We know when we start dating co-workers that we are risking breakups that could be especially damaging to jobs we plan to stay in awhile. Sometimes it just seems worth it.
But what if you decide the risks are too great and you want to breakup? Or you partner breaks up with you yet you need to continue working together? Let’s start the healing with the Seven Choices from the DIY Conflict Resolution book.
Make the Seven Choices
More often than not, break-ups occur because the people involved were or became incompatible in that context. Vow to seek a more compatible partner, discover what you truly want in your next partnership, and build skill in creating it.
Regardless of your role in the break-up, acknowledge yourself for taking any action to move on from a relationship that was not compatible for you, your former partner, or the lives you want. It takes courage to believe in your dreams and take action toward them.
Forgive the world–and your former partner.
Again, don’t worry so much about who was “right” or “wrong” in this co-worker break-up. Playing judge of yourself or your ex-partner is not going to move you out of your pain. That requires you to keep analyzing and re-living the past—and the pain that comes with it.
Free the emotions.
Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up. It’s okay to feel anger, sadness, worry, fear, and nostalgia. If you need to take a break and walk around the block and cry or go in the broom closet to throw a tantrum, take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others.
Clear your mind.
There is only this moment. Stop looking at old photos, listening to music that reminds you of your ex-partner, and re-playing the movies in your mind that make you sad—unless you need them to help you free the emotions.
Assume you know nothing.
When the amygdala detects harm, it becomes fearful and triggers thoughts that sometimes make situations worse. You probably aren’t going to be alone forever. There are approximately 7.8 billion people on the planet. There’s a great chance that you will meet someone else—and someone more compatible than your co-worker. Be open to the full possibilities of the universe, not just what you think you know.
Listen with your heart.
Your co-workers and other people around you will want you to feel better so you’re more fun and hopeful again. They will sometimes say things that are unhelpful and hurtful. Practice listening for their intent, which is often to express their love or concern for you, despite how ineffective they can be when they are uncomfortable. Listening to them with your third ear, or your heart, is great practice for your next partnership, as well as your relationship with your well-intentioned loved ones.
Take the Five Actions
- Define the conflict(s) succinctly. Don’t dig up the conflicts that caused the co-worker breakup, but focus on the one(s) keeping you from working together effectively.
- Identify the personal interests driving the conflict. Again, focus on what the two of you believed, wanted, and expected in your work relationship, regardless of what happened when you tried dating.
- Play with the possibilities of working well together. What would it take? How will you rebuild trust and transform the relationship back to one of coworkers who enjoy working together? Look beyond what made you want to date and think about what each of you contributes to the workplace.
- Create the future. Determine what each of you will do to ensure your work gets done and your co-workers don’t have to take sides. If hurt feelings have already caused some disruptions, you might benefit from sharing your action plans and asking your co-workers or supervisor to hold you accountable.
- Stay on PARR. Plan, act, revise, and repeat until you and the co-worker you broke up with are working in harmony again.