Even the most amicable breakups are seldom drama-free affairs. With heartbreak comes overwhelming emotion and despair that has the potential to bring out the worst in us. When your life is playing out like a bad soap opera, it’s hard to rein yourself in, but if you can exercise a little self-restraint during the worst of times, you’ll show everyone (including your ex) that you’ve chosen the high road.
1) Resist the Urge to Talk Smack
This rule is especially hard to adhere to if you’ve been done wrong, lied to, dumped, or all of the above. But if you can resist the urge to dish the dirt about your ex, then you’ll come out of the situation looking like a million bucks.
Of course, you certainly have the right to air your grievances to close friends or family members. That’s what they are there for. But telling everyone that your ex cheated on you with your best friend just makes you look stupid. You don’t want people to think you are a victim, so when people pry (and they will) just tell them that “things didn’t work out.” Eventually, they’ll get the hint.
Oh, and one big “by the way”: good or bad, leave your sex life with your ex out of the conversation. No matter what.
2) Don’t Recruit Friends (or Ask Them to Take Sides)
Splitting up often means dividing your assets—and your friends. It’s a painful side effect of a breakup, but sometimes you just have to let certain friends go to maintain your sanity. This is where the second rule comes in: don’t make mutual friends choose between you and your ex. (Many people try to make this happen by exercising rule #1, but it’s a bad idea.) Your breakup shouldn’t be about taking sides—it should be about you moving on to greener pastures.
Even if you have to watch your social circle dwindle to half its size, it’s classier than trying to hoard all of your ex’s friends. It’s important to be grateful for those who are closest to you (who, if they are true friends, will support you no matter what), and forget about the ones who, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter that much.
Just to be clear: we condone maintaining relationships with mutual friends. Just make sure that you are continuing your relationship for the right reasons and not to keep tabs on your ex. Look at it this way: you probably don’t want to know.
3) Leave Your Problems at Home
It’s imperative that you don’t bring your love life into the workplace. Besides doing your best work, one of your top professional priorities should be to avoid office gossip, not invite it into your cubicle.
After an especially harrowing breakup, it can be difficult to keep it together for 8 hours a day, but try your best. If you are having an especially tough time, it’s okay during a stable moment to confide in your superior as to why you aren’t yourself. Explain that you are going through a difficult time personally (no details), but your focus is really on keeping your work up to par.
Look at your 9 to 5 as the time when you’re not allowed to think about your personal life. Try burying yourself in your work as a means of getting your mind off of the heartbreak. You may surprise yourself and crank out some of your best work yet.
4) Try to Curb Crazy Behavior
Sometimes breakups make something snap inside of us and we start to commit crazy (or creepy) acts out of desperation. You know what we are talking about here: driving by the ex’s house, calling incessantly, or otherwise doing or saying things that are completely out of character. As much as you may want to see or talk to your ex, once everything’s been said, leave it at that. Whether you made the decision to leave or it was made for you, it’s best to bow out with your head held high and to not look back.