Failed Office Romance? This Is How You Pick Yourself Up and Move On

Posted: October 21, 2015

Getting over a failed office romance might not be easy, because you are face-to-face with the person every day, but it’s still not impossible. Here’s how to keep your chin up and go about it. 

No breakup is easy to bear. When you are in a relationship, you are a part of what you consider a “whole.” It is an inclusive, all-accepting bubble of comfort and love. But the truth, however hard it is to face, is that sometimes the bubble bursts. Everyone takes their time to heal, and like all wounds, the best way is to let it be – don’t keep coming into contact with what caused the wound.

In the case of office romances, though, that simply isn’t possible. You work together, probably are on the same team, probably hang out with the same group of friends – it isn’t easy to stay away from each other after a breakup. Nor is it easy to keep seeing the same person every day and reminding yourself of the hurt – of the fact that this person was the biggest part of your life. ‘Was.’ Now, they’re just the cause of a loud, uncomfortable silence when the two of you share the same space. And that uncomfortable silence is the least of your problems.

Compartmentalise your anger

A lot of us spend way too much time at work. No matter what they tell us about work-life balance, chances are, most of your interactions happen at work, and most of your social life includes team outings. It is quite common that one develops a relationship with a colleague. But no relationships come with guarantees, unfortunately.

If you do breakup, then the first thing you want to tell yourself is – take your time to heal. Compartmentalize the hurt and the anger, let it heal, don’t let it come in the way of the rest of you or your work. Sure, you’re thinking, it’s easy for me to sit and preach, but trust me and try it. Split the hurt from the rest of you. You will learn how to do it. We all cope, after all.

Try to remember all the good times you had before you got into the relationship. Tell yourself you are still the same person. You are like a rubber band – elastic and resilient.

Don’t go out of your way to be friends. You broke up for a reason. Whatever that reason might be, staying friends is never a good idea. It is difficult in an office environment to not see each other at all. But do not go out of your way to run into them in the corridor to make small talk, just because you think you are maintaining ‘a healthy and positive work environment.’ Just don’t. It’s not healthy, it’s not positive. It’s just sad and uncomfortable.

You will run into each other though, even if you don’t orchestrate it. It’s an office, it happens.

You will run into each other though, even if you don’t orchestrate it. It’s an office, it happens. When it does, be cordial. Probably some people know you were both in a relationship and now you are not – people talk – but there is no need to display your grief out there for everyone to see. Maintain your dignity. Keep your chin high and even smile, if you can. Talk where appropriate. Be the bigger person.

Avoid extremes

Do not turn to alcohol. Every time you feel like drowning yourself in wine, think of how your hungover self is going to look on your performance report.

Don’t cut your hair, no matter what you read in Cosmo. Cutting your hair looks weak, desperate, immature, shallow, and silly. You are none of that. Also, not just that it makes you look shallow and silly; the joy of having a new look is so brief. Learn to love who you are, who you were, and try to reconcile the two. Split ends and boredom are the only good reasons to change your hairstyle – not a breakup.

Retail therapy is a good stress buster, but like the point above, that joy lasts momentarily. If you must indulge, do so wisely.

Take on other activities at work or outside

Your work keeps you busy. While not the most “emotional” thing to do, work does help keep your mind off things. Take this chance. Join some fun communities too, if you have any at your workplace (like nature club for instance). Now think how that would look on your performance report. Certainly better, eh?

Asking your HR to put you in a different team or quitting the company is a terrible idea.

Asking your HR to put you in a different team or quitting the company is a terrible idea. It is like escaping reality. Running away from your problems, instead of facing them. It’s also unprofessional. What is the reason you are gonna give them for leaving? However sad you are, they are never going to buy that reason. Remember, a new job is sometimes hard to come by. But there may be instances (assume you broke up because the person cheated on you with someone else who may even be at the same office) where seeing this person might trigger unbearable sadness or even depression. If you think it’s unbearable and the wound will not heal as long as you both are in the same space, then look for another project/job. Quitting/changing teams must be the last resort, but if it’s the only thing that can make you happy – do it.

Most importantly – put yourself first. You are a great person and you were a great person. Reconcile the two, like I stated above. It may seem like the horizon is too far away now – but you’ll get there.

Office romance image via Shutterstock

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. do you also have thoughts on “getting over an unfinished (due) office romance”? 😉

    • By ‘unfinished’ do you mean one-sided/unrequited/un-confessed romance? If so, let it out. Let the person know. That’s the only way to get it out of your system. Whatever the outcome, you will have peace of mind. Holding you pee in doesn’t help you. Peeing, on the other hand, is a huge relief 😉

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