Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Breakup - Difficulty: Hard
June 17, 2014 8:40 AM   Subscribe

My S.O. and I broke over a week ago and agreed that she would move out. But.. we're on week two now and she's still here.

My S.O. and I ended our LTR, but until she finds a new place she still lives here. I really don't want to be cruel or mean during this process. I am not angry, nobody cheated or did anything unforgivable to the other person. The relationship has just run its course and we're both done with this. We both agree that splitting up is for the best, and there is little animosity there. But... She. Is. Still. HERE. I need a survival strategy to get through the next several weeks.

She is still on the lease for another few months, so I suppose there's nothing I can do about that. She has a right to stay here until the lease is up, I know that. I can afford to take over rent and utilities myself for a while, so I'm not so concerned about cost. I just.. I can't deal emotionally with her being here all the time. She wants to keep sleeping in our shared bed (which is mine, and I will be keeping) which I find utterly baffling. She is currently looking for a new place to move soon but she is being picky about it and several possible apartments have already fallen through. I really think the best thing for both of us is for her to leave as soon as possible, which we agreed to. I'm really hoping to have this place to myself soon so I can move on with life and quit feeling like a refugee, because this sucks.

I am already trying to stay out of the apartment as much as possible. We surprisingly get along okay, at least as well as two people who are broken up but still living together can. But I find certain details of her behavior inappropriate and not very helpful for the situation, like insisting that we keep sleeping in the same bed. (I mean, WTF? How am I supposed to respond to that?) I stayed with a friend for a few days, which worked out okay but is taxing on my friendships. I could get a hotel. But on principle I don't want to feel like I'm being kicked out of my own home and my own bed, especially since i am paying the bills now.

Day to day, I have little control over my privacy. I close my bedroom door when I go to bed. Sometimes she comes in or knocks and invites herself in. During the day she comes into the bedroom and roots around, but i haven't really asked why. This room is entirely my stuff, there is nothing of hers in here. If she hears me up at night she'll knock on the door. One night she got drunk and came crying into the bedroom and ask me to hug her.. which i didn't feel comfortable doing, but did anyway. We talk during the day sometimes about her plans to move out etc. and we more or less get along during those conversations. But I feel like she is expecting too much intimacy with me at a time when i do not feel like I want to give it.

My main goal is just to get her out without any more conflict than necessary. Everything will be easier after that, but she seems to be making things worse than they need to be. She has always had a very controlling style when dealing with our shared space which is one of the reasons we are breaking up (sort of the classic "girlfriend 'training' her boyfriend" story). Others include sexual problems, lack of intimacy, resentment, the whole shebang. She mentioned in passing that she might move in with family for a while, but that hasn't materialized yet and I don't want to push it unless I have to.

Money is somewhat of an issue. She has little money to move out and just started a part-time job because her savings ran out (she does not work a full-time job) which i'm sure is taking its toll. I've offered to help her but didn't offer money. I'm already offering to pay the rest of her half of the lease if she just walks away, so i think i'm being fair. Or am i?

So... How do you read this? This is the longest relationship i've ever had, and the only one where we have lived together, and the first 'serious' breakup i have had, so all of this is new territory for me. Do you think she's trying to get back together with me? Is she trying to torture me? Is she just confused? Broke? I don't know how much help i should give or if i'm being foolish by offering. I REALLY don't want to be a jerk and this situation is tough on both of us.

Please help me avoid losing my mind. I'm pretty close to losing it. I'm not sleeping well and I feel like crap all the time. I need my privacy right now. I don't want to fight her but I also need my private space back so I can move on.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just because she is "expecting too much intimacy" doesn't mean you owe it to her. You can say no, you can tell her not to sleep in your bed, and you can tell her that your room is private space. She doesn't get to hug you if you are uncomfortable about it. It will hurt, but you need to set some boundaries.

It sounds like she is still expecting you to fulfill your obligations you had to her as a romantic partner, which obviously are no longer on the table (or at least they shouldn't be). Draw those lines, set those boundaries, and keep staying out of the place as much as possible.
posted by Willie0248 at 8:46 AM on June 17 [19 favorites]


Is it possible for you to move out? I get that it's not what you want to do, but it would be helpful from a "fixing this situation right now" perspective, and perhaps for your mental health in the future: that you have a place that is YOURS and not a place that is formerly "ours" minus the ex girlfriend.
posted by phunniemee at 8:49 AM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Another option is for you to find a place. Tell her you will continue to pay your portion of the lease until it is done, but after than she's on her own.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:50 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I'm so sorry.

She has always had a very controlling style when dealing with our shared space which is one of the reasons we are breaking up (sort of the classic "girlfriend 'training' her boyfriend" story). Others include sexual problems, lack of intimacy, resentment, the whole shebang. She mentioned in passing that she might move in with family for a while, but that hasn't materialized yet and I don't want to push it unless I have to.

She is still controlling you. And frankly, taking advantage of you. You are in a bad position for a few months, and I'd be nervous about an ex going through my things...she doesn't have access to your computer/bank accounts or anything does she?

You can either demand she leave or leave yourself. I would guess that there is no easy way to dislodge her, and if you're on the lease you are stuck also.

She sounds abusive or coercing, and that makes your situation dicey. I would lock or store my important stuff elsewhere (especially anything valuable), put a lock on my bedroom door so I could sleep alone (she can use the couch or shift for herself) and basically treat her as an unsavory/untrustworthy roommate until you can both get out of there.
posted by emjaybee at 8:52 AM on June 17 [12 favorites]


That's really rough. I agree that it might be best for you to move out, if you can, and pay your portion of the rent while she stays (or even all of the rent for the next few months, if absolutely necessary). When I broke up with someone I'd lived with for several years he stayed elsewhere, with friends, which I think was really helpful, even though it was an amicable breakup. Sleeping in the same bed is not healthy for either of you.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:56 AM on June 17


I've been in this situation (only: separate bedrooms) a couple of times, and both times/breakups, the cohabitation lasted an extra three (3) months after the breakup. So first, it could be worse. Second, it was inconvenient and messy, but certainly not 24/7 misery.

