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Working with your ex : How to manage it ?
We spend a good proportion of our lives working.
It is no wonder then that sometimes our dating lives cross paths with our working ones.
And you can even end up working with your ex, if the relationship ends.
How do you manage that, how do you deal with working with your ex after a breakup ?
According to a survey of 4,000 employees, nearly 40% of people have dated a co-worker at some stage.
With only 30% of those relationships resulting in wedding bells.
If a work relationship doesn’t end in holy matrimony then it usually just ends.
We’re told that dating our workmates is a bad move.
And it is bad for business, morale and efficiency all suffer.
The repercussions can be awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable.
But as we all know love can be a tricky thing, and hard to just walk away from.
Especially when you are working with your ex.
Sometimes you’re already dating when you start working together.
Other times you meet on the job.
The problem is like in the outside world, not all of these relationships are successful.
Only one-third end in marriage.
So what do you do if the relationship ends and you end up working with your ex.
But you still have to see each other every day at the office?
First and foremost you should know your company’s policy on office dating before you get involved with a colleague.
Even if there aren’t any formal policies prohibiting office romances.
It may be a good idea to find out what upper management thinks about it.
So it is work and you accept the fact that you need to swallow your pride get on with the job at hand.
Get a handle on your negative emotions and keep a level head to continue working with your ex.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to be constantly involved in each other’s daily lives in the office.
So, while your emotions might still be a little raw.
You might want to practice the simple breakup tactic of avoidance.
No, you can’t avoid those important team meetings obviously or conferences just to keep your distance from your ex.
But, you can however change your schedule a little and that can help ease the tension of your situation.
Arrive to work a little earlier and avoid that uncomfortably silent walk together into the office.
Stay away from the break room around your ex’s regular lunchtime.
Or ask a coworker to join you to eat at your desk.
These simple tactics can give you enough space and distance to help you deal with working with your ex.
Yes, it might seem like a total high school strategy, so what, if it works.
And you don’t need to be juvenile or even vocal about what you’re doing.
And, if it helps to take at least a little bit of anxiety or tension out of your work dynamic.
It is totally worth it.
Another way you have to deal with your ex while your working, just stay busy.
Bury yourself in paperwork, keep your headphones on or constantly make phone calls to clients.
Anything that you can do to keep busy will help.
Trust me, this is definitely one of the top ways on how to deal with working with your ex.
That will pay off in the end it is both a distraction from the breakup and a focusing on the work at hand .
Management may even notice this increased productivity.
And it can be good for your career and work in your favour.
Have a conversation with your ex
Successfully navigating relationship waters with a co-worker is tricky at best, and often very difficult.
The obvious example would be if the relationship ends badly.
It’s very important to have candid and clear conversations.
When perhaps you first get together with each other, about keeping your relationship out of the office.
And maintaining professional and cordial manner at work.
Also the next time you find yourself about to embark on an office romance.
Set guidelines about communication from the start.
And come up with a breakup contingency plan.
If you set this precedence early on it will be far easier to make sure that if things go south in the relationship.
You are not putting other workers in an uncomfortable position by airing your grievances with your ex at work.
The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your professional standing or the esteem of your colleagues by tainting your reputation with any sort of personal drama.
It can be detrimental to your long term career prospects.
As management may see it as damaging and unprofessional.
Most importantly, you want to be remembered by your contributions to the job.
Not for your contributions to the water cooler office gossip.
Conducting yourself professionally after a breakup make your interpersonal relationship with your ex easier.
But the less you draw attention to it, the quicker your co-workers will forget.
That you ever dated someone from the office.
And if and when it does come up, it will be a passing mention, nothing more.
You may want to have a conversation with them in person about working with your ex.
And maintaining a professional work attitude.
If you think that he or she is mature enough to understand the gravity of the situation.
Have a focused conversation and get straight to the point.
Let your ex know that you both have no choice but to be professional about the whole situation.
He or she is likely to look past your personal differences in the professional space.
And if your ex isn’t mature enough to understand and do this.
Step back and allow him or her to make the first mistake.
If you and your ex work on a team with other people
They may feel uncomfortable when things turn sour and tension rises.
If your co-workers become aware that you are working with your ex partner.
You should make a genuine concerted effort to put them at ease.
Regardless of how things ended.
Try to compliment your ex when possible to show your coworkers there are no hard feelings.
Even if there are they don’t need to know .
And avoid spreading about the breakup details with them.
No matter how tempting it might be to dish or vent on the subject.
