Ask UfYH

Ask UfYH: Half the Mess and None of the Ex

Q: My boyfriend and I just broke up after living together for six years. I’m the one who’s staying in the apartment (the lease was in my name and I bought most of the furniture). My question is this: how do I adjust from having only done part of the chores for so long to doing all of them? I’m pretty thrilled to be living on my own, but not so much about having to take on all of the housework. 

A: First of all, condolences or congratulations on the end of your relationship; whichever is appropriate.

And yeah, everything comes at a price. Living alone is awesome, but it means you don’t have anyone to fall back on to help you out. Bright side? Everything gets done the way you want it to, and you’ll never be left feeling disappointed in or let down by someone else for not doing their part.

You will eventually fall into a routine that works for you and your schedule. In the meantime, sit down and get organized. List out all of the things you already do and when you do them. Then list out the things your ex had been doing and when he did those. See if there are any tasks that can logically be combined; for example, if you would usually get all the trash together and he would take it out to the curb, that could all be done at once without much more of a time investment. If you would do the laundry and he would put it away, that’s another pretty obvious pairing. Who knows? You may also find when you make that list that you were maybe doing more than half to start with, and that will at least help put you in a good mindset as far as being able to take on the additional duties.

The other good news is that when you live by yourself, there’s only one person’s mess. So, you’ll find there are half as many dishes to wash, you won’t generate as much trash and recycling, the bathroom will likely not get as gross as fast as you’re used to, and the laundry pile will diminish to a reasonable size pretty much on its own.

Don’t be afraid to use this time to change things up a little. Part of a new life, for you, might include new routines, using space differently, and moving things around. That will help put you into a mindset of “this is new,” even though you’re in the same space you have been for years.

Good luck. I think you’re going to be just fine.


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By [E] Rachel

I punctuate sentences with Oxford commas, and I punctuate disagreements with changesocks. Proud curmudgeon. Get off my lawn.

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