My take on this is that she's not trying to get back together with you--rather, she's feeling adrift, de-stabilized, and broke. She has every right to be "picky" about where she'll live next. Negotiating roommates and locations is more of a picky situation for women because we can't cut corners on safety. She can't move into any ol' place just because it's available--she needs to feel safe and comfortable there. You know, like you enjoy feeling safe and comfortable in a home.

The getting drunk and asking for hugs seems like she's reverting to a tried-and-true (if defunct) source of comfort. One week is not long enough for her to re-condition and adjust to this new reality. If this comes up again, I think the kindest thing to do would be to treat her as any platonic friend. Gently set boundaries and abide by them.

You are very generous to cover her half of the rent until the lease runs out.

Can one of you sleep on the couch or in another room? Can she stay with a friend until she finds a place to live?
posted by magdalemon at 8:57 AM on June 17 [13 favorites]


I'm assuming you want to stay in the space after your lease. I wouldn't move to a hotel because that might slow down her motivation to find a new place. If you are feeling very emotionally frazzled, maybe take a long weekend away somewhere peaceful.

Meanwhile, get a lock for your room and keep it locked when you are in there and when you are out. Ignore any middle of the night knocks. If it's summer/nice weather where you are, take advantage of the longer days and enjoy time outside, free concerts or whatever other activities your city offers. Read for a couple of hours in the library after work.

Move your computer to your locked room. Change all the passwords. Cook for yourself. No chit chat about your day. Definitely no more hugs/intimacy.
posted by mikepop at 8:58 AM on June 17 [15 favorites]


This sounds awful, but I'd have some compassion for her in the material things, given that her future living situation is in doubt. Is there just the one bed in the apartment, or two? If there's just one, and you want her to sleep on the couch, maybe you could be the bigger person and take the couch for a few nights -- if it was a shared bed for the duration of your relationship, you can afford to be a little generous right now. After all, it's your bed, you get it back as soon as she goes, this is temporary for you.

You might have to have a sit-down conversation about her plans for moving out, because it sounds like maybe she can't afford it and is trying to wait for a while while she accumulates a bit of a cushion from her job. But the appropriate way for her to do that is to stay with family while she looks, not with you, so maybe you could discuss and get an exact date when she plans to go and stay with family if she hasn't found a place by then. You don't need to offer her money.
posted by ostro at 9:01 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Have you talked to her about any of this? Was she less willing to split up than you? If so, she may be trying to keep you close. You sound very uncomfortable and unhappy, though, so you should be upfront and clear that, for you, the relationship is over. No sharing beds, and you don't want her in your room. If you're hemming and hawing, and she's the controlling type, she is getting away with something. Don't let her.
posted by feste at 9:04 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I think your only hope for a quick resolution is buying your way out. Maybe offer to pay moving expenses in addition to what you already offered, to pay her half of the lease until expiration. Lend her the money for a security deposit?
posted by 724A at 9:08 AM on June 17


I'm confused as to why she should necessarily be expected to rush out and move. It is very stressful to move under the best conditions, and breakups are exhausting! Her controlling, crappy characteristics are all the more reason to not expect her to take the sacrificial actions of moving out early to make it easier on you. So all you can do is move out for the next few months and sublet another place, or you can sleep on the couch (why expect her to give up the comfier spot in the bed?), etc. Moving is a huge, gigantic hassle, and if she isn't naturally the kind of person to sacrifice her own needs for others' needs, don't expect her to start now (nor should she automatically have to, in my opinion.) She is on the lease, and she would only be leaving to make it easier on you. It doesn't seem like an entirely fair demand, or particularly on the up-and-up.

There is an air of expectation for women to sacrifice their comfort/needs for others. I might be way off about this, but there is a certain tone in your question that sounds like she should be expected to do the 'right' thing for your needs. You seem to be asking "why isn't she simply doing what would make things easier for 'us'," but you mean "easier for 'me.'" Again, I might be wrong.

But if your needs for being alone right now are stronger than her desire to not move right now, then you will have to take those annoying, time consuming, energy consuming actions yourself. Good luck!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:11 AM on June 17 [32 favorites]


Ugh, I feel you. I was also you years ago; broke up a LTR, and I was keeping our shared apartment and he was moving out. He was also dragging his feet a bit.

What ultimately saved my sanity - and I think also put the screws to him a bit - was a pair of my friends who lived downstairs from us; they took me aside and gave me a copy of their keys, saying that any time I wanted to just get the hell out and away from him, to use the key and come down to their place. "Call first to make sure we're not having sex" was their only boundary, but other than that - the place was mine as a refuge whenever. I could come by when they weren't home, I could come by when they were, I could come by when they were about to go to sleep, whatever.

It was ultimately the perfect middle ground between my moving out myself, and my staying stuck in the same space with my ex - I still lived there, but I didn't have to physically be there all the time. My being able to say "fuck this, I'm going downstairs" diffused a couple of arguments and also put the kibosh on him trying to get into bed with me for "comfort" a couple times; it left my ex in a room that we both knew wasn't his any more, and he was there alone, which kind of emphasized that he wasn't welcome and that he should get his ass moving.

My friends offered; but if you think you have a friend who would be similarly accommodating, you may want to ask their help in that way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Money is somewhat of an issue. She has little money to move out and just started a part-time job because her savings ran out (she does not work a full-time job) which i'm sure is taking its toll. I've offered to help her but didn't offer money. I'm already offering to pay the rest of her half of the lease if she just walks away, so i think i'm being fair. Or am i?

How LT was your LTR? Was it years? How long, exactly, has this been her home as well?

All other issues aside, I have no doubt that finding a new place she can afford is a major source of stress for her. A week is barely time to look at new places, never mind find one that is a) safe, b) affordable, c) comfortable.

