It's bad enough when a relationship ends, but when you have to work with your ex and continue to see him on a daily basis, things go to a whole new level of difficult. The split is already going to affect your personal life, so you don't want your professional life taking a hit as well. Despite what you may think, the situation doesn't have to be a dreadful as you expect it to be. There are several things you can do to make working with your ex a bit easier.
Don't prolong getting over the breakup
When you tell someone not to prolong getting over a breakup, their immediate response is likely "Why would I do that? I don't like feeling miserable!" However, there are some who wallow in the pain and unintentionally stretch it out. I've actually done it once, myself. The key is to get out of bed, put down the ice cream and force yourself to enjoy life. It's easy to fall into the despair and stay there, but once you start feeling better about things, it can be easier to work with your ex.
Look at him as only a coworker
When you put a label on someone, that's exactly how you're going to see that person. Keep referring to your ex as a former boyfriend and that's all that's going to run through your head whenever you look at him. Remind yourself - repeatedly if necessary - that he's your coworker. You're obviously not going to forget you dated, but it'll be easier to see him only on a professional level if you keep reminding yourself that that's where he now belongs.
Don't air your private matters
It's tempting to stand on your desk and announce all of your ex's quirks to the office, but refrain from doing so if only for the sake of your job. Don't badmouth him to your coworkers and especially not to your boss. You could get in serious trouble if your boss finds out and the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your job, especially if your ex decides to get revenge by leaking some of your dirty little secrets in return.
Come to an agreement
You may not feel like agreeing with your ex about anything at the moment, but it might just be a necessary evil. Ask if the two of you can call a truce and come to a compromise in order to keep your personal problems with each other out of the office for the sake of your careers. Chances are he'll agree, especially if he wants to keep his job.
Avoid fighting in the office
If you have a feeling the two of you are engaging in a convo that's headed for an argument, squash it right there and continue it after work hours. You certainly don't want to cause a scene, especially one that's almost surely going to get you reprimanded - or even worse - fired.
Don't exchange your items on office turf
You don't need a bunch of coworkers getting nosy and in your business trying to find out what's going on between you two, especially if they don't know yet that the two of you split. Exchange your items off work grounds where none of your coworkers will spot you.
Dive into work
Work really is one of the best distractions for getting through a breakup. It's also much more productive than throwing yourself into drinking or partying every night. Rather than getting distracted that your ex is working in the same office as you, put all your energy into getting ahead at work.
Quit if it gets too bad
There may come a point where the two of you simply cannot work together. If you find after several months that this is the case, you'll likely have to start looking for another job, especially before it affects your current one. However, don't make a rush decision; give it some time to see how things play out first.
Working with your ex is not exactly the most ideal situation, but if you find yourself in that position, all you can do is remind yourself that your job is more important than he is and you're going to do whatever it takes to ensure your professional life goes unscathed. Hopefully he will take the mature route as well and call a truce so the two of you can continue working together without there being awkwardness or drama on a daily basis.
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