Living with Your Ex: Can it be Done?


By Morgan Vines, Editorial Staff

Anyone who watches “Jersey Shore” can see that living with your ex is never a good idea, even if it’s for easy money and another 15 minutes in the spotlight. Yet it’s not that uncommon for couples who break up or divorce to stay under one roof, especially with the recession tightening every household.


With rents and mortgage rates so high in many cities, couples are moving in together to save money - without an exit strategy. It’s an exciting step and no one wants to think ahead to the possibility that it might not work out. As a result, more and more couples are stuck waiting out a lease or hoping that the housing market will improve. With two hurting exes sharing the same space and possibly the same bed, the situation could turn explosive without a set of mutually agreed upon ground rules.

Here are our five tips for keeping the peace:

1. Set an "out" date
Sharing a bed with your ex only seems to work when couples distance themselves for a period of time and then move back in together. “Leave as soon as possible,” says Terry Real, author of The New Rules of Marriage. Make sure this is only a temporary situation by giving yourselves a deadline. Decide which one of you is going to move out (if not both) and concede that it will take a little time to save up or find a new place. By establishing a time frame you’ll avoid unnecessary fights. Having the end in sight makes it easier to endure the bad habits that would normally irritate you.

2. Divide expenses
When couples move in together, what’s yours becomes mine and vice versa. After the relationship breakup, you slip into the roommate zone, and no one wants their roommate finishing off their favorite craft beer. To ease the transition to your new independence and avoid conflict, settle your tab in advance. Sit down and make it clear who will pay for what and how much.

3. Keep doors closed
There’s a reason rooms have doors, and it’s easy to forget this when you become comfortable around someone. But changing, showering or peeing in front of your ex is too much. Break the habit and set boundaries. Nudity only makes an awkward situation more uncomfortable. Respect each other’s privacy and resist the urge to tempt their sanity into submission.

4. Sleep alone

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