The Cost of Breaking Up and Moving Out

One Day

Last month, my relationship of five-plus years ended. Emotionally, it was about 75 percent mutual and 25 percent devastating. Financially, it was 100 percent a huge setback to my savings.

My ex and I had been living together since the summer of 2011. Luckily, we had been careful to split every major bill and purchase over those years, and kept a regular IOU that we tallied up at the end of every month and paid each other back via our separate rent checks.

However, separating our lives and moving out has still been a huge hit to what little I had in savings. A tally of what I have spent so far:

$4.15: Cost of public transportation to take myself and three travel bags to stay with a friend the morning after the break-up

$62.40: Various toiletries and cleaning items I bought to use at my friend’s place that I couldn’t haul with me when I left

$350: Rent I paid my friend to stay in the guest bedroom of her apartment for most of June

$79.80: Birth control that I had to purchase on my own, which we previously split down the middle

$104.98: Rented U-Haul for a day to move all my furniture and things out of our apartment

$488: Storage unit I am renting through at least the end of August to store said furniture and things

$35.60: Pizza I bought as a thank you to all my wonderful friends who helped me move out

$25.00: Copay for doctor’s appointment, where I pleaded my case for anti-anxiety medication

$23.10: A month’s worth of anti-anxiety medication

$500: July rent to my friend to continue staying in her guest bedroom

$50: July monthly parking space at my friend’s apartment

$25.00: My approximation for the cost of the gas I have spent driving back and forth between my friend’s apartment and our old apartment, to retrieve random items such as mail and things I forgot

$46.50: Cost of three books (in lieu of expensive therapy) I purchased on Amazon, which focuses on getting past break-ups and being your best self

$300 (but in actuality priceless): My approximation of what I have spent on social outings with friends since the break up

Total: $2094.53


If you are a kind, thoughtful, single man in your mid/late 20s who lives in the D.C. area, is not allergic to cats, and is interested in dating a kind, thoughtful woman, please say so in the comments. Anonymous would like to meet you.


44 Comments / Post A Comment

Galatea (#6,789)

Ouch, my sympathies :c

I am also in the process of breaking up and moving out of a long-term relationship; we’re actually still together, more or less, until our lease is up in September, which has saved both of us some money (and has delayed some of the emotional impact), but it’s still alarmingly expensive (and also weird and upsetting and sad).

annpan (#3,219)

Oh man, I can so relate. Your spending is a lot more reasonable than mine since my beginning-of-the-summer breakup with my live-in boyfriend; mine has included signing up for a marathon, buying plane tickets to a family reunion across the country that I wasn’t planning on attending prior to the breakup, buying plane tickets to Italy this fall, putting a deposit down on an apartment that is probably too expensive but I’m still in treat yo self mode, all the drinks at bars with friends, etc etc.

RIP savings account :(

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

After my last breakup, which was in itself inexpensive compared to the cost of relocating for the relationship, I floated the idea of a romcom where two quirky “paycheck to paycheck” young adults break up, but the woman says it won’t count until the man raises enough cash to pay for half the breakup costs. In the time it takes to do that, they fall back in love. OF COURSE. I was delusional.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@HelloTheFuture Actually, the cost of splitting up a breakup is a really interesting idea! Especially when it comes to the cost of one of them moving out. Hm. Something other than paperwork to ponder this afternoon.

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

@andnowlights @HelloTHeFuture When we split, I gave my boyfriend $1200 because I owned the house and was keeping the bed and he was moving out. We had originally thought we would have to live in the same house for several months together, but he decided to move quicker.

honey cowl (#1,510)

oof. my worst fear! good luck to you dear anonymous.

andnowlights (#2,902)

Oof. Internet huge and emotionally eating cupcakes to you, honey. It gets better.

