Exactly how do you DTMF?
January 10, 2014 9:55 AM   Subscribe

How do you kick someone out? End a nine year relationship, kick them out, potentially to the street?

Gritty details: I'm a guy in my 40's, he is in his 50's. I let him stealth move in after dating for a few months. I pay all the bills, I bought the house before meeting him, everything is in my name. I thought he just needed a little help getting back on his feet. He has valuable skills, but is a terrible self-promoter, and has no real business sense. I left this morning to go to work, and he was wrapped up in an electric blanket reading, that is how I expect to find him this evening. My therapist, and friends all think I should dump him. I've suggested he is depressed, but he refuses to consider therapy. I just can't imagine how to start the conversation. And I feed super guilty because he really has nothing and may be sleeping on the street when I kick him out. Right now his only redeeming qualities include walking the dog when I work late, and making overly elaborate dinners.

How do you start the breakup process?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the thing to remember - he was a functioning, living, breathing human being before you met him, somehow managing to feed himself and stay alive. That won't change when you leave him; might even spur him into action to get his crap together. Don't let him guilt you - it's not your responsibility to feed and clothe and shelter this manchild. If you're done, let him go, he will find his way. Best of luck.
posted by Falwless at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2014 [34 favorites]

He found a way to move in with you, he'll find a way to live when you don't live together anymore. I would start the conversation by saying that it's time you both moved on, and give him a timeframe (2-3 months?) to get himself out. Offer to help with finding a place and helping him move. Sometimes you literally have to move them out to get them out.
posted by xingcat at 10:04 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's never going to be a good time, so you might as well do it now. Don't blame him for anything or assume the mantle for him to figure out what he needs to do.

"Joe, I've been very unhappy in our relationship for some time. At this point I'd like for us to break up. Because we've blurred the lines between couple and roommates, I am giving you a formal 30-day's notice, I have it in writing here, and I'd appreciate it if you'd sign it. I need for you to be out by X date. If you could be out sooner, that would be better."

Then sit back and listen to him. He will be sad, and unhappy and mopey, angry and freaked out. That's okay, let him do those things. If he asks for reasons or specifics or offers to change, simply tell him, "I wish it were that easy, but our relationship has been over for some time now and I need for you to move out."

I'm suggesting the note in writing because in some areas he's converted over to a roommate on a month-to-month tenancy and I'd like for you to cover your bases.

Find out what you need to do to start eviction proceedings if he can't or won't leave. Have that in your back pocket and one hour past the deadline for his departure, start eviction proceedings.

It's going to suck a haunch, but when he's gone it will be glorious~!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2014 [22 favorites]

If he's been living in your house for nine years minus a few months I'd wonder whether he might have the rights of a tenant in your legal jurisdiction, so that you might need to follow the same process as a landlord evicting someone lest he be able to fight you putting him out onto the street in court. You'd need to ask a local lawyer to determine that, of course.

(On preview, what Ruthless Bunny said.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:06 AM on January 10, 2014

An anecdote to help you with the guilt -

I pretty much did the same thing for a live-in boyfriend myself when I was younger. He wasn't quite as helpless, but pretty close. I pretty much did what Ruthless Bunny said (I didn't have the "here's something in writing here" thing, but just about everything else).

And I was also worried that he'd be out on the street too, to the point that I wrote his best friend and begged the guy to look after him for me. However - my dumping him turned out to be the kick in the pants he needed, instead of being his ruin. He got into a room-share situation with a couple other guys, enrolled in grad school, got a teaching position six months later, and the last I heard he's married and has a kid in Junior High. We totally were all wrong for each other, but my breaking up with him grew him up good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 AM on January 10, 2014 [10 favorites]

He's not your problem, and you're not his mom. Is he an addict? Because this is called living like a junkie without getting high. If he wants to work things out, tell him to get out of your house and you can work it out from there.
posted by phaedon at 10:14 AM on January 10, 2014

Also, next time someone offers to move into your house, say, "Sounds like a good idea. Let me think about it." Isn't it crazy how his extreme neediness makes it impossible for you to take care of yourself? This is definitely a thing.
posted by phaedon at 10:19 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Though of course you're in no way at all obligated to, if it would help you to feel more comfortable you might help him apply for various social services while he's still got a place to live with you and internet access, like Social Security Disability Income if it's applicable to him.

(Maybe point out to him that this would be a great reason to go to therapy or otherwise seek treatment for the depression, even if he's not expecting it to help him, just so that medical records exist for these sorts of purposes. If SSDI does look like a possibility there might be time limits: for example how recently you've worked can be relevant.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

phaedon: "Also, next time someone offers to move into your house, say, "Sounds like a good idea. Let me think about it.""

Next time someone offers to move into your house, say, "No, thank you." Only invite people to move into your house.

I think Ruthless Bunny has given some solid advice up thread.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:23 AM on January 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Sometimes I find it helps to preface it by "This is really hard for me to say..."

It just gives me enough courage to go on with the rest of the conversation.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:51 AM on January 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Concurring with Ruthless Bunny about having paperwork for him to sign. It might also help to write down some things on an index card to help you keep your focus during the conversation, and to keep your goals in mind.

Before this, think for a bit about what the likelihood is that he might become destructive on his way out. You might want to arrange for someone to be available to take care of the dog on short notice if needed if you think he's going to harm the dog, and make sure all your valuables (including easily portable things that can be sold) are locked up or moved to a secure location. If you don't have an inventory of your pricey items including serial number info on file with your insurance company, this would be a good time to do that in case you get robbed when he's on his way out.

Some other things to consider
How much stuff does he have? Does he have a credit card in his own name? If so, and if you want to (only if you want to - I'm just thinking of things that would help assuage your guilt), you could offer to help him set up a storage unit (on his credit card only) and if you've got the money, offer to pitch a couple of hundred bucks towards movers to get his stuff away. If you're going to offer up resources/money, focus on things that will get him out of your house. If you're talking specific money for security deposits or something on a new place, agree to a single number and don't give him a penny more.

In the category of things that may or may not be legal depending on the tenancy laws around you (so you might want to check with a lawyer or at least the nolo press landlord book first): The flip side of the storage unit idea is to insist that if he moves out but leaves his stuff, anything in the house that is'nt yours is going to get hauled away by trash-haulers-r-us or whoever you've got in your area on day deadline+1.

I'm so sorry it's come to this, and I wish you the best of luck with it.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:34 PM on January 10, 2014

Depending on the jurisdiction he May have palimony property rights. I'd be very careful about any promises you make and very generous about whatever support you can offer to help him get on his feet. Maybe consult a lawyer.
posted by bq at 8:15 PM on January 10, 2014

And I feed super guilty because he really has nothing and may be sleeping on the street when I kick him out.

I bet you 10 dollars that he will move in with someone else within 2 weeks, 30 days at the outside.
posted by CathyG at 3:17 PM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nine years? Could be common law spouse stuff kicks in or Christ only knows. Get a lawyer and get counselling and support for him, and maybe a longer transition time than 30 days. On your death bed one day I surmise you will regret generosity than you would letting him transition out safely, IE not to the street.
posted by Mistress at 5:05 PM on January 11, 2014

Original Poster here. Told him to move out this morning. Gave him to the end of the month (about three weeks) and $1k to get set up somewhere. Thanks for all the suggestions everybody.
posted by Classic Diner at 5:53 AM on February 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

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