We all have our emotional baggage and sometimes, this baggage comes with a sack-full of ex drama. At some point, we find ourselves in positions where we’ve had to deal someone from our past relationships.
While some break-ups can be simple and straightforward (when it’s over, it’s over) some can get a little more knotty. Life gets more complicated as we grow and one of the skills required to get through it is the ability to deal with ex drama- be it yours or other people’s.
In this article, I have compiled a list of situations where you have to deal with an ex and tactful/effective ways of doing this without endangering yourself, your career, current relationship and even your life.
Dealing with an ex who wants you Back
This is probably the most common. Be it Facebook stalking, ceaseless phone calls, or showing up at your house unannounced, sometimes you might have to deal with an ex who relentlessly attempt to make their way back into your life. In this case, one of two things would happen. You either want him/her back or you don’t. Let’s take a look at how to deal with each scenarios:
You want them back:
Second-time-round relationships do work, sometimes. But for it to work you’ll have to go in feeling stronger than before. Go into this with your eyes open and with a strong spirit. Know what you want and take the time out to think about it. This is an opportunity for you to look at the relationship from an outsider’s perspective since you are not in the relationship anymore. Were you happy in the relationship to begin with? It is easy to remember all of the good times and totally forget about all of the bad things because you have an emotional void that you need to fill. Don’t ignore the red flags and don’t trust too soon. Ask for what you want. Do you have a reason to believe that things will be different if you two decide to get back together? If you want to give the relationship another try, do you honestly believe that you two can come up with reasonable compromises? You should only consider a second-time-round only when you sincerely feel that prospects for long-term happiness together is really there. This is what you need to communicate to them. Choose a quiet time and place (please…not the bedroom) for the discussion, one where the two of you can concentrate on each other and put in words what it is you want, and what it is you can and cannot tolerate. If you’re thinking of getting back together just to fill the lonely hours until Mr/Mrs. Right comes along, you’ll actually reduce the chances of you ever attracting someone who is right for you, so that is a bad idea.
You don’t want them back:
Whether you have been separated from your ex lover or spouse for a few weeks or a few years, if he or she still wants you back, sometimes a little hint is not enough. Helping your ex understand the situation is key if you are going to get them to move on. You want to be gentle with them, of course, because the situation is hard enough for them without you being too cruel. However, you have to make the situation very clear to your ex so that he or she really understands it.
This is important; don’t ever let your ex to manipulate you when trying to solve the situation! You have to be firm and in total control always when you meet. Obsessed exes will use every opportunity they get to start talking about your past relationship, and how good it would be if you just take them back. If you’ve already told your ex no, or you are uncomfortable talking to them about it, you may want to find a friend who can tell them that “no means no”. Sometimes a pining ex won’t get the picture until someone outside the situation steps in. Tell someone you trust what’s going on and ask them to politely inform your ex that you are no longer interested.
When you have tried every possible option, and nothing has convinced your ex that it is over, you have to cut all connections. If it requires changing your email address and phone numbers, do it.
Getting rid of an obsessed ex is sometimes difficult. If you don’t have any feelings for your ex, and don’t ever want to get back together with them, you have to make this clear. This is best thing to do, not only for you, but also for your ex as well.
Dealing with an ex who happens to be a co-worker
The thing about workplace relationships that while they are easy to get into, they are hard as heck to get out of. When people spend the greater part of the working day together, they are bound to find someone with whom they have some common interests. This often leads to sharing a few social moments and if they hit off, things are ripe for a relationship.
However when a workplace relationship goes kaput, both partners are faced with a difficult situation. While professional ethics demand that you continue to respect your co-worker and work as a team, the conflict in your personal relationship makes it exceedingly impossible to be around your ex. However with the following suggestions, you and your ex can continue to be co-workers without the underlying tension.
Put professionalism first. When you’re at work, your mind should be on the job – irrespective of the turmoil in your love life. Avoid dwelling on the reasons of your breakup and keep yourself from stealing glances at your ex – whether in anger or misery. Vow to see him or her as just another colleague and no more. Remember your employer is paying you to deliver on your work and not to mop around the whole day.
Discuss with your ex
If you find yourself being increasingly thrown into your ex’s company at the workplace and feel that constraint between you two is too great to work comfortably, decide to talk it out. Make an appointment where you two would not be interrupted and thrash out underlying issues. Help him or her see that what has happened is better left behind and that you are looking forward to being good workmates. It is not only important for both your careers that you put behind relationship issues but it is necessary to do so if either of you are to move on in your personal lives.
Don’t degrade yourself
Despite your attempts at maintaining a professional relationship with your ex, if you find that he or she continues to rake up personal issues at the workplace, be tough but calm. Let it be known that you will not stoop to the level of badmouthing colleagues but at the same time deal firmly with any attempts to draw you into a controversy. It will not help to completely ignore your ex as you are bound to be thrown together some time or other. Rather act as normal as possible and soon you will find your ex following suit.
Keep away from touchy matters
You may find that your ex is making efforts to maintain a professional relationship with you. Talk and act like co-workers but be careful to avoid sensitive topics. Remember that the wounds caused by your breakup are yet to heal and dragging up your past will cause only more pain to you both. So don’t go reminiscing about what a great time you had at that nice restaurant and particularly stay away from any mention of the breakup.
If it has been hard for you to get over the breakup, you may be tempted to share your pain with the other colleagues. And if it has been a particularly messy breakup, you may even be inclined to reveal your side of the story. But it would be foolish to share the details with your colleagues as it will lead to gossip-mongering with the whole episode being picked over, again and again. Some of your co-workers may feel pressured to take sides with you or your ex and others may feel embarrassed about your situation and begin to avoid you.
Understand that normalizing your relationship with an ex at the workplace will take time. This is because you are bound to keep meeting every day and may even have to work together in a team which is bound to delay the healing process. Give it time and you may eventually have a more meaningful working relationship with your ex than you had before.
Getting over a breakup is difficult under any situation but when your ex happens to be a co-worker, it is that much more challenging to put the past behind. It is unwise to immediately expect to have the same working rapport with your ex that you share with other co-workers. But if you persevere with a cool head and lots of patience, there is no reason why you and your ex cannot continue to work together comfortably. So stop brooding about what happened and get back to work.
Dealing with your current partner’s ex
If you’re in a social circle that allows for your significant other’s ex to constantly remain part of the picture, it might be hard for you to draw the line. You have to understand that not all relationships end on bad terms and some previous relationships may result in a really good friendship. So how do you deal with “the ex”?
Talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about the ex, and find out what the conditions of the breakup were. This will help you judge how to handle the situation. Are they still good friends that just didn’t work out romantically? Do they hate each other now? Are they just polite to each other because they attend the same school or University? Knowing the conditions of the previous breakup will help you understand the way you need to handle the situation.
If the ex is still trying to push their feelings, explain to them that they are no longer in a relationship and you would appreciate it if they accept the fact you and the other person were together. If they persist, then it might be best to have your boyfriend or girlfriend explain it to them.
If they are still friends or co-workers, then understand that they will maintain a relationship. You can’t be expected to give up your friends just because you’ve gotten into a relationship another person so don’t expect them to do the same. The best way to handle this is to have long conversations with your boyfriend or girlfriend about your feelings for each other. If you’re still worried, then that signifies you have some confidence and insecurity issues that need to be addressed.
Dealing with your ex moving on;
Let’s face it, you can claim all we want that you are over a relationship and ready to move on, but you still get that pang of jealousy and anger when you find out that your ex has moved on- even worse, when you find out your ex is already dating someone else and you’re not. This comes with some serious insecurity and self-doubt issues. First, you have to realize the feeling is perfectly natural and that it does not mean you want your ex back, it only means you’re human and it’s okay for it to hurt a little when you find out that someone you were once in love with is already moving on. Dealing with this kind of jealousy is actually part of the healing process. You just have to learn how to ride it out.
Here is what you need to know;
If it wasn’t this person, it would be another one, no two relationships are the same. What your ex has with the new person will never replace what you two had. Expect to be jealous, wish your ex happiness, and move on with your life. You’ve got better things to do…like find your own partner.
Be confident in yourself enough to know that the fact that they are dating someone else isn’t a reflection on you or your relationship; it actually has more to do with them and their needs. Some people find it difficult to deal with a break-up, so much so that they would rather avoid the situation altogether and get a distraction (which in this case is another person). Getting over a break-up isn’t a competition and it is very important you move on at your own pace. You are single now, so it really is all about YOU.