How to work with someone after a breakup
What you need to know:
- Try to keep your mouth shut and if you need to vent, seek professional help or talk to a trusted friend.
- Spreading the details of your breakup in the office will spark gossip, which may affect your reputation.
- If someone notices and asks, tell them you would rather not bring your personal details to the workplace and you’d like to keep things professional.
My friends and I were gathered at a friend’s birthday party when the conversation drifted to the experience of working with an ex in the same office. Three of my friends pointed out that the biggest risk of getting involved in a relationship with a coworker is that, if or when you break up, things can get really tough. Breakups are never easy, and normally, some avoid their exes like the plague as they rebuild their lives after the separation. When you work with your ex, it might not be possible to avoid them.
The question of how to deal with a breakup isn’t always an easy one to answer. A breakup is a loss and you are likely to grieve not just the past relationship but the future you envisioned together. Psychologists say that it is normal to grieve the relationship and give yourself time to get past the sadness. But how do you deal with a breakup when you see your ex almost every day at work?
Be polite and professional
Breakups breed pain, psychological stress and sadness. Yet when working with an ex, you can’t just pretend to be blind to them. Often, people will notice the differences in relationship between you two, and some may even talk about it. Save yourself and your ex the drama and treat them like you would any other coworker. Be polite and do not let your personal matters interfere with your work. Be professional and try to stay out of their way during the day. If they say hello to you, answer politely while maintaining your boundaries. If they ask a work related question, answer respectfully and without hard feelings. If you don’t sit with your ex in the same office, try to avoid their hangouts spots such as the cafeteria, tuck shop, or lounge.
Don’t overshare with coworkers
Try to keep your mouth shut and if you need to vent, seek professional help or talk to a trusted friend. Spreading the details of your breakup in the office will spark gossip, which may affect your reputation. If someone notices and asks, tell them you would rather not bring your personal details to the workplace and you’d like to keep things professional. This way, if rumors spread, your conscience will be clear and you won’t need to explain anything to anyone.
If you are uncomfortable sitting near them, say so
If the breakup was really messy or you’re having a hard time focusing on your work because the ex is sitting next to you, you may need to talk to a trusted superior. Don’t overshare. Just explain briefly how the breakup has affected you and the challenges you are facing sitting next to your former partner. Request the supervisor to create some space between the two of you in the office for the time being, if possible.
Focus on yourself
Healing is a journey. Be patient with yourself and make whatever changes you can to better yourself. Embrace what you love doing and when you feel stuck, seek professional help. Understand that others have gone through breakups, and you can manage it too.