real life

"I live with my ex-fiance. And I'm bringing new partners home."

I still live with my ex-fiance and it’s awesome. I highly recommend it.

Not only that, it’s been nearly a year since we broke up and neither of us have any immediate plans to move on and go our separate ways. The real clincher? He has a new girlfriend who stays over and I bring home whoever I feel the need to. And this is all just perfectly fine and normal if you ask us.

I know people find it weird. Just recently I brought a date home when I wasn’t expecting my ex to be around and, drunk me, introduced him as my ex-fiancé. A heads up to the guy probably would have been appreciated, but drunk me is kind of a jerk. He was out of there before you could say baggage. My bad.

Not many people we speak to can seem to get their heads around the situation. There aren’t any kids involved unless you count our two dogs, and I’m not particularly worried about the effects of single parenting on them. We don’t own the house together, we don’t have combined debts. There really isn’t anything keeping us living together except the fact that we choose to.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Obviously we had a few post-break-up blowouts (try saying that ten times really fast), especially, when we started to move on and talk to other people. But for the most part dreaming of murdering each other. We had a Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin type of breakup. We consciously un-coupled and then went back to being what we had always been, the best of friends.

When it came to the moving out part, it just didn’t happen. Firstly, we live in Sydney, so our exuberance and rent meant that not sharing was never going to be a possibility. Especially when you need a house with a backyard for the dogs mentioned above. I did find a girl to move in at one point, but then she got a job opportunity elsewhere and my ex wanted a little more time to look for his own place. So we stayed living together and then we just continued to live together.

Occasionally, the topic would come. He’d discuss looking for a place, I’d discuss putting another ad up for a flatmate, both of us half-heartedly, without any real intention of following through with the plan. Because we like living together and neither of us is in a real hurry for this to change.

These are the reasons why.

1. We still love and respect each other as friends. We enjoy being around each other, hanging stuff on each other, pulling pranks, etc. Who doesn’t like a permanent sleepover with their bestie?

2. We know each other’s habits and idiosyncrasies and have accepted the weird shit we both do. Unlike with any potential random flatmates, there are generally no weird surprises to come home to.

Some exes live together under… less amicable conditions:

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3. We argue like any other people that live together, but because we know each other so well we can have a total blowout and then be back to being best friends within two minutes. As opposed to leaving passive aggressive post-it notes around the house and avoiding each other on purpose when there’s conflict like any other shared house situation.

4. We still combine grocery shopping which is cheaper then single person shopping, and still cook for each other knowing what the other one likes to eat or doesn’t, on several occasions.

5. Our Friday night tradition of football, pizza and beer hasn’t changed. Also, there are no judgements from him when I easily put away a large pizza by myself. And half a garlic bread. And possibly some Ben and Jerry’s for dessert.

6. We’ve got a good cleaning roster happening. I know very well he’s never going to clean the bathroom, and he’s got Buckley’s of me getting out in the backyard picking up dog poop or mowing the lawn. This way we both get on with the domestic duties around the house we are happy with.

7. When I come home drunk and belligerent and don’t make it to my bedroom before deciding pants and responsibilities are no longer fun, he is not shocked by my drunken behaviour. Or my naked body. He also knows it’s best to take my phone off me before I drunk dial anybody who’s unlucky enough to be in my contact list.

8. Laziness. We are both inherently lazy humans and looking for a new place or flatmate is a huge effort that neither of us feels particularly motivated to do right now. Between our social and working life, who has time to be checking out new places to live anyway?

Although we joke about the fact that we will probably still be living together when both of us are married to other people, and bring up children separately in our rooms, I realise at one stage our living arrangements will have to change. I just hope it’s a fair way down the track because as perplexing as our living arrangements are to everybody else, it works for us.

And that’s all that matters.