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How To Cope When Your Ex Is Your Coworker

You’ve heard the age-old advice: don’t get romantically involved together with your coworkers, for a plethora of various reasons. While this can be a sound bit of wisdom, some of us pay attention and some of us don’t. I fall into the latter category, along with many others, and I’m right here to inform you (and I’m positive everyone else would agree) that perhaps the most important cause getting involved with a coworker is a no-no is that if or when the breakup comes, that breakup goes to be rougher than most. 

After a breakup, usually all we need to do is cry, eat ice cream, and keep away from our exes just like the plague while we attempt to decide ourselves up, mud ourselves off, and try to rebuild our lives without the opposite individual in them. Don’t get me mistaken –– breakups are never straightforward. But with the ability to create area out of your ex makes them much easier so you possibly can truly type out your ideas and emotions by yourself, regardless of what your ex may be doing.

Once you work together with your ex, though, it’s actually onerous to create that area. So how do you cope with a breakup when your ex is a part of your skilled life?

There are a couple of do’s and don’ts but once you’re in the midst of the drama, it may be troublesome to differentiate them. Here’s what I’ve been doing to date, and it seems to be working:

Don’t converse to your ex outdoors of labor (at the least initially of the breakup)

In case you’ve ever searched on-line about what to do after a breakup (guilty), you’ve in all probability come throughout the “no-contact rule.” The essential idea is that you simply give radio silence to your ex for a few month: no telephone calls, no textual content messages, no tagging them in memes on-line, and positively no hanging out. This is in order that each you and your ex can create some area and begin to assume rationally concerning the circumstances that ended your relationship and you may each determine independently how you need to move forward. 

Should you’re seeing each other at work day-after-day, although, and worse, in the event you’re pressured to communicate in individual each day, radio silence might be troublesome. You don’t need to make issues awkward for one another or for any of your colleagues, so you’ll be able to’t just straight up ignore each other. But, what you can do is refuse to talk to your ex about something aside from work. Communicate solely about what you should, when it’s worthwhile to, and communicate strictly throughout workplace hours. This manner, you’re setting your boundaries, retraining your mind, and forcing your ex to be just your coworker and nothing more.

Be polite, friendly, and professional at work, however try to avoid bumping into them in the course of the day

As I mentioned earlier than, you possibly can’t simply fake that your ex doesn’t exist in the event you work in the identical office. Individuals are going to notice and individuals are in all probability going to speak. Save your self and your ex the drama and treat them like you would some other coworker.

If they are saying good day to you, say hiya again. Say goodbye at the end of the day. If they ask you a question about work, answer it politely. Briefly, don’t be impolite and don’t make any onerous feelings apparent. 

With that being stated, there are still methods which you could avoid interacting together with your ex. For instance, my ex and I sit in the same room with 4 other individuals for eight hours every day. Painful, I do know. But this also signifies that I can see when he will get as much as go to the kitchen or use the toilet. Utilizing this info, I can wait until he will get back to his desk to go get a glass of water or warmth up my food to make sure that there are not any surprises and we don’t bump into each other awkwardly within the kitchen.

When you don’t sit in the same room as your ex, to start with, fortunate you, second, attempt to avoid their favorite office “hangout” spots. It could possibly be the lounge, it might be the cafe downstairs, or the shop around the nook. Don’t go there in the event you’re trying to keep away from any shock run-ins. When you do find yourself operating into your ex, make eye contact, smile politely, and maintain walking.

Don’t converse to other coworkers concerning the particulars of your breakup – and don’t really feel like you must announce your breakup to all the workplace both

This is perhaps troublesome, especially in case you are close associates together with your different coworkers, but attempt to hold your mouth shut. Spreading the small print of your breakup or even telling individuals “just so you already know to not make issues awkward, we broke up” is going to trigger gossip around the office. Simply don’t do it.

If someone asks, tell them you’d fairly not deliver the small print into the office and you’d wish to maintain issues skilled. A minimum of then if rumors do spread, your conscience is clean, you don’t have to elucidate anything to your ex, and you’ll have the ability to do injury control extra simply. 

Retrain your brain to assume “coworker” as an alternative of “ex” by making an attempt to construct normal habits

I don’t know what kind of workplace etiquette you’ll have had before your breakup, however no matter it was, overlook it now. Don’t perpetuate behaviors that may remind you of your relationship in the office. Treat your ex like you would deal with a traditional coworker.

Do you say good morning to everybody once you arrive on the workplace? If sure, say it to your ex, too. Leaving at the end of the day? Do the identical. Providing to go on a espresso run? Ensure you ask your ex if he needs one thing, too. Don’t deliberately depart him out of anything. Try to construct a sense of normalcy to make this breakup go slightly extra smoothly. 

This may be slightly extra extreme, however for me it was crucial. When your ex arrives within the morning, say in your head “that’s my coworker Steve” or whatever his identify is, to attempt to beat it into your head. Try to hold the word “ex” out of your brain as a lot as potential with a view to make the transition easier. I do know it’s simpler stated than accomplished, but if you can also make it a behavior, you’ll be grateful that you simply put within the work. 


