With people spending more and more of their time at work, the notion that you should never date a coworker is becoming more and more unrealistic in a place where you spend the majority of your day. When an office romance goes south, don’t go searching the want ads for a new job just yet. Here are ways to work with an ex without feeling awkward.
Have the talk
Having an honest conversation and establishing a few rules or guidelines that both of you would adhere to post-breakup might work out better for you in the long run, because it ensures that neither one of you are forced into an awkward situation later on down the road, like, sitting next to each other at the next 3-hour meeting. If you’ve already parted ways, a talk can still do you some good.
Keep it professional
Never forget to remind yourself that your ex is just another colleague now and as such should be treated like everyone else in the workplace, with decency and respect. This isn’t to say you should volunteer to spearhead a new project with him; rather, you can take the high road when it comes to working with him, using the same civility and cordiality you would any other coworker.
Focus on work
The fact is, your job is just that — your job — and as such, it needs to be your main focus from 9-5. Check your emotions at the door and throw yourself into your work, channeling your energies into doing what you do even better. When your mind is occupied with work and each new task at hand, it leaves little time to dwell on your ex.
Silence is golden
While you may want to blab to everyone every little detail of your relationship, keeping a lid on your emotions (and your mouth) is key. Don’t air your dirty laundry at the office, which can be a breeding ground for gossip. Badmouthing your ex, discussing details of the relationship or breakup, and griping about your issues could not only create a hostile work environment for you.
A change of place
While it is completely unrealistic to hope that you can avoid seeing your ex at the office entirely, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure to him. If you both shared the same lunch hour, try tweaking your schedule to take an earlier one.
Honesty is the best policy
Patience is a virtue you would do well to practice. Be honest and realistic with yourself. Recognize that this is going to take time and that you simply aren’t going to have the same relationship with your ex that you will with other colleagues, especially if you are nurturing hurt feelings and wounded pride. Don’t bottle up your emotions but don’t dwell on them either.