Breaking Up – It Hurts The Heart…And The Wallet

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that about a month and a half ago I went through a breakup. I don’t write about my personal life very much on my blog, so I’ve kept it sort of quiet here but to say that I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks is an understatement; the relationship was very nearly five years long. We teach at the same school. I thought that I would marry him. In short, I am devastated.

In typical personal finance blogger fashion, I’ve been thinking a lot about how disastrous breakups can impact our finances and came up with quite a list. Some of the items on the list below apply to me in this particular breakup, some of them don’t, which I discuss a little bit. But the bottom line is, a breakup can definitely hurt your heart and your wallet.

So how costly is it to get a romantic disaster cleaned up? This is what I’ve thought of, but I’m sure there’s more. Feel free to add to my list in the comments!

  1. Costs associated with moving out of a shared house or apartment…which could run in the thousands. Luckily, this is one that doesn’t apply to me because I didn’t live with my boyfriend (nor have I ever lived with a boyfriend, actually). But if a relationship ends and you have to move out of a shared living space, this could end up being very emotionally and financially costly. Moving expenses, security deposits, taking on a rent payment on your own…it could add up to quite a hefty bill.
  2. Costs associated with seeing a therapist. This is a cost that I have born since my breakup; the circumstances surrounding the demise of my relationship have made it very clear that I have some serious issues when it comes to being part of a romantic partnership. In short, I suck at it, and I want some professional help so that I can understand why I suck at it and do better in the future. Luckily, I was able to find a crackerjack therapist who accepts my insurance, so I’m only paying $10 per visit. But her hourly rate is actually $450, so if I didn’t have such great insurance, this could be pretty pricey. I consider myself very, very lucky to be able to pay such a reduced rate.
  3. Costs associated with missing work. Sometimes, you need to take a mental health day. After a serious breakup, you might need to take more than one. I’m proud to say that I only took one breakup-related day off and I have plenty of sick days saved up, but if I was an hourly or freelance worker, this could have still amounted to quite a bit of money.
  4. Costs associated with more socializing outside the home. When you’re in a relationship, a lot of your socializing is done at home. You make a meal or order a pizza, watch a movie, share a bottle of wine, or just generally go about your evening together. None of these activities are very costly. That all changes when the relationship ends. If you’re sick of being alone (which you are, especially post-breakup) you probably have to go out to socialize with friends. I’m really lucky to have great friends and family to fall back on in these difficult emotional times, but I’ve also been eating and drinking out a lot more than I did when I was half of a couple. I’m not spending into the poorhouse or anything, but my monthly discretionary spending has been quite a bit higher recently.
  5. Costs associated with boosting your self-esteem a little bit, at least temporarily. The truth is, buying a cute new outfit or getting a nice haircut can really lift your spirits, and after a breakup, that’s exactly what you need. I’ve definitely been indulging myself a lot more in these small pleasures since my breakup. Again, I’m not out of control, but I’m definitely not being as strict with my personal spending as I usually am. I’m ok with it for now, but I’ll need to start reigning it in soon.

 

I could probably go on, but I’m sure you guys have a lot of great additions to this list. Don’t be shy – tell me what your breakups have cost you! And happy Friday :)

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Comments

Breaking Up – It Hurts The Heart…And The Wallet — 23 Comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your break-up. I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I enjoy your writing and your quick wit when it comes to PF. I just wanted to let you know.

    I can totally attest to the increased discretionary spending as a result of being single. It happens, you’ll enjoy it at the time, you’ll make some memories, but you just have to be responsible.

    Breaking up sucks – but it does lead to better things.

  2. I’m so sorry for your break up. I am about to make you feel so much better.

    My personal break up cost way more than money. I was married with two small children and my divorce cost me precious time with my two little girls. I needed to move out of our family home and find a place of my own, get a full time job which paid 50% less than my husband’s salary and lose seeing my girls 50% of the time.

    I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I have a feeling with this door shut, there will be a much brighter window open down the road for you. There was for me. Hang in there! {{hugs}}

    P.S. So sorry you actually work with him. That’s got to be tough.

