Ultimate guide to breaking up when you live together
According to an analysis of Facebook statuses, there is a huge peak in breakups during the festive period.
Around 60% of the population lives with their significant other, according to ONS (2019), which might make some of these break-ups particularly awkward to navigate.
Breaking up with a partner can be difficult at any time of year. But, over the festive period, feelings of loneliness can become heightened and moving out of a shared home may be trickier than usual.
In light of this data, Swyft Home wanted to find out why breakups may peak around the festive period and provide some advice for those going through a breakup - from how to feel like yourself again to starting fresh in a new home if you need to move out of a shared space.
Why do more people break up before or around Christmas?
Swyft Home teamed up with Hilary Sims, a qualified counsellor at Life Balance Counselling to reveal why so many breakups possibly happen around the festive period:
“As much as Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, it can come with a lot of additional stress and anxiety. This can be caused by money worries, spending additional time with extended families, and just generally feeling pressured to provide for a family at Christmas. All this extra pressure can lead to relationship breakdown. There may have been cracks there already, but the pressure of Christmas has forced the cracks wider.
Also, at Christmas, people can be off work for an extended period and spend more time with family than normal. This can lead to people realising that they are not happy in their relationship. The rest of the year, they can manage as they get time out at work each day.”
Rules for breaking up when living together
Whatever the reason is that you and your partner have decided to break up, dealing with those feelings, along with any other admin you may have to deal with if you live together, can be a huge challenge.
Swyft Home have created this step-by-step guide (with the help of a couple of experts) to help you deal with those difficult breakup conversations, split up the furniture fairly and start fresh in your new pad.
1. Understand your situation
First things first, you need to make sure you’re seeing the situation for what it is. Some arguments can get really heated, but before making any rash decisions, give yourself some time to check in with yourself - is it a breakup…or just an argument?
It’s a good idea to give yourself some space. If you don’t have a spare room, set up camp on the sofa or sofa bed. Scroll down for our guide to sleeping comfortably on the sofa.
Hilary Sims says that you need to give yourself the time and space to deal with the five stages of grief:
“When a relationship ends, you will have to go through the loss and grief process, this does not only apply to someone dying.
There are five stages of loss and grief:
When working through the stages of loss and grief, it is a good idea to get support from a mental health professional. If you don’t deal with it correctly, there is a possibility that you will take thoughts and feelings from your previous relationship into a new relationship.”
3. Try to be fair in splitting up possessions
Hilary Sims advises that you and your partner remain calm and create lists of the items you most want to keep from your home:
“As part of the relationship breakdown, you have to deal with moving out/selling the house and dividing the possessions. These possessions will have been built up throughout the relationship, and some will come with sentimental value. The items can mean different things to each partner, which comes with its own difficulties.
When thinking about splitting the possessions, it is a good idea to make a list of the things that you would like. Sometimes, you both want different items, so things work out okay. However, if this is not the case, you need to set time aside to discuss the lists. It is important that both parties remain calm and feel that they are being listened to and that their feelings are being taken into account.”
Kelly Collins, interior designer and head of creative at Swyft adds:
“Lists are a great way to make clear which items you want the most from your shared home. Start by prioritising the items with sentimental value for you, which can’t be replaced. Then, I’d recommend choosing a few essentials from each room, so you don’t have a huge shopping list of items you desperately need when you get to your own place. If you don’t get everything you want, keep in mind that this is a great opportunity for a fresh start.
If you are left without some essential items (e.g. a bed, a sofa or a kettle) there are lots of great brands out there nowadays that should be able to deliver to you quickly - Swyft Home obviously being one of them. Make sure to check out delivery times when you are shopping around - so you don’t end up sleeping on the floor for months.”
4. Make a fresh start
Kelly Collins recommends using your change of scenery to create your dream home:
“As an interior designer, I really appreciate the impact a space can have on you (especially when it’s your home). Having a bit of a blank slate will allow you to introduce all of your favourite colours, patterns and materials into your home and discover your personal style.
Get excited about the idea of making a fresh start! Moving house might bring you into a new area or new style of home and really get your creative juices flowing.
To help yourself feel inspired, I’d recommend making a mood board for each room - you can use Pinterest for this too! If you’re moving in with a housemate, make this a collaborative process, find your favourite sets of complementary colours, your favourite styles and home accounts and see what you can make out of the situation.”
5. Remember the good times
Finally, Hilary Sims adds that though times may be tough right now, it’s important to appreciate the good times you had with your ex.
“I know the relationship may have come to an end for whatever reason, but one of the worst things you can do is to forget that you have spent time in a relationship with the other person. Despite how you feel about them now, you have ‘loved’ them at some stage. I know this can be difficult to manage when emotions and feelings are running high, but please try to remember you have had some good times with this person.”
In the dog house? Here’s how to sleep comfortably on the sofa
Need to set up camp on the sofa for a night or two? Kelly Collins has shared her top tips for getting cosy and comfortable for a night on the couch:
- Use a proper pillow - if you have one available, I’d always recommend using a proper pillow to lay your head on, rather than a sofa cushion which can tend to be a little firm.
- Put the decorative sofa cushions along the floor - If you have scatter cushions on the sofa, place these next to the sofa on the floor and make sure there is one next to where you lay your head. That way in the case you fall off the sofa during the night, you hopefully shouldn’t end up injured. Plus, you’ll leave yourself a little more room to spread out on the sofa.
- Cocoon in your duvet - if you have a double duvet, or double sheet even, wrap it around yourself on the sofa so that you’re able to use one half as a cover and the other to lay on top of. This will not only keep you warm but give you an extra layer of softness if your sofa is a little firm and protect the sofa fabric.
- Curl up like a baby - Most sofas aren’t tall enough for us to lay across. If this is the case, curl up like a baby, using the armrest as a pillow and moving all decorative cushions out of the way to give yourself the most room possible.
- Relax - if you’re uncomfortable, it’s easy to get worked up. Try to keep yourself calm by plugging in your earphones and listening to a podcast or relaxing music, or enjoying a cup of herbal tea.
If you do find yourself stuck without a sofa or bed this festive period, check out Swyft Home’s website for furniture with guaranteed next-day delivery.