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Girl Bye (Breaking Up)

7 Rules for Living With Your Ex When You Cannot Afford to Move Out

With each new person that enters our lives comes the rush of excitement. That excitement then turns to lust and hopefully gives way to love, trust, and commitment. However, there is an ugly fact of intimate relationships, and it is this: they often come to very painful endings. I am not a relationship expert, nor do I hold any qualifications to counsel others in their relationships. What I have is a wealth of life experience and much-needed therapy.
To put it plainly, breakups are hard. They are soul-eviscerating clusterfucks that will leave you contemplating why you like women in the first place!

They will make you question and challenge your sanity, especially those of us who find ourselves in the midst of a breakup but still have to co-habitate with our ex-girlfriend or ex-wife.
In 2016, I found myself going through yet another breakup with an amazing human being. To be completely transparent: there weren’t any serious problems in our relationship. I had come to realize that it was simply time to go our separate ways.
She was my best friend at the time, and I knew the bomb I was about to drop would be a personal Nagasaki for her. She was doing everything to build a life with me, and I was ready to make a life without her.

When all was said and done, we parted ways but continued a peaceful co-existence due to the ground rules we laid out.

1. Openly Discuss the Separation Process

We sat down and wrote out all the household bills and shared bills that needed to be separated.
What this did was force us to look at our separate incomes, separate our cell phone lines (the only bill we shared) and begin to think as roommates.
We also discussed what would happen if one of us was late or short on cash and gave each other personal grace periods for certain payments. And we wrote it all down and posted it on the fridge and in the bathrooms.

2. Create Separate Sleeping Areas

wooden room divider
We had a two-bedroom home, and she moved into the other room.
I know this is not feasible for every couple, but separating personal belongings and toiletries ASAP is essential! It forces you both to think of each other as separate and to treat each other as roommates.

If you have a second room, move all of your belongings to that room. Don´t be afraid to get creative either!
I know a friend who space-hacked a bedroom with help from IKEA items after she moved in with a friend to save money. She bought a bunk bed set where the bottom was a full-sized bed for her, and a twin for her daughter above.
She added new racks to the closet and put the bed up on cinder blocks that she nicely disguised, so she had hella storage space under the bed too!
Think outside the box when it comes to space, and you will be pleasantly surprised with what you can create.

3. Keep Your Bathroom Stuff Separate Too

My ex and I also changed how the bathroom worked. I mentioned to her that in college, my dorm mates and I agreed that we would not clutter up the shower with things such as shampoo bottles, soaps, razors, etc. We each bought a little square shower caddy and would take it in and out with us each time we showered.
What this does is show mutual respect for common areas and cuts down on potentially petty outbursts and negative internal thoughts.
Imagine a scenario where you don’t do this.
>>>>Sees her shaving cream, body wash, razor in the shower.
Instantly searches for where to put your shower things.
Recalls how this always bothered you but you tolerated it because she was your woman.
Showers in seething anger.
Decides to be petty and move her things 
under the bathroom sink, to her room, or just rearranges them…
without saying anything.
Pettiness level: 1,000<<<<

4. Write Down Your Chores

black woman cleaning kitchen
Buy one of those giant-sized calendars from an office supply store and post it up and make a chores calendar where you divide household labor equally for the common areas.
Again, this cuts down on fights about who is pulling their weight and ensures that everyone feels respected.

5. Get a Therapist or Use a Journal

black woman's hand writing in a journal
Get a therapist, journal or call one of your objective, reasonable, and logical friends and family.
Your ex is no longer a source of emotional comfort. Time for you both to lean on all your outside relationships for emotional and mental support.
She is not your emotional dumping ground during the breakup! Don’t push her buttons and don’t push yourself. Journaling your feelings and talking to a therapist is crucially important.
Another thing my ex and I did was share a “Breakup Journal.” We would write in it only the most critical questions and concerns and pass it back and forth. We then would set up discussions as needed to discuss various things written therein. This singular act was magical and worked wonders!
I also have “board meetings” with my “selves” before engaging in difficult but crucial conversations with all lovers. What this looks like for me is writing down my thoughts and feelings in the way that I want to say to others and then go back and scrub it all for blaming, victimizing, pointing-the-finger, and not separating the person from the problem language. Once I have scrubbed it, then I usually send it as an email to the person.

6. Stop Acting Like a Couple

game over words written on broken heart
Space can be had in the same house if it is large enough. Also, communicating that you do not wish to be disturbed unless it pertains to the household is a valid request. Scheduling alone time at home is also valid. Getting out with friends and family is a priority and doing things ALONE is also a priority.

My ex and I agreed, and that included friends. Why? Because having friends over was a sensitive issue so if she hung out, she met them downstairs and I did the same.

We never, ever pried into each other´s lives outside of the household! What she did outside of those doors was her business, and the same went for me. We respected that boundary to the fullest. We kept conversations to the “business” of the household.

We never saw each other naked; we did not grocery shop together—-all the previous relationship stuff STOPPED! We were VERY respectful and communicated needs as they related to space especially on more emotional days.
When you have days off from work, try to limit contact with her so that you and she both have the emotional and intellectual space you each need.
The key for me was staying busy and communication, communication and more communication!  

7. Meditate

black woman meditating
Your mind will spin with a million thoughts during this time. As stated before, journaling is a WIN as well as mindfulness meditation.
Even if you sit still and try to quiet your mind for 10 minutes a day, you will feel a lot better. I use the “Headspace” app for iPhone, however; there are others and “Calm” is highly recommended.

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Article written by:

Alexandria Carter

Alexandria Carter is part-time freelancer, global citizen, and, in her spare time often enjoys whisky on the rocks with a good book.

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