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Could You Live With An Ex During Lockdown? How COVID-19 Is Changing Our Home Situation

The global pandemic has changed how we live but also who we live with.

Working from home, remote learning from home, isolating at home -- everything seems to be happening in the one spot, at… you got it, home.

The global pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live, but it's also changing who we are living with, too -- including exes.

New research shows that millions of Aussies are breaking up but continuing to live together due to a variety of reasons. In fact, more than one in 10 (13 percent) have, or currently are living with an ex to save money on housing costs -- that’s equivalent to 2.5 million Australians, according to Finder.

While some are staying together to save money or because they are struggling financially during this pandemic, others in the early stages of a new relationship are deciding to fast-track moving in together because of COVID-19.

This is the case for Lauren and her partner of five months, Josh.

Lauren and Josh have sped up the process of moving in together. Image: Supplied

The couple are currently actively looking for a suitable rental property for the two of them to move into, along with Lauren’s two children, Ethan and Mila, on the NSW Central Coast.

“We have been looking to move in together since COVID-19 for a few reasons. The main one being that between us, we spend over $1,000 a week on rent alone, which is quite expensive," Lauren told 10 daily.

"We are always together in one house anyway, so living in two separate places just isn’t very practical. Financially it would really help, as there is quite a lot of pressure on that side of things at the moment with my business being closed."

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Although challenging in some respects, the coronavirus has also brought a positive change to Lauren’s relationship with Josh, which is another one of the reasons they have made the step to move in together.

“The pandemic completely changed our lives. Josh and I have become a lot closer and the kids have built a really strong bond with him too in such a short time," she said.

Being thrown in the deep end of instant family life isn’t easy but he has really surprised me with how well he has handled it all. If we can get through a pandemic, I think we can get through anything.

While Lauren and Josh are looking to move in together, 38-year-old Leanne Lusher has packed her bags, and swapped her inner-city Sydney apartment for her family home in Port Stephens to live with her parents for the first time since she was 18.

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“Before COVID-19 I lived in Surry Hills right in the thick of it all. Life was easy, I had so much at my fingertips from shopping to restaurants, bars, gyms, theatres, beaches and everything in between and I utilised it all!" she told 10 daily.

"I was very used to having a fast-paced life, and was super independent."

Leanne hadn't lived with her family in over 20 years. Image: Supplied

But since the restrictions began to take over the normalcy of life, Leanne's situation changed dramatically, particularly in relation to her mental health.

“While financially I knew I was going to be OK, socially and mentally I knew I would be challenged."

Leanne, who has battled anxiety for the last five years and was diagnosed with chronic anxiety two years ago, found living alone in isolation extremely difficult.

“I went from hanging with my friends whether that be for dinner, at the gym, at work to being alone in a 44sqm studio with zero physical human interaction and nothing to look at but four walls," she explained.

To me this was my biggest nightmare come true, I was well and truly alone.

Although Leanne says she had the support of a wonderful therapist and friends and family who would check in on her virtually, it still wasn’t enough to keep the anxiety at bay. That's when she made the decision to relocate temporarily to her parents’ house.

“I self-isolated strictly for 14 days prior to leaving Sydney, and when my dad came to collect me from Surry Hills he didn’t even get out the car, I just threw my suitcase in the back and off we went.”

Since being at home, Leanne has managed to keep her anxiety in check and is reaping the benefits of living under the same roof as her parents.

“My parents love having me home and look after me -- they cook dinner and iron my clothes, I haven’t had my clothes ironed for years," Leanne said.

"I take an hour walk every day with my mum around the water -- there is no one around and it is magical."

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But most importantly, for Leanne, moving back home has meant that she can keep on top of her mental health during what could be a very dangerous time for it.

“Mental health is not a game and I am not playing with my anxiety during such a crazy, stressful time," she said.

"Once things have calmed down, I can’t wait to get back into my city life, I do miss it, despite being so well looked after at home."

Featured image: Getty