How to Break Up With Someone You Live With in 7 Practical Steps

How to navigate the logistics of a breakup from a live-in relationship.

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Ending a romantic relationship with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other is tough, especially when you live together. You share a life, and a lot of stuff, with someone else, so it’s important to handle the untangling of all aspects of your combined lives with care and respect. 

Wondering how to break up with someone you live with, while managing both the emotional fallout and the practical separation of your finances and belongings?

Let’s take a look at the seven key steps to help navigate through this difficult time, including expert insights from Psychology Today verified couples therapist Vanessa Morgan, while also considering the role renters insurance can play as you transition to a new beginning.

Step 1: Initiate the breakup conversation

“The talk” requires some preparation—like reflections on your feelings and reasons for the breakup. Try to find a private, comfortable setting at a time when both of you can have an undisturbed discussion. 

Consider preparing what you want to say beforehand, which can help you express your feelings clearly. Vanessa Morgan suggests not bringing up past issues during the breakup talk:

Focus on the present and future, steering clear of rehashing past conflicts or blame. Avoid language that is inflammatory or hurtful, as this can exacerbate an already sensitive situation. Remember, the goal is to communicate in a way that is respectful and conducive to a peaceful transition, not to deepen wounds or create new ones.

Be honest, but also compassionate. Remember: How and when you deliver the news will set the tone for the following steps. It’s not just about ending the relationship, it’s about respecting the time you’ve spent together and navigating the next phase with as much care and understanding as possible.

Step 2: Discuss living arrangements

Discuss living arrangements

The rule of thumb for discussing living arrangements during a breakup—like deciding if one or both of you will move out and when, plus how to handle your lease agreement—is to find a balance between emotional readiness with practical urgency. 

Morgan recommends addressing living arrangements as soon as possible, ideally in the initial breakup conversation:

This helps manage anxiety and uncertainty about the future. If continued cohabitation is necessary, set clear and practical boundaries. This may include separate sleeping arrangements, division of household responsibilities, and guidelines for new relationships. The key is to maintain respect and clear communication, avoiding ambiguous situations that could lead to emotional turmoil or an on-and-off relationship dynamic.

Moving out and looking for a little guidance? Head over to our apartment moving checklist for tips on how to prepare for a move, minimize stress, and how renters insurance could come in handy during the moving process.

Step 3: Separate finances and belongings

This can be a complex and delicate task, and you’ll both need to set clear boundaries. Map out how to handle things like:

  • Splitting up belongings, including shared things
  • Shared expenses
  • Joint bank accounts

When it comes to the division of belongings, Morgan highlights approaching the process with a spirit of fairness and empathy:

Recognize that both partners may have emotional or financial attachments to certain items. Open and honest communication is essential. Discuss each item individually, and if disagreements arise, consider involving a neutral third party to facilitate a fair division. Remember, the process should aim to minimize further emotional distress.

If there are things neither of you are attached to, consider selling them and splitting the profit, or donating the items.

Step 4: Update your renters insurance policy

If you have renters insurance for your shared place—and shared stuff—there are some important things to keep in mind.

Depending on whose name is on the policy, check that the payment details and other account info on the renters insurance policy is up-to-date to avoid any confusion or financial complications.

When the policy is in your name

Let’s say the renters insurance policy is in your name and your ex is listed on your policy.  If you’ll be staying in the apartment, and your ex is moving out, make sure to remove your ex as an “additional insured” or “other household member” on your policy (depending on how they’re listed) when they move out. 

You might also consider adjusting the amount of coverage you need based on the value of your personal belongings after the split. 

If the policy is in your name and you’re moving out, make sure to get a new renters insurance policy for your new place (and make sure to set your move-in date as your effective date). 

When you have a Lemonade renters insurance policy, it’s easy to make these changes and more on the Lemonade app.

When the policy is in your ex’s name

Let’s say you’re listed as an additional insured on your ex’s renters insurance policy and you’re the one moving out. It’s important to inform them to remove your name from their policy, ensuring that your insurance status accurately reflects your new living situation.

What if I don’t already have a renters insurance policy? 

Glad you asked! You don’t need to wait for a major life event—like a breakup—to protect your stuff with renters insurance. Learn more about what renters insurance covers, or click below to start your free quote.

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Step 5: Sort out co-parenting shared pets

If you share a pet with your ex, deciding who will take primary responsibility for their care can add another layer of complexity. Focus on what’s best for your fur fam—aka the non-human members of your household—considering factors like living arrangements, work schedules, and emotional bonds. 

If possible, discuss co-parenting arrangements, but only if it won’t lead to further emotional stress—both for the people, and the fur babies involved.

Step 6: Lean on support systems and self-care

Lean on support systems and self-care

It’s crucial to make your mental health a priority during the breakup process. Lean on your support system—whether that’s family, friends, other loved ones, and even a professional. Allocate time for self-care activities that boost your emotional well-being and growth. 

Make sure not to misconstrue indulging in comfort activities for self-care. Morgan defines true self-care after a breakup as nurturing all aspects of your well-being:

This includes physical health, emotional support, and mental peace. Avoid isolating yourself or engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Avoid the trap of “trauma dumping” and rather focus on activities that foster a sense of self and individual well-being.

Instead of stalking your ex’s Instagram, for example, try out a breakup app that’s designed to help guide you through the heartache. 

Don’t forget: There’s no timeline or strict rule book to heal a broken heart, and it’s okay to seek emotional support to navigate through it.

Step 7: Moving forward

This period is an opportunity for personal growth and rediscovery. Try your hand at activities that enrich and rejuvenate you, and consider exploring new hobbies or interests that you may have put on the backburner. 

Moving forward isn’t just about figuring out your living situation, it’s about starting a new chapter in your life that reflects who you are and what you value post-breakup. This time, though challenging, can also be a gateway to a more fulfilling and independent road ahead.

Before we part ways…

We can’t insure your relationship, unfortunately. But Lemonade renters insurance can help protect your stuff from things like theft and damage. 

Dealing with the logistics of a breakup is a major hassle, but getting your insurance quote from Lemonade is quick, easy, and–dare we say it–even kind of fun.

Click below to start your free quote.

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A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.