People are naturally nervous about working with exes.
Think about it, no one breaks up because they are the other person’s biggest fan.
If you let people publicly know that the two of you are okay with each other.
They become more accepting of working with both of you.
It makes for a more comfortable work environment and office morale.
When a relationship falls apart, it is tempting to badmouth your ex don’t
After all, it’s basically the first thing we usually do in the event of a breakup vent and purge.
Remind ourselves and anyone we can get to listen of the reasons for the breakup and badmouth the ex.
But, this is an office breakup and you are working with your ex.
So, the rules of the game are a little different, the politics are more complicated than they usually are.
Stay away from office gossip.
And avoid chatting with your co-workers about the details of the relationship.
No matter how much they ask you to spill or tempting it may seem.
While that vengeful voice in your head might encourage you to completely destroy his or her reputation.
it simply won’t do anything for you but make you look bad.
There’s no need to add fuel to the office drama fire.
And, you don’t want your breakup to become an exaggerated office legend.
Like ending up chronicled in the human resources archives.
Or worse still appearing on your personal record for that matter.
“One time, a couple in marketing broke up, and well, we’ve never seen a presentation with so many underhanded references to cheating.”
Don’t use work email to communicate with your ex
Big corporate houses and even mid-sized firms may be monitoring the emails of their employees.
Regardless of whether your company has similar policies or not.
Be sure not to communicate with your ex via work email it is a big mistake so avoid it.
Even if your ex starts using it to engage in personal chats or whatever over this medium.
Do not engage.
Politely remind them this is not the means or the time to be entering into this type of conversation.
Even the most unassuming of lines could be used against you however innocent they may seem at the time.
If office politics makes the rift between you and your ex apparent.
No matter how close you were with your ex boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or partner.
Follow this rule without fail and never use office email to talk to your ex at work.
Don’t use the office phones to communicate
Following on from that, it is suggested you avoid communicating with your ex on your work phone.
The same applies to company-provided mobile phones.
Keep your texting and calling to your personal phone.
This is best practice for any personal relationship.
But even more important with a romantic relationship and working with your ex.
You don’t want the guys in IT snooping in your personal business.
And of course you don’t want your boss reading them either.
All it would take is a simple mistake that can put the whole conversation in managements in box.
And you may have some embarrassing explaining to do.
Working with your ex and social media
Furthermore be mindful of what you post on Facebook and other social media sites.
Remember people have been fired for things they have said about work colleagues on social media sites.
And you may inadvertently be broadcasting your personal difficulties to your workmates.
Don’t do after work drinks with your ex
After work drinks are often seen as a way for employees to form a stronger bond outside the office premises.
That maybe true but not in your situation it won’t…
You may have been used to letting your guard down while going for a round of drinks with colleagues after work. But that will need to change if your ex is one of them at least for a while.
A few drinks can make you do something you might regret or it will loosen your inhibitions maybe your tongue.
It can let you blurt out a few words to your ex in front of your colleagues.
Which could potentially be damaging to your career prospects.
It could make an already difficult situation even worse.
To the point of becoming unbearable or untenable.
So in any case do you not see enough of the ex at work ?
It is not worth the extra risk involved.
You don’t have to quit the job or working with your ex, there are alternatives.
While you cannot control your ex’s actions, you can control your reactions.
Taking the high road speaks volumes of your character.
And you will never regret having manners or being polite.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘fake it until you make it.’
Appreciating the talents of your ex can seem like lip service at first.
But eventually can turn into positive sentiments.
And that will make your workday better.
If you feel that working with an ex is too much of a distraction.
Try to find ways to limit your interactions as much as possible.
See if you can move to a different team, department, or project if possible.
Depending on the size and culture of the company it may be possible.
Being honest with your boss about why you want to do so can help you make a case for this.
The key to handling work after a breakup is to keep work and your relationship separate as much as possible. Any unfinished business or breakup related conversations should take place after-hours.
And not within the office walls as they have ears.
Unless a significant amount of time has passed.
It is advised to refrain from bringing new partners to work-related social functions.
This is out of respect for your ex and avoids further awkward situations.
Was that office fling worth all of this extra care and caution?
Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn’t.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to take the time to really think through the matter.
All breakups are a bit uncomfortable, distressing, and distracting.
An office breakup introduces a whole new level to an already fragile situation.
But there are ways to deal with it.
And no, you don’t need to quit the job working with your ex can be managed.
Antoine Peytavin, fondateur du site jerecuperemonex.com