Working with an ex you still love: 12 tips to help you move on

Breaking up with someone is never easy – especially when you didn’t want to break up with them in the first place.

Whether he dumped you or it simply wasn’t working out, those feelings just don’t disappear.

If you add a shared workplace into the equation, then things get even more confusing and difficult.

You both need space and try to work alongside each other.

You want to move on, yet have a constant reminder.

It’s no wonder people try and avoid office romances. So, now the damage is done, how can you make it work?

Here are 12 tips on how to help yourself move on and get over him

1) Accept the end of the relationship

You still have feelings, but he doesn’t share them.

It hurts.

But it’s something you have to accept. If you cling to even a little bit of hope that he will change his mind, you won’t be able to move on.

The sooner that you allow the reality of the breakup to sink in, the faster you will be able to heal and get past it.

No one enters into a relationship foreseeing its demise but it happens. There’s nothing you can do to change the past but you can help yourself move forward from the experience.

If you’re struggling with the acceptance side of things, it can help to consider why you broke up in the first place?

There’s always a reason and it helps to keep that in the front of your mind to help you process it all.

2) Keep it work-related

One of the biggest rules post-breakup is to give each other some space. But how exactly can you do this when you see each other every single day?

Now’s the time to put those work boundaries in place and keep it professional. If you have to talk, then that talk should only be about work.

The rules of no contact mean no calling, texting, or conversations, which can of course be hard in the workplace.

The easiest way to do this?

Pretend your ex is an acquaintance – someone you barely know. These restrictions are important after a breakup but it gives you both space and time to heal.

3) Avoid small talk

You may think small talk is harmless… it’s just being polite, right?

Wrong.

Avoid small talk at all costs – even if it’s simply about the weather or recent news. Even more so when it’s about more personal issues, such as how his dog is going.

Why? Because the comfort you both got from the relationship won’t ever truly disappear if you’re still having these conversations. Plus, it makes it that much harder for you to move on when you both chat with each other every day.

There’s no space.

Even if you are simply talking about things that are trivial, you are both still relying on each other.

Most health professionals agree: there should be as little contact as possible after a relationship between exes. At least in the beginning.

Of course, this is easier said than done when you work together.

If he happens to walk past, simply offer a smile and then keep walking. Purse those lips tight and pretend you’re mute.

4) Leave the drama at home

There are times that you aren’t done after the breakup. There are just too many unresolved issues. If this is the case, leave that drama at home.

Seeing him nearly every day is likely to stir up some feelings. You need to be able to put them aside to avoid an outburst.

Here are some tips:

  • Carry a stress ball around the office with you. Give it a squeeze whenever you feel that rage brewing.
  • Surround yourself with colleagues. You’re less likely to say something when there are witnesses.
  • Practise some breathing techniques to get you through.

5) Push yourself

If there’s one way to forget about your ex while you’re in the office, it’s by focusing on you instead.

Moving on from a relationship is hard which is why finding something new to focus on can help immensely.

So why not put your career first and pour efforts into your job? There’s plenty of benefits.

Speak to your boss about promotion and how you can work towards it. This will definitely give you something to focus on.

If you’re taking your job seriously, it will redirect all your efforts and also help you see your ex as just a colleague.

Once your mind switches into a professional focus, it’s easier to push feelings aside in order to achieve. Try it!

6) Ask out a colleague

Not romantically! You’ve been there and we saw how that went. Just as a friend.

It’s the perfect way to expand your social life in the office so you don’t have that reliance on your ex.

Having a good network of friends in the workplace could be exactly what you need to distract you from your ex. Plus, it makes it even easier to avoid him if you are heading out to coffee and lunch each day.

7) Devalue your ex

One problem that exists when someone we love breaks up with us is that we pop them on a pedestal.

We let our feelings blind us and before we know it, we can’t get them out of our mind. Add seeing him every day to the equation and it’s enough to drive anybody crazy.

It’s time to devalue your ex.

After all, no-one is perfect. Safe to say he isn’t either.

Think about all those little things that annoyed you while you were dating. Go on, you know there were a few (or even a lot!).

Set aside your feelings and just consider them objectively.

You’ll soon realize, your ex isn’t worth the trouble. It’s time to move on.

8) Change your surroundings

You can’t change the fact that you’ll be seeing your ex almost every day. But you can change everything else around you.

It’s time to give your workspace a bit of a makeover. Even just the small changes can make a huge difference.

Your workspace is a constant reminder of your relationship. This is how it was when you were dating, and it still looks the same.

Humans are emotional people, and we attach these emotions to everything – like objects around us.

With just a few simple changes we can remove that attachment and work on moving on.

Here are some ideas:

9) Change you

Getting over an ex is the perfect time to give yourself a little makeover – inside and out – and help you feel better about yourself.

We tend to hit rock bottom after we have been dumped, with little self-worth remaining.

It’s time to build yourself up again.

After all, what does one person’s opinion of you matter. The only opinion that matters is yours.

Do you like what you see or are you ready for some change?

A healthy and successful uncoupling process involves creating a new identity for yourself.

This is especially important when you’re seeing your ex almost every day. Whether you’re making physical changes or emotional changes, he’ll be able to see them.

He’ll see that you’ve moved on and it’ll make the process so much easier.

What are you waiting for?

Time to get those highlights you’ve always deemed of or perhaps head back to uni to further your education.

10) Take the high road

This one isn’t easy but is necessary.

When you work in close proximity with your ex, you have to work out what your new normal is.

