How to Survive Living With Your Ex After Your Breakup

I have seen at least five articles lately about how "quarantining with my ex changed my life for the better" – and while I am thrilled for them, I have had a very different experience. After speaking with a few of our awesome clients and listening to how challenging the last few months have been for them, I thought I'd weigh in and provide a few tips for navigating life when your ex is still living with you.

Make it about you – not your ex

I know, easier said than done. But, the best part about a breakup is how much you learn about yourself and in so doing, how alive it makes you feel. If you prioritize self-growth over resentment or anger, it makes for a way easier time. It isn't just shifting your mindset, it actually changes how you walk through the world.

Get a plan in place

For some, money is a big reason why you're still cohabitating. Others have kids and find that navigating distance learning during coronavirus times is easier in one household. Or maybe you guys find that it's impossible to find a new place and get it furnished while the world is partially shut down. Regardless of the reason, I think we can all agree that this is not ideal and it can't be permanent.

Related: 5 Things to Consider Before You Move Out

Since you're stuck together anyhow (and assuming that your spouse can communicate in somewhat of a reasonable way), now is a good time to make plans for life after you no longer have to. You can discuss a shared parenting plan, negotiate a division of property, talk about shared expenses, and get a plan in place for how you'll handle the legal stuff associated with your split.

Related: Why You Should Stop Delaying Your Divorce and Get On With it Already.

Make some ground rules

I don't care who handled the biggest share of the household responsibilities before you broke up. You are no longer a couple and you both have to now pull your own weight. Each of you has your own stresses and responsibilities and needs help where you can get it.

Set (and stick to) boundaries

I'm not just talking about physical boundaries ... But speaking of: proceed with caution if you are going to get intimate – especially if you or your spouse are having a hard time getting over the other. But, by the same token, you've been married for how long? Totally understandable if emotions get mixed up in this complicated time. If it happens, it happens. Beating yourself up every day forever is awful. It happened, move on, set boundaries and if possible, say them aloud.

But back to boundaries. It's so hard to set them and even harder sometimes to respect them. My hope for you (especially if you have kids together), is that when this is all over, you respect each other and wish the other well. And if breaking up in full heartful integrity is not in the cards, let's aim for not hating each other. The best way to keep things civil is to avoid emotional triggers wherever possible (you know exactly what I am talking about) and respect each other's space and stuff.

Whether your divorce is smooth sailing or rough waters, just remember – nothing is permanent. This too shall pass.


Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.