How To Work With Your Ex

Most people spend one-third of their life at work so it makes sense to find relationships there. The problem is that when relationships end, you will still have to see your ex at the office. A break up doesn't have to end you career if you follow these steps. You can find a way to work with your ex.

  1. Set ground rules from the beginning. Before you get involved with a coworker, it's a good idea to have a discussion about how your relationship will involve your work. If you can, keep your relationship outside the office and business inside it. This helps with the job when you are together and will make the break up easier to handle later.
  2. Try avoidance when possible. Early in a break up you probably want to see as little of your ex as possible. Try a little avoidance. If you cannot avoid him because he works in the next cubicle or you have scheduled meetings, then avoid him whenever you can. Don't ask for a new desk or someone else to work on the project; this would be letting your relationship control your work and will be a problem for your employer. If you just cannot stand to hear his voice over the cubicle wall, then take a few days of vacation time to get away and get your head together.
  3. Be professional. Remember that you are being paid to do a job and your personal life should never be brought into the work hours. If you have to, remind yourself every time you are near your ex that you must be professional. Speak with him when it is required for the work. Show respect and ignore any personal digs or insults he may toss your way.
  4. Avoid gossip and emotional outbursts. If you started your relationship right by keeping it out of the workplace, this step is simple. If you've been gossiping over the water cooler for the duration of your relationship, now you need to stop. Don't gossip or cry in the office. Save your fights over furniture and fault for after hours. Don't try to place blame or get other coworkers to hate him. It might warm your heart to have them on your side but it is unprofessional and creates a tense work environment.
  5. Practice compartmentalizing. Compartmentalizing is being able to separate the different parts of your life so that you close off the ones you don't need and open the ones you do need. Dealing with an ex requires you to strengthen those walls and compartmentalize your life. Keep your workspace clean and orderly with only work related images. Keep photos of your personal life at home where they belong.
  6. Suck it up and breathe. If you want to keep the job sometimes you have to just suck it up and cope. Take a breath to settle yourself whenever he's in the area.
  7. Avoid future entanglements with coworkers. After this break up you might come to realize that career and relationships don't often mix. Try to avoid future romantic entanglements with coworkers. Define strict walls between your work and personal lives. Decide which you value more, love or work. If you find the right love at work, one of you may need to find another job.

Dealing with an ex at work takes time. You both need to heal and cope so give each other the time. Practice professionalism and distance and you will get through the early tension of working with an ex.


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