My boyfriend and I just broke up after being together for almost three years. We were really good friends before we started dating, and about three months after we started sleeping together, he moved in with me. We had a very good relationship, got along great, rarely ever fought, and enjoyed each other’s company. But slowly I began realizing he just wasn’t the right person for me. It pained me greatly as this realization grew stronger and after almost three years, I decided that it wasn’t fair to him to continue being together if he wasn’t making me completely happy. Now, considering we had been friends first, and are staying close friends, is it a bad idea to continue to live together? There are two bedrooms, so we wouldn’t have to sleep together anymore, but is it generally a bad idea to continue cohabiting with someone after you’ve broken up? Thanks for your advice.
Signed, Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Dear Breaking Up,
Your question falls under the heading of “case by case basis”. There are so many factors involved in transitioning from a love based relationship to one based on just friendship. Some couples find the sexual/emotional component to be the hardest change. The trouble spots that usually pop up are around outside sexual behavior and dating other people. Will the two of you have sex with each other at all anymore? Can you date other people? Is it okay to bring another guy home? Can you fuck another guy in your old shared bed? Do you tell each other about your outside sexual/emotional encounters or try to “spare” their feelings?
Another problem area is that around finances and the separation of previously joined assets. Do you separate your accounts? How will bills be paid? Do both names stay on the mortgage? Does furniture you have bought together as a couple get divided between the two of you? Who gets the dog should one of you decide to move?
What are the rules? Each couple is different. What works for one couple may not work at all for another couple. Some couples transition with minimum difficulty. Some couple’s find it is too hard to try to stay together and just be friends. My suggestion is to talk with your friend/ex-boyfriend and get some idea of where he is coming from. As the person who is being left, he probably has some thoughts of his own. Whether it be with a boyfriend or best friend, the ability to discuss all topics, good, bad and ugly, remains a crucial component.