Susan Tidebeck (#5,691)

He didn’t even help out with the bus fare. What is this world coming to?

jquick (#3,730)

@Susan Tidebeck Why should he? Isn’t she an adult?

stealthkit (#2,237)

Oh I can relate to this. My own 12 year relationship went down in flames three months ago. The financial adjustment has been tough; I went from living on our combined $90k down to my $35k. He moved out so I am paying the mortgage and bills by myself. And yeah, that first month I went into spendy mode to make myself feel better – mostly on fancy personal care products. Now that I’m finally coming out of emotional crisis mode, I’m making plans for the future — selling the house, moving to a small apartment, and taking steps towards a career that pays better. Best of luck and hugs to you, anonymous!

charmcity (#1,091)

Since acquiring a cohabitron, I’ve thought about this a little bit – assuming that safety is not an issue (which I deeply hope it is not for our dear Anon), how do you decide who moves out and who “keeps” the shared space?

Allison (#4,509)

@charmcity if you’re my brother in college….you don’t. He just slept on the couch for months. (It was a 3BR house they were sharing with friends but still, he was miserable).

charmcity (#1,091)

@Allison Ugh, I hear that. And I hate it.

clo (#4,196)

@Allison @charmcity been there! last gf before i got married started dating a good friend of mine while we still lived together. i finally borrowed money from my sister to move out after 3 months.

Anon Writer (#7,266)

@charmcity Hi, Anonymous here!

In my case, our lease is up at the end of July anyway, so we only had two months left on it when we broke up. Emotionally, I couldn’t stand the thought of spending one more night there (even on the couch), so I found a friend to stay without even discussing it with him. Since I left, he has been living there on his own, but will be moving out this weekend.

In short: physical safety was never an issue, thank goodness. But emotionally I was the one who had to go, since he would have been fine doing the couch thing for two months.

charmcity (#1,091)

@clo D:D:D:

Christy (#3,892)

@charmcity My girlfriend and I just moved in together this month, and we’re writing a cohabitation agreement this weekend, and one thing that it will specify is that she will get the apartment if we should break up. (My family is all in the area, and more of my friends are in the area. She’s from across the country.) We should consider adding in the concept of breakup and moving costs, though. But I really like the idea of figuring out these things when you still really love each other and want the best for each other.

charmcity (#1,091)

@Anon Writer Anon! Thanks for writing. It sounds like you made the right call – emotionally, I would NOT be able to handle living in my tiny 1BR with an ex. Hope you have exactly what you want planned for this weekend, and I wish I could buy you a drink!

clo (#4,196)

@charmcity thank god for big sisters

Anon Writer (#7,266)


I think that’s a great idea! One way in which I’m very lucky is that we both knew the break up was for the best, even if it was still terrible and awful and felt like the hardest thing I’d ever faced. I wouldn’t say we get along BETTER since we broke up (and we’re not friends), but all of our dealings with one another have been more or less amicable, with few exceptions. We still want one another to be happy at the end of it all, for which I am very grateful. But that is definitely not always the case, which is why it’s a great idea to sort out the financials of a break up long before you might ever face that decision.

Thursty (#7,023)

@clo Dear God

clo (#4,196)

What are these books?!? Asking for a friend. No, really.

Pistol Franny (#1,024)

@clo Seriously! I was just broken up with by my live-in partner two weeks ago and I could use some reading material that isn’t just very sad advice columns.

clo (#4,196)

@Pistol Franny Aww, good luck!

Anon Writer (#7,266)

@clo Hi, Anonymous here!

Here is what I bought:

Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You:

Codependent No More (How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Taking Care of Yourself):

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life:

I highly recommend all three.

clo (#4,196)

@Anon Writer Thanks so much!!

Anon Writer (#7,266)

@Pistol Franny Just wanted to point out in case you miss it that I left a list below of online links to break up stuff (yes, lots of advice columns, but GOOD advice columns! and other things). Also to say I’m in the trenches with you and you are not alone! Best of luck.

swoosiekurt (#3,770)

May I also humbly recommend:

It’s Called A Break-Up Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Break-Up Buddy

It’s by Greg Behrendt and his wife (of He’s Not Just That Into You fame), and it’s laugh out loud hilarious, with some good pointers. I wasn’t ready to read it until a few months later, but if you need something to make you smile, it’s just spot on.

iamjustjules (#7,265)

All of this.

I went through the same about 2 years ago and am only now coming out of the financial straits that the breakup and immediate need to leave spurred.

