Working with your ex is a situation few enjoy contemplating, let alone having to face. Nevertheless, with the following excellent advice, you and your ex will soon be civil workmates without that underlying tension.
- Take steps to get over the break up. If the relationship ended recently, you might still be processing the emotions. Since you can't isolate yourself from your ex, it's especially important that you follow advice aimed at helping you to get over a break up, rather than repressing your anger and regrets. Nevertheless, be aware that you might still get emotional or choked up at work.
- Be professional. Whatever is going on in your love life, from 9-5 your mind must be on your job. Don't dwell on the reasons for your break up, it's over - move on. From this moment on, see your ex as a colleague only, just like everyone else in your workplace. Focus on enjoying your job. If your ex is being immature, treat your ex like you would treat any troublesome co-worker; read about dealing with annoying colleagues for extra ideas.
- Talk it out. Discreetly take your ex to one side away from prying eyes. State that what's past is past, and that while it will be difficult, you are looking forward to being workmates. Mention that this workmate cordiality is important for both your jobs and your happiness. If your ex doesn't share your mature attitude, don't stoop to his or her level, and don't give each other the cold shoulder. The more normal you act, the more likely your ex is going to follow suit.
- Don't spread the details with other colleagues. Misery attracts company. Mentioning you are having issues with your ex will see the whole sorry episode picked over again and again by your gossip hungry colleagues because they'll sense you've made it "fair game" for discussion. They may even begin to take sides, creating something that isn't there. Less scurrilous workmates might feel excluded or embarrassed by your situation and could try to keep away from you. It's much better to keep your affairs to yourself, in order to prevent your life being turned into the office soap opera.
- Avoid sensitive topics. Wounds may still be raw, so don't rub them. It's wise not to flirt with the new temp in your ex's presence, or to start reminiscing about what a great time you had in Ibiza or the Bahamas together last year. And never, ever bring up the break-up as a topic of conversation.
- Give the workmate relationship time. Don't expect to immediately have the same working rapport with your ex as you have with your other colleagues. It will take time but eventually you may develop an even better relationship. Now get back to work!