Somewhere In-Between

It’s been a weird kind of week. A limbo kind of week, so to speak. It’s one of those weeks where nothing is going on, and yet, everything is changing.

My relationship status is still unknown. We’ve been texting and talking, but haven’t actually been seeing each other. We both agree that we need to have an actual conversation and sort everything out. Emotionally, it’s been a strain. The cold weather and shorter days aren’t exactly helping. That being said, I’m trying not to be all “Woe is me.” If we both want the same thing, we’ll find a way to make it work. If not, then it’s probably time to move on.

I’m starting to realize that there are financial implications of a breakup. True, we weren’t married. We didn’t live together, nor did we have any combined finances. But anytime there are lifestyle changes, it’s going to have a financial impact. And a week in, I’m already starting to notice how breaking up is changing my money situation.

1) I’ll be spending more on food. I typically had dinner with the boyfriend Monday-Friday nights, and he usually cooked in such large quantities that I had enough for lunch at work the next day. Saturday mornings he’d make breakfast. Most weeks that meant I only had to cover breakfasts, 1 or 2 lunches, and food for some of the weekend. Of course, we usually had enough leftovers that I’d eat some of those over the weekend, and then have dinner with my parents on Sunday nights. I did try to pitch in throughout the week, sometimes stopping and picking something up on my way to make for dinner, or with whatever main dish we were having. But I wasn’t really spending much money on food. I realized how big of a deal it was this weekend, when I went to the grocery and totally blew my budget for the week.

2) I may/may not be spending more on gas each week. The boyfriend’s place is less than 10 minutes away from where I work. My house is a good 20 minutes in the opposite direction. And rush hour traffic from my house to the office can be brutal. So, assuming I was just going straight from one place to the other, I’d be spending a lot more money on gas (and a lot more time in the car) if I’m driving to and from work from my house. But then, some days I’d drive home after work anyways, to get something, or do something, and then drive back to his place. Which basically added on an extra trip to my day. So, the gas situation may or may not be a wash.

3) In the long run, I’ll be paying more on utilities. Since my dog and I were out of the house most of the week, I was spending less on gas, electricity, and water. Of course, I have all of my utilities setup on budget plans, which spread the costs out over the year, so I pay the same amount every month. The budget amount adjusts annually for actual spending, so I’m still only paying for what I use. So, it’s possible that my utility payments will go down in the future, to reflect my using less over the past year or so. If I can continue to make energy-efficient improvements to the house (continue replacing windows and doors, etc), I may be able to avoid a bump up in costs.

4) If I end up single again, I’ll probably end up spending more money on going out, clothes, etc. If I want to meet people, it’s important that I get out there and do stuff. And doing stuff usually costs money. Sure, there are lots of free or inexpensive things to do out there, and I’m not about to go all crazy with spending. But still, there will be increases in this area.

5) I’ll be spending more money on the house. Several months ago, I had hopes that things might progress to the stage where I could sell my house. Obviously, even if we choose to continue seeing each other, moving in together is not happening anytime soon. I’ll be keeping my house until I’m in a relationship where we’re ready to make a bigger commitment to each other. That could be many months, or even many years from now. I already knew that I needed to make some more improvements to the house. But, now that I’m back to spending more time there, what I want and need to do is changing. Some things can be put off a little longer if it’s just me in the house. Whereas there are other things that I’d like to do now.

I’m sure this post may come across as a little cold to some, breaking down the financial implications of going through a breakup. For me though, concentrating a little more on the rational aspects helps me deal with things better. I’ve been through a range of emotions the last few weeks, and I’m finally coming to a calmer place. We either want the same things in life, or we don’t. There’s no point in continuing to struggle against each other if we’re both heading in different directions. But we need to actually discuss it, and figure out what we really want. Right now it’s just a lot of assumptions and hard feelings.

Have you been through a big breakup? What were some of the unexpected financial implications of breaking up?

– Cindy W.

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