Today I’m going to break down the five major ground rules you should be following if you work with your ex.
They are as follows.
- Your overall goal (if you work with them) doesn’t matter
- Implement the limited no contact rule
- Keep the main thing, the main thing
- Don’t announce your breakup to the office (mutual friends included)
- Prioritize them as a coworker and not “an ex”
Your Overall Goal (If You Work With Them) Doesn’t Matter
In my opinion, your overall goal doesn’t actually matter.
Often when people come to me, they want to accomplish one of two things.
- They either want to win their ex back
- They want to get over their ex.
And I’m telling you that if you’re working with your ex, your overall goal, whether you want them back or don’t want them back and want to move on from them, won’t matter.
The strategy for accomplishing both things is essentially the same.
We are very confident in saying that letting go of an ex, showing them that you don’t care, is the predominant strategy that will help you get over them but will also help you get them back if that’s what you want to do.
So immediately, I want to highlight that if you’re working with your ex, there’s nothing special that you need to do, whether or not you want to get them back or get over them.
Essentially, the overall through line, your North Star, if you find yourself in this situation, will be moving on from them.
And while this may sound like an odd approach, especially if you want to get that ex back, I promise it does work.
And if you don’t believe me, all you have to do is go to my website and watch the many success stories I’ve interviewed.
And you can watch how they all have the same type of outcome.
- They all get to a place where they really, really want their ex back.
- They try to get their ex back.
- They ultimately usually fail at getting their ex back.
- This causes them to give up.
- And things start to click into place only after they’ve given up.
I’m sure you’ve experienced a similar phenomenon throughout your life when you have gone through a breakup.
You really want your ex back, but one of your other exes (the one you don’t want) comes into the picture.
And this has much to do with the attachment style theories I’ve talked about countless times on this website.
So we’ve learned through interviewing countless individuals and interviewing a few exes that the most predominant attachment style we see our clients’ exes have is an avoidant attachment style.
People with an avoidant attachment style don’t allow them to miss you until they feel like you’ve moved on from them.
This is the trigger for them to say, “Okay, now I’m safe to miss you.” So many times, moving on from that ex spurs that on.
You Want To Implement A Limited No Contact Rule
This is something that I talked about in an article that I wrote yesterday, which is the importance of limited no contact.
There are actually three forms of no contact.
- There’s the traditional no-contact rule that we all talk about and you always hear about.
- Then there is the indefinite no-contact rule: When you decide you don’t want your ex back, you never want to talk to them again. You cut off all contact forever. There’s no getting them back. There’s no value ladder advancement. There are no value chain conversation strategies going on. You are just dead silent. You don’t care about them. You’re moving on. (Little hint, it’s hard to do this if you work with your ex.)
- And then, of course, there is the limited no-contact.
The limited no contact is something that you should employ if you want your ex back, but you’re in a situation where it’s impossible to ignore them.
Essentially you are implementing a regular no-contact rule, but you are allowed to periodically break it when you are forced into a situation where you have to talk to your ex.
Common examples include,
- Going to school with an ex
- Sharing children with an ex
- Living with an ex
- Working with an ex
Generally, you want to do this limited no contact from anywhere between 21-45 days.
Watch this for an idea of how long your limited no contact should be,
The mantra I want you to keep repeating when you are in the middle of limited no-contact is our third-ground rule.
Keep The Main Thing, The Main Thing
That means you’re there to work; you’re not there to date.
You’re there to do the best job possible, remain as professional as possible, and interact with your ex minimally.
As stated above, you’re not contacting your ex outside of work. You’re doing a no-contact rule.
But inside of work, there may be scenarios where you are forced to interact with your ex.
We have found that rudely interacting with your ex can hinder your ability to move on from them and jeopardize your chances of reconciling if that is your intention.
Instead, it’s wiser to interact with them minimally and very kindly.
And usually, you want to keep the main thing the main thing.
What I mean by that is if your boss has assigned you and your ex to work together on a project, then only interact with them about that project.
Anytime they try to stir the conversation about the two of you, the relationship, the feelings, things like that, acknowledge but don’t engage.
Do not allow the conversation to unfold in that manner.
Don’t Announce Your Breakup To The Office Or Vent To Mutual Work Friends
It’s crucial to think twice before announcing your breakup at the office.
This advice is particularly relevant for those who work in an environment where colleagues and mutual friends are aware of your relationship.
Occasionally, there may be a desire to clear the air or announce the breakup to everyone, to assure them that ‘this is what happened,’ ‘this is when it happened,’ and ‘everything is going to be okay.’
However, it’s generally advisable to resist this impulse.
People like drama. They revel in it.
A few years ago, a client shared details of a breakup with a mutual friend. Unfortunately, after the client confided in this friend, the friend proceeded to relay the entire conversation to the client’s ex, including some information the client would have preferred to keep private.
It’s best not to bring your drama into the workplace.
Just keep the main thing the main thing.
Yes, this advice includes talking to mutual friends. As I mentioned, if someone asks you about the breakup, there’s no need to be rude. You can confirm that it occurred, but refrain from sharing details that could be passed onto your ex.
As previously stated, it’s generally not advisable to make a grand announcement about your breakup to everyone. Such action tends to spotlight your relationship, potentially overshadowing work matters and inviting drama. This can be perceived as unprofessional.
Prioritize Them As A Coworker And Not An Ex
After observing limited contact, it becomes crucial to start viewing your ex primarily as a coworker.
In effect, you need to retrain your brain to see them not as an ‘ex,’ but as a coworker.
We recently had a community member ask about dealing with an ex in the workplace.
One of our moderators offered an insightful response, providing exceptional advice.
This individual was saying,
Hey, I only see my ex around mutual friends during work hours and during a break. What do I do?
And our moderator jumped in and said,
You want to treat your ex like a coworker because that’s what he is. Talk to them if you’re on break, but make sure you include others in the conversation so they don’t think you’re trying to win them back.
And then this person asking our moderator in our community says,
So far, I’ve been doing just that, trying to avoid complications. This is why I feel stuck; it seems that’s all there is to it. I need to learn how to move things forward. Except for my initial attempt, he hasn’t responded to any of my outreach efforts.
And our moderator, parroting what I’ve said at the beginning of this article, basically said,
Okay, this is why you must concentrate entirely on yourself. To make them feel the loss, you genuinely need to move on. You can’t fake it. People can pick up on your energy. They’ll likely maintain their distance if you’re projecting an ‘I want you back’ vibe.
This advice is spot-on. It’s crucial to understand that once the period of limited contact is over if you want them back, then you need to start climbing the value ladder.
(I’ve written about it extensively in this article.)
However, be prepared that this will be a longer process.
As my moderator rightly pointed out, including other people in conversations is essential.
This ensures your ex doesn’t feel like they’re receiving special treatment. On the contrary, it may even stir a bit of jealousy if others appear to be getting special attention from you.
If you don’t want them back, the solution is more straightforward: move on with your life.
Maintain limited contact, interacting only about business matters, which should suffice.