Depending on how long the two of you were together (ie: if it was years and not just months), and what your degree of financial support (ie: were you supporting her? Did she lose her job or quit working to move with you or help you in some way? Did you buy things jointly that you'll now be keeping?) was to her prior to the breakup, I think you perhaps owe her some kind of structured financial help. Even though you were not married, if the relationship was truly a long term partnership, then you need to think about what a fair settlement with her might be.

For the "sleeping in your bed" part -- is there another bed in the apartment? If yes, then you need to be clear with her that you no longer want to share a bed with her. If no, well, then, where do you expect her to sleep? On the sofa? If you're the one who asked her to move out, then you need to be the one on the sofa until she's gone. You say that there is "nothing of hers" in the bedroom, but then where are her clothes, etc?

Bottom line: you signed a lease together. This is her home as well. You don't just get to boot her out and make all the rules. Sit down with her and decide on some rules together for sharing the space, and talk with her about what the obstacles are that you can help solve. If not sharing a bed with her is a firm boundary for you, then tell her that explicitly, but be prepared to give in other areas (including timeframe).
posted by anastasiav at 9:19 AM on June 17 [15 favorites]


I think you are being more than fair. She's getting to live someplace completely free of charge, it sounds like? You're covering all of the rent and bills? Why would she want to move out of that? If she's staying, she keeps covering her portion of the rent and bills. She'd have to do that no matter where she was living, and you paying for her just encourages her to dig her heels in even further.

Regarding her asking for hugs and sleeping in the same bed, you say no then leave the situation. If you're in bed and she comes in asking for that, you say no and tell her to leave the room. When she pouts and cries about it, you say it again and you keep saying it until she leaves. This is how to set a boundary. Never give in to someone who is being this creepy, it will only encourage them. Also keep an eye out for asking you for a big thing (sleeping in your bed with you), then asking you for a smaller thing (hug) when you say no. There's a term for this, but basically you're more likely to say yes to the second thing after saying no to the first because it's not as much to ask for.

Get a lock for your bedroom door. Don't leave the key lying about, keep it on your person at all times. Keep everything in your bedroom - toiletries, clothing, all of it. If she's rummaging round in your things after you've broken up, who knows what else she's doing.

Do you think she's trying to get back together with me? Is she trying to torture me? Is she just confused? Broke?

I think she knows exactly what is happening, and that she's trying it on. She's engaging in a lot of boundary-pressing behaviour. Most people in her situation would be doing everything they could to get out of the situation. She's doing just the opposite, getting drunk so she has an "excuse" to come in to your room and ask for intimacy and prolong the relationship. It probably sucks to be her right now, but she's really not helping herself or behaving in an adult fashion. If a female friend told me she was in your situation, I'd be worried about her safety and offering her a space on my sofa.

Set some explicit, clear boundaries. No sleeping in the same bed. She doesn't come into your room. She doesn't touch your things. She moves out by X date (make sure this gives her enough time to actually find somewhere and move out, so don't pick next week). Maybe you could buy her out of her half of the rest of the lease so she has money to spend on somewhere new? Other than that, maybe you can move out into somewhere new and she can find herself a new roommate?

I would start asking her some why questions. Why is she furtling through your things? Why is she coming into your room? Why is she asking you for things that you've said you're not prepared to give her? Let her speak her peace and see what she says. When you know why she's doing these things, you can take steps to address the problem. You really need some clear communication about what your boundaries are and what is going on with her moving out. Try to get some clear answers, including dates and times. Be clear about what your boundaries are too - she can't abide by them if you're not making it explicitly clear to her what they are.
posted by Solomon at 9:22 AM on June 17 [9 favorites]


You're expecting a girl who has no savings and has just started a part time job to find a new place to live, pack up, and move in less than two weeks? I think your expectations are a little unrealistic, frankly.
It's one thing to set boundaries (which it sounds like she legit might have trouble with) and another to try to squeeze water from a stone - in this case thinking someone with very little by way of resources to be able to pick up and move at what is really a moment's notice.

If she's run through her savings, how is she going to pay deposits on rent? Utilities? A bed to sleep in? Boxes to pack her stuff in? You've offered to cover her for the last part of the existing lease to encourage her to move quicker but that does not create money out of thin air for her to move with.
On preview, what anastasiav said, too.
posted by ApathyGirl at 9:22 AM on June 17 [18 favorites]


Where exactly do you expect her to go, and how do you expect her to pay for it? You seem to be expressing the belief that she should somehow magically "Poof!" her way out of her home lickety-split just because you don't want her there anymore, and you've given no indication that you're taking into consideration her limitations (financial, time, emotional). You no longer have to help solve those limitations for her, but they don't just go away because you're not in a relationship with her anymore.
posted by jaguar at 9:23 AM on June 17 [8 favorites]


On review, please do not spend any more money on this person. She is a grown adult and you owe her not a single penny. Not her rent, not moving costs, and certainly not some ridiculous pretend alimony.

I do agree that maybe you should move out. You can't control what another person does, as she has ever right to stick around as long as the lease has both your names on it. It would, however, be well within your control to just peace out of there and get away from these absurd obligations that you are accepting completely unnecessarily.
posted by Willie0248 at 9:29 AM on June 17 [6 favorites]


This is one of the risks of cohabitation (even with friends). She has as much right to be there as you do. She's on the lease. Sometimes the end of relationships are uncomfortable, and that sucks for both of you but there isn't always some magical solution. If you're going to commit to a place for a year, you should be picky.

I'm not hating on you, just trying to point out it's not an easy situation - not for anyone
posted by Aranquis at 9:32 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Perhaps you could be the one to move out?

First, no more intimacy whatsoever: no hugs, no bedsharing, no how-was-your-day-dear. As of right now, you are merely roommates, nothing more. Lock your bedroom, and no, she does not get to come in, ever.

Next, remove anything you wouldn't want to lose permanently --- as someone says above, treat her as a not-completely-trustworthy roommate you're about to move out on. Change passwords, get jewelry/personal papers/computers/heirlooms/whatever out of there, even if you have to store it all in either a commercial storage unit or simply your car's trunk. Heck, get as much of your furniture as you can out too: basically, anything you want to keep.

