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Me and my ex live together to save money… we get asked the same question every time someone finds out


Break ups are often upsetting and in some cases they can be incredibly expensive. 

Soaring property prices, the rising cost of living and difficult family situations have left many exes unable to move out of their shared home once their relationship ends.

Nine million Brits have had to continue living with an ex-partner following a breakup, at least once, research shows.

But how can you move on when you can’t even move out? MailOnline spoke to a woman living with her ex and the challenges it brings.

Soaring rent prices and the rising cost of living has left many exes unable to move out of their shared home once their relationship ends (stock image)

Soaring rent prices and the rising cost of living has left many exes unable to move out of their shared home once their relationship ends (stock image)

Natasha, 49, from Toronto, was with her partner for 10 years and they share two children together.

Their relationship ‘deteriorated’ in the last couple of years so they made the hard decision to call it quits – however, to avoid their lifestyle and finances suffering, they opted to continue living under the same roof.

She told MailOnline: ‘He could move out but then everybody would suffer, our lifestyle would suffer. 

‘Our kids are still pretty young. They’re nine and six years old and we are still able to maintain a really good household together this way. 

‘We’ve been doing this now for over a year. It’s definitely got its tough moments but in some ways I’m working harder at this than I think I did the actual relationship’.

Natasha now describes their relationship as being ‘partners in terms of logistics and collaboration to take care of the kids rather than romantic’.

The pair have been ‘picky’ about who they share this information with, with their children and some family members still unaware that they’re no longer together.

She admitted: ‘The biggest challenge is just maintaining kindness and respect. We do disagree, we still have arguments, we’re still co-parenting so things still come up. 

Natasha and her ex-partner's relationship 'deteriorated' in the last couple of years so they made the hard decision to call it quits - however, to avoid their lifestyle and finances suffering, they opted to continue living under the same roof (stock image)

Natasha and her ex-partner’s relationship ‘deteriorated’ in the last couple of years so they made the hard decision to call it quits – however, to avoid their lifestyle and finances suffering, they opted to continue living under the same roof (stock image)

‘The challenge of making it work as a whole has been the harder 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 at it, we work at communicating better’.

The 49-year-old wants to normalise 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 we talk and we check in and that’s actually helped quite a bit.

‘We’ve been facing some challenges with our our kids school and we’re such a strong united front in that. There are parents at the school that know that we’re not together and there are parents that that don’t know. 

‘No matter what people are blown away that we still have each other’s backs and our relationship is so healthy. It is a lot easier than it was at the beginning, for sure’.

The mother-of-two adds: ‘At the end of the day it isn’t really about us, it’s about the children that we have, which makes it a lot easier to stay focussed on what we’re trying to do which is modelling kindness’.

She confessed that her friends and family asks her ‘all the time’ how long she and her ex-partner plan to carry on living together, and she doesn’t have a clear answer.

Natasha said: ‘For the foreseeable future, it works right. It’s not painful, it’s not horrible. We don’t have an end game plan at this point.

The 49-year-old wants to normalise this complex and sensitive situation for those who are forced to go through something similar, especially those who share children (stock image)

The 49-year-old wants to normalise this complex and sensitive situation for those who are forced to go through something similar, especially those who share children (stock image)

‘I think as long as it still continues to work for both of us, and obviously the kids then we’ll keep it this way, because we have a very good division of labour – we both have our things that we do well.

‘As long as we can maintain this I don’t see an end at this point. Obviously, if one of us started dating and got serious about somebody then that would be a different conversation’.

She recalled: ‘We put a bunch of post-it notes on the table and sorted out our finances and figured out how that was going to look.

‘He wasn’t going to come after my house  and I wasn’t gonna go after his assets so that made it a lot easier. 

‘Once we sorted out how we wanted it to look financially, it was easy to maintain, because he had already been sleeping outside of the bedroom for a long time, so it wasn’t much of a transition when it happened’.

She acknowledged that this kind of arrangement is unique and doesn’t work for everyone – for those who find themselves trapped living with an ex, she advises to ‘not let your ego take over’ and that it will constantly be a ‘work in progress’.

