Karen Fratti
Updated Aug 30, 2017 @ 5:31 pm
Danny and Mindy in elevator from Mindy Project
Credit: Hulu

Navigating a work romance is never easy even in the best of times. Trying to keep it cool at work or in mixed professional company when you’re hot for each other is one challenge, and the challenge is super real. But what about when the relationship is over? It’s a scenario so messy that some people write off dating within their industry altogether. Then again, for a lot of us, work is a big part of our lives, and it only makes sense that we’d fall for someone who’s also CC’d on a work email now and again. As long as you remember these things when you break up with someone you still work with, you shouldn’t have to quit your job, move to a different state, and start all over.

Splitting up with someone you still work with is a whole different thing from any other kind of breakup.

When you have to run into the elevator with them or endure a seven-hour shift together, it can be truly awful. But it can be just as bad if you simply know them through work, like attending the same conferences, networking events, or typing in the same Twitter bubbles. All around, breaking up with someone you still work with is just as tough as any other kind of breakup. Here are just a few ways to deal.

1Remember that work is work.

In an ideal world, the two of you would have kept your romance out of the office in the first place. Which means that after your crazy breakup over the weekend, everyone can just reassume their roles on the job and try to keep their shit together. Hiding your desire to jump on someone at work is a hell of a lot easier than hiding your hurt or anger at work, though. Make sure you’re focused on keeping things fair and balanced in the conference room. You can go back to feeling whatever else you’re feeling after working hours.

2If not for your sake, keep things profesh for your mutual co-workers.

Your work relationship isn’t about just you. It’s also about everyone who has to work with you two. Depending on your HR policies and each of your roles, you’re really going to want to keep that ice out of your voice, and try your best to not break down in front of the client your team is pitching. Sobbing in the bathroom or cafe across across the street is fine, but you don’t want anyone going above your head to say you’re not holding it down. Especially if your work relationship wasn’t fair game to begin with.

3Tune out.

During a breakup, distractions are important. Luckily, you have one right in front you: Dig into your work. If the whole sales team is taking your ex’s side, keep that head up and try to tune out any office gossip or awkward vibes. Mute them on Twitter so you don’t have to see the subtweets. Do whatever it is you have to do get through the workday.

4Use your resources.

If your ex starts to be a complete jerk, you don’t have to sit there and take it. All companies and relationships are different, but just because you used to make out with someone doesn’t mean that they can all of a sudden start dissing your ideas or making you take the bad shifts at the bar. Stand up for yourself if your ex is simply unable to separate their professional and personal lives and making your days

5Go offline.

Hopefully, you’ve already been doing this. But now is not the time to hash things out in Slack or anything that goes through an office server. If you need to talk to each other or tell someone where they can shove their bad attitude, talk in person or via personal devices only. Just because you don’t want your relationship meltdown monitored or archived with all of your other correspondence.

6Do not quit your job.

Letting your love life step on your professional life is always a bad plan, but it’s really a bummer when your career suffers because of an already-failed part of your love life. So don’t quit. Power through the weirdness if the job is a good one. Besides, neither person likely has the “right” to work at this place more than the other, and this is your job too! If switching gigs or positions was already part of your five-year plan, then by all means, keep at it. But don’t think you have to run away, especially if your ex is the only thing pushing your out the door.