This paper explores the housing pathways of young adults following the breakdown of a first intimate relationship based on co-residence. In particular it explores the frequent recourse to shared housing and returns to the parental home, and how these options may be seen as steps backward, yet also offer opportunities for support. Findings are discussed in the context of the de-standardisation of transitions to adulthood characterized by uncertainties related to early years of employment and the shortage of affordable housing. Although often not as consequential as mid-life relationship breakdowns for future housing prospects, intimate relationship breakdowns linked to initial co-residence are nonetheless critical life events for young adults, leading to a reevaluation of their existing relationships and of their plans in relation to housing and family formation. Our findings also indicate that the backwards and forwards movements associated with intermediary housing arrangements and in-between phases are deserving of greater attention.