Any time a relationship ends, you have to go through the difficult process of disentangling yourselves from each other's lives. If you've moved in with your partner and started a life with them, that process include figuring out how to divide your shared stuff.
What do you do with your furniture? Who gets to keep the TV? Who will take care of the dog? These are the difficult struggles a split duo will have to mutually agree upon after breaking up.
How difficult the process will be depends on how agreeable you and your former partner can be. It doesn't have to be a huge mess, though, especially if you follow these tips.
Make a list of all your shared belongings.
The first thing you'll need to do is take inventory of your shared belongings. After dividing up the things each side can confidently identify as theirs, you can tackle the items you both have possession over.
What did you both bring into the relationship? What were joint purchases or items you both used frequently? As you come to a conclusion about each item, you can cross it off the list.
Agree to give items you both love to who used them the most.
If you have some shared possessions in your home life, like silverware or a television set, divide it up by who used it most. Were you the primary cook in the house? You should be the one walking away with the pots and pans.
Did you both cook the same amount? Try to split items as evenly as possible -- if you get the cast-iron plate, i'll take the big sauce pot, and so on.
If your shared television set was mostly your partner's evening relaxation device, let them have it post-breakup. Take it as an excuse to buy something new and invest in the latest TV technology for yourself.
If someone was in charge of the majority of the care for any shared animals, the one who's doing most of the labor should get to keep the pet.
If you can't come to an agreement on a particular item, try a coin flip.
Sell or give away items you can't agree on.
If you and your former partner are absolutely stumped about who should get the nice duvet, the expensive desktop computer or the collection of furniture you've acquired, consider selling these items or handing them off to friends.
This gets the item off your list without headache or jealousy. Try to reserve this for items you really can't decide on, as chances are you'll both have to replace it eventually.
Separate yourself from online accounts.
In the modern world, breakups have an online factor as well. After changing your relationship status on Facebook, talk to your partner about which online accounts you've shared in the past and how you'll proceed with them.
Did your partner have a Netflix account you piggybacked off of? Talk about whether you'll still have access to it (um, you probably should make your own account, though), and talk about changing passwords if necessary.
An unmarried couple should generally avoid putting each other's names on bank statements and financial records, but if you have, be sure to initiate the process of separating accounts with your bank or financial institution.
Run through your accounts and change passwords for anything you had shared access to you'll be keeping separate post-breakup. Although everyone hopes their ex will be mature, you never know if someone will turn vindictive and take advantage of what access to you they still have.
Sort through the sentimental things.
Is there something from your relationship that both of you are sentimental about? These will be the hardest items to divide.
Photos should be copied and scanned so both parties have digital copies, items of clothing should be left with the person the clothing originally belonged to and jewelry should stay with whoever was meant to wear it.
A breakup can be an immensely difficult time for anybody, especially if you've been a couple long enough to build a life together. By being mature and considerate while divvying up your shared things, you can avoid pettiness, jealousy and revenge arguments, so you can hopefully separate on decent terms.
Breakups are hard enough as it is. There's no need to make the process more excruciating if you can avoid it.