Have you ever dated a co-worker? What about your neighbor or someone who lives in your building? Well, it's all fun and games until you end up hating each other, and it's time for your relationship to end. Take it from me: It's hard to know how to break up with someone when you have to still see them on a regular basis. What's the strategy for that? Are you really even broken up? How are you supposed to get over them if they're still around all the time?
I am kind of an expert on this topic because I very foolishly dated a co-worker at my old office, and it did not end well. In fact, we both ended up leaving the job, and I moved cities. At first, dating my co-worker was great. We were in that honeymoon period, and we couldn't get enough of one another. He'd come to my office during his breaks, and we'd have lunch together. We'd drive to work with one another and grab a drink on our way home. It was the perfect scenario, completely smothering the person I loved for practically 24 hours a day, five days a week!
And then, the breakup happened. And when I wanted to go through my Bridget Jones mourning stage, I still had to see the person who broke my heart every day. That means I couldn't cry under my desk, and I couldn't complain to everyone about what an *sshole my ex was, because unfortunately, I worked with my ex.
What I learned from my situation is that, as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn't sh*t where you eat. So here are some important things to consider when you break up with someone you see every day. Because while it might suck, it doesn't have to be the end of the world.
1. Set A Boundary Or Schedule
If you and your ex have to run into each other on a regular basis, then it's helpful to create some sort of boundary or schedule to limit your exposure to one another. If you live in the same building, designate a time when each of you can use the laundry room, so you don't have to watch each other clean dirty underwear. If you work together, take lunch breaks separately, so you're not fighting over the microwave or literally having awkward conversation by the water cooler.
If you've been dating, then you probably have a pretty good sense of one another's schedules. Instead of using that knowledge to stalk, use it to avoid this person. After a little time goes by after your breakup, running into them probably won't be that big of a deal anymore.
2. Stay Professional If You're At Work
When it comes to dating co-workers or people you might see on a regular basis, you have to leave the drama at home, and not bring it out into the world with you. One time, my ex and I got in a blow-out fight at work. It was by no means appropriate, even I'll admit that. We started yelling at one another in the staff break lounge (this was right before we broke up), and our boss came in and told us to take the rest of the day off.
The situation got worse when my ex started dating another girl at work. Each day, they would eat lunch on the patio outside of my office, so I would have to stare at them through my window while I took meetings and phone calls. Distracting much? I know he did it intentionally to make me upset or to try to provoke a reaction, and believe me, I wanted to react. However, by this time, I had my wits together and decided I was not going to let my ex ruin my professional or personal reputation, no matter how hard he tried.
Don't let a messy breakup make you a mess or inhibit your own personal or professional success. The best revenge is living well. If you're feeling triggered by an ex whom you still have to see all the time, try not to react or retaliate.
3. Prepare Yourself For Interactions
If you are going to see your ex on a regular basis, then it's best to do some emotional prepping. You don't want to be taken by surprise and not know what to say. That's when the verbal diarrhea comes out, to put it eloquently. So it's best to have a plan of attack — that doesn't involve any attacking whatsoever.
Think of potential innocuous topics of conversation that you can discuss with your ex, should you run into one another: "Wow, the weather sure is being very weather today!" "Did you see the sports last night? Very sports." If you keep conversations short, pleasant, and uncontroversial, seeing your ex on a regular basis will soon become a stress-free situation.
4. Fake It 'Til You Make It
No matter what, this seemingly disastrous situation will get better. It's all about perspective. So if you focus on how awful it is to have to see your ex every day, then it will certainly make life awful. But if you try to make the situation as pleasant as possible, even if you're faking, it will actually become pleasant (or cordial) with time.
Listen, I, of all people, know running into your ex on a regular basis isn't fun. Whether you work together, live in the same area, or go to the same school, it's difficult to constantly be confronted by someone you used to love. Keep your composure, kill them with kindness, and fake it 'til you make it. I promise, it gets easier with time.
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