Find another apartment for yourself. Be sure to get your name off any utilities immediately (cable, phone, internet, anything), and off the lease as soon as it ends: she can stay where she is, and since it sounds like you're not too worried about your own finances you can even help with the rent for the next two months, but after that she's on her own. Her ability or inability to pay her bills is her problem, not yours, as is her working fulltime or parttime.

Make sure your finances are not intertwined: if there are any accounts in both your names, close them immediately or shift them to one name or the other.

I know you loved her and this is all breaking your heart, but you have to take care of yourself before you take care of an ex-love. Breaking up is usually best treated like ripping off a bandaid: taking it slow just prolongs the pain and delays the healing.
posted by easily confused at 9:36 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


For some reason I first understood that she had broken up with you-- in which case I would expect her to scoot sooner rather than later. But this was mutual? In that case the one who can best afford it should go-- that's you. I'd offer to pay half the lease until it's up and get my own apartment in the meantime.
posted by travertina at 9:36 AM on June 17


Most people get 30 days to move out, so I think that you need to expect at least that long. Longer if your in an area where rentals are hard to come by.

To start with, I'd recommend boundaries:

"Solonge, I know we're at very different places in our break-up process, and we need to negotiate through this because I really need time to myself right now. For one, I don't want to share the bed with you. How about I stay in the bedroom, and you stay in the living room. If that doesn't work, we can alternate nights sleeping in the bed. At the end of the day, I don't want to be in the same bed. Agreed?

Now, what help can I render to make your move out of here easier and faster? I'm uncomfortable and I suspect that you are too. I'm not going to give you money, but I can help you pack and help you find a new living situation."

If she insists on staying out the lease, you really don't have much of an option on that. You can agree to leave, or you can camp out in your bedroom until the lease is up.

One thing I'd do is get a part-time job. It'll get you out of the house in the evenings, so there's not weirdness, and you can make a few sheckles to move, or whatever it is you plan to do when it's time to renew the lease.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:37 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


But on principle I don't want to feel like I'm being kicked out of my own home and my own bed, especially since i am paying the bills now.

I think you'll be better off in the long term if you focus less on principle and more on practical. Hanging around the place brooding over how you have a right to this that and the other and it's only fair that etc., etc. is a recipe for resentment and nasty fights.

A week is a pretty short time to find an apartment, she may need a little more time on that front. In the meantime, you need to a) find a way to absent yourself from the apartment such that you two don't see each other much, and b) establish clear boundaries with her that reinforce the we-are-no-longer-a-couple reality. You'll have to do a mix of both (a) and (b), but you can emphasise whatever tactic you prefer. If there's only one bedroom then it's wise for you to take the couch --- generous, while emphasising that you'd rather sleep on the couch alone than with her --- if there's two it's fair to just put a lock on your bedroom door and keep her out of it. It would also be a good idea to sit her down and, in so many words, play let's make a deal --- find out what she would need to be able to get out more quickly and see if you can provide that. Again, this is not about what it's fair for her to ask for; it about you buying yourself some peace and quiet instead of putting up with this situation for the remainder of these lease.
posted by Diablevert at 9:48 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Buy an air mattress and a lock on the bedroom door.

Everyone is framing this like you need to take on even more responsibility in this situation, but I couldn't disagree more. You aren't married, you don't owe her financial support indefinitely. She needs a full time job if she's able to work and that's not your problem. You don't owe her more than you're already offering. Don't let let her drag her feet because "it's her home, too." It was, now it's not her home if the relationship is done and she's not paying rent. That makes her a guest. Two to four weeks is a reasonable timeline to allow her to get started on apartment hunting, packing, and other logistics. She can be the one to couch surf with friends or family if she's broke, or if you can pay for her to get a hotel for another week or two since she doesn't have the money for an apartment deposit at the moment. Give her a few more days and a deadline. You already offered more than enough financial assistance which was the right thing to do. She owes YOU decent behavior in the interim (giving each other space, taking the couch some nights) and a good faith effort to move as soon as practical. She's not taking any responsibility here so you need to start by locking her out of the bedroom, separating your stuff and voicing that you expect her out by 30 days.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:50 AM on June 17 [9 favorites]


Do you have a friend you can stay with until she moves out?
posted by Asparagus at 9:54 AM on June 17


Your needs a totally valid. Askme loves to tell people to go no contact because it's the healthiest thing for all involved - and she's currently not only in contact, she's crossing boundaries left and right. You need her to respect your boundaries.

Don't worry about what's the fairest solution at the moment, worry about what will help you both move on and be happy. Do you have the money to offer to help her with first and last month's rent? Or for a U-Haul to her family? Your needs are pretty clear here: you need her out of your life. Whether you do that by moving yourself or by doing what you can to help her move (while following all the good boundary advice above!) , focus on those solutions.
posted by ldthomps at 10:15 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I want to clarify what now reads as though I believe you owe her money - I do not.

People largely have two resources: money and time. You have money, she has time. You can choose to buy her time, by helping her financially, or let her use the time she has to get they money she needs to move within the limits of the lease.

In either case, the advice about boundaries during the remaining shared space is right on.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:20 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


like insisting that we keep sleeping in the same bed.

Well, you can equally insist you not. Lock the door, sleep on the couch, make a pallet on the floor, whatever.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:39 AM on June 17 [8 favorites]


It's been less than two weeks. You're just going to have to give it more time. Not only is she losing her relationship (from the tone of your question, I'm getting the impression the decision to end things was initiated by you) but she's losing her home. You know how much this sucks for you, imagine how difficult this is for her. The whole no-contact immediately thing doesn't work as smoothly when you cohabitate. The band-aid doesn't rip off so easily. You committed to living together, now you have to deal with the repercussions of that not working out.

So, I do think you're being a bit unreasonable and cold. You shouldn't give her money or let her always sleep next to you or comfort her when she's upset or drunk but keep in mind that the bed that is now suddenly yours alone was equally her's less than two weeks ago. You're getting to hold on to your stability and life as it more or less was. She's going to need a little more time to figure out her next step (that doesn't mean months and months, but certainly longer than a week and a half).