Your ex might not be so willing to work amicably alongside each other.

You may end up missing out on projects or he might find excuses not to join yours.

He could give you the cold shoulder and make it awkward to be around him.

Unfortunately, you can’t choose how he decides to act but you can choose how you respond.

Don’t let his behavior get to you. Be the bigger person, take the high road, and know it will pass.

If you don’t respond, it will pass even sooner.

11) Don’t sit next to each other

No, we’re not back in high school, but this is a necessary move still.

Go to opposite ends of the table in meetings.

Go to different tables when it comes to office drinks.

Being close to each other is a dangerous move. You could slip back into old ways and how things were when you were together without even noticing.

The easiest way to move on is by keeping your distance.

When there’s alcohol involved in office drinks it’s even harder. It clouds your decision-making and one or both of you may end up doing something you regret.

If you have other close friends in the office, enlist their help to keep you accountable. They can switch seats, or pull you away if the situation requires. It will make it all much easier.

12) Find a new job

If it’s just too hard, there is always one other option – start looking for a new job.

This should be a last resort if it’s just too painful and not working any other way. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

What if:

  • You’re put on a project together? Could you manage to work together to achieve results?
  • He started dating someone else in the office? Would you be OK with that?
  • You find yourself stuck in limbo? Unable to move on because you’re still seeing him each day.

There are so many what-ifs when it comes to the workplace and you just don’t know how it’s going to pan out until you’re in the situation.

And it may just not work out.

There’s no harm in looking for a new job – as long as you’re ready to move on career-wise.

How to get him back?

You now understand exactly how to get through the workdays alongside your ex, but what if you want him back?

It’s clear that feelings are still there, which is making this even harder to move through.

1) Give him the space he needs

It’s a good way for you to move on and forget about him, as mentioned above, but it always helps if you want him back.

Why?

He broke up with you for a reason. Nothing has changed. If you chase him straight away, he’s going to run even further.

You need to give yourself both space in order to process the feelings.

Once the dust has settled and you’ve been able to reflect on the relationship, you may have changed your mind.

It’s amazing how our emotions work. With a bit of distance, you could have an entirely different outlook on everything.

So, give it time.

For both of you.

After a bit of time, you can reassess everything and decide what next.

2) Think about why you broke up

Whether he broke up with you or you mutually decided it was best to part ways, a breakup is hard.

But it happens for a reason.

What was the reason behind your breakup?

Some things just can’t be fixed, for example, if you both want different things in life and have different goals then it’s just not going to work. It’s best to go your separate ways.

Other things can be worked on. Like if he didn’t like you sitting on your phone so much and you didn’t like him going out with his mates so much. You can work on these things if you’re both willing.

It’s important to get to that reason and work on it – if possible – before you waste your time pursuing the relationship again.

It could be wasted effort and lead to more heartache down the track.

3) Work out if he is over you

You may want to get back together with him but it doesn’t mean he feels the same way.

Before you go ahead and let him know how you feel, it helps to work out his feelings first.

There are plenty of signs you can use to see if he is over you:

  • Does he treat you the same as everyone else in the office? If he wasn’t over you, he would probably put some more effort into trying to get your attention.
  • Does he show jealously when other men are around? This is an emotion that many guys just can’t help. Even if he was the one to end the relationship, he will likely show signs of jealousy if you move on. These could simply be very subtle signs.
  • Has he returned your personal belongings, but not ask for his? Asking for their things back is a sure sign that it’s all over and that they’re likely over you. If he’s holding off taking this step, there could be more to it.
  • Has he unfollowed you on social media? This is one of the easiest ways to keep in contact with an ex without having to talk to them. If your ex has deleted all contact, it’s because he has moved on.

If you’ve noticed some of these signs, then it’s probably best to let go and move on with your own life – it’s clear he has.

Some things just aren’t meant to be.

4) Let him know you’re interested

If you haven’t noticed any of these signs – or in fact have seen the opposite and think he’s still interested – then it’s time to tell him.

You don’t have to be blunt about it.

Instead, pretend it’s like the beginning of a relationship and put your flirt on.

Pay him extra attention, flick him a warm smile, think of ways to get close to him.

He’ll read those signs and respond, letting you know whether or not he’s interested.

If you’re done playing games, then there’s nothing wrong with taking the direct approach either.

Ask him out for coffee, sit him down and let him know how you feel. At least you’ll have an answer one way or another.

5) Take it slowly

If you do get back together, don’t rush to get back to where you were before you broke up.

Remember, you broke up for a reason.

Instead, work out why you broke up and what you’re going to do to fix it this time around. This is a discussion you both need to have together.

Then, take the relationship nice and slowly.

Don’t rush it.

Work on any problem areas and give them a chance to be different this time around.

Relationships aren’t meant to be easy. They’re hard work!

You have to be willing to put the effort in.

6) Open communication

You don’t want to end up back in the same place again, so keep that communication open.

If something’s not working, let the other person know.

Talk about how things are going and whether or not the changes you’ve both made have had the right effect on the relationship.

Are the same problems still creeping in? Then address them before it ends again.

Open communication is the best way to keep a relationship together. You both know how each other feels and what each other wants out of it.

Takeaway

Relationships aren’t easy and breakups are downright hard.

If you do end up back together, that’s great. But be sure to put the hard work in so it lasts.

If you go your separate ways, then follow the tips above to help you move on while working next to him.

Just remember, the feelings will fade over time and you come out of this stronger and happier.

And who knows, true love might be just around the corner.

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