It’s Over: You and Your Live-In BF/GF Broke Up, with 6 Months Left on Lease

This is the last part of the series about moving in with a Significant Other, one that we hope you never need. But it’s come to this. You thought the fights might be a normal part of moving in together, but they’re intractable, they’re deeper than that. And now you have six months remaining on your lease, and a one-bedroom apartment that you’re trying to share with your ex. What do you do?

Here are some ideas:

1. Talk to your Landlord. Even if you have a lease, your landlord might be sympathetic: if you can find someone to sublet the place, you may be home free. There are two types of landlords: those who don’t care who lives in their building or what they do, as long as they pay their rent, and then those who want polite, quiet people who will leave the property in good condition and not cause issues with neighbors. In the case of the former, they may not care if you sublet, as long as they still get their check, whereas in the case of the latter, they may prefer you sublet, since a bickering, now-non-couple may result in neglect of the space, noise problems, and other unforeseen issues. However, one thing is universal with landlords: they want someone living in their units, so come to them with a plan, let them know that you’ll make sure their interests will be taken care of.

2. Swallow the Security Deposit. If that’s all it takes to break your lease, sometimes the easiest solution is the best, particularly if you have a little extra cash saved.

3. Crash with Friends, A Lot. This is not advised. I bring this up, so I can warn you not to do it. If you’re crashing at other people’s places on a regular basis for months, there’s going to be fallout. So respect your friends’ space. They will thank you, and you will remain friends with them.

4. Set up the apartment as if it were a two bedroom. Depending on the layout, this might work. You’ll lose the common space of the living room, and one of you will be sleeping on a sleeping bag or a couch every night, but if you only interact in the kitchen and near the bathroom, and respect the other’s space, toughing it out could work. It will still be miserable, but it will be cheap and bearable. Just make sure to have ground rules, like: No bringing dates back to the apartment (ouch, I know, who would do that? … Well, you’d be surprised.) And try not to have guests over – first off, because, as a guest, who wants to visit an apartment that has a De-Militarized Zone? And, second off, because when you don’t have a living room and you can’t stand the sight of each other, friends over just makes things worse.

5. One of you gets the smallest, cheapest furnished studio (or share) you can find on a month-to-month basis. Then the two of you add up the cost of rent for your one bedroom and the studio, divide by two, and each pay that amount per month. That way, if neither of you could afford to live in a one bedroom by yourself, you would each be paying somewhat less than the full price of the one bedroom, since the studio would presumably be a lot cheaper. And you could still have the pleasure of living apart. This only works if you and the Significant Other are on relatively good terms when you break up. But it can work.

Hopefully, these tips help in a trying time. I know there are also sorts of disaster scenarios, so if you have other ideas or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section. For example, I did not even cover the ugly scenarios that might ensue if you had purchased furniture together and adopted pets.  So, maybe there’s another post on this topic in the future.

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Author My First Apartment

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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