Keep your distance as much as possible. Maybe even let her take the bed some nights while you take the couch. Stay at friends. Have her stay at friends. If in a month she's no closer to leaving, then yeah, it'll be something to start getting firmer about. This early on, it's going to be hard and frustrating but that's the way it goes.
posted by AtoBtoA at 10:58 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Also keep in mind most leases start on the 1st of the month, and it sounds like you broke up after the 1st of June? So realistically, the soonest you can expect her to move out is July 1st.

If I were you I'd find somewhere else to be during that time. Does it suck that you'll still be paying the rent? Yeah, it's not fair, but it's cheaper than breaking the lease, and all of this is cheaper than if you had to get a divorce. So it could be much worse. It's just money. Your mental health is at stake, and that's worth a lot more. Stay somewhere else.
posted by Asparagus at 11:10 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


You're expecting a girl who has no savings and has just started a part time job to find a new place to live, pack up, and move in less than two weeks? I think your expectations are a little unrealistic, frankly.

Let's talk frankly about this. This 'girl' is an adult woman who seems as if she's kinda emotionally abusive to this person. She doesn't pay the rent, doesn't respect the OPs privacy or space, and still seems like she is pulling some emotionally abusive stuff to him.

This sucks. Some people just want some kind of 'payday'...and maybe you should think about what matters to you most?

Is the apartment more important to you...or is your freedom from this relationship more important. I'm assuming the latter. So go ahead and just realize that you're not going to get out of this situation until you leave the apartment.

Just move out of the apartment, pay your half of the rent to the landlord directly, and you're done. Everything will work out soon enough. One thing that has been neglects in the other users' responses here is that SHE is on the lease. It's not as if you are on the lease and she was living with you. She made a commitment to the landlord to pay rent. It is NOT your responsibility to pay for her anymore.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:16 AM on June 17 [9 favorites]


There is a lot that has not been delineated here and which I am not comfortable speculating upon. I was a fulltime homemaker and military wife for a lot of years and was very ill when we got divorced, so job hunting was not going well and money was a huge issue. But I was the person who said "I don't want to do this anymore. Let's get divorced." not him. The divorce was amicable and, as a military wife, I knew I had some basic rights and protections and would get some financial support for having supported his career for nearly two decades, etc.

You have not really made it clear what those kinds of details are which might impact my opinion on what you might or might not "owe" her. Those details will have an impact on her behavior, an impact I can't really predict based on what you have said. Who initiated it, whether or not she supported your career by performing homemaker type duties, etc will all impact how she feels about the situation. I mention that so you can think about that.

But I will focus on this piece of your question:

I need a survival strategy to get through the next several weeks.

My ex and I verbally agreed to divorce at a time when I was very ill and it was about another year before we filed the paperwork and then about another ten months before he physically moved out. At some point in there, I insisted he get a storage unit and start hauling his belongings to it. I helped him move heavy furniture to it. I kept a key after he left town and dropped off things of his I tripped across at times.

Prior to that, we had turned the master bedroom into a studio apartment for him and, over time, moved all of my stuff out of it and all of his stuff into it. I bought myself a cheap sleeper-sofa and turned the dining room into a small office space with sleeper sofa and slept there most of the time. I did not want to sleep in the same bed with him, even though we continued to have sex right up until the night before he moved out (because we fought less if our needs were met and had been married many years at that point and it just seemed stupid to not meet each others needs -- it was not going to make either of us feel like staying to have sex). So I agree with everyone saying that, yes, you should insist on coming up with some kind of separate sleeping arrangements. Try to make it reasonable for both parties. There have been some things suggested above (you take the couch or buy an air mattress, etc) for doing that. But do go ahead and sit her down and say "Hey, no, I don't want to sleep in the same bed with you any longer. We need to find a solution."

My ex also volunteered for all kinds of travel assignments at work. So he physically left as much as he could during the time when we were separating our lives but still unable to set up separate abodes.

This may sound cruel but please remember I was the financially dependent homemaker and also very ill and also had two dependent special needs sons (and I kept custody of them both): Come up with a reasonable plan with a realistic deadline (like "You must move out by the time the current lease is up") and then butt out of her financial and logistical problems. You do need to be realistic and reasonable about time frame and all that but you are splitting up and that means that after a certain point, it is her problem and none of your business.

I say this because it is a big problem for her if you try to dictate solutions to her. Don't do that. Address the piece about the living arrangement and a reasonable time frame for that and then the rest is her issue. Whether she gets a better job or moves in with family or finds some other man to shack up with or whatever, it is her life and none of your business. And it will be easier for her to move on if you keep your nose out of it.

At some point during my divorce, my husband was pressuring me to "get a job, any job" and I replied "Okay, fine, I will become a hooker. It's a job. Any job." He was worried about me and the kids and how we would survive (blah blah blah) and I told him "We are getting divorced. Your financial responsibility begins and ends with making sure I get my alimony and child support on time and in full every month. The rest is my problem."

It will give her more maneuvering room to try to solve it however she prefers if you butt out of things that are not your business. And it will also help you keep your sanity. If you are reasonable about time frame and all that, letting go of the part that is not yours to deal with will bring your stress levels down enormously.
posted by Michele in California at 11:20 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


> Do you think she's trying to get back together with me? Is she trying to torture me? Is she just confused

Maybe, probably not, almost certainly.

This insisting on sleeping in the same bed, well, I don't think she cares about your well being too much.

However, what's going on in her head doesn't really matter. Focus on what you're going to do to improve the situation instead.

> Please help me avoid losing my mind. I'm pretty close to losing it. I'm not sleeping well and I feel like crap all the time. I need my privacy right now. I don't want to fight her but I also need my private space back so I can move on.

You seem to have a very strong desire to avoid conflict here. Basic options.

1) You can keep on as you are, sharing the bed, handing out hugs, etc.
2) You can move out yourself and leave her the place.
3) You can push for change on her part, like her actually moving out, or moving her out of the bed at least. She doesn't want to change. This will necessarily involve conflict and confrontation.

