaks up, the first thing most people want to do is get as much space from their ex as possible.
Separating from a spouse or long-term partner is one of the most common but difficult situations people experience in life — one that is especially hard and complicated if you two are still living together after the breakup.
However, this scenario is becoming increasingly common: Around 40 percent of all women who cohabitate with their significant other eventually marry, but 27 percent of such relationships result in a breakup.
Common reasons you may continue living with your ex.
There are many reasons people continue to live together after a breakup, but one of the main reasons is due to their financial situation. In 2010, a British survey of 1,100 people found that 28 percent of separated couples continued living together post-breakup because of financial pressures. Oftentimes, couples move in together before they’re married in order to save money by sharing expenses, so it makes sense that they may have to stay together after breaking up until they get their financial situations in order.
The other reasons people continue living together after a breakup were the importance of the parenting bond and a desire for social legitimacy. When couples have children, a greater importance and sense of permanence are often placed on the relationship because most parents believe you should try to make the relationship work for the children’s sake. Divorce can be very hard on a child, so parents sometimes try to stay together even after the relationship is over so their child can keep both of their parents for a while longer.
Creating Space and Boundaries when living with your ex.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario, you owe it to your mental health to find ways to make it more bearable. This involves communicating the space and boundaries you need with your ex after making the decision to split. It may take some time to figure out a proper arrangement for the two of you, but if you’re planning on cohabiting post-breakup for more than even a few days, you’ll need to work out your sleeping arrangements.
It may also help to make a schedule for the common areas if you’d rather not constantly be in the same space as your ex. You deserve emotional space, and setting boundaries will help boost your self-esteem, conserve your emotional energy and reestablish your independence and agency after a breakup.
If there is an approaching deadline for living with your ex, use this time to plan what your new space will look like after they’re gone. Whether you’re moving out, they’re moving out, or you both are finding a new place to live, transforming your new home after a divorce or a breakup can be a breath of fresh air as you can surround yourself with only things that spark joy in your life.
If you’re staying in the home you lived in with your partner, take this time to truly embrace your style by finding some new pieces of furniture and art that you enjoy. Changing your environment can help you regain confidence and move on to a new chapter of your life. If you need some inspiration to find a decor style that suits your individual tastes, check out some of the web’s top home decorating blogs.
Of course, living with your ex makes this all more complicated when there are children in your life. Depending on the age of your child, changing their environment may not be what they need at this unstable time when their parents are splitting up. However, it’s important to remember that your needs matter too, and you are a better parent when your mental well-being is taken care of.
Co-parenting can be difficult when hard feelings remain after the breakup, especially if you’re still living together, but it is better for your child if you can find a way to work through the feelings. Just because the relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean you both can’t still be good parents together, as long as your relationship isn’t coercive or abusive in nature. Let go of the past, focus on your child, communicate with your ex, and compromise when possible — ultimately, a civil relationship with your co-parent will be better for you, your ex, and your child.
Self-Care After Divorce
Self-care is necessary as you work to build yourself back up after a divorce. No matter what the reason for the split was, prioritize and focus on yourself during this difficult time. If the stress of living with your ex after a breakup is causing a lot of headaches, consider seeing a therapist, finally trying some essential oils, or taking a lot of bubble baths.
A therapist can help you work through difficult feelings, and they are likely to suggest a lot of self-care on top of that. Essential oils can help reduce headaches and warm baths can help your muscles relax, which is important when you’re constantly stressed and tense.
After a breakup, many people often look for a rebound or a new relationship to jump into to distract them from heartache. Although this can be tempting, it often leads to messy situations. More often than not, you need time to find your footing before you’re ready for a new relationship.
Even if you’re distracting yourself with a social media fling — 21 percent of people who meet their significant others on the internet meet them through social networks like Facebook and Instagram — this is not always harmless. It’s best to wait until you’re truly ready to try again before starting new romantic relationships, which might mean waiting until you’re no longer living with your ex.
Breakups are difficult, but they’re not as difficult as staying in a relationship that isn’t working. Although you may find yourself living with an ex after a breakup, remember that it’s not an uncommon situation, and try to make the best of it. Self-care after divorce is extremely important to helping you regain your confidence. Establish boundaries with your ex and make the space you need to take care of yourself.