Dated a Coworker? How to Deal With a Breakup at Work

One of the hazards of dating a coworker is breaking up with a coworker! Here’s how to deal with a breakup at work – ranging from the obvious (quit your job) to the practical (avoid the temptation to get revenge at work).

“It’s heartbreaking to see my ex every single day at work,” comments a reader on my How to Get Over a Bad Breakup article. “I can’t avoid seeing him because we run a business together, and now I’m afraid our business relationship will be ruined too.”

Dealing with a broken heart is harder when you have to see your ex every day at work. If you’re crushed because of your breakup, read How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days: A Day-by-Day Guide to Saying Good-bye and Getting On With Your Life.

And, here are six ways to deal with a coworker breakup…

Dated a Coworker? How to Deal With a Breakup at Work

1. Take control — find ways to empower yourself. You can’t change how you feel or what happened between you and your ex, but you can control what you focus on! You can control what you do, what you talk about, and what you think about. Instead of obsessing about your broken heart, what happened when you dated your coworker, why you broke up, and how heartbroken you feel, focus on other aspects of your life. Think about where you want your life to go. Where do you want to be in one year, or five years? What are your career goals, your life plans? This is the time to take a step back from your current path and look at your life in a new way.

2. Decide if it’s easier to find a new job than deal with workplace heartache. It probably won’t be easy to find a new job, but it may be better in the long run! It depends on the love relationship, how it ended, how you and your ex are dealing with the breakup, and what type of work relationship you have. You need to weigh the pros and cons of finding a new job versus working with a coworker you dated. Don’t make the easiest decision; make the best decision for your career and long-term happiness.

3. Make a clean break from your ex. One of the standard breakup survival tips is to avoid contact with your ex. But if you work together, it can be difficult or even impossible to avoid each other! Find out if you can work in different departments or divisions. Ask if you can get a transfer to a different location – either in your city or in another state or province. Brainstorm ways to stay at your job and avoid contact with your ex.

4. Avoid the temptation to get revenge. If you’re angry and hurt because of the breakup, you may be tempted to get back at your ex. Maybe you want to spread rumors, criticize him to your coworkers, or talk about how disappointing he was in bed. Don’t do it! Resist the temptation to get revenge! Attempting to get back at him will backfire. Revenge only prolongs the painful feelings and makes you look bad.  To deal with a breakup at work, you need to focus on healthy ways to let go of someone you love.

5. Don’t talk to your coworkers about the breakup. It’s never too late to draw a line between your personal and work lives. Avoid spilling your heart to your coworkers (or at the very least, just confide in one coworker). Remember that few people can keep a secret, and many people find it irresistible to dish about even their closest friends. Assume that what you tell your friends at work will eventually spread to your other coworkers…and maybe even to the coworker you dated. Try to talk about the breakup with your non-work friends.

6. Believe in yourself. A relationship breakup – whether it was dating a coworker for six months or leaving a marriage that lasted 25 years – can fill us with insecurity, self-doubt, and fear. Luckily, what you focus on grows. So, don’t focus on your pain, heartache, and trepidation about the future. Instead, focus on what you want to do with your life and the type of woman you want to be. Believe in yourself as a successful, strong, healthy woman!

For more breakup tips, read How to Stop Feeling Depressed About a Relationship Breakup.