Dear Prudence

Help! My Ex-Girlfriend Refuses to Move Out of My Apartment.

In We’re Prudence, Prudence asks readers for their thoughts on a question that has her stumped. The answer is available only for Slate Plus members.

Man and woman back to back with a door open behind them.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by nfedorova/iStock/Getty Images Plus. 

Every Thursday on Twitter @jdesmondharris, Dear Prudence asks readers for their thoughts on a question that has her stumped. She’ll post her final thoughts on the matter on Fridays. Here’s this week’s dilemma and answer:

Dear Prudence,

I own a condo. During COVID, my girlfriend “Anna” moved in. It wasn’t a good fit. Our personalities clashed too much and we both pretty much agreed to break up. I thought we could still be friends and offered to let Anna stay on a month-to-month lease until she saved enough to move out.

Then the housing market went nuts and Anna lost her job (she has gotten another one). It has been over a year. Anna shows no signs of wanting to get going and has even gone on two vacations with her family.

Any time I bring up the subject Anna shuts it down and tells me her finances are “none of my business.” I am tired of this. This is my home, not hers. I can’t bring anyone over or even explain that my ex has taken over my third bedroom but there is nothing sexual going on.

I am ready to tell Anna she was until the first of September to make her plans because the lease will not be renewed. This is all legal. But I don’t want to spend the next month with a woman on the warpath. Any thoughts?


Dear Trapped,

I agree with those who suggested that you seem to be too involved with her emotionally—still tiptoeing around her, taking stock of her circumstances, and hoping she’ll do the right thing. Which makes sense because you did at one time have feelings for her and hope you could remain friends! But that’s over. Really wrapping your mind around that fact might help you to approach this situation.

Without the dating piece, this is just a woman renting a room and living her life. Her finances are not her landlord’s business if she’s following the agreement. If the landlord wants her out, then it’s time to update the agreement. Be clear about what you want to happen. —@ninny_muggins

You say Anna is not “showing signs of wanting to get going.” She doesn’t need to show signs! You say you brought up the subject of her moving out. But this isn’t something you need to work into casual conversation, hoping the other person picks up what you’re putting down. You can tell her directly, in one sentence, in writing.

What you need to say is not “Soooo, seems like you should have some money saved by now? Right? Any thoughts on next steps?” It’s “You need to move out by September 1.” You had the right idea in your letter.

There’s a ton of room between “ex lives here indefinitely” and serving an eviction notice, and it sounds like the focus of requests for conversation about this has been in terms of “What are you doing with your money,” instead of maybe “I want my house back, what’s the plan.” —@DamianneTweets

This stood out to me too. The response of “none of your business” would be bizarre if the conversation was centered around when someone is moving out of *your* house. LW needs to stick to the point and skip the judgments (or save them for a gripefest with friends). —@UCDJen

“Her finances are NOT your business. Her time in your condo is.” —@CeeceS

 A clear, direct conversation in which you treat her as a tenant, not an ex, might do the trick. And hopefully, it won’t require the formal eviction notice that many readers suggested (although that’s certainly an option!). Doing what you suggested and letting her know the lease won’t be renewed is a reasonable first step.

Will she be on a warpath anyway? Possibly. You know her better than I do. Protect yourself.

As to the woman on a warpath: Get a lock for your bedroom, keep all (monetary and sentimental) valuables in there, take pictures of everything in the condo and document its present condition before serving Anna with a notice to quit, just in case.” —@illuminallie_

if the LW can move at least their self and their most important and vulnerable stuffs somewhere else before the last 30 days, then they can give Anna adequate notice without risking her stealing or damaging their most important items (or injuring them!). —@SMHsoftware

To be honest, I think the hardest part about this is not going to be making sure your flatscreen doesn’t go missing. It’s going to be suppressing your lingering feelings for Anna enough to put your needs before hers.

Classic Prudie

I suffer from a food restriction disorder—my sense of “disgust” (colloquial term) is heightened and I’m highly sensitive to food textures and smells. I’ve always been a little picky but was diagnosed with the disorder a few years ago, in tandem with severe anxiety. I manage it fairly well now. However, I just moved in with my partner, who has a much more adventurous palate. My food issues are causing problems…