This Algorithm Is the Best Way to Fairly Divide Your Things After a Breakup

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After a breakup, what’s the best way to divvy up all the shit you collected while you were a couple? It’s easy enough to split up possessions that originally belonged to just one of you, like books and movies. (Unless one of you has been getting your movie fill by mooching off the other’s Amazon Prime account, in which case the moocher is shit out of luck.)

But an article in a recent issue of Nautilus explores the question of how couples can fairly split possessions they can’t cleanly cut down the middle, like a shared apartment. When two people need to split up a single item — like, say, a cake — one very common method is what’s referred to as “I cut, you choose.” In other words, if you and I were to split a cake, I would cut the cake and you would choose the resulting piece you want. But it turns out ensuring fairness via the “I cut, you choose” method is pretty hard in the case of everything that is not a cake. Which is why the couple profiled in the article turned to a mathematic algorithm called Fair Buy-Sell to help them decide who would get the apartment, should things between them head south.

Here’s how Fair Buy-Sell works:

“Fair Buy-Sell…requires each partner to simultaneously propose a buyout price. If John proposes $110,000 and Jane proposes $100,000 then John, the higher bidder, will buy out Jane for $105,000…this method is equitable: Each participant ends up with something—either money or the business—at a price that is better than his or her offer.”

In other words, both parties should leave the split happier, because both of them will walk away with a solution that was advantageous to themselves.

Head over to Nautilus to read more about how you can use Fair Buy-Sell to split up your joint belongings without ripping each other apart.