If 1) will cause you to lose your mind, that leaves 2) and 3). How badly do you want to avoid conflict here? Move out, or start asserting yourself.

If you move out, I'd look into your options. What are the consequences of breaking the lease? I do not think I'd be able to swallow paying both halves of the rent for a place I wasn't even living in, myself.

Good luck.
posted by mattu at 11:30 AM on June 17


One thing that has been neglects in the other users' responses here is that SHE is on the lease. It's not as if you are on the lease and she was living with you. She made a commitment to the landlord to pay rent. It is NOT your responsibility to pay for her anymore.

This is true, but the way most leases work is that they are jointly liable. So if she refuses to pay (or is unable to pay), it's not as if OP can just give the landlord his half and he's off the hook. The landlord will come after BOTH of them for the remainder.

Is that fair? No, of course not, but that's the way it works legally when you've co-signed a lease. And it's probably better for OP to worry less about what is "fair" and worry more about what he can do to reduce the misery of this transition for himself.
posted by Asparagus at 11:35 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


There is a wealth of good advice in this thread: How to live with my wife before the divorce?
posted by ish__ at 11:46 AM on June 17


Wow, do i disagree with a lot of the stuff in here.

You should take the couch if it bothers you? you should let her do what she wants because you're the one bothered by it, or people expect women to take the fall, or whatever? No, this isn't some demonstration of greater ills in society or some other crap, this is a specific situation that generalities can't really be applied to. Obviously, i'm working off the info you gave here, but yea.

If she agreed to move out, she should be the one sleeping on the couch. You didn't specify if it was mutual or who initiated it, but honestly my opinion is that whoever agrees to move out if it was mutual essentially takes on the role of the person who initiated it.

A lot of the replies in here seem to ignore the fact that she's being a clingy creeper and trying to manipulate her way into getting more out of you emotionally. She would be getting pilloried by this forum if she was a guy.*

I think you made some hard to undo mistakes here. Mainly that at breakup time, since it's too late now, you should have said "you have X amount of time to get out". A reasonable amount of time is 30 days. I've, due to extenuating circumstances had 2 weeks to get out of a place and ended up fucking homeless for like a month because of it. Someone who is seriously motivated can move in 30 days though. If she needs extra time to save up money, does she seriously not have any friends or family she can go stay with?

She should honestly be the one sleeping on couches if she promised to move out. That's her row to hoe. The majority of the people i know breaking up from a co-habitation situation like this who agreed to move out for whatever reason have spent some time either couch surfing or staying with family. That's normal, and it's not an unreasonable expectation. And i've also seen people lie and say that wasn't an option when their brother/best friend/dad/coworker/whatever offered them an open door just to prolong some stupid situation like this.

She mentioned in passing that she might move in with family for a while, but that hasn't materialized yet and I don't want to push it unless I have to.

I think you should be pushing this, really hard. Like "i'm going to start locking my door 24/7, if you don't want to sleep on the couch you should go stay with your family". Make the apartment an empty boring space without you in it whether you're home or not. Take anything interesting or worthwhile that's yours and put it in your room, and just lock it in there. Tv, computer, etc. And obviously all your personal belongings.

She's already admitted you won't be throwing her out on the street, or in to some horribly unsafe situation she's uncomfortable with(regardless of if it's what she would prefer, which seems to be milking you emotionally), which means you just need to push her into that.

It really sounds like she needs to go stay with her family, if she doesn't have money to rent a place quite yet. It does NOT sound like it's your responsibility to let her stay and keep playing games like this until she both has money and feels like moving out. I also don't think it's your responsibility to move out of this place just because you don't like this situation. Is that a potential solution? yes. Is it an equitable one? Hell no.

And to be super clear here, i've seen situations like this play out more than a couple times. Both times i can think of off the top of my head that someone mentioned family and didn't bring it up again, when seriously pushed(like the lease ended and the place was generally vacated because notice was given to the landlord, etc) suddenly their family that they had brought up but never really moved on making a plan with were INSTANTLY called and showed up to pick up all their stuff and them. It was always something that was available, but that they didn't want to do because they wanted to prolong the situation for whatever reason. This is VERY different from just kicking someone out on the street. She has a place to go, she just doesn't want to. That pushes it firmly into toddler refusing to eat their vegetables territory for me.

*(and amusingly, no where in your anonymous post do you even state your gender! several people just assumed this was some mens expectations of women thing when you are potentially a woman... but anyways)
posted by emptythought at 12:00 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


I don't think gender is at all relevant here. I think some things that may be relevant:

The OP apparently has full time work and makes enough to pay the rent alone. If the gf has been financially dependent and doing the homemaker thing, it is both unreasonable and callous to just toss her out on her ear, too bad, so sad and all that (even if there is family to go -- we know nothing about her relationship to her family, so it is entirely possible there is a history of abuse, for example, thus meriting a reluctance to go back home if she can avoid it). However, just because the gf had no full time job does not mean she actively supported the OP's career, cooked the meals, did the grocery shopping and all that. If her "savings" is gone, maybe she is some spoiled heiress who thinks she does not have to work for a living and should not have to work for a living. I have known people like that (some of them male and not necessarily from wealthy families). No, it is not a reasonable expectation that you are supposed to have some life of luxury and paying the bills is someone else's problem.

Most of those details have not been supplied but it is extremely common for the full-time employed partner to underestimate the burden of homemaker type duties and underestimate how much that really helped their career and also hurt the ability of the unemployed partner to pursue their own career. I think those things are relevant, regardless of gender. But we simply do not know those details. (But there are apparently no kids, so that limits the responsibility of the OP, regardless of whether or not the gf provided career support.)

It is typical/common that a full time employed partner is male and a financially dependent partner is female but it really has no relevance in my mind what gender or sexual orientation they have. If someone gave up a career to support yours and live with you and cook for you etc, then you owe them some reasonable level of transitional support. But we have no idea if that is what happened here.

