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How to Break Away from a Toxic Living Situation

Chances are you’ll be sharing a living space at least once in college. The odds of running into a problem with your roommate only increase in time. From constant fights to habitual cleaning issues, these problems can take a serious toll on your happiness. Here are a few ways you can break away from a toxic living situation.

Recognize the signs.

The signs will be different for everyone. It may be that you notice an increase in arguments over small matters like keeping the lights on past a certain time, or major issues like paying rent. You might find that you feel dread when you have to go home, or you start to feel like you’re spending more time away from home on purpose. If your living situation is draining your happiness, it’s time to go.

Assess your options.

If you’re living in a dorm or a university-owned property, reach out to your RA or housing contact. They will most likely want you to have a sit-down meeting with your roommate. If you cannot see a workaround with your situation, make it clear that you feel it would be better if there was a certain distance between yourself and your roommate. If you feel like you’re not getting the help you need, reach out to your advisor for further guidance if your situation is beginning to affect your grades.

The tricky part comes in when you’re dealing with a landlord and a lease. To not break your lease, your best bet is to find someone who is willing to take over the rest of the lease as a relettee. Be sure to get in contact with your landlord as soon as possible to explain the situation and to find out how they would like to go about reletting. You can find a reletter through Facebook groups for apartment searchers or through more conventional approaches like Trulia.

Rebuild or burn bridges.

Sometimes, a bridge is best left burnt. If you are breaking away from a toxic living situation with a friend, it may be in your best interest to let your mutual friends know the situation. Sit down and have an honest conversation. Let them know whether or not you’re keeping in contact with your former roommate.

Other times, you may choose to leave a living situation in order to save a friendship. You and your roommate have different lifestyles, but you work together well as friends. Your friendship might seem a bit strange at first once you leave, but this doesn’t mean you can’t rebuild it.

Learn a lesson.

Take what you learned from this dilemma and apply it to your next living situation. Make sure your future roommates know your boundaries from the start. If you start seeing red flags, see if compromises can work first.

Don’t ever feel like you’re stuck in a toxic situation. Talk to others and find guidance. Keep your happiness at the forefront!

Emmy is a senior at Drexel University where she studies English and communication. She's previously written for FreshU, CollegeXpress, and Spoon University. You can find her exploring this great big world of ours, from California to Paris.
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