Breaking up and moving, two things you no doubt wish you weren’t going through right now. Each is awful enough alone, and we get that. The point of this article is to help you get through it—whatever your circumstances—and get back to enjoying life.
During this time, your emotions may be raw. It’s important to be aware of them, but to keep them out of decisions you make about moving. We’ll cover specifics shortly, but keep this in mind for each step of the separation process.
You may be used to getting emotional support from your significant other, but now that relationship has ended. Talk to your friends and family, and try to spend some time with them. Do things you enjoy. Yes, you’ll need to talk about the breakup, and they’ll listen, but it’s also important to allow your mind to focus on other things, like having fun.
Let those you trust know that you may need to call or text them for words of support now and then. That way, when you’re upset, they can help you regain your calm.
Stress can lead to us making bad decisions, including eating the wrong food. Keep eating healthy meals, and get at least a moderate amount of physical activity. Both will help lower your stress levels and improve your mood during this tough time.
Separating Your Things
Now that we’ve covered the importance of taking care of yourself and coming from a rational place, let’s cover the logistics of moving out.
Couples who live together purchase household items together. You may co-own the kitchen table and chairs, the television, your bed, and so on. You’ll also have your own possessions, including things you had when you entered the relationship, and things you bought while living together.
When you break up, you need to decide who keeps what. This is just one area where keeping a cool head is important. It can be easy to fight over items, even things you don’t particularly want, just because you feel upset or angry.
One way to separate those items that belong to you both is to decide who needs what, and to do your best to make sure the spilt is fair. If you want do things in a more exact manner, you can buy each other out on items. The way that works is this. If there’s an item you both want, look up its current value. When you decide who will keep it, that person pays the other half of the current value.
Consider Self Storage
Once you know what you are going to take to your new place, consider getting a storage unit. This will be helpful if you don’t have a place to move into yet, if you do have a place but can’t yet move in or if your new place is too small for all your things. A self storage unit will give you a place to put your belongings so you can keep them separated from your former partner and their belongings.
Once you have a place and are moving in, you can bring as much or as little as you like from your storage unit. Keep renting the space if you need it, or move all your belongings to your new home.
Where to Go
Breakups can be amicable, hostile, or somewhere in between. If you still trust your former partner and get along well enough, you may be able to live in the same place for a month or two, giving you enough time to find your own new home.
Even if you’re able to get along, you may not want to stay. Consider asking family or friends if you can stay with them for a short time. Realize, however, that staying with a friend for very long can become an imposition for them. If they allow you to stay, keep the noise down and help with purchasing food and cleaning.
If you are being abused by your ex, get out as soon as you can. Let your friends or relatives know what’s happening. If you’re a woman, there may be a women’s shelter in your area, and these will usually allow your children to stay with you as well.
Tougher than separating your household items is separating greater assets. You may own your home or your cars together. If you don’t own your home, both of your names are probably on the lease.
For co-owned things this large, one partner buying the other out is practically a requirement. If you have two cars, and plan to keep one each, we suggest you check the current Kelly Blue Book values for both vehicles.
Let’s say you’re taking the van, and your ex is taking the sedan. Kelly Blue Book says the van is worth $4000, and the sedan is worth $3000. Divide each by two, giving you $2000 and $1500, and subtract the lower amount from the higher amount. Here, the result is $500. Since you’re getting the higher value vehicle, you would pay $500 to your ex. Each of you would then make payments only on the vehicle you each kept.
You could refinance each vehicle as well to get the other’s name off it. Sometimes, this leads to a better deal, and sometimes, it doesn’t. If you have an amicable enough split, you may want to forego this.
As for co-owned homes, there are various options. You and your ex could refinance it in their name, and have them pay you half the equity. Or, if you trust each other enough, you could pay the rent or mortgage on your own place, they could pay the mortgage on your shared home, and when they eventually sell it, they could pay you half the equity. This could get messy, so you may want to discuss ideas with a lawyer or real estate agent.
Finally, you’ll need to divide your monetary accounts. One way to do this is to go to the bank together. Decide who keeps the current account. Have the other partner’s name removed from it, and put half the money in a new account under the other’s name.
Don’t Date Until You Live Apart
You may be tempted to date as soon as the relationship ends. That’s understandable. Breakups make us feel lonely, and we crave companionship. However, doing so can make a messy situation worse.
Close out this phase of your life. Find your own place and move to it. Even then, it’s a good idea not to date too soon. Whether you realize it or not, you may still have grieving to do.
Some experts, and this includes psychologists, recommend staying single for two to three months for each year you were in your relationship. This may seem like a long time, but in eight months, when your heartbreak returns, you’ll realize you still need time. Then, when you do get in a new relationship, it can be free of past baggage.
Hang in there. We completely understand how difficult this time is. You will get through it, and feel better before you know it.