In case you are uncomfortable with working instantly together with your ex or sitting close to them, speak to a trusted superior

I’m positive you’re already doing all of your greatest to not let your ex have an effect on your job. In any case, that might be pretty unprofessional and you don’t need a relationship gone incorrect standing in the best way of your future career. However, if your breakup was actually messy otherwise you’re having a hard time focusing on your work as a result of your ex is consistently sitting proper next to you laughing at something on his pc display, you might have to do something about it. 

If so with you, ask for a personal assembly, preferably an off-the-cuff one outdoors the workplace, with a superior that you simply belief. Let them know that you simply and your ex have ended your relationship and you’d relatively not go into the small print, but that you simply’d wish to create some area between the 2 of you within the office in the intervening time if potential. If it’s not attainable, you then’ll should energy by way of however a minimum of you tried. If it is attainable, then you definitely’re in luck and you’ve simply carried out an excellent thing on your professional life and your psychological well being, and your superior can be impressed together with your maturity and the way you’ve handled the state of affairs. 

Attempt not to analyze their every transfer in the office

This is going to be a tough one, especially should you’re not capable of create some area as mentioned in the tip above. I’m nonetheless fighting this one: analyzing how he says hiya and goodbye to me, what occurs once we move one another in the corridor, how he positions himself when he’s talking with different individuals close to my desk, whether or not he decides to go outdoors with one other feminine coworker for a cigarette. I hate to admit it, however all of this stuff have been on my thoughts and it has been so onerous to break the behavior of overthinking all the things. 

Yes, it’s true that each you and your ex are going by means of a troublesome time right now and adjusting to the brand new office dynamic makes it much more troublesome. That stated, it’s also true that you’re in all probability wondering if the issues they do in entrance of you at work are intentionally meant to get a reaction out of you. And a few of it in all probability is designed to catch your attention, particularly should you have been the one who initiated the breakup. But guess what: they are in all probability considering the identical thing about you and whatever you’re doing in the workplace. And the way much of what you’re doing is consciously designed to get your ex’s attention? Solely you realize the reply to that.

The purpose is that whereas it’s going to be tempting, you’ll be able to’t sit there and watch your ex all day and relate each little motion back to you and your previous relationship. Once I noticed my ex smoke a cigarette on the balcony the day after we broke up, I immediately jumped to one million totally different conclusions: “He by no means cared about me. He is aware of how I really feel about smoking. I hope he’s okay. He have to be really confused.” It really freaked me out.

Then I needed to speak myself down and inform myself: It was only one cigarette, settle down. I then needed to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what he does now anyway, as a result of we are damaged up. He not has a cause to think about my emotions the best way he did before, and I not have a purpose to relate his actions again to me. And this all goes the identical means for you and your relationship together with your ex.

Give attention to yourself identical to you’d after another breakup

That is advice that’s generally given after any breakup state of affairs and I’m going to stress it much more for this one. It goes hand in hand with the one above. When you’re making an attempt to not analyze their every transfer, you need to pull that focus off of them and focus it again on yourself. You possibly can’t maintain dwelling your life in your ex and making an attempt to work out their reactions and thoughts about every part you’re doing.

Attempt not to take a look at their social media (take a break on Fb and the mute function on Instagram are lifesavers), create nevertheless a lot area you need from them in the workplace, and check out not to arrive early or stay late at work if attainable. Reduce your contact time as a lot as you possibly can and focus on your own life. This is your time to actually enhance yourself and make no matter modifications you couldn’t make when you have been in a relationship.

For those who concentrate on your self and never on your ex, you will discover a huge change and other individuals will discover it, too. 

In case your ex is starting drama within the office, confront them

Now that you’ve all the following pointers and tips about tips on how to be mature and professional about this complete breakup within the office, remember that your ex ought to be doing the same thing. He must be making an attempt just as onerous as you’re to take care of a respectful and protected workplace surroundings for both of you, and if he’s not, that’s a problem. 

If he’s spreading rumors, telling individuals the small print of the breakup, or being outright rude, you’re going to wish to confront him. Let him know that you simply care about him and that you simply perceive this can be a troublesome time for each of you, but that you desire to it in the event you might maintain your personal relationship and your professional life as separate as potential and to please cease whatever conduct is making you uncomfortable. 

In any case, you dated him so hopefully he is an honest human being and he should understand and oblige you. If not, you’ll have to take it a step additional and speak to a trusted superior concerning the problem.

No matter what, you and your ex ought to be respecting one another’s professional lives, and if any boundaries are crossed, they have to be addressed instantly so you possibly can keep a wholesome work setting.

And because the alternative has arisen: just a pleasant reminder that abuse or threats of any sort should not be tolerated and you may all the time search help or report inappropriate conduct to authorities. 

Breakups are never straightforward, and clearly working together with your ex is an entire new ballgame to figure out. I’ve been doing it for nearly a month now and whereas it hasn’t gotten any easier, it has a minimum of develop into a unusually snug routine.

Yes, it’s troublesome, however it may be executed should you’re mature, skilled, and cautious in your strategy to the entire state of affairs.

When you’ve obtained some other ideas for working together with your ex, be happy to share!

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