Breaking the news
Now that you know it's over, you need to tell your roomie.

"This is tricky because, much like a romantic breakup, someone is always going to get burned," Zalneraitis says. "That said, delicacy is of the utmost importance. There's no point in fighting, accusing or blaming once you've decided to move on."

Here are six tips for handling it as smoothly as possible.

1. Have a plan: Prepare so you have a plan to present to your roommate: who will leave and when, who will handle finding someone to take over the lease (if applicable), how you'll handle shared belongings, etc. He may not agree with everything you suggest, but you've made it a little easier on him by thinking it out beforehand.

A note about your lease: Hopefully, your name is the only one on the lease. If you and your roommate or roommates are listed as tenants in a rental and one of you moves out, that's considered a lease violation. Your landlord could decide to evict both or all of you, says Janet Portman, author of "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." That's why Portman says roommates should write and sign a "prenup" to clarify expectations upfront (more on this later).

2. Give notice: Speyer says to set up a time and place to sit down and talk with your roommate. Let him know it has to do with your living arrangement, and give him plenty of notice so he can make it. If you have multiple roommates, be sure everyone can attend the meeting.

"You want to give them time to kind of think about it," she says. "People are very reactionary if you tell them out of the blue."

3. Break up in person, if possible: The most respectful way to end any relationship is to tell a person face to face, Kulic says.

"If you fear an angry reaction, you might have another person present," says clinical counselor Susan Fee, author of "My Roommate Is Driving Me Crazy!

Start by saying something positive and sincere to set the tone, Speyer says.

"No one wants to get dumped flat-out," she says. "That's when your adrenaline kicks in and battles start to happen. If you go in kindly and adultlike, you'll hopefully get that back."

Do you have to do it in person?

"If you really know that your roommate is going to go ballistic, I think writing a letter is absolutely acceptable," Speyer says. "You have to be the one in control of the conversation and that may be absolutely impossible (in person)."

4. Keep it short: "This is not the time to have the marathon conversation about who did what," Speyer says.

Be direct and honest about what you want moving forward, rather than dwelling on what led to your decision.

5. Don't tell (big) lies: Be as honest as you can, particularly if this is a person with whom you'll interact later.

"We really can get lessons when we tell someone our truths," Speyer says. "It may be great to have that person know."

Sometimes, however, white lies can prevent an ugly aftermath.

For example, Podlasiak suggests telling a roommate, "I need to move closer to work," rather than, "I need to move away from you and your smelly feet."

6. Let your roommate react: Once you've said what you need to say, your roommate may be angry or even start crying. You need to allow those feelings to be heard, Speyer says.

"You don't want to react to those feelings," she says. "Don't start crying, too. Allow them to cry."

Don't let sympathy take over and cause you to backpedal or make promises you don't want to keep.

"You want to get out of there having spent the least amount of money and the least amount of time, and feeling good about getting on with your life," Kulic says.

Tying up loose ends
Dealing with the emotional aspect of a roommate breakup may seem daunting, but it's also important to remember the practical side of things. Decide, with your roommate or roommates, how you will deal with these issues:

Bills: If you're each paying a share of the monthly utility bills, be sure to talk about how you'll settle the final bills when one of you moves out.

Deposit: You likely paid a deposit when you moved into your apartment. Sometimes, one tenant will pay the entire deposit, especially if she is the only one on the lease. If that's you, and you're staying, there's nothing to discuss. But if you split the deposit when you moved in, you must determine whether your parting roommate will receive her half once that money is returned. Perhaps she'll let you keep the entire deposit if you are responsible for all cleaning and maintenance when you move out, for example.

Joint property: Did you buy a TV together? A couch? Talk about who gets what and how to divide things fairly. If the departing roommate doesn't need that TV, you could offer to pay his share of utilities, in addition to your own, if he's willing to leave it with the apartment.

Replacement roommate: How you handle this depends on who is on the lease, who is leaving and why, and whether you need an additional tenant to handle the rent. If you're the only tenant on the lease and are kicking out your roommate, you should handle finding someone to replace her. If the departing tenant initiated the roommate breakup, she should take primary responsibility for finding a replacement tenant. And if you've decided you can handle the rent on your own once your roommate leaves, it's not even an issue.

"One piece of advice that I can't emphasize enough is this: Don't sign a lease for anything that you can't afford on your own," Podlasiak says.

Of course, the reason most people end up with roommates is that they can't afford to live where they want on their own. Portman says she has seen an increase in roommate-related issues since the economy went south.

"People are living together because of the economy," she says. "There are more shared-housing situations."