Though it was difficult, I’m better for it. You will be too. Also, a DC-person, so enjoy some rooftop bars and get some sun to perk yourself up.

swoosiekurt (#3,770)

@iamjustjules GIRL, I feel you on this. I feel like I’m constantly putting out financial fires (the work is never done) but oh my god, it needed to happen. I feel like a much stronger person in a way I definitely wouldn’t have been (or, let’s face it, survived emotionally) if I was still in my toxic situation.

Sending you lots of positive thoughts and know you’ve got someone with you in solidarity.

Anon Writer (#7,266)

Hi, Anonymous here! Thank you to everyone for the kind words.

To those who mentioned struggling with breakups themselves, I just want to say that the things that got me through this so far have been:

1) Talking every day to friends and family – even just one person – about the break up and how I was doing. As time has gone on, it’s slowly shifted from “how I’m coping” to “what I’m doing now in my own life,” which has been both weird (because it’s still odd to think I’m single!) and wonderful.

2) Taking care of myself. Very little drinking, healthy eating, more exercise than I was doing before, and lots of sleep. Also, talking to a doctor when I realized I needed some help. Anti-anxiety meds have really made a difference.

3) Making future plans. Though I am still building up my main savings (and will be for a while!), I also opened up another account where I already have $100 saved for a trip to Europe, hopefully a year or two from now. This gives me something to look forward to, just for me, that has nothing to do with my ex. Someone else mentioned a marathon – also a great idea.

4) A lot of online and book reading about break ups. I actually have been keeping my own personal list of good break up links (mostly advice columns, but also essays & other random things), all of which in some way have helped me cope, which I will share here:

I also mentioned three books in a thread above, which I will list here:

Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You:

Codependent No More (How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Taking Care of Yourself):

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life:

Thanks again to everyone, and I wish you all the best of luck in your current or future relationships.

joyballz (#2,000)

@Anon Writer <3 captain awkward and sugar. will check out the rest. Thanks and good luck!!

NoName (#3,509)

@Anon Writer Captain Awkward for the win

Emma (#355)

@Anon Writer this master post was literally more helpful than all the counselling I’ve had since my relationship of 8 years ended a month ago. I read almost all of these last night and woke up this morning feeling calm and hopeful. Thank you for writing this and good luck with everything.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@Anon Writer So many hugs to you. And thank you for this very service-y post.


boringbunny (#3,260)

@Anon Writer this list is seriously one of the best comments of all time. thank you and sorry to hear about your breakup. =(

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@Anon Writer I just got back from a 2-week trip abroad and saw this post, but I just want to say that this is my life too (more than 5 years, DC, lease up in July but relationship ended a few months prior)! I think things went a little better for me and I didn’t move out until the end of the lease because $$$$ (and because I could emotionally afford to do that), but I can empathize with the overall roughness and would like to generally offer my services as drinking/venting company. Thank you for writing this post. Nothing has struck as much of a chord with me lately.

srmattew (#3,434)

I’m so sorry to hear about your break-up :(

Question – I’m confused how paying rent to your friend counts as a break-up expense – were you not previously paying rent before? Or did you have to still pay rent on the old lease?

Anon Writer (#7,266)

@srmattew I was still paying rent on the old lease, which was about $1500 total for June/July.

Thanks for the kind words :)

jquick (#3,730)

Are we in an age where its too tough to feel your feelings, be human, so have to be drugged/numbed out? Is that how we’re learning to cope with disappointment/sad things happening to us? That is very costly, indeed.

turdypants (#5,870)

@jquick Aw, belittling someone’s need for medication when you only know them from a thing they wrote on the Internet. How adorable.

OllyOlly (#669)

@jquick OH I forgot, she should study STEM and then she’d be able to deal with everything!

KibblesAhoy (#7,341)

The line at the end compelled me to reply to this…although I am a single man living in DC, a feminist and an ally, a cat owner, and if I do say so myself, physically attractive, I feel like you should take a while off before you start dating again. I’ve been in multiple relationships of more than a year, and I needed at least six months off after each before I was ready to commit emotionally to somebody again.

I am very happy to visit this site and hope to visit here again and again. I have bookmarked your site due to the interesting and relevant stuff found here. Also I have recommended the same to my other friends.
Independence day india

This is my site, you can visit it and leave your valuable feedback.

Comments are closed!