Breakups are often disruptive and, in some cases, can be incredibly costly.
Rising property prices, rising costs of living and difficult family situations have left many exes unable to move out of their shared home once their relationship ends.
Nine million Britons have had to continue living with an ex-partner after a break-up at least once, research shows.
But how can you move on when you can’t even move? MailOnline spoke to a woman who lives with her ex and the challenges that come with it.
Rising rent prices and the rising cost of living have left many exes unable to move out of their shared home once their relationship ends (file image)
Natasha, 49, from Toronto, has been with her partner for 10 years and they share two children.
Their relationship “deteriorated” in recent years, so they made the difficult decision to leave him; However, to prevent their lifestyle and finances from suffering, they chose to continue living under the same roof.
She told MailOnline: “He could move out but then everyone would suffer, our lifestyle would be affected.”
‘Our children are still quite young. They are nine and six years old and this way we can still keep a really good home together.
‘We’ve been doing this for over a year. “It definitely has its tough moments, but in some ways I’m working harder on this than I think I did on the real relationship.”
Natasha now describes their relationship as “partners in terms of logistics and collaboration in caring for the children, rather than romantic.”
The couple has been “picky” about who they share this information with, and their children and some family members still don’t know they are no longer together.
She admitted: ‘The biggest challenge is just maintaining kindness and respect. Us We don’t see eye to eye, we still have arguments, we still co-parent, so things still come up.
Natasha and her ex-partner’s relationship “deteriorated” in recent years, so they made the difficult decision to leave him; However, to prevent their lifestyle and finances from suffering, they chose to continue living under the same roof (file image)
‘TThe challenge of making it all work has been the hardest part because I want to model good things for my children.
‘Trying to keep this respectful and healthy is always a challenge but we work on it, we work to communicate better.’
The 49-year-old wants to normalize this complex and sensitive situation for those who are forced to go through something similar, especially those who share children.
She explained: “He still likes to make sure we talk and communicate and that actually helped a lot.”
‘We have faced some challenges with our children’s school and we are a very strong united front on that. There are parents at school who know we are not together and there are parents who don’t know.
‘No matter how impressed people are, we still support each other and our relationship is very healthy. It’s a lot easier than at the beginning, for sure.”
The mother of two adds: ‘At the end of the day, it’s not really about us, it’s about the children we have, which makes it much easier to stay focused on what we’re trying to do, which is modeling kindness.’
She confessed that her friends and family ask her ‘all the time’ how long she and her ex-partner plan to continue living together, and she does not have a clear answer.
Natasha said: ‘For the foreseeable future, everything will work out fine. It’s not painful, it’s not horrible. We do not have a final plan at this time.
The 49-year-old man wants to normalize this complex and sensitive situation for those who are forced to go through something similar, especially those who share children (file image)
“I think that as long as it continues to work for both of us, and obviously for the children, we will continue like this, because we have a very good division of labor: we both have our things and we do them well.
‘TOAs long as we can maintain this, I don’t see an end to it right now. Obviously, if one of us started dating and became serious about someone, then that would be a different conversation.”
She remembers: ‘We put a bunch of sticky notes on the table, sorted out our finances and figured out what they would look like.
“He wasn’t going to go after my house and I wasn’t going to go after his assets, so that made it a lot easier.”
“Once we worked out what we wanted it to be financially, it was easy to maintain, because he had already been sleeping outside the dorm for a long time, so it wasn’t a big transition when it happened.”
He acknowledged that this type of agreement is unique and does not work for everyone; For those who find themselves stuck living with an ex, he advises to “not let your ego take over” and that it will constantly be a “work in progress.” ‘.
The Canadian said: “They must be able to maintain respect and be able to identify the boundaries that they both need, then continue to communicate; both people need to live well and not just one, there should not be an imbalance.” .
What do the experts think?
Couples Therapists and Co-Founders of a Relationship App AllyClara Zelleroth and Helga Johnson Wennerdal, have presented their top tips for exes who can’t afford to take the plunge once the relationship ends.
They explained: ‘The main reasons that could lead to the situation of living with ex-partners would mainly be financial constraints and the difficult economic climate in general.
“From what we have observed, while there is no direct trend, for certain individuals – and especially women – the choice to remain in the relationship or remain in the current living conditions with their ex could provide some financial stability, as well as a stable basis for devising future plans.
‘For couples with children, breaking up and living apart as a result can be particularly stressful, with side effects that can affect the children.
“Therefore, living together while considering other options could be a pragmatic way to temporarily help alleviate the stress or anxiety associated with these life changes.”
Couples therapists and co-founders of relationship app Ally, Clara Zelleroth and Helga Johnson Wennerdal, have presented their top tips for exes who can’t afford to take the plunge once the relationship ends.
1. Recognize your current reality
The first advice from psychologists to couples forced to live together is to recognize their current reality.
Clara and Helga advised: ‘If you find yourself living with an ex-partner after a breakup, it is essential that you first recognize your current reality
‘While it may not fit your ideal scenario, prioritize what matters most here first, especially if children are involved.
“At the same time, you can take steps to plan for your future, or consider improving your financial situation by exploring new opportunities or career paths, which could eventually lead to becoming independent of the relationship.”
2. Seek outside help if necessary
Next, it is “key” to seek help from a third party if you need it, as it can be a difficult situation to resolve alone.
Therapists insist: ‘Getting over a breakup when you’re still living together is challenging, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help, such as individual therapy or financial advice from an experienced third party.
“While therapy can help you manage certain emotional challenges that often arise when finding yourself in this situation, being clear about what you need financially could be important in determining your next steps, should you want to completely separate from your partner at some point. “.
3. Establish a financial plan together
Third, although it may be discouraging, experts suggest that you try to communicate with your partner to establish a financial plan together.
They said: ‘This plan could outline strategies for how each or both of you can achieve financial self-sufficiency.
“Try to start conversations about how the living situation could be resolved and discuss any relevant timelines, such as, ‘I’ll try to move in 6 months.'”
‘However, this schedule does not need to be definitive; It is a way of setting goals to work towards. You will always be able to regroup with your ex about any progress made in the financial plan after a certain period.”
4. Define clear boundaries
Finally, as Natasha mentioned, defining clear boundaries with your ex-partner is essential to making everything work.
Clara and Helga advised: ‘Remember to define clear boundaries with your partner, who may not be aware of your boundaries unless they are made clear.
‘Concerns such as sleeping in separate rooms, sharing common space and taking care of childcare or household responsibilities could cause disagreements, if not properly acknowledged beforehand.
“These are conversations that cannot be avoided and that would be beneficial for both parties if decisions were made earlier, especially if this form of coexistence continues over time.”
Relationship therapists concluded: ‘Living with an ex-partner after a breakup can have profound effects on the people involved. If a couple decides to continue living together despite unresolved relationship problems, emotions can run high.
‘For those who initiated the breakup but find themselves stuck in the situation due to the high cost of living or financial concerns, it can be especially frustrating.
“This can put significant pressure on mental health and general well-being, resulting in conditions including depression, anxiety, anger and the frequent occurrence of other negative emotions.
“Over time, if conversations are avoided, plans are not made, or personal boundaries are not delineated, the negative impact on well-being could translate into greater emotional turmoil, as well as conflicts with the ex.
“That is why we recommend taking concrete actions and finding solutions together to resolve the situation.”