I am popping in mostly to make the point that while I think the OP needs to self advocate and be practical and make this physical separation happen, somehow or other, whether they move out or the gf moves out, out of enlightened self interest the OP should also try to be reasonable, humane and compassionate and try to do right by the departing gf because it will open the door to a better class of future SO. (So if she was a de facto homemaker without a formal contract of marriage, then take that into account.) Shitting on this girlfriend for short term convenience is the kind of thing that will make a good person quietly blacklist you and never tell you. So carefully read the remarks about how both parties being on the lease impacts the situation and be very realistic about what that means in terms of what you can or cannot do to resolve this in a timely, reasonable fashion. (For one, you cannot just throw her out by issuing her a 30 day notice of eviction. You can, however, choose to leave yourself and deal with the fallout from breaking the lease yourself.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:32 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Seconding the boundaries. Locks on the door. Don't let her in your room for any reason. Get her out of the bed. So what if she sleeps on the couch. Many people do, and it's not like she's sleeping on the floor. How do you respond to her insistence she sleep with you? You say, NO. Not now. Never again. It's my bed. My bedroom. Get out. If she won't leave, then you go spend the night with a friend, then come home the next day and take the bed apart and lean it against the wall. Be prepared to sleep on the floor with the door locked in a sleeping bag, or go to the friends again, if that's the kind of scorched earth policies you must take. But don't get into the bed again with her. Be prepared for her to have a major FIT. She's manipulating you hard, and any resistance on your part will put her back up. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets drunk again and wants huggies. Walk away and shut your door. Leave if you have to.

If you want your apartment, then stay there. If you have the means and are that desperate, tell her to find a room or a studio and you'll front her the deposit and the first. Not give, but lend, although you might as well figure you'll never get it back. If you don't want the place, tell her she can either take over the lease, or she'll have to start paying her half of the rent, at least. Don't subsidize her. There's no incentive for her to get out and pay her own rent, otherwise. Either you take over the rent or the lease, or she does. If she chooses to move, give her some ultimatums and a timeline. X amount of days to pack up her stuff. A week at the most. X time to move out. End of the month sounds good. If she doesn't have a full time job and can't support herself, tough shit. She needs to start looking for one. It's not your responsibility to support her, and frankly, she's playing you for a sucker.

Yes, she's playing you. I wouldn't be surprised that she doesn't move out if she can't manipulate you.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:40 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


You say you don't want conflict, but I think that it's preventing you from standing up for yourself. It's fine for you to directly tell her a lot of what you wrote above. Namely, that you need privacy and respect of your new boundaries and that you'd like to have a transition plan firmly set soon. There's no need to do everything her way, specifically, there's no reason why you both should be sleeping in the same bed if you don't want to. Put a lock on your door and have her set-up a sleeping area somewhere else in the apartment. Do that today. If you don't have another bed or reasonable sleeping accommodation, buy an Aerobed. You do not need to make yourself available to comfort her at your own expense. It's possible to be decent, civilized, and compassionate while still being detached and clear about your new boundaries.

And, while you certainly don't need to give her money, if you identify that as the major obstacle that's preventing her from moving ASAP (as opposed to her being overly fussy about finding an absolutely perfect dream apartment or wanting to drag this out for other reasons) I would pony up whatever cash I could just to get my ex out and transitioned into new housing. I'd much prefer to be out of a chunk of cash than have to live with my ex for longer than I had to. There's nothing wrong with using your money to move things along to get to a place where you and she are living separate lives.
posted by quince at 1:53 PM on June 17


Oh, and following up on this part of the question:

Do you think she's trying to get back together with me? Is she trying to torture me? Is she just confused? Broke?

I would say "all of the above and then some" compounded with "I doubt she even knows what she wants herself on an emotional level".

The longer and more intimate a relationship, the tougher it is to unpick, because you've woven yourselves together on really deep levels. It's kind of like the difference between untying one single knot, and unraveling a Medieval tapestry. Both you and she may find yourself going back and forth and sideways and in circles and all over the place when it comes to what you each think about each other, feel about each other, and want from each other, on a lot of different levels, for a while, as a result. That's one reason why people suggest "no contact" after a breakup, because that's a whole knot of feelings that it's best for you each to each work out on your own; having her right there in the room with you and reacting unpredictably to everything is just making it hard for you to process your own feelings about her, and vice versa. That's also why so many people try to sleep with their exes after a breakup because it's safe, it's familiar, it's something positive from the relationship (usually), and it's a way to avoid the icky feelings-processing for a while.

This happens even if you know that breaking up is the right thing to do. That breakup I went through? I had a few times when I slept with the guy before he moved out. I also had a few times when I kicked him out and ordered him to stay at a friend's for the night, and a few times when I stayed at my own friends' place downstairs for the night. There were also a few times when he actually finally said the kind of appreciative things he never had, and a few times when he told me I was a bitch, and a few times when we were both totally calm and rational and all "yeah, this is the best thing to do."

But the reason why her behavior feels confusing and all over the map right now is because it is - but it being all over the map is actually pretty par for the course, because you both each have a lot you're processing. It sucks and is difficult but it will pass.

However - and this is really important - it is also reason why you should take practically any emotional thing she says right now with a grain of salt. Her saying she hates you? Her saying she loves you? Her saying she wants to get back together? Her saying you are cruel? Not necessarily her talking. I mean, if she does call you cruel assess whether you really are being cruel or whether you're being fair-but-firm; but otherwise, let it ride. I personally take a policy of giving everyone going through a breakup a bit of a pass for a while, because they're really not gonna be themselves for a while after.

You will get through this, I promise. Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


I just went through the exact same situation, where I had to live in the house for 3 months after essentially being kicked out. My SO continued to insist on sitting with me, hugging me, and touching me even after I indicated I didn't want that level of intimacy if I was being kicked out. It was one of the most difficult times of my life and I'm still reeling. In hindsight, and having moved to a new place, I would decide want you want for yourself, stick with it, and move the fuck out as soon as possible. I had decided that I wanted the relationship to end rather than starting to live in separate apartments again, and my Ex kept insisting that we would remain friends, could still date, etc. I made it clear that wasn't so but she made no effort to change behavior patterns or distance herself from me. It was incredibly difficult.

