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Americans shacking up with exes during ongoing housing crisis

Americans are choosing to remain in a living situation with their exes amidst the ongoing housing crisis, a move that experts say may prove emotionally taxing despite the potential financial benefits.

“High housing costs are causing more couples to cohabitate despite the fact the romantic flames of their marriage have been extinguished,” real estate broker Chuck Vander Stelt told Fox News Digital.

“I have had conversations with several divorcing couples who have been weighing options and looking to time the market. In the meantime, they are continuing to live together.”

Stelt believes the trend of cohabitation after divorce or breakups is growing as he has experienced an influx of those in their 30s and 40s, often with children, weighing the options of selling versus cohabitating. In the past, Stelt said homeowners who separated were adamant that the property should be sold as soon as possible.

“Many homeowners are sitting on a mortgage with a rock bottom interest rate and a comfortable house payment. It’s hard to let that go and face the alternative of meaningfully higher housing costs,” he added.

The inclination to remain shacked up with former lovers has been reported in the media over the last several years, especially amid the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relationship advice websites and message boards, such as Reddit, are filled with pagers where renters and homeowners have asked whether they should remain in their current living situation.

Americans have even documented their experiences living with exes on TikTok, offering advice to those facing a similar conundrum.

TikToker @-diaryofamomma posted a variety of videos in late 2023 where she showed what life is like when you live with an ex and you share two children. The son and daughter typically stay with the mother in one room while the dad sleeps on the couch.

The mom, “Cassie,” said they still live together because the landlord would not allow them to break the lease without paying for the rest of the term in full. They both share responsibility for the kids and clean the house.

“Honestly, me and their dad like think of a bad roommate. Somebody you don’t like but you have to live with because you have a lease together. Like, that’s what we are,” Cassie said. “I try not to bother him. He doesn’t bother me.”

Dating coach Deon Black said the reasons people choose to live with their exes often boil down to the three F’s: finances, familiarity, and fear.

“The cost of moving out can be prohibitive, especially considering current real estate prices. And let’s not forget the contractual obligations that sometimes bind people together like super glue rental contracts signed in happier times that now seem as unbreakable as a bad habit,” he said.

Black said while not an earth-shattering trend, exes living together is indeed a growing phenomenon created out of necessity, more so than choice.

“Millennials are leading this charge, followed closely by Gen Z. Younger generations are most affected by this trend due to economic pressures,” he said.

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Amid rising interest rates and housing shortages, Black said Americans are trying to save money and maintain stability, especially if kids are involved. But the possible downside is substantial, with the dating coach citing the potential for emotional stress, conflict and the difficulty of moving on.

After living with her ex, TikToker Alana Hogan offered tips to those embroiled in the same living situation.

“Everyone is going to heal in different ways and everyone has different coping strategies. Your way is going to be entirely different to his or her way,” she said.

She urged her followers not to view their former partner’s actions as a reflection of themselves and to set healthy boundaries of where each person will be in the apartment or house.

“Be really clear and open with your communication. Let them know what you feel comfortable with, what you don’t feel comfortable with. What you feel open about talking about and what you don’t,” she added.

Viral relationship coach Jake Maddock previously addressed the idea of living with an ex, stressing that deciding to stay under the same roof means you are still technically in a relationship.

“You can’t emotionally separate and not physically separate. You have to separate physically as well,” he said.

Sexologist Suzannah Weiss concurred with the idea that it is usually easier for people to have a “clean break” and keep exes out of their lives following a breakup.

Weiss noted that some people might agree to live with their exes temporarily because they are busy with work, allowing this period to drag on without a determined expiration date. Others live in rent-controlled apartments and cannot find something affordable when they cut things off, leading to decisions “born out of convenience.”

“However, sometimes, people keep living with their exes because they are afraid to fully let go. They may tell themselves it’s for convenience or for financial reasons, but the truth is that they are terrified to be completely without this person,” she told Fox News Digital.  

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