The Canadian said: ‘You need to be able to maintain respect and be able to identify the boundaries that you both need, then just keep communicating – both people need to be living well and not just one, there shouldn’t be an imbalance’.

What do the experts think? 

Couple therapists and co-founders of relationship app Ally, Clara Zelleroth and Helga Johnson Wennerdal, have laid out their top pieces of advice for exes who can’t afford to make the move once the relationship ends.

They explained: ‘The main reasons that could lead to the situation of living with exes, would be primarily financial constraints and tough economic climates at large. 

‘From what we have observed, whilst there is not a direct trend, for certain individuals – and women especially – choosing to stay in relationships or stay in present living arrangements with exes could provide some financial stability, as well as a steady basis for devising future plans.

‘For couples with children, breaking up and living separately as a result can be particularly stressful, with any side effects potentially affecting the kids. 

‘Therefore, living together while considering other options could be a pragmatic way to temporarily help relieve stress or anxiety associated with making these life changes’.

Couple therapists and co-founders of relationship app Ally , Clara Zelleroth and Helga Johnson Wennerdal, have laid out their top pieces of advice for exes who can't afford to make the move once the relationship ends

Couple therapists and co-founders of relationship app Ally , Clara Zelleroth and Helga Johnson Wennerdal, have laid out their top pieces of advice for exes who can’t afford to make the move once the relationship ends

1. Acknowledge your current reality

The psychologists first piece of advice for couples forced to live together is to acknowledge their current reality.

Clara and Helga advised: ‘If you find yourself living with an ex-partner after a breakup, it’s essential to first acknowledge your current reality

‘While it may not align with your ideal scenario, prioritise first what matters most here – especially if children are involved. 

‘At the same time, you can take steps by planning for your future, or consider improving your financial situation by exploring new job opportunities or paths, which could eventually lead to independence from the relationship’.

2. Seek outside help if needed

Next, it’s ‘key’ to seek out help if you need it from a third party as it can be a tough situation to work out alone.

The therapists insist: ‘Navigating a breakup when still living together is challenging, so do not hesitate to seek professional assistance, such as individual therapy or financial advice from an experienced third party. 

‘While therapy can help you manage certain emotional challenges that often come with being in this situation, being clear on what you need financially could be important in determining your next steps, should you wish to separate from your partner completely at some point’. 

3. Establish a financial plan together

Thirdly, although it may be daunting, the experts suggest you try to communicate with your partner in order to establish a financial plan together.

They said: ‘This plan could outline strategies for how each or both of you can reach financial self-sufficiency. 

‘Try to initiate conversations about how the living situation could be resolved, and discuss any relevant timelines, such as ‘I will aim to move out in 6 months.’ 

‘However, this timeline does not need to be definite;, it is a way to set goals to work toward. You can always regroup with your ex, on any progress made on the financial plan after a certain period’.

4. Define clear boundaries 

Finally, as Natasha mentioned, defining clear boundaries with your former partner is essential to making it work.

Clara and Helga advised: ‘Remember to define clear boundaries with your partner, who might not be aware of your limits unless they are clarified. 

‘Concerns such as sleeping in separate rooms, sharing the common living space, and handling childcare or household responsibilities could cause disagreements, if not properly acknowledged beforehand. 

‘These are conversations that cannot be avoided and would be beneficial for both parties if decisions are made earlier on, especially if this living arrangement is prolonged over time’.

The relationship therapists concluded: ‘Living with a former partner after a breakup can have profound effects on the individuals involved. If a couple chooses to stay living together despite unresolved relationship issues, emotions can run high. 

‘For those who initiated the breakup but find themselves stuck in the situation due to high costs of living or financial concerns, it can be especially frustrating. 

‘This can put significant strain on mental health and overall well-being, resulting in conditions including depression, anxiety, anger as well as frequent occurrence of other negative emotions. 

‘Over time, if conversations are avoided, if plans are not set in place, or if personal boundaries are not delineated, the negative impact on wellbeing could translate to increased emotional turmoil, as well as conflicts with the ex. 

‘This is why we recommend taking concrete actions and finding resolutions together to work out the situation’.



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