As of 2017, nearly 79 million adults lived in a shared household. This means homes with spouses, unmarried couples and even relatives living together. According to the Pew Research Center, however, roommates are sharing space in only around 18 percent of these homes.
While there are many benefits to having a roommate, sometimes things don't work out. Even if someone makes a great first impression, people can quickly become someone you don't want to live with any longer.
Breaking up with a roommate can result from miscommunication about the rules for living together. It can happen because you end up with a messy roommate or someone who is annoying. Regardless of why living with them is no longer working, you shouldn't feel bad about having to end your roommate relationship.
It's possible to avoid many conflicts that create a bad roommate situation by spelling out processes related to sensitive areas at the start. A detailed roommate agreement, signed as you move in, can cover all the details of your living situation.
From financial obligations to miscellaneous restrictions and arrangements, this agreement covers how you and your roommate will cohabit. This isn't where apartment building rules go. This agreement is for everything else. Nothing is off-limits, from breaking down who pays for what and when to how often guests can stay overnight.
As you prepare an agreement, target specific areas that can lead to conflict. Focus on money, food and general rules for parties, guests and maintaining shared spaces. Some common topics to touch on in this type of agreement include who cleans what, asking before borrowing, noise levels and privacy expectations.
Establishing basic rules at the start of a roommate relationship can give it a better chance of succeeding. However, not every roommate follows the rules, and you may end up in a situation where the relationship needs to end no matter how much you try to minimize conflict.
When it's time, it's time. Breaking up with a roommate doesn't have to be a painful situation as long as you can keep your cool. Acknowledge the problem and admit that the best solution is to end the current living situation.
Try to discuss the issue with your roommate without making accusations. Approach the problem from the perspective of everyone's best interest in mind.
Most often, conflict begins because you end up with an annoying roommate. These are the five most common roommate problems, according to moving.com that can lead to a breakup:
Once these issues take root, it's hard to resolve them. You can only bug your roommate so many times to pay bills, keep it clean or quiet down. Eventually, you won't want to be a nag, but you will want to live in peace.
Conflict can also arise because of a lack of communication. If something about your roommate is bothering you, talk to them.
“Instead of placing unrealistic expectations on the nature of this relationship," says Kat Cohen, CEO and Founder of IvyWise, “focus on fulfilling your responsibilities as a roommate by being considerate and conscientious."
Don't go into a roommate relationship expecting that the two of you will be best friends forever. You actually don't have to love your roommate, but you should accept the relationship you're in and do your best to make it a good one.
If you do end up having to break up, treat it like a business relationship. Taking the friendship out of the equation makes it easier to address the issue(s) and get a resolution that's best for you.
You've done your best to avoid conflict. You've taken a calm approach to resolve issues up to this point. Yet, you still realize that it's time to break up with your roommate. Breakups don't have to end in screams, tears and slammed doors. You and your roommate can have a civilized breakup if take a careful approach to the process.
Assuming everything goes well, you'll have succeeded in breaking up with your roommate. The conclusion of your relationship as roommates doesn't have to mean your friendship is over. Especially if you were friends first, don't let a bad living situation end a real relationship.
Give your ex-roommate a little breathing room, but then make an effort to reconnect. Check in with a call, email or text. Make casual plans to get together. Remember their feelings are most likely hurt, same as yours. Rekindling can take time.
Once you begin interacting again, make sure to ask how they're doing and show genuine interest in what's going on with them. No matter whose fault, be the bigger person and reach out, don't wait for them to make amends.
Schedule time to do something fun you used to do together. Work to maintain a relationship through continued contact. A roommate breakup can be rough, but it doesn't have to mark the end of an era if you handle things like a mature adult, with a degree of sensitivity.