Living with your ex might sound crazy, I know. When I tell people that I live with my ex and that we are both very happy with the arrangement people think that’s one of the strangest things they’ve ever heard. But not all relationships end with anger and bitterness. Sometimes relationships just end, and if you can stay friends there are some serious financial advantages to continue living together.
My ex-husband and I ended our marriage after being together for 12 years. It wasn’t anyone’s fault really. We grew apart. And one day we sat down to talk and we realized that we still loved each other but we weren’t in love anymore. Over the course of our relationship, we had both changed so much that we were really just no longer compatible as a couple. But we were still really good friends.
We talked about who should move out, and what the financial arrangements would be to get us out of the house we bought together. But the more we talked the more we realized that we both loved our home and neither one wanted to give it up. I didn’t want to move out and start over, and neither did he.
So we went to a counselor to try and figure out what we should do. And our counselor asked us why we assumed that one of us had to leave if we weren’t angry or bitter with each other. And that was a totally new way of thinking. Both of us had assumed that one of us had to go because that’s almost always what happens when people divorce. But it doesn’t have to be.
Instead of planning for the end of our marriage and trying to figure out how to divide up assets and bank accounts and the house we called a contractor and started brainstorming ways to transform the house we loved into the space we both needed. In the end, we had the basement turned into a full apartment with a beautiful bedroom, a nice living space, a swanky bathroom, and a kitchenette. My now ex-husband moved into the basement apartment, where he had his own entrance. We have separate living spaces of our own, but he can come upstairs and watch movies with me or have meals with me. Our dogs go back and forth between the two apartments. He still does the yard work and we do the grocery shopping together.
Now I know that for some couples this kind of arrangement would never work. And there were times when we went through some growing pains. But overall we are both happy with the arrangement. And by not having to split up all of our assets, move, and wrangle over the selling the house we both managed to save a lot of money. If you have split from your spouse, or you are considering it, and you can find a way to live together you will be shocked at how much better off financially you will be.