‘Should I leave my work because of my ex?’

Darwin Moises.
Darwin Moises.File photo

@ANDREA DIAMANTE: I’ve been with my current company for close to 10 years. It’s among the major global companies that’s also located in the Philippines. My work is rewarding. I’m into SW development and have since climbed the corporate ladder. Few months ago, my boyfriend broke up with me. He happens to be a colleague. We’ve known each other since college. I have not been honest with my friends, but the void the breakup left is so wide and deep. Seeing him happy without me is like rubbing salt to the wound. Someone headhunted me, and we’re now in the final stages of negotiation. I don’t like leaving the company. But it’s hard to be in the same company and in the same team with my ex. Should I leave or not?

DJ: How deeply is the situation affecting you? Is it so much more than the love you have for the job and the colleagues you work with? Every breakup hurts, and I empathize with the pain seeing your ex happily move on while you’re being gutted daily. You’re going from the most important person in his life to being just a co-worker. The stress of being in the same team with him must be through the roof. But if you are to do one thing, make sure it is for yourself and you’re not doing it for him.

You spend a huge amount of your time at work. And you’re in work mode together all the time. However, there’s a whole life ahead of you. No doubt it’s a beautiful world, but not everything will go your way. Can you stand your ground this time? You can’t run away every time something bad happens. You can’t also just give anybody that kind of power over you. Are there options to switch teams or at least work on a different floor? Is remote work or a hybrid set-up feasible? Over time, wounds tend to heal. In a few months, you can become accustomed to the new normal and transition into a more distant, professional relationship. It’s tough to rewire how you think of him, but it is possible.

Are you seeking out interest outside work and beyond your ex? The empty feeling in your chest can be addressed by honestly sharing your feelings with people who care about you. Look as well for more opportunities you can’t associate with him. Not necessarily another relationship but a new hobby or a new field of interest. Anything that shakes off the inertia and channels your energy elsewhere. Something that will fill the vacated time and attention. When I had a bad breakup a couple of years ago, I used the available time learning to play new songs on the piano. I also wrote a screenplay that’s now ready for production. The point is not to necessarily force yourself to stop thinking about your ex. It is about creating a new life outside the relationship. Yes, things are never the same. But it can also be a good thing!

Are you convinced it’s a yucky space to be in? Does the stress take you off your game? If regular reminders of your ex deepen the wound, switching jobs is a valid consideration. Breakups can make you feel off course but it can also empower you to make daring decisions about your life and career. What’s your long-term goal? Does the new job in a new company align with your aspirations? Is it at least just as good as the one you have now? If the situation is significantly affecting you negatively, go ahead. Make the necessary shift. Just make sure you aren’t jumping to the worst job just to get away.

One day you’ll thank the stars for this breakup. You know, the wisdom of the “better to have love and lost” cliches. For now, do what you think is best for you. Your mental health is far more important than your job. Trust that this aching, empty void won’t last indefinitely. This too shall pass. Your heart will heal. Feelings are temporary. You got this!


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