when do you know… should I stay or should I go?

How do you know when it is time to move out of an unhealthy living situation? It’s a hard move to make, especially when you are friends with your roommate. But sometimes friends don’t equal roommates. People can be incompatible living under the same roof, but still be friends. As my friend (and past roommate) said to me recently, “there are the friends you can hang out with, the friends you can live with and the friends you can travel with”, and they don’t always fit in more than one category. That is just how it goes.

So that doesn’t answer the question right, when do you know that it is time to move out when it just isn’t working? When your emotional, mental and physical well-being are being effected negatively, get the hell out of there. I am under the firm belief that if something isn’t working in your life, change it. Sure you can try to ‘let things go’ and attempt to solve each little problem that arises. But there comes a time when you wake up for the 20th day in a row with allergy headaches, sleep deprivation and an overall feeling of being uncomfortable in your own home, and you know that the best plan is to leave.

If you can feel things getting worse by the day. The tension between you and your roommate extends beyond just your living situation. You try to address issues in the living situation, and it becomes a bigger deal then it needed to be, or things were agreed upon but nothing changes. You know that to save the friendship, you need to leave before the living situation wears on your mental and emotional health, and you end up having unnecessary fights with your roommate/friend, that could have been avoided.

Is it a little selfish? Sure. But when it comes to your own well-being, there is nothing wrong with putting your needs first. It is not your responsibility to figure out someone else’s life. If you don’t put your needs first, the negative impact on your life will just continue to wear you down. Should you take into account your roommate/friend and how it will affect them? Of course. Is there rent to be paid, due to a lease that’s been signed? Find a person to take over your share, or give your roommate fair warning and time to find their own roommate if they prefer. If rent isn’t the issue, but other bills are, guess what? One less person, means less utilities used, so does two less people (in the case of being a couple and all). Sure it may not cut it down completely in half, but then again, it will definitely be significantly cheaper. If the necessary bills, aka utilities/rent, are not an issue, any other financial issues, are not your problem. Sure you may feel really guilty, as this is your friend, but as adults, your own finances should never depend on anyone else. Live by your means, as my partner says.

If you are planning to leave, you know that you have to go for everyone’s best interest, have a plan. Having the conversation that you want out of your lease, your agreement, your apartment, your roommate situation, is going to be hard, and it may create some tension, especially if there are emotional people involved; take it from an emotional person. I think the best thing is to have a plan, a place to go, somewhere to live so that when you do decide to leave, and have that conversation, if it creates an awkward situation, you don’t have to be there anymore. You don’t have to live with someone you just told that you don’t want to live with. Sure, they will be hurt that you planned an escape route out first, but let’s be honest, it’ll hurt either way. Telling a friend you no longer want to live with them is tough.

Now think about all this, and add on living in a new country, and dealing with the experience of being in a new country, new work environment, new everything. A lot of people feel stressed in these situations, but lucky for me I moved to a new country with a person who helps me focus on the positives in life always, gives me reasons not to stress. All the stress people allow themselves to feel due to being somewhere new, melts away when you have a partner in your life who reminds you to keep focused on the good, and fix the things that aren’t so good. This ‘transition’ thing everyone talks about, hasn’t affected me much here, in the sense that nothing has gone wrong that couldn’t be fixed; got headaches, so I upped my water intake and now I am good, etc. But that one thing in our life that was causing us distress was our living situation. I thought that I could deal with cat allergies head on, I thought that it was something that would get easier and eventually go away. And maybe it would have, but all I know is that it was making me miserable. Spending one day out of the weekend, every weekend constantly sneezing and blowing my nose was awful. Waking up pretty much every morning sneezing with allergies affecting me to some degree, sucked.

That was my main issue with my living situation; the rest of it, sure could have been brushed off and let go, but after awhile of constantly letting things go, it just becomes bottled up and ready for an explosion. If you find yourself having to constantly brush things off and let things go, then maybe something isn’t working. Sometimes it’s no ones fault. Both sides can try their hardest but it just isn’t working. And there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘this isn’t working, I need out’. It’s okay to want to be happy all the time, and do things in your life to ensure that you are happy all the time. Isn’t that the purpose of life? To find what makes you happy. Happiness starts with recognizing what’s not making you happy, and fixing it.

So should you stay or should you go? The answer is, in the end, you need to pick the option that is best for you. Ultimately, we are all selfish when it comes to the mental, emotional, and physical health of ourselves and our families. And we should be. We should feel at home and comfortable in our own home, end of story.

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