For those of you thinking that it’s damn near impossible to cut contact when you work with someone, I’m here to tell you that I am living proof that it can be done.
Yes it’s a bit more awkward or even at times, a lot more awkward, but the fact of the matter is that work is a professional place and if you remind yourself that being professional doesn’t involve you having to be friends with or having a relationship with them, you won’t let the fact that you used to be together get in the way.
I won’t lie – seeing them each day, is initially, quite difficult. However, what I discovered was that once I had made my decision to cut contact, I dug my heels in, gritted my teeth and got on with it. At first it took a lot of effort but after a while, it became second nature. What were the hardest days?
- When I entertained his conversation for too long and gave him too much credit for a maturity in the situation that he didn’t actually possess.
- When I read his emails trying to talk me round.
- When I listened to drunken rants and declarations of his feelings.
- When we had to work on the same clients or attend the same social events.
- However all of these become a lot easier and the general working together thing becomes manageable when you remember some golden rules.
1. Accept that it will be hard.
Expecting it to be easy or easier is fooling yourself. Remember, normally when we break up with people, we don’t have to face them at work each day.
2. Keep conversations strictly professional and cut it off as soon as they overstep the mark.
The message becomes very clear: If you cross the line, I will shut down and we’ll have nothing to do with one another at all. Likewise, make sure that you are totally professional because if you are not, you may inadvertently give them reason to feel their own behaviour is legitimate.
3. You can be courteous and polite – it’s called being professional. Anything else is overkill.
It’s very easy to get things twisted and think that you have to bend over backwards – you don’t. Stop trying to be friends. You’ve just broken up AND you’ve had to do NC to put boundaries there – stop undoing the work you’ve already done by trying to be The Good Girl or The Good Guy.
4. If you’re working on clients, read those emails. Everything else, delete as soon as it becomes apparent that it’s personal.
Once you have cut contact and you may even have said back off and leave me alone, that means that especially because you’re at work, they have to do as you request. If they persist, remind them that everything must be strictly professional, or else!
5. If you’ve been involved with your boss and you’re finding it difficult to keep your distance and respect your own boundaries, it’s time to get a new job.
Tough to hear but if you can’t keep it professional or your boss is threatening your future now that you won’t sleep with them, you’re kinda caught between a rock and a hard place. Yes it may take a little while and yes it involves swallowing your pride, but if you guys can’t get out of this amicably and respectfully, your job is doomed. Don’t cling to it out of pride and stubbornness.
6.Steer clear of listening to or joining in on gossip.
The upside of any info that you do catch is that it may cement your reason for doing NC.
The downside of any information that you do catch is that you may over blow the meaning of it, internalise it, give yourself a hard time, lose perspective, and react to it.
7. Accept that you cannot control what everyone thinks of you.
People might talk but it does pass, especially if you’re not providing any fodder. You will play a fools game if you base your actions on trying to prove to co-workers that you’re a wonderful person – you’re trying to prove who you are in a romantic context. It’s a place of work and the only thing you need to demonstrate is your professionalism. People will make up their own mind but often, they care a lot less than you think.
8. Be polite in social situations but keep a very clear distance, especially around alcohol.
They can have a rant at you but you don’t have to listen and so take it from someone who knows, don’t let your guard down at social events and if you know they have a tendency to get drunk and mouthy when out, keep your distance, try not to get caught out alone, or leave early. You’ll only need to do this the first few times and then they’ll get the message.