So, if you can, inform your landlords and move out. If yu give them a month and your Ex agrees to find a roommate they should be fine with it (upon approval of roommate of course.) I couldn't afford that and was left with a miserable few months.

The worst part is allowing yourself to slip back into the patterns of cohabitation and intimacy because it feels right and it worked for so long, then you get angry with yourself and you ex and no one is happy.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:09 PM on June 17


If you don't have another bed or reasonable sleeping accommodation, buy an Aerobed.

Oh, as a random tip on the airbed thing OP if you decide to go that route(lets say you only have a tiny loveseat).

Go to your local REI type hiking and sporting goods store. Go to the customer service counter and ask where the open box/returns are. At least at better shops like REI, they're not going to put out a leaky broken one. Buy a normally $100+ airbed for $30.

$30 is nothing, she can keep it and use it at her new place/wherever else she goes without you feeling like you blew some unreasonable amount of money disentangling yourself beyond the rent you already agreed to pay.

Every time i've been in one of those returns/open box/box chewed up in shipping areas of a store like that there were several of those beds. the most expensive "super awesome TurboKing!" one i saw was maybe $45. The basic twin size ones were like $29. I still have that cheap ass one i bought years ago rolled up in its box in case i ever need it, and i've directed more than one person to go do the same.

I would almost show up with the bed at the same time i put a lock on the door and go "look, here's this. i don't want to sleep in the same bed, but i got you a bed".
posted by emptythought at 3:13 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Emptythought: The OP specifically wrote that his ex-girlfriend traditionally treated him as one who is 'training' her 'boyfriend.' No one is applying gender out of thin air.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 3:47 PM on June 17


How do you respond to her insistence she sleep with you? You say, NO. Not now. Never again. It's my bed. My bedroom. Get out.

I would almost show up with the bed at the same time i put a lock on the door and go "look, here's this. i don't want to sleep in the same bed, but i got you a bed"


Maybe I'm too soft but that seems unnecessarily cold. Please do not do that to her. Not yet anyway.

Yes, it might be the "right" thing to do and she doesn't "deserve" anything else but if you lived with this woman you probably had strong feelings if not love for her at some point. Out of respect for the good that she at least temporarily brought into your life, try to be understanding for now. Even if being understanding seems to go against your own immediate interests.

If you're truly splitting amicably, why immediately set a me vs you tone? This is a very recent break-up. Be kind to yourself but also be kind to her.

Also, I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by AtoBtoA at 4:36 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Dude, it's been less than two weeks and you think she is being selfish? No.
Even if money were no object, that's still a very short period of time to expect her to find a place to rent. Is she suppose to sign a 12-month lease on place she doesn't really like bc it would make you more comfortable?
posted by Neekee at 6:11 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Firstly, I think you're dealing with this excellently. I also think you're being too involved still (or at least, not pulling away from her enough). She's playing you (I'd say not deliberately), and you're enabling it by not drawing your line emphatically enough. Nthing boundaries. The most important thing right now is to set your boundaries. Dont blame her for being picky about where she wants to live, because that's difficult (esp for girls, because we're always hyperaware of the need to be safe). You mention not wanting unnecessary conflict, but that may not be completely feasible seeing as she's still not respecting you and your needs. Even if you feel too worn out, you might still need to defend your space. Have a frank discussion about you needing space, if you haven't already. If space allows, set out two equal separate spaces for her and for you. DON'T respond to her if she still wants you to satisfy her needs. It's natural for her to want to return to a habit which she associates with safety and comfort, but she's not going to see where the line is (or even that there is one) unless you draw it for her. In fact, I'd even say that she's looking for a boundary to bounce off because she feels lost, and it's manifesting in her pushing boundaries with you. Set yours. If she asks for a hug, give her a side-hug only. If she wants to talk to you at night, politely deflect her. Wedge your door if you've decided to claim the space as yours. Furnish your couch with sleep gear and ask her to sleep there since the bed is yours. Tell her to stop rooting through your stuff- now that you're not in a relationship anymore, your stuff is none of her business.
> (I mean, WTF? How am I supposed to respond to that?) 'sorry, I don't think that's appropriate now that we're not together anymore. This is my bed, please don't go near it. Can you sleep on the couch? I've put some blankets and stuff there. Tell me if you need more blankets.'
After you've talked with her about your needs, the ball's in her court. Reinforce your boundaries when she crosses them ('please don't look through my stuff, we've had this conversation.' ) I know you don't want to feel like you're being kicked out of your own living space (also I think it's perfectly fine -and right- that you're starting to think in terms of her-and -me rather than us), but it looks like that just isn't feasible for the moment; you'll probably just have to put up with it. Hopefully setting your boundaries will give you some sense of your own space. Find a place that you dont associate with her and where she can't find you and keep that as your brooding space. In the meantime, yeah, be kind to her, but be kinder to yourself.
(apologies for non-paragraphs, am on phone)
posted by SailRos at 8:33 PM on June 17


Go ahead and set your boundaries. No more sleeping in the same bed, whatever, just tell her you can't.

You're not being generous by paying the rent if she's leaving; that's just what you fairly owe.

If she can't afford to move right now, how is that going to work?

You can move and let her have the apartment instead, and then you can go immediately. Or if she needs it and you really want her gone, maybe you can help her with moving expenses, the security deposit, etc.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:12 AM on June 18


Two weeks is not enough time for her to move out of your place, but it's definitely enough time for her to move out of your bed. Telling someone not to touch you is allowed. Especially in your situation.
posted by RainyJay at 12:46 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


If you can afford to pay rent without her there, you can probably afford a hotel or temporary living situation for a month, if it bothers you that much to be around her.
posted by htid at 11:48 AM on June 21


« Older A Subway franchise has opened ...   |  Is there a way to find AA meet... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments