WORKPLACE / SEP. 09, 2015
version 5, draft 5

How to Survive Working with Your Ex

Chris Brown and Rihanna

Office affairs are generally frowned upon but, more often than not, when you spend so much of your day with a specific group of people, a small spark can turn into a full-blown Boning Blaze™. Although years and years of being nurtured by sappy rom-coms and sitcoms has taught us that relationships never end, reality comes in and sucker-punches you a bunch of times with relationships that end in horrifying balls of expletives and tears, asks us if we’re alright, and then kicks us with steel-toed jackboots in the stomach. Well, you too have regrettably had an office romance and now (because you’re poor and have no other marketable skills) have to keep going back to work where you and your ex share a cubicle. But fret not, because we’ve come up with a few ways on how to survive working with your ex.

See Also: Office Romance – Less Taboo, More Acceptable?

Alternative Scenario

OK, so the first worst case scenario is hooking up with someone at work and having it end not unlike the middle part of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: blood, gut, tears, and people in hysterics everywhere. But here’s another terrifying prospective for you…

You are one of the lowest people on the totem pole, thus any decision made has as much to do with you as plutonium has to do in the making of a porterhouse steak. So, you’re haplessly sitting in front of your computer, crunching your numbers or whatever other menial task you do, when suddenly a cold chill runs down your spine. You peek up over top of your employee box (see: “cubicle”) and you see one of the most terrifying things you’ve seen in a long time: your ex smiling while your boss shakes his/her hand and says “See you on Monday”.

Your heart drops… Come Monday, you will have to deal with being in the same space as the man/woman who took the last can of tuna, your heart, and then left you to pick up the pieces. So, what do you do?

The Ninja

As numerous video games, fictional movies and historical documents have shown us, a lot can be accomplished with clandestine operations. Trying to avoid every possible engagement will keep your work life calm, quiet, and uneventful. If you want to be extremely cautious as to not blow your cover, extra precautions can be taken such as: dyeing your hair, using latex prosthetics (prosthetics you dirty bastard, not prophylactics) or, if his/her job demands a high level of mobility, you might want to consider creating subterranean tunnels to navigate to the bathroom and kitchenette.

Staying incognito is a mighty game of chess, though, because if you’re invisible to your ex, you’re invisible to everyone else. This is how easy your cover can be blown: the boss looks for you (like I said, you’re invisible), he starts asking around, and your ex says: “Oh. Does Bob work here? We used to date for a while.”

Boom, like that, you have both your boss and your ex looking for you. A good strategy to follow might be having an intercom/spy system installed in your subterranean tunnels system, so if your boss is looking for you, you can immediately respond. Another risk of playing the incognito card is being implicated for drug smuggling, because the preferred means of moving products is – yes, you guessed it – subterranean tunnels.

Full Frontal

Relax, relax! What I meant to say was full frontal assault, as in confrontation. Just act like an adult and talk to your ex. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Yes, your breakup wasn’t under the best of terms and, yes, she took the last can of tuna – which is just cruel and unusual – but you sometimes have to take the high road. No, you don’t take the high road so you can throw things at the person you don’t like…

Anyway, talk it out. Invite him/her out to lunch, and maybe even come to an agreement if you would prefer to avoid each other or act like you never knew each other. Yes, again, I reiterate that the subheading “full frontal” has nothing to do with exposing yourself – although I know you jump at every opportunity to do so.

The Plunge

The best way not to have an ex at work is to start dating them again. If all those stomach-churning rom-coms have taught us anything, it’s that no relationship is beyond reconciliation. Go over to his/her house at 4 in the morning, and hold up a boombox over your head and play your favorite song… although you could never really agree if it was “Shake It Fast” by Mystikal or “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton.

All it takes is one grand romantic gesture and all will be forgiven, even the fact that you slept with her sister and mother on the same night (good thing she doesn’t know what transpired between you and her dad). Or you could always try something that would embarrass her in front of all your coworkers by filling their cubicle with an onslaught of flowers by a “secret admirer” followed by a singagram revealing you’re the secret admirer!

Of course, this is a tad dangerous if your ex is extremely attractive, because someone else could take the blame – I mean credit – for the truck-full of flowers in her workspace before you can claim the noble deed via a singing delivery man. If all else fails, propose – to marriage. It’s an extreme measure but, again, I’m sure you would prefer to work with your fiancé than your ex, right?

Explore Your Options

OK, so you’ve exhausted all other options; you can’t avoid your ex and you definitely can’t get back together with them, so what do you do? Well, maybe it’s time to spread your wings, add a few more fake qualifications on your résumé, and try to find a new job. It definitely won’t be easy, but it will infinitely be easier than being call “Love Bunny” by your coworkers (dressing in a bunny rabbit suit with a pink heart shape on its belly sounded like a great way for your ex to take you back at the time. You never imagined it would make you the epicenter of office ridicule). Of course, once you get a few interviews, make sure that the new company is okay with firing someone due to past amorous engagements. It’s not going to be easy but still: it’s easier than working with your ex.

See Also: Potential Pitfalls of an Office Romance

Have you ever worked with your ex? Let me know in the comments section below how you dealt with it and if you ever considered dressing in a = bunny rabbit suit to win them back.

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