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 like moving companies, security deposits, taking on a rent payment on your own…it could add up to quite a hefty bill. I even have to pay more money for a cheap home security system now.
  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 :)