  3. It is tough what you’re going through even more so that you work in the same location. Did I read correctly that your therapist typically charges $450/hr! I should have stuck with Psychology as a specialization back in University…

    I had went through a divorce a few years ago and it was expensive and it contributed to a lot of financial and emotional stress.

    It’s good to know that you have friends and family to support you through this process.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your break-up. I’m impressed you’ve been able to keep up with your blog!
    I hope you’re cutting yourself some slack these days and taking good care of yourself. It sounds at though your are.

    I cannot believe therapists cost so much. How does anyone afford them if they are not covered under insurance?!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been going through this tough time! Getting through a breakup is a time-consuming and painful process and you’re absolutely right about all the ways it can cost you money as well. I think it’s pretty incredible that you’re taking the steps to get through it and make sure you’re solving your problems for the future by seeing a therapist, as well as understanding that it’s better to go out and socialize than stay at home. It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders also about keeping your finances reigned in, even while giving yourself small indulgences that you so need right now. I’m sure you’ll get through this and can’t wait to hear about the exciting things in store for you in the future when the time is right :).

  6. My breakup was in late September, right after I’d moved six hours away and we’d made a commitment and plan to make it work. I was doing pretty well – a few purchases, but I have severe buyer’s remorse and returned probably 90% of what I ended up with. But it’s been a few months, and I’m still dealing with the collateral damage. Every time I have the slightest ~feeling about him, I want to comfort myself with a massage or leather bag. Or Tiffany jewelry. It sucks.

  7. Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear about your relationship ending, but I’m really glad to hear that you found a therapist to help you work through it. All my breakups were before I was financially independent so I can’t say they had any financial impact, really. I’m not one to shop my feelings and I wasn’t spending much on entertainment at the time anyway. I have sought counseling on two occasions concerning relationships, but thankfully my universities and church offered free counseling on a short-term basis so I didn’t even have to get my insurance involved.

  8. Aww sorry about the break up! Sometimes when my anxiety is through the roof for just about anything, I just want to spend a lot of money on anything to feel better. It feels super crazy..

  9. Sorry to hear about the breakup. It can definitely be a costly and heart breaking process. I’m happy to hear you are working through it in a responsible way with help instead of getting drug down by it all. <3 to you!

  10. I LOVE this post! It’s not something I’ve ever read before, but it’s so true! I remember with my last serious relationship before David, I did A LOT more socializing after the breakup. I actually went out with one of my guy buds from high school every other night! We’d eat out a lot, plus the alcohol drinking back at the apartment. I started dating fairly quickly after (the relationship had been doomed for a while, so I was already out of it a little by the time I ended things), but that didn’t cost much (though I did donate plasma to afford the movie tickets to go out with David, ha).

    I am sorry about your breakup. :( I couldn’t imagine ending a 5 year relationship. Actually, I’ve never been in a 5 year relationship! Even David and I have only just celebrated our 4 year relationship. It must be especially difficult to work at the same school. Bravo for seeing a therapist to work on your issues! That’s plucky of you, especially when the wounds are fresh. I admire you for putting your mental health first and seeking a professional to help you. It’s so funny. We’d never try to operate on ourselves. We seek the advice of a neurosurgeon or a chiropractor or a dentist. But when it comes to mental health, people think they can handle it alone.

  11. I am so sorry hun! My relationship ended in November and I have incurred many of the same “costs” as our relationship was nearly 4 years long. Breaking up is hard emotionally and financially. I think sometimes that it is worth spending the money to help you get through the break up. Luckily we didn’t live together either (I have also never lived with a boyfriend).

  12. Hugs friend. I’m sorry to hear your break up. Going through a long term relationship break up earlier this year, I completely understand. Break ups cost money, time and your feelings. I too also started therapy after my break up when I hit a wall and took time off of work because I couldn’t stop crying. In short, I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown and probably did. It was rough and I still have good days and bad days. I’m a lot better than I am now after starting a new relationship with a guy I’ve known for 11 years and taking steps to move on with my life. I just want you to know your not alone and it is hard. If